Everyone else has been linking to the 1907 comic strip Madge the Magician’s Daughter by W.O. Wilson — why shouldn’t The Beat?
While enjoying this newspaper strip’s whimsy and imagination, it also gets us pondering. What would W.O. Wilson be doing today? The market for lavishly drawn comic strips has dried up; ditto illustration. Perhaps he would do children’s books. As wild and fun as the strip is, the art is kind of weird and wonky…nowhere near the virtuoso skill of a Feininger or O’Neill. If we plopped Wilson down in today’s comics market, he’d probably be doing weird-ass indie comics for AdHouse or Top Shelf or PictureBox, and he’d be considered an “indie” artist. Whatever that means.