Obscurity of the Day: Terry And Tacks


Here it is Memorial Day, so let’s find an obscurity with an armed forces angle. Easy to do, too, if you look at wartime comic strips. Many features wholeheartedly embraced war themes in World War I and II, far fewer in later wars. Later wars, of course, did not have the benefit of having public opinion so solidly in their favor, so few cartoonists felt it in their best interest to dwell on them.

Here we have Terry And Tacks, which takes an unusual spin on the perenially popular ‘a boy and his dog’ theme. Young master Terry’s constant companion is a parrot, a pet with the distinct advantage of being able to talk. This becomes the springboard for most of the gags in the strip, as Terry employs his feathered friend to pull off all sorts of Katzenjammer-style stunts, aided by the prodigious vocal capabilities of Tacks.

Terry And Tacks ran from 2/13/1916 to 7/7/1918 in the McClure Syndicate’s preprint Sunday comic section. The strip was by Joe Farren, a journeyman cartoonist with a distinct lively style. The strip was later reprinted in the World Color Printing preprint sections in 1925 and then again in 1930.

A note to any servicemen and women reading this. Thank you for your service, and always remember that no matter what goes on politically regarding the sometimes ill-conceived military actions waged by the USA that the citizens of your country love, respect and admire each and every one of you for heeding the call to duty.

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