Stan MacGovern may not exactly be a household name, but to those who read the New York Post in the 1940s he was a star of the first magnitude. It was in those years that he produced the totally demented Silly Milly comic strip, which is still fondly remembered by a select few. The Post did try to syndicate the nutty strip but with practically zero success.
Although Silly Milly itself qualifies as an obscurity, today we’re going to focus on a far more obscure MacGovern offering, Dumbell Dan. MacGovern produced this strip for Herald-Sun Features, the syndication arm of the New York Herald and New York Morning Sun, which the hated consolidator Frank Munsey merged in 1920 (the Sun name was dropped in 1924 when the Herald and the Tribune merged, so that syndication name came and went quickly).
MacGovern sold Dumbell Dan to the Sun-Herald when he was just eighteen years old, but his anarchic style of humor is already in evidence at that tender age. The gags are mostly joke book material but the zany drawings, full of rubber limbs and ass-over-teakettle takes, raise the material into a preview of great things to come. Dumbell Dan ran from March 6 1922 until at least November 1923.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples.