There has been increased interest in comics reprints in recent years, with many classic strips getting overdue recognition. One of my favorites, though, has been overlooked: “Little Jimmy,” by James Swinnerton. Swinnerton drew the strip from 1904 to 1958, off and on; it was also known, with customary insouciance, as “Little Jimmie,” or just “Jimmy.” In the early years, the gags used a simple formula: Jimmy was sent on an errand, became distracted, and some level of chaos ensued. In later years, the strip became more about Swinnerton’s love of the Southwest, and his admiration for Navajo culture. Throughout, both his writing and artwork were fresh, open, and unforced, a treat to the eye. He also had one endearing eccentricity: the dialogue in the balloons was always enclosed in quotation marks.
Many years ago, I found some “Little Jimmy” scrapbooks in a used bookstore in Amsterdam. Some fan had cut up Sunday pages, and pasted the panels into little oblong books. Here’s one of them, from May 20, 1917.
(Posted by Doug Skinner)