I’m always interested in forms of comics that are slightly different than the rest, and for that reason, non-fiction comics have always appealed to me. The best-known example of this kind of comics is, of course, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, but over the years other series have had long runs. Artur Lorie recently sent me some examples of more scientifically oriented, and less sensationalistic strips, and also provided some background.
The strip at the top is from Strange As It Seems by John Hix, from 1931. Art quotes the excellent Stripper’s Guide, one of the true Extraordinary Comics Blogs (we should have a league of those) about this :
Strange As It Seems ran from 1928 to 1970 [!!], with creator John Hix [I think] dying in 1944. He was succeeded by Dick Kirby [1944-46, 48-49], Doug Heyes [1946-48], George Jahns [1949-6?] and finally Ernest Hix, Jr. [196?-1970]. Of those I’m trying to find out something about Heyes — since this was also the name of a Warner Bros. producer who worked on Maverick, Sugarfoot, 77 Sunset Strip, etc
Hix also did Frank Merriwell’s Schooldays from 1928 to 1930 and the John Hix Scrapbook — sports tidbits that ran 1939ish to 1942 as a Sunday topper to SAIS.
Next up is a strip from This Curious World (1946) by William Ferguson, which (Art again) :
ran 1931 to 1952; and then again as a weekly from 1956 to 1957. It originally replaced Ferguson’s extremely similiar Mother Nature’s Curio Shop [1928-31]. His earlier strips were also non-fiction but dealt with birds [Feathered Facts and Fancies] or dogs [Who’s Who In Dogdom] or critters in general [Our Great Outdoor Zoo]. The one I’ve included here shows a non-H G Wells Selenite [more like a Leprechaun / Little Green Man, really].
And finally, Amaze A Minute, by Arnold,
a daily panel that ran 1931 to 1937. The one here shows what I consider the first “ray gun” [ignoring Thor’s lightning bolts], but strangely credits the invention to Sweden when he’s really showing Archimedes mirrors that were used to defend Syracuse.
I’d like to thank Art for this contribution, and for his permission to include his comments.