Comics from 1929-1933



These comic strips were collected by Roland N. Anderson (1916-1982).

They were collected during the period 1929-1933 while he worked as a paperboy, delivering the Worcester Evening Gazette and the Worcester Evening Post in Worcester Massachusetts. In 1933 he delivered only the sunday editions of the newspapers, but started to work as copy boy in the Display Advertising Department at the Worcester Evening Post. Other employees of the newspaper helped him accumulate a rather complete collection. He collected three different comic strip series: Sky Roads, Buck Rogers and Tarzan.

By the time that this material had been gathered together for scanning and presentation on the Internet in 2007 this collection had almost become irrevocably scattered.

The Sky Roads comic strips had been wrapped in newspaper taken from an August 25, 1957 issue of the Detroit News, sealed with tape and remained untouched until almost exactly half a century later.

The Buck Rogers comic strips had been cut from the newspaper pages with a wide margin on the left hand side and fastened together in the form of booklets of 200 pages each during the summer of 1957. Thirty years later, several years after Roland's death, the booklets had been wrapped in newsprint from an August 11th, 1988 issue of the Detroit Free Press, sealed with tape, and marked "Careful/Study" in a woman's handwriting. This bundle remained unopened for twenty years.

According to some notations found on one of the pages, the Tarzan comic strips had been cut up and reassembled in book form in 1955 by pasting the cut-up comics onto the pages of a B-29 maintenance manual (The B-29 was a World War II bomber). There were too many Tarzan comic strips to be contained on the pages of the maintenance manual and the excess strips were placed in a cardboard box. With the added thickness of the comic strips, all the pages of the maintenance manual would not fit back into the original binder so some of them were put into a second binder. The excess maintenance manual pages that wouldn't fit into the two binders had been wrapped in newsprint from a February 11th, 1957 edition of the Detroit News. Over the years, the rubber cement used as a adhesive to affix the strips to the pages of the maintenance manuals, aged and discolored. In some places it became brittle, in some places it had become a sticky goo. The strips left in a cardboard box were exposed to the air and had aged and deteriorated significantly. One of the Tarzan strips, the one most exposed to the air, had crumbled into innumerable small fragments and was impossible to salvage.

After Roland's death the various parts of the collection had been dispersed to three different cities. In late 2007 an attempt was made to reassemble and preserve these strips, at least in digital form. This collection is displayed here for its historical interest and to help maintain interest in the figures that originated in this form of graphic art and to help maintain the memory of the people that created it.

Sky Roads is a series of aviation adventures from the earliest years of manned flight. This series has the "never-ending" style of a soap-opera, an endless continuum of intrigues and complications.

Buck Rogers is a science fiction adventure tale. This series, too, has the "never-ending" style of a soap-opera, but there are occasional points of more radical change and the series can be roughly divided up into story-like segments. The Buck Rogers series appeared in the Worcester Evening Gazette.

Tarzan is the well-known hero of tales written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The structure of this series is quite different from the others. The series is divided up into complete stories with individual names and clear beginnings and ends. The amount of text is much greater than in other comic-strip series. The best description here would be that the Tarzan comic strip is a series of "illustrated short novels". They are presented here as separate works. The Tarzan series appeared in the Worcester Evening Post.

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