Mr and Mrs, 1924
Mr & Mrs

Clare Briggs was a pioneer of American newspaper comics, best-known for his features 'A. Piker Clerk', 'Mr and Mrs' and 'When a feller needs a friend'. Born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, as the son of a farm machinery salesman, Briggs left his rural home in Lincoln, Nebraska, as a young man to try his luck at cartooning. He published his first cartoons The Western Penman, while studying drawing and stenography at the University of Nebraska. At age 21, he was employed by the St. Louis Globe-Democrat as a sketch artist, switching two years later to the St. Louis Chronicle to work as an editorial cartoonist. Around 1900, he moved to New York. After holding many odd jobs, he was employed by the New York Journal. Newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst assigned him as a cartoonist for his Chicago journals.

A. Piker Clerk by Clare Briggs
A. Piker Clerk

There, he created 'A. Piker Clerk', one of the first regular comic dailies with continuity. It dealt with horseracing and appeared on the sports page of the Chicago American in 1903. His pioneering work earned Briggs national fame and influenced such cartoonists as Frank King, Milton Caniff and Bud Fisher. In 1914 he returned to New York to stay, settling in the art colony of New Rochelle, and working the final years of his life for the New York Tribune. Briggs created a great number of cartoon features, such as 'When a Feller Needs a Friend', 'Movie of a Man', 'Someone's Always Taking the Joy Out of Life', 'There's at Least One in Every Office', 'Real Folks at Home', 'Mr. and Mrs.' and 'Danny Dreamer'. Many of these titles have become national catchphrases. 'Mr. and Mrs' also spawned a CBS radio series from 1929 to 1931.

Recurring themes in his work were nostalgic reveries focused on memories of small town boyhood and satirical strips about the squabbles inherent in married life. This is also evident in 'Oh Skin-Nay!', his 1913 collaboration wtih poet Wilbur D. Nesbit. Besides a cartoonist, Clare Briggs was a lecturer, and the producer of four comedy film shorts for Paramount Pictures. His daughter, Clare Briggs Jr., also was a comic strip artist and had a strip syndicated from 1939 through 1941.

early advertising strip by Austin Briggs

Series and books by Clare Briggs in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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