Johnny Wise, by Tad Dorgan 1902

When he was thirteen years old, Thomas Aloysius Dorgan lost the last three fingers of his right hand in an accident with a factory machine. While recuperating, he drew a lot of cartoons as manual therapy. A year later, he found himself a job as staff artist on the San Francisco Bulletin. In 1902, he was employed by the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle, where he created his first weekly comic strip, 'Johnny Wise'. He was hired away by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst and put to work at the New York Journal as a sports cartoonist.

Soon he was loved by the public, not only for his sports features, but also for his prose (he wrote a column called 'Daffydills') and his cartoon gags about dogs, of which 'Judge Rummy' was the best known. Eventually, the dog comics ran under the title of 'Silk Hat Harry's Divorce Suit', accompanied by a one-panel gag series called 'Indoor Sports'.

For better or worse by Tad Dorgan
'For Better or Worse' (1925).

Dorgan is also known for introducing new words and expressions to American culture, such as "dumbbell", "for crying out loud", "hard-boiled", "cat's meow" and "Yes, we have no bananas". Due to ill health (he had a heart attack in the middle of a Jack Dempsey boxing match), he had to retire from actively covering sporting events. However, he continued to draw comics for publication, such as his Sunday feature 'For Better Or Worse' right up until he died from pneumonia in 1929. Tad Dorgan's brother Dick Dorgan was also a cartoonist.

And his name was Bunk, by Tad Dorgan (1909)
'And His Name Was Bunk' (1909).

Series and books by Tad Dorgan you can order today:


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