'It's Only Ethelinda' (5 June 1909).

Grif was an early 20th-century (presumably American) newspaper cartoonist about whom nothing is known. He nevertheless had a comic strip of a certain durability, 'It's Only Ethelinda' (1908-1910), which appeared in a newspaper with a wide circulation: the Philadelphia North American. It was furthermore distributed to other newspapers through the North American Syndicate.

Boston Globe
Prior to Ethelinda, the signature of "Grif" appeared on a couple of short-lived Sunday comics in the Boston Globe. First of all 'The Commodore', which ran from 9 October until 15 November 1904. It was presumably revived under the title 'The Admiral' between 8 January and 25 June 1905. Another creation for the Globe was 'Grandpa' (15 May - 6 November 1905).


'The Commodore' (Boston Globe, 9 October 1904).

It's Only Ethelinda
The Philadelphia North American's 'It's Only Ethelinda' stars a young women, Ethelinda, who frequently runs into trouble because she overestimates her own abilities. The gag-a-week comic ran between 23 August 1908 until 17 July 1910 in the Sunday papers of the Philadelphia North American and was usually unsigned. Some episodes read "Grif" as a signature, which might hint at Syd B. Griffin. However, Allan Holtz of Stripper's Guide, doubts this assumption because the graphic style is notably different and Griffin's comics career was all regulated to New York syndicates, rather than Philadelphia.

Female character
Whatever the case, 'Its Only Ethelinda' is still notable as one of the few early comics to star a female character. The earliest comic strip to star a female character is 'The Adventures of Miss Lavinia Brounjones' (1866) by the English cartoonist Charles Keene, but this was still a text comic. Up next are Gene Carr's 'Lady Bountiful' (1901), Grace Drayton's 'Toddles' (1903-1933, later renamed 'Dolly Dimples'), Winsor McCay's 'Hungry Henrietta' (1905), Émile-Joseph Pinchon's 'Bécassine' (1905) and André Vallet and Jo Valle's 'L'Espiègle Lili' (1909-1998). In terms of a gag comic about a clumsy young girl Ethelinda could be considered the grandmother of Jan Steeman and Patty Klein's 'Noortje' (1975-2017, Dutch).


'It's Only Ethelinda' (Salt Lake Herald Republican, 24 April 1910).

Series and books by Grif in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

X

If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.