The Little King, by Otto Soglow (1945)

Otto Soglow, born and raised in New York City, was inspired by early comic artists like Winsor McCay, George McManus and George Herriman. His first illustration was published in 1919, in Cartoons magazine. In the mid-1920s his professional career took flight, with publications in College Humor, Lariat, Life and Judge. He was a member of the New Yorker crew, together with Harold Ross, S.J. Perelman, James Thurber, E.B. White and others, who greatly contributed to the magazine's popularity by thinking up wacky jokes.

The Little King, by Otto Soglow

One of Soglow's drawings, depicting merely a city street with an open manhole, ran dozens of times with different gags. One of Soglow's characters, The Little King, became famous, attracting the attention of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

The Little King, by Otto Soglow 1939

From 1934 onward, 'The Little King' ran as a newspaper strip, gaining popularity in the U.S. and eventually appearing all over the world. In Europe, Willy Vandersteen was one of Soglow's great admirers. Soglow was a co-founder of the National Cartoonists Society, and won the Reuben Award in 1966 as well as a Elzie Segar Award in 1972. He continued to draw The Little King until his death in 1975.

Between 1933-1934, 'The Little King' was adapted into an animated series by the Van Beuren Studios. In 1935, the Fleischer Studios made another attempt by having him appear next to Betty Boop in 'Betty Boop Meets The Little King' (1935). Together with 'Betty Boop and Henry, the Funniest Living American' (1935) (in which Betty meets Carl Anderson's 'Henry') these were unsuccesful attempts to create another animated spin-off around a popular newspaper comic, much like the Fleischers did before with the far more durable 'Popeye' cartoons based on E.C. Segar's strip of the same name.

Otto Soglow was an influence on Al Jaffee.

comic art by Otto Soglow

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