Jungle Jinks Weekly, 7 February 1925
Jungle Jinks, 7 February 1925

Mabel Francis Taylor was a late 19th-century, early 20th-century comics artist. A pioneer in the field of English female comics artists, she is best remembered for 'The Little Sparrowkins' (1905) and continuing Arthur White's 'Jungle Jinks' for half a century.

Mabel Frances Taylor was born in 1866 in Kingswood, Surrey, as the daughter of an Anglican clergyman. She started her career as a children's book illustrator, livening up books such as 'Little Darlings' ABC' (1885) by Grace C. Floyd, Edric Vredenburg's 'The Last of the Mohicans' (1894), 'Somebody's Luggage' (1895), Sarah S. Baker's 'Nono, or, The Golden House: A Tale of Swedish Lie' (1895), Grace C. Floyds's 'Little Snowdrop' (1896), Raphael Tuck's 'Father Tuck's Nursery Rhymes' (1896) and 'The Old Woman Who Live In A Shoe' (1898), Elizabeth W. Wood and Horace G. Groser's 'Very Funny Stories Told in Rhyme' (1902) and Ernest Nister's 'Holiday Frolics at the Farm' (1910).

Jungle Jinks by Mabel F. Taylor

In 1905 Taylor created 'The Little Sparrowkins' in Playbox, a children's magazine of the Amalgamated Press. This was a funny animal comic about a group of children anthropomorphized as sparrows. Her other feature in Playbox was 'Jungle Jinks', a comic about a group of animal school children originally created by Arthur White. It had a large cast of main characters, among them Jumbo the elephant, Jacko the monkey, Hippo the hippopotamus, Bertie and Billie Boar (who were pig twins), Archie Alligator, Ping Panda, Aussie Koala and the headmaster Dr. Lion.

Jungle Jinks by Mabel F. Taylor

Under her tenure, 'Jungle Jinks' became so popular that it inspired its own magazine, Jungle Jinks. The first issue appeared on 8 December 1923 and replaced the previous children's publication Chuckles. Besides the title comic the magazine also featured a spin-off of 'Jungle Jinks' named 'Dr. Lion's Boys', which also ran in Happy Families and Home Chat. Nevertheless the magazine didn't last long. By 14 december 1925 it was already retitled as Playbox magazine. Other artists who published in Playbox besides Taylor and White were Julius Stafford Baker, Mabel Lucie Attwell and S.J. Cash.


Jumbo and Rhino get into trouble (1903)

Mabel J. Taylor passed away in 1947, which also meant the end of 'Jungle Jinks' after having been 49 years in print. By the time it came to its close it was the longest-running British comics series ever. This record would be surpassed by 'Tiger Tim' (1904-1985, a funny animal series originally created by Julius Stafford Baker II) with 80 years of uninterrupted run. The current British record holder is Mary Tourtel's 'Rupert Bear' (1920), in print for almost a century by now!

Her sister, Edith M. Taylor, was also an illustrator and occasionally ghost-drew episodes of her comics for her.

From: Little Darlings ABC
From: Little Darlings ABC

Series and books by Mabel F. Taylor in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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