Comic strips have been a beloved part of popular culture for over a century. They have evolved from simple one-panel gags to multi-panel narratives that capture the imagination of readers.
Science fiction, with its futuristic themes and imaginative characters, has also been a popular genre in comic strips. But which comic strip character is the star of the first science fiction comic strip? Let’s find out.
The answer to this question takes us back to the early years of the 20th century. In 1907, cartoonist Winsor McCay created a comic strip called “Little Nemo in Slumberland.” The strip followed the adventures of a young boy named Nemo as he journeyed through surreal dreamscapes.
However, it was McCay’s next creation that would cement his place in comic strip history. In 1909, he began publishing a strip called “Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend,” which featured bizarre and often unsettling dreams experienced by people who had eaten Welsh rarebit (a dish made with melted cheese on toast).
It was in this strip that McCay introduced the character that would become known as the first science fiction comic strip star: Professor Edward William Garrett, also known as “Doc” Garrett.
Garrett was an inventor and adventurer who traveled through time and space using his incredible inventions. He appeared in several “Rarebit Fiend” strips throughout 1909 and 1910, including one where he traveled to Mars and encountered intelligent alien life.
The popularity of Garrett prompted McCay to give him his own spin-off series in 1911. Titled “Tales of the Future,” it featured Garrett as its protagonist, traveling through time to various eras and encountering strange civilizations.
While “Tales of the Future” only lasted for a few months before being absorbed into another McCay series, it paved the way for science fiction comics to come. Other creators would soon follow in McCay’s footsteps, introducing characters like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon that would become icons of the genre.
In conclusion, the answer to the question of which comic strip character is the star of the first science fiction comic strip is Professor Edward William Garrett, also known as “Doc” Garrett. Created by Winsor McCay in his “Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend” strip, Garrett went on to star in his own series, “Tales of the Future,” and paved the way for science fiction comics to come.