To celebrate the release of Green Lantern…

Lets look at how comic movies were advertised 101 years ago!


Or in the week ending May 21st 1910 to be precise.

The advert is rather more, ahem, restrained. It appears on the editor’s page and concerns a film made about a complete story that is printed in that very issue. As soon as readers finished with it they could rush to the “electric theatre” and see “clever performers” acting out the story in “living pictures”!


Did I mention The Boys Friend had the best editor’s page ever?

Of course not everybody counts the text-only story papers, such as this one, as “comics”. However for those that do, could this be the first ever comic movie?

Anyway, here is the ad itself…


Film was not exactly a brand-new technology in 1910, but was apparently rare and interesting enough for the editor to go into a technical description of how it works.

With seventy copies distributed to the ends of the country, I wonder if any copies of the film survive? And also how they stack up against the written story. Were liberties taken to ‘simplify’ scenes that wouldn’t have been easy to capture with the limited filming time, heavy equipment and lack of sound in those days?

One Comment

  1. There was an Ally Sloper film made in 1898, though I am unsure if it really was taken from a strip – there was a very popular musical based on the character a few years earlier, and it might have been adapted from that. Not as well known as the (rather poor) clutch of films made in the early 20s, it is a sadly neglected piece of British history.

    Also, if you have ever seen one of the numerous shorts where (usually) a boy stands on a hose, and (usually) his father (sometimes a butler) places the hose to his face, whereupon the boy takes his foot off the hose, then you might be interested to know that the origination is from a one-sheet “funny” strip. There are multiple French, German, English and American shorts which are almost identical, beginning around the 1890s.

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