The Bungle Family by Harry J. Tuthill

Harry J. Tuthill, The Bungle Family, February 27, 1927

Harry J. Tuthill (1886-1957) drew The Bungle Family (originally titled Home Sweet Home) from 1918 to 1945. It was never an extremely popular comic strip and may have been forgotten to most modern readers if Bill Blackbeard hadn't included it in his seminal book, The Smithsonian Book of Newspaper Comics. Blackbeard, who called Tuthill the "Louis-Ferdinand CĂ©line of the comic page," spoke of the strip's "bleakly jaundiced view of lower-middle-class family life."

This is reflected in this Sunday page from 1927, where the two protagonists, George and Josephine, meet another couple, Kismet and Edith, who they secretly dislike. Kismet and Edith feel likewise. The strip serves as an example of how hypocrisy greases the wheels of civility (and indeed civilization).

The watercolors we probably added after the strip was printed. The process for color comic strips was for the artist to provide the syndicate with a black and white original and (possibly) a color guide. Then color separators would cut halftone overlays which, through the process of four-color lithography, would end up being printed in color. It was a very labor-intensive process, but the anonymous craftsmen who did hand color separations were often able to achieve spectacular effects.