Saturday, August 17, 2013

From Earth's End Spotlight: The Tee Wee Adventures by D. Price

Above: The Tee Wee Adventures by D. Price from The Auckland Star newspaper, May 2nd, 1931. Copyright the D. Price Estate 2013.

This is the first in a new segment of New Zealand history spotlights, where I'll be highlighting cartoonists and events of historical significance from my upcoming book, From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics. Today I'll be focusing on one of New Zealand's earliest comic strips, The Tee Wee Adventures by D. Price.

Above: The Kowhai Fairies by D. Price, from The Auckland Star Newspaper, July 10th, 1926. Copyright the D. Price Estate 2013.

In the early twentieth century, New Zealand newspapers like The Star were carrying popular American comic strips like Bringing Up Father and Felix the Cat, along with one of the first locally created strips, The Tee Wee Adventures by D. Price.

Above: The Tee Wee Tribe #1, from The Auckland Star newspaper, September 21th, 1929. Copyright the D. Price Estate 2013.

Debuting in July,1926 as part of The Young Folk's Budget, it featured the adventures of native themed fairy folk, like the Kowhai Fairies and Pohutu Pixies. This was probably an editorial directive, as the children's page was inspired by J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan (who along with 'Wendy' contributed the letter columns). Over the next few years the strip would develop its own voice, and a rich cast of characters including the young warrior Tai Ho and the Tee Wee Tribe.

Above: An example of the Star Twinkles children's supplement, from The Auckland Star newspaper, May 2nd, 1931. Featuring a colour version of The Tee Wee Adventures by D. Price. Copyright the D. Price Estate 2013.

The following year, The Star introduced its own children's supplement, Star Twinkles, which ran in the Auckland and Christchurch Sunday editions. It featured full-colour versions of popular Australian strips Us Fellers and Fashion Plate Fanny, along with the continuing Tee Wee Adventures. In 1931 the strip was upgraded to a colour feature for six months, giving D. Price's intricately detailed artwork room to breath on a larger canvas.

Above: The Tee Wee Adventures, from The Auckland Star newspaper, June 27th, 1931. Copyright the D. Price Estate 2013.

Very little information is known about the life of D. Price, but hopefully more of his or her (many of the other early newspaper strip cartoonists at The Star were woman) story will come to light in the wake of my upcoming book.

- AK!

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