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Solved! – A Mystery of the Ages

It was a mystery on a par with The Riddle of The Sphinx
or what happens when we shuffle off this mortal coil.

Just who was the Lucy and Sophie Say Good Bye cartoonist?

The 1905 run of the Chicago Tribune comic strip Lucy and Sophie Say Goodbye became popular because of the long goodbyes the title characters bade each other. The farewells always interrupted some public business, sometimes urgent matters (delaying the fire department above), to which the women were either unaware or indifferent.

One hundred years later the strip would become famous as an early example of same sex relationships. When the strip began the goodbye kiss would usually be hidden by the Gibson-like hairstyles and the Lady Bountiful hats. As the strip went on the kisses became more explicit and, seemingly, passionate.

But the strip was unsigned. Who was the cartoonist?

Now due to the efforts of Eddie Campbell and Barnacle Press’s Holmes and Thrillmer we know.

The research began with Mister Ron linking Lucy and Sophie Say Good Bye to Cholly Cashcaller.

Ron noted in The Stripper’s Guide Cholly Cashcaller entry that:

I’ve been digging around and discovered a newspaper that reproduces both “Cholly Cashcaller” and “Lucy and Sophie say Goodbye” quite nicely. Apparently, Lucy and Sophie appeared exactly one week after the last Cholly strip, and the balloon lettering is pretty much identical.

With Eddie following up just last week (and over a year after Ron’s comment):

Your astute observation checks out. I have compared various art details and I’d say it’s the nearest anyone has come to an identification. The artist of Cholly Cashcaller may have dropped one title and taken up another, a commonplace maneuver in the comics.

 

This prompted to Eddie Campbell posting on his Twitter feed:

I believe I have solved the mystery. I found an artist in the Trib who fits the bill and followed his work week to week until I found a detail that clinches it. hand on the left is from Lucy and Sophie, hand on the right is from a signed illustration, previous year.

only problem now is that his signature is illegible. can you make sense of this scrawl, @BarnaclePress

So now Thrillmer and Holmes of Barnacle Press joined the hunt.

Following leads and just dogged searching they found the cartoonist:

We’d found it! Via forensic art study and brute force searching six years of illustrations for a legible signature, we finally have a name to attach to this previously anonymous work! R.J. Campbell!


self portrait found by Audrey Niffenegger

Follow Barnacle Press’s fascinating search on their Twitter feed.

Read the entire run of Lucy and Sophie Say Good Bye and Cholly Cashcaller at Barnacle Press.

Great work! All are rechristened Sherlocko.

Community Comments

#1 Ted Tegenkamp
September/4/2021
@ 1:25 pm

Thank you so much for the link to the Lucy and Sophia collection. Normally I roll my eyes at these one-joke comic strips when The Stripper’s Guide features one, but these are simply delightful. The situations and the artwork combine for a genuinely funny strip. Thanks again!

#2 Brian Fies
September/4/2021
@ 5:28 pm

I love this stuff! Thanks for summarizing the dogged detective work.

#3 Denny Lien
September/4/2021
@ 7:02 pm

Seconded. It warms my old (now retired) reference librarian soul.

#4 Ray Bottorff Jr
September/16/2021
@ 5:41 pm

It took a little bit of effort, but I discovered Campbell’s birth and death dates and updated his entry into the GCD accordingly:
https://www.comics.org/creator/50892/

my best
-Ray Bottorff Jr
GCD Editor

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