On July 17, 1922 Barney Google saved a man’s life, sort of,
and was generously rewarded with a race horse, of sorts.
Below are the first week of daily comic strips introducing Spark Plug (with Billy De Beck‘s subtitles).
A month later, to everyone’s surprise, Barney is flush after Spark Plug wins the Abadaba Handicap. Then Barney abandons Spark Plug and goes wooing. But his “Sweet Woman” spurns his attempt at reconciliation so he chases “The New Mama.” But readers wanted the duo back together, and after going through the winnings and failing in the love department Barney gets back with Sparky.
Such was the popularity of the nag that in the Fall of 1923 (September 10, 1923 for the dailies,
October 14, 1923 for the Sundays) the comic strip is retitled Barney Google and Spark Plug.
In the following decade readers were introduced to Snuffy Smith who would eventually push both Barney Google and Spark Plug out of the spotlight. Out of the spotlight but not completely out. John Rose has undertaken to bring Barney and Sparky back into the comic strip, at least on occasion.
This week is one of those times as Spark Plug returns to Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.
Barney Google and Spark Plug are © & ™ King Features Syndicate
Hat tip to the Grand Comic Database for the comic book covers