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Joe and Asbestos, by Kenneth Kling

Strip run:  1925 - 1926, 1928 - 1966

Kenneth Kling, born October 18, 1895, was the artist behind Joe and Asbestos, a comic strip that focused on horse racing.  The strip originally debuted as Joe Quince and was published in the fall of 1925 in only one newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, on a one-year trial basis. Kling had Joe picking real horses for actual races, and incredibly the picks all won. This made the strip immensely popular and other papers rushed to jump on the bandwagon and pick up the strip. After a few months Kling added a black stable boy as Joe's companion, an African-American "Al Jolsen" style caricature that at the time was acceptable but is totally politically incorrect by today's standards.  Asbestos the stable boy quickly gained in popularity and became the costar of the strip, which was renamed Joe and Asbestos accordingly.  The strip actually ended up running in only a score of metropolitan papers, but it still made a lot of money for the creator.  Kling passed away on May 3, 1970.

 

Example of Joe and Asbestos daily by Kenneth Kling, March 6, year unknown.  Art board size:  22" x 6".  I believe the first panel was intentionally left blank for a title paste-up;  if anyone can confirm that please let me know.

 

Example of Joe and Asbestos daily by Kenneth Kling, May 6, year unknown.  Art board size:  22" x 6".  Again, I think the first panel was left blank for a title paste-up, but I'm not certain.  This is a nice one, as Joe and Asbestos are discussing the Kentucky Derby.  I believe the text bubble in panel 4 (where it says "MORT") was left blank intentionally to add the info about the races later (remember, these strips included Asbestos' picks for the races and the info was pertinent to races happening on the same day that the strip was running).

 

Example of Joe and Asbestos daily by Kenneth Kling, June 26, year unknown.  Art board size:  22" x 6".  AS with the others, the first panel was intentionally left blank.  The text in the last frame was also intentionally left blank to allow addition of info for a race running on the day of the strip.

 

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