The introduction of cigars into Europe and the subsequent mania led to a two-decade-long outpouring of satirical comic drawings about smokers. As the legions of smokers grew, and the quality of cigars improved, the fun-poking slowed. By U.S. Civil War days, and thereafter, cigars became a standard fixture in caricatures of men of all social classes. In 1896, a new type of cigar smoker entered the American scene, the denizen of the daily newspaper. Beginning with Richard Outcault's Yellow Kid, recurring men, women, children and animals filled what came to be called the "funny papers" and like their readers, comic characters smoked. Despite the fact that The Yellow Kid, Jiggs, Mutt & Jeff, The Captain, Happy Hooligan, Mr. Jack, Alley Oop, Abie Kabibble, Rosie's Beau, Barney Google, and
The NCHM would love to hear from you regarding any cigar boxes or labels you might have which feature pre 1940 comic or cartoon characters.
many more long-forgotten denizens of the pre-World War One comic pages were all seen with cigars in their mouth, only a few of them went on to  decorate cigar boxes. Most likely, their absence can be attributed to the tight short leash on which the cartoonists were held by their syndicating papers, and the royalties they demanded. 

    There’s a certain irony in the fact that the longest-lived cigar box cartoon character was a non-smoking women’s libber. Here she is, along with a few of her friends and rivals.


Comic Character Gallery

A National Cigar History Museum Exclusive 

© Tony Hyman

Latest 5 additions: May 3, 2010

                    MONKEYS PUFFING CIGARS !!

     “New customs, though they be never so ridiculous,

       Nay, let them be unmanly, yet are followed.” 

                      7” x 7.5”  London, c1820

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