12 Whatispower
This Golden Age Comic Book Stories post will blow your mind. (Via Douglas Wolk.)


  1. Excellent line work, but also used that incredible talent to create some vile racist images that are conveniently overlooked by his admirers. His composition and imagination when applied to the dream world is sublime, until you see the same talent promoting the ugliness of his time. He wasn’t just a product of his time, he helped *shape and promote* that product which diminishes his legacy.

  2. Rafael: there is no question that McCay (like many other cartoonists of his time) used racist images. He should be criticized for that and this aspect of his work needs to be discussed more (Noah Berlatsky actually did a good job on this very topic for an issue of The Comics Journal). But there are two points to be made about the cartoon you posted:

    1) I’m not sure its by McCay. I can’t read the signiture and it doesn’t look like his work.

    2) In any case, this particular cartoon is not racist but rather is critical of American imperialism. The whole point of the cartoon is that the American military is doing terrible things in the Phillipines, including killing kids as young as ten.

  3. The man who drew the “Kill Every One Over Ten” cartoon was apparently cartoonist Homer C. Davenport. There are few online references linking him to the cartoon, but the “Kill Every One Over Ten” text appears in an online obituary for Davenport, and he’s cited as the artist in at least one other online history forum.


  4. Jeet: If it’s been incorrectly attributed to McCay then I would be the first to be very happy about it.

    On the slant of the particular cartoon, I would like to know what else this paper printed. Mark Twain was very critical of Imperialism in this time period and stood up against the current tide so perhaps it is a similar kind of publication.

    “…before we took the Philippines” is what tipped me off in the opposite direction. The US never *took* the Philippines at this point, and Gen. Jacob Smith was referring to the Samar massacres in response to Balangiga when he made that statement because the resistance in the southern regions were still wide open. The US barely had forts established in the coastline. The US was up in arms when the US soldiers in the fort were massacred to a man, and “Kill everyone over ten” was a rallying cry referring to that incident. It did not refer directly to Imperialism but an outcry for vengeance.

    As per Davenport, as much as the image not looking like McCay’s, neither does it look like Davenport’s. His inkline especially in the background is not consistent with his political portraits. Davenport also signed with a very distinct “D” with a heavily blotted bow at the bottom of the letter, which is missing in the “KEOOT” image. However, it would be very useful to track down and identify for sure who created the image. His official obituary does not mention it.

  5. I’ve been unable to find any more verification online that Davenport drew the cartoon. Looking in published collections of his cartoons might work. However, Davenport was the editorial cartoonist for the New York Journal in 1902, when the cartoon was published.