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D’j’ever? : Comic Strips and Advertising

Cartoons and political caricatures began appearing in Canadian newspapers in the 1850s and became a more regular feature as of the early 20th century. In Montréal, caricatures by Massicotte and Henri Julien frequently appeared in the dailies. Around 1930, newspapers opened their pages to comic strips. During the Depression and World War II, the tone of cartoons in Canada tended more toward humour than toward sarcasm. The style was influenced by American comic books, but Canadian cartoonists and illustrators soon developed their own style and threw off tradition, turning to illustrated ads as well.

Several of the National Breweries consortium companies used comic strips to make their ads livelier. Dow and Boswell did so, but not as intently as Dawes Black Horse, which, among other things, ran the humorous D’j’ever? comic-strip ads for 20 years. It even published D’j’ever? collections. These four-panel-strip ads usually revolved around a man caught in a predicament, who finds a solution or some comfort by drinking a Black Horse. The ordinary, everyday situations led readers to identity with the character and thus with Black Horse beer.

Resource References: 

bd_humoristique_securite_au_travail_revue_nbl.pdf: The Review. Published in the interests of the employees, vol. 12, no. 8, August 1949, The National Breweries Limited, Montréal, Qué., back cover. 

cahier_taspas.pdf: Volume 3 of D’j’ever? / T’a’ pas ? comic strips, signed Racey, 1930; produced by Stevenson & Scott Limited, advertising agency, Montréal. Gift of Michel and Jacqueline Ste Marie, RG-1999-575