The 1940's and 50's comic Dick’s Adventures in Dreamland integrated stories of American history with adventure through the eyes of a young boy around the age of 12 to provide entertaining history to young readers. Issue No. 227 depicts Dick being present for George Washington's famous farewell to his officers on December 4, 1783.
By Eli McClain ~ Curatorial Intern
The original concept for the comic was pitched by William Randolph Hearst and debuted as a Sunday-only series of Hearst’s syndicated newspapers in early 1947. The first publication of this comic featured Dick waking up in Dreamland to advise Christopher Columbus. The comic ran until 1956 but had been decreased in size after the death of Hearst in 1951. The size decreased from a full page to ¾ and subsequently ½ and finally 1/3 page before its last edition on October 7th 1956. Published by the King Features Syndicate, Inc., and created by Neil O’Keeffe and Max Trell, the comic's illustrations caught the reader’s eye with their bold colors while Trell presented snippets of history to keep the reader engaged from week to week.
This eight-frame comic strip proof sheet, created for the comic’s No. 227 edition, places the reader in-between the British surrender at Yorktown and the nomination of George Washington as first president of the United States. In the title frame Dick appears in his bed recapitulating the events of last week’s edition before falling back asleep. He then wakes up in Dreamland in Lower Manhattan outside of Fraunces Tavern at 54 Pearl Street. He is present in the Long Room of the Tavern during Washington’s Farewell and later appears in the room as Washington resigns as Commander in Chief in Annapolis. The comic makes note of Washington’s emotions throughout the strip, discussing his sadness in leaving his comrades and post, as well as his happiness in seeing his family on Christmas Eve. The reader is left with Dick calling out to Washington that he is going to soon become the nation’s first president; however, his calls are not heard as Washington enters his house to greet his family. And with that, the reader is left to wait until next Sunday to learn what happened next.