Chicago Spanking Review

Out Our Way Spanking #1

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Early American comic strips tended to be "slice of life" in their subject matter. Ordinary daily events in small towns were portrayed, sometimes with humor, but the approach was basically realistic even if the strip creators had not studied the formal concept of realism. (We are speaking here of an American literary movement that arose after the Civil War and focused on the lives of relatively ordinary people - think of Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, Hamlin Garland, etc.). Some examples would be Buster Brown (1902), Mutt and Jeff (1907), Bringing Up Father (1913), and Gasoline Alley (1918 or 1919). (For our immediate purposes we will ignore German strips such as The Katzenjammer Kids, which were hardly realistic but had a ton of spankings, mostly of the Kids, unfortunately). The strip that concerns us here is Out Our Way, created by J. R. Williams in 1922.

Such strips of course seem out-of-date today, but the interesting thing is that Out Our Way was somewhat outdated even by the standards of 1922! (We wonder if anyone felt that way at the time). Note that it appeared after the other examples mentioned above, when the sleepy but growing giant that was America had entered a new era - the Roaring Twenties, a decade of tremendous excitement (and spankable flappers laughing face!) - and was leaving more innocent days (let's say before World War I) behind. Some cynics will say that such days never really existed, but while we don't agree we won't belabor the point any further here. There were certainly many novels of the 20's that hearkened back to an earlier era, but interestingly these were quickly forgotten. Outdated or not, Out Our Way was more successful than they were, continuing until 1977 (Williams died in 1957).

There were many characters in Out Our Way, but the Willet Family were as close to being the strip's stars as anyone. A recurring theme was "Why mothers get gray" and we'll see two examples of it now that showcase a peculiar aspect of the sibling rivalry between brother and sister, namely their schemes to give each other a good swat. One such scheme actually reached fruition, and on-panel too, but first let's see some examples in which the plot failed or the swat took place off-panel.

sis gets a swat in out our way, Jan. 31, 1927

© NEA Service Inc.

sis plans to swat her brother, June 27, 1927

Scans by JonTheScanner; edited by Web-Ed. © NEA Service Inc. (click to increase in size).

These examples are only five months apart from 1927. The fly-swatter was a recurring motif, as we see below in a somewhat longer example from the Sunday strip. Notice, by the way, that Wash Tubbs, which was to provide us several spankings from the days after it had begun featuring Captain Easy, serves as the "topper" for Out Our Way. This was to remain the case for many years.

attempted swatting in out our way July 7, 1929

Out Our Way July 7, 1929. It was never a good idea for Sis to bend over with her brother around. © NEA Service Inc. (click to increase in size).

mother is ready to administer a swat with a broom in the out our way sunday strip

Out Our Way Sunday strip as reprinted in Crackajack Funnies #2, (July 1938, original publication date unknown). Mother almost gets in on the swatting action. © NEA Service Inc. (click to increase in size).

How many years of the daily strip we've searched we couldn't say for sure, but it's certainly been thousands of panels (the examples above were collected over several years). And yet we found no actual spankings although we still had hope. Then along came Sweetspot who using his own techniques was finally able to locate a scene that could be counted as an official spanking in the Comics Spanking Data Base (that is, there is on-panel contact between the spanker's hand or hand-held implement and the spankee's buttocks). It comes from 1941, fourteen years after the shenanigans we saw above, but it's basically the same old story: the boy gets his sister to bend over, then whacks her with the carpet beater, and hard enough to lift her up in the air - ouch! It does bear some resemblance to the old "bend over, get a swat" gag from the days of Burlesque that we have commented on in the past.

attempted swatting in out our way July 7, 1929

Bending over to pick up some clothes pins results in a mighty whack on the behind with a carpet beater! Out Our Way Sunday strip from May 4, 1941. © NEA Service Inc. (click to increase in size).

The spanking panel. Scan by Sweetspot. Posted by the Web-Ed on 10/05/2017.

Sis is actually lifted into the air by the force of the swat as three pain stars go flying - too few, given the amount of sting that was surely imparter, we'd say. The bending over position isn't bad but the spankee's knees should be perfectly straight. It appears that Sis's face is blushing in the post-spanking panel, and we'd bet that's not the only part of her anatomy turning red just then!

It's good to finally see an actual spanking in the strip, but we should mention that it was almost certainly the idea of his assistants, as Williams was unable to handle both the daily and Sunday strips.

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