Here’s to the Working Man (and Woman)!

America’s Labor Day is fast approaching. This holiday recognizes the nation’s workers, though the labor force has certainly changed since the Federal government enacted the holiday in 1894!

Newspaper comics have featured all sorts of workers during their long history. Below we’ve sampled a handful for your enjoyment.

From late in its run, here is a brush with management for Walter Hoban’s pint-sized Jerry on the Job — one year later, in 1930, Russell Westover begins cooking up an insurance storyline involving Tillie Jones and Mr. Whipple (not the Charmin-squeezer so many of us remember, despite a certain physical resemblance!) in his Tillie the Toiler series. Rocketing through the years to 1949, the activity of Phil Corrigan and his fellow agents would make anyone ask, “THIS is a job …?” in Mel Graff’s exciting Secret Agent X-9 installment (click each for a larger view).

But wait, there’s more — Dagwood’s good intentions turn into a disaster for Mr. Dithers in this 1955 Blondie daily — Rex Morgan M.D. , in this 1973 outing, represents every hard-working doctor who ever appeared in a comic strip — and does The Amazing Spider-Man‘s Peter Parker qualify as the hardest worker of them all? He’s a part-time photographer for the Daily Bugle, a part-time costumed crime-fighter, a full-time college student, and — in this strip from 1978 — he’s getting a teaching job dangled in front of him, to boot! All while rubbing elbows with at least two lovely ladies who are clearly graduates of the John Romita Sr. School of Beauty.

We end our salute to Labor Day by going all the way back to 1918 to visit one of our favorite strips, Harry Hershfield’s Abie the Agent. While this strip doesn’t feature Abe Kabibble on the job, it offers a timeless reminder about the workplace’s need for fair play, because the best dollar made is always an honest dollar. (again, click for larger views.)

Keep watching this space in the days ahead — we may not be quite done with Labor Day yet …!

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