The Goat Getters: Jack Johnson, the Fight of the Century, and How a Bunch of Raucous Cartoonists Reinvented Comics
by Eddie Campbell
EISNER AWARD NOMINEE FOR BEST SCHOLARLY BOOK ABOUT COMICS
The Goat Getters is a rip-roaring narrative of the origin of the comic strip told from a new perspective by one of the leading cartoon story-tellers of our time. It features a wild bunch of early Twentieth Century cartoonists based on the West Coast, including Jimmy Swinnerton, Tad Dorgan, George Herriman, and Rube Goldberg, whose domain was the sports and lurid crime pages, where they fashioned a bold, tough style, invented their own goofy slang that enriched the popular lexicon (to which the title of the book refers), and created characters such as Silk Hat Harry and the indomitable Krazy Kat.
This exhaustively researched book is also an account, shown through original newspaper cartoons of the era, of the subjects of those cartoons: the landmark 1910 boxing match in Reno, Nevada beween Jim Jeffries, the “Great White Hope,” and Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion; the nationwide race riots that followed; the San Francisco graft trials that culminated in the shooting of the Federal Prosecutor; and the trial of Harry Thaw for the murder of architect Stanford White, a crime of passion that centered on Thaw’s wife, show-girl Evelyn Nesbitt Thaw, whose beauty was celebrated by cartoonist Nell Brinkley.