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Fun Vol 1, 1862

Fun was a weekly comic paper in the sub-Punch format (William Makepeace Thackray called it "Funch") published from 21 September 1861. It was founded, and originally edited and published, by actor and playwright H. J. Byron. Tom Hood took over as editor in 1865, and the paper was sold to Dalziel Brothers in 1870, and transferred into the ownership of Gilbert Dalziel in 1872. After Hood's death in 1874, Henry Sampson took over as editor until 1878, when he was replaced by Charles Dalziel. The Dalziels went out of business in 1893, but the magazine continued publication until 10 August 1901, when it was merged into Sketchy Bits.

Its circulation is estimated at 20,000, half that of Punch. More politically liberal than Punch, it published satirical verse, parodies, political and literary criticism, sports and travel information, and full page and sometimes double page caricatures and illustrations. It was innovative its pioneering of the sequential comic strip, inspired by the work of German cartoonist Wilhelm Busch. Its most notable artist was James Frank Sullivan, who from 1878 to 1901 drew full-page cartoons as well as comic strips depicting the "British Working Man", a stereotypical but more sympathetic depiction of the working classes than Judy's Ally Sloper.

Cartoons from Fun, by Sullivan, George Thomson, Matt Morgan, Fred Barnard, Archibald Chasemore, Emilie de Tessier, George Davey, George Gordon Fraser and others, were regularly reprinted in bound volume form, and they published an annual "Almanack" featuring illustrations from high-profile artists like William Small, George J. Pinwell and Arthur Boyd Houghton.


  • Laurel Brake and Marysa Demoor, Dictionary of 19th Century Journalism, Academia Press, 2009, pp. 237-238

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