McDougall, Walter H

Tagged: Author

(1858-1938) US publisher, Comics illustrator and political cartoonist (usually as Walt McDougall), and author whose first book of sf interest, The Unauthorized History of Columbus: Composed in Good Faith by Walt. McDougall (1890), spoofs the discovery of America in fantasticated terms. Of rather greater import is his second, The Hidden City; Or, the Strange Adventure of Eric Gilbert (1891), a Lost Race tale which, very unusually for its period, ends neither in the destruction nor the exploitation by whites of the hidden country. Eric Gilbert's manuscript (whose discovery leads to his rescue) recounts his fall from a Balloon into an elaborate country whose inhabitants are refugees from Atlantis, though interbred with Native Americans; they inhabit an edificial City – it is one vast building – and most are eager to modernize under Gilbert's guidance. At a climactic moment, a rescue party appears, and joins with him in establishing a mutual trust for the benefit of the citizens of Aztlan.

McDougall's Comic strip in collaboration with Mark Fenderson, "The Unfortunate Fate of a Well-Intended Dog", was the first example of a colour strip to appear in America. With L Frank Baum he published a fully narrative strip, Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz (4 October 1904-26 February 1905 Philadelphia North American); Baum's twenty-six vignettes, each boxed by McDougall's drawings, locate Oz somewhere in space. McDougall remained active until the 1920s. He committed suicide at the age of 80. [JC]

Walter Hugh McDougall

born Newark, New Jersey: 10 February 1858

died Waterford, Connecticut: 4 March 1938

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