"Desperate Desmond" was a comic strip by Harry Hershfield, published in the New York Journal[1] between March 11, 1910, and October 15, 1912.[2]

Installment of "Desperate Desmond" from 1910

A parody of melodrama, it depicted a stereotypical villain named Desmond who continually tried to capture a damsel in distress named Rosamond, which brought him into conflict with her and her paramour Claude Eclaire;[3] Hershfield ended the strip by having Claude and Rosamond marry, which meant that Desmond could no longer pursue her.[4]

Coulton Waugh described it as one of the first strips to include genuine suspense; [5] similarly, R. C. Harvey has mentioned its early use of daily continuity.[6]

Don Markstein noted that it was a "probably a response" to the presence of a similar character in C. W. Kahles's earlier strip "Hairbreadth Harry";[3] Maurice Horn, however, called it a "direct imitation" of Kahles's work, but felt that it "showed greater ingenuity and wit".[7]



Film adaptations of "Desperate Desmond" were produced by Nestor Studios,[8] directed by Tom Ricketts, with Dorothy Davenport as Rosamond and Fred Kelsey as Claude;[9] as well, vaudeville star Fred Duprez released a recording of a "Desperate Desmond"-based comedy act.[3]


  1. ^ Harry Hershfield, at Lambiek; retrieved April 6, 2019
  2. ^ Obscurity of the Day: Desperate Desmond, by Allan Holtz, at Stripper's Guide; published November 25, 2009; retrieved April 6, 2019
  3. ^ a b c DESPERATE DESMOND, at Don Markstein's Toonopedia; published 2004; retrieved April 6, 2019
  4. ^ DAUNTLESS DURHAM OF THE U.S.A., at Don Markstein's Toonopedia; "Desmond (...) was idle because his former antaonist [sic]and love interest, Claude Eclaire and the fair Rosamond, had eluded him by marrying"; retrieved April 6, 2019
  5. ^ The Comics, by Coulton Waugh; first published 1947; 1991 edition published by University Press of Mississippi
  6. ^ The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History, by Robert C. Harvey; published 1994 by University Press of Mississippi
  7. ^ World Encyclopedia of Comics, by Maurice Horn, published 1976 by Chelsea House
  8. ^ Melodramatic Villainy (Just) after the Victorians, by Guy Barefoot; chapter 3 in Neo-Victorian Villains: Adaptations and Transformations in Popular Culture, edited by Benjamin Poore; published June 1 2017 by Brill Publishers
  9. ^ Bayonne, by Kathleen M. Middleton; published May 1, 1995 by Arcadia Publishing