The Little King is an American gag-a-day comic strip created by Otto Soglow, which ran from 1930 to 1975. Its stories are told in a style using images and very few words, as in pantomime.[1]

The Little King
An eight-panel installment of Otto Soglow's long-lived comic strip The Little King
An eight-panel installment of Otto Soglow's long-lived comic strip The Little King
Author(s)Otto Soglow
Current status/scheduleConcluded
Launch dateSeptember 9, 1930
End dateJuly 20, 1975
Syndicate(s)King Features Syndicate
Genre(s)Gag-a-day, pantomime comics
Preceded byThe Ambassador

Publication history Edit

Soglow's character first appeared on June 7, 1930, in The New Yorker and soon showed signs of becoming a successful strip. The Little King began publications in comic book issues from 1933, was licensed for a 1933–34 series of animated cartoons by Van Beuren Studios and featured in advertising campaigns for Standard Oil[2] and Royal Pudding (1955).

It became evident early on that William Randolph Hearst was determined to add The Little King to his King Features Syndicate newspaper strips, but he was hindered by Soglow's contractual obligations with The New Yorker. While seeing out the final period of the contract, Soglow produced a placeholder strip for King Features, The Ambassador, quite similar to The Little King in characters, style and story situations.[3] One week after its final publication in The New Yorker, The Little King resumed as a King Features Sunday strip, on September 9, 1934.[2]

Otto Soglow's The Little King (1939)

The strip continued a successful run with several more animated cartoon appearances and advertising campaigns,[4] and Soglow was awarded the 1966 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award for the strip.[5] The Little King ran until Soglow's death in 1975. The final strip ran on July 20, 1975.[1]

Format Edit

The strip is notable for having virtually no dialogue; the title character never speaks. The Ambassador was nearly identical in format, and the main characters of the two strips were similar. When The Ambassador gave way for The Little King in 1934, the reader could not be certain if it was the Little King who had arrived into Hearst syndication or the Ambassador who had removed some disguise.[2]

The Little King (mustachioed, bearded, and clad in velvet and ermine) was small of stature, but as wide as he was tall. He was a childlike, cheerful fellow who lived to have fun. The final panel of the comic strip often showed His Majesty pursuing a hobby, playing a children's game, flirting with a pretty woman, or otherwise enjoying himself in an unkingly fashion while neglecting his "official" duties.

Animated theatrical shorts Edit

All cartoon shorts were produced by Van Beuren Studios except where otherwise noted.[6] All of the theatrical shorts have been released on DVD and Blu Ray by Thunderbean Animation.[7] As in the comic strips, the Little King never speaks in the 1933 and 1934 shorts except for a brief sequence in "Marching Along" (1933).



  • Jest of Honor
  • Jolly Good Felons
  • Sultan Pepper
  • A Royal Good Time
  • Art for Art's Sake
  • Cactus King


Collections Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Holtz, Allan (2012). American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. p. 239. ISBN 9780472117567.
  2. ^ a b c Gardner, Jared, The Comics Journal (October 29, 2007). "Otto Soglow and The Ambassador (excerpt)".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) from The Comics Journal #286
  3. ^ Time Magazine (September 17, 1934). "Old King, New Kingdom". Archived from the original on October 23, 2007.
  4. ^ Gallery of classic graphic design featuring The Little King as spokesman for Royal Gelatine and Pudding
  5. ^ National Cartoonists Society. "The Reuben".
  6. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 99. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  7. ^ Stanchfield, Steve (2023-06-01). ""The Complete Animated Adventures of The Little King" on Blu-ray!". Cartoon Research. Retrieved 2023-07-14.
  8. ^ "GDC entry". Retrieved 25 April 2013.

External links Edit