Major Ozone acting typical. Artist: George Herriman.


Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: World Color Printing Co.
First Appeared: 1904
Creator: George Herriman
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Like most newspaper cartoonists of the time, George Herriman's early career consisted of one brief series after another — Grandma's Girl, Gooseberry Sprigg, Alexander the Cat and others came and went before he started his longest-lasting …

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… and most famous work, Krazy Kat. In fact, some of them, for example Major Ozone's Fresh Air Crusade, came and went more than once.

A lot of those short-lived early comics, such as Winsor McCay's Little Sammy Sneeze and C.W. Kahles's Mr. Butt-in, put the fairly narrow premise right in the title. Like Herriman's own Professor Otto & His Auto, Major Ozone was one of those.

The elderly major was a lover of all things natural and healthy — especially fresh air — almost to the point of pathology. His quest for the very freshest air that could possibly be breathed led him to travel to exotic climes, ascend to the stratosphere in hot-air ballons, scale tall mountains, and go to other extreme lengths — tho sometimes a simple walk in the country would send him into raptures. And he was relentlessly cheerful about it, even when it led to disastrous consequences (which it usually did).

Major Ozone's adventures began Sunday, January 2, 1904. They were distributed by World Color Printing Co. (later World Color Press, long-time printer of comic books), which functioned as an early syndicate. They continued on Sundays, never spilling over into the daily papers, until July 10 of the same year. Herriman revived the page even more briefly, two years later, and it ran from October 29 through November 19, 1906.

And that — a little more than half a year, altogether, and finished a century past — was the entirety of Major Ozone's crusade. He's remembered for two reasons. One, he was colorful and eccentric — more colorful and eccentric than anything Herriman had done before, say some critics. Two is the simple fact that he was created by George Herriman.


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Text ©2007-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art ©: Major Ozone is in the public domain. This image has been modified. Modified version © Donald D. Markstein.