The Jiggs is up

Sent by Dirk the Daring, who says “This may be from 1948, but I still don’t get it.” And some of us who are from 1949 still don’t get it either.

And to start off, who are the characters in the final panel? The guy stretched out must be the tall loudmouth from the main encounter. But the guy across the street is not wearing Jiggs’s patterned waistcoat, and might be just a passerby / witness. But this still leaves open the question, What exactly was the bone of contention?


  1. I agree with Mark. Of course, Maggie is no sane woman, but even so…

    And I do think that the other guy in the last panel is just a passersby.

  2. As far as I can tell, laughing guy has been thrown out the window and into a pole my an offended Mr. Jugs. The third guy in the last panel is a surprised passer by.

    Not particularly funny.

  3. At first I wanted to suggest that the mystery man in the fourth panel was Jiggs after all (sans crosshatching on the vest, because it would not be resolvable or inkable at that size). The cane could have been in, but just not seen in the first three panels (it would have been a good weapon to knock out the tall twit). However, a closer examination reveals that in addition to the cane, this “witness” is wearing a black bowtie, and has a hat that just executed a “surprised” leap from his head. In addition, his potbelly seems larger than Jiggs’.

  4. Keep in mind that the meaning of the word “jealous” has shifted. These days it mostly means the same as “envious” — as in, “I’m jealous of that dude’s car.”

    Originally, though, the word meant “guarded” or “suspicious”, specifically regarding one’s own possessions. Thus a “jealous wife” would suspect infidelity on the part of her husband rather than feeling envy.

    Both meanings have citations dating back several centuries, but the latter meaning has become somewhat obscure. So it’s not clear which one Jiggs means here.

  5. P.S. @ Karl – Sensibilities change. This was 1949, back when Rudolph Dirks and Harold Knerr were still both drawing the Captain walloping the hell out of “The Katzenjammer Kids” (in two separate, competing strips, proving that there was significant demand for that sort of material). Compared to “Max & Moritz” (the illustrated story created by Wilhelm Busch in 1865, which inspired Dirks’ creation), the strip above and both of the “Katzenjammer” features seem gentle, almost heartwarming.

  6. The problem with the humor isn’t so much as not getting the changing sensibilities, I think I do, it’s that it really doesn’t hit the right tone. I’m all for a good defenestration (in the comics anyway) as an act of over the top retribution, but the offense doesn’t match well enough. Now a particularly groan worthy pun provoking that reaction would be funny. This offense and reaction was too possible to be funny.

    If in the last panel, the laughing guy was strung up in a dungeon being tortured would be a better fit (in my opinion) and might have gotten a smirk.

  7. As for violence in comics: I’m currently reading a biography of Buster Keaton (Camera man: Buster Keaton, the dawn of cinema, and the invention of the Twentieth Century, by Dana Stevens), and in the early 1900s when he and his father (and, sometimes, two other siblings) were a vaudeville act, Buster was constantly being thrown (not tossed, I’m talkin’ THROWN) around the stage, into the wings, into the audience (when he was still a young small nipper), and audiences thought it was hilarious. Especially when he walked right back on stage, deadpan even then.

    Having been admonished by Child Protection Services (which, modeled after the ASPCA, had recently been established), I’m sure this eventually wasn’t funny any more IRL, but violence then seems to have moved to the funny pages, as noted in the comics mentioned previously.

  8. @ Andréa – Some things never change. About ten years ago, a couple of incidents led to some legislative proposals to ban the Australian sport of “dwarf tossing“. The topic was in the news enough that Peter Jackson managed to work two excellent gags about it into the first two “Lord of the Rings” movies.

  9. When we were in OZ, I remember hearing about this ‘sport’, but never witnessed it. NOT that I’d’ve voluntarily done so.

    But remember, I’m the one who saw all the XXXX signs in bar windows and thought it meant there were EXTREMELY ADULT shows going on in there, not that they were advertising Fosters Fourecks (as Terry Pratchett called the country in “The Last Continent”) beer ‘-).

  10. @Andréa – as someone who a) has never been to Australia and b) doesn’t drink beer, I had no idea about the Fosters/Pratchett connection. Now the name makes sense! Thank you for the info. (GNU Terry Pratchett)

  11. In the fourth panel the guy lying down is Mr Jiggs, and the guy in the background is his taller friend.

    The plot is that Mr Jiggs has walked into a lamp-post and knocked himself out. The first three panels are a dream he experiences while concussed. The fourth panel is the revelation that he is dreaming.

    Presumably, in the real world, he wouldn’t have the opportunity to romance pretty women, and his wife wouldn’t be jealous.

  12. @Powers: I agree with your second interpretation of “jealous,” that is, Jiggs can’t hang out with beautiful women because his wife is jealous (guarded/suspicious). But then, why would the tall loudmouth question that? I assume he doubts that any beautiful women would want to have an affair with Jiggs, but there’s no reason for him to doubt the idea that Maggie would be ticked off to see Jiggs even attempting to flirt with beautiful women.

  13. @ Joshua – The insult is that the tall guy thinks Jiggs is so inconsequential (or undesirable) that no woman could possibly think of him as an asset worth defending.

  14. @Pete: the guy walking in the background has a black bow-tie, whereas the tall friend has a white ascot; while not definitive, as you suppose the whole first three panels are a dream sequence, but very needlessly confusing if it is meant to be him. You do raise an intriguing possibility that the man laid out in the last panel could be either of the two from the previous panels — there is nothing to definitively distinguish him that I could find. But then I can’t think if any scenario where it would make more sence for Jiggs to be laid out in the final panel.

    The best I can come up with is Jiggs means ‘jealous’ more in the sense of ‘my wife doesn’t like it when I take up with other women’, and the other guy is laughing at the idea that his wife could entertain the notion of Jiggs being able to get the attention of other women — she knows she doesn’t have to worry, so why would she bother being jealous? Ha, ha! So Jiggs lays him out. Rim-shot

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