The Complete KID SISTER(c) 2016, Arthur L. Lortie
Blog : Amazing Stories
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sister01.jpg[I debated on whether to keep KID SISTER as a full page with its companion strip, TIM TYLER'S LUCK, since many of its sub-features, like Stamps and Pin-ups, are TYLER-centric. In the end, I realized half page strips are easier to read on a computer and some newspapers had an annoying habit of occasionally substituting BLONDIE in its spot. TIM TYLER should follow shortly.]

NOTE: There are only 10 missing strips -- the opening 9 Sundays from July 19, 1931 to September 13, 1931, and April 3, 1932. Many of these could benefit from being scanned from newspapers as only the February 21, 1932 strip -- taken from Alex Raymond His Life and Art -- is in color. Though I searched for the best quality scans in the online archives, I'm certain better sources will appear in the future. All the strips are on MediaFire]

KID SISTER was the topper to the Sunday version of Lyman Young's TIM TYLER'S LUCK. It was syndicated by King Features from July 19, 1931 to March 14, 1935, and was a recasting of a short-lived Young daily strip that appeared in 1927. Though this series is also bylined by him, its place in comics history is secured because it was ghosted by future luminaries Alexander G. Raymond and Burne Hogarth, whose talents were to be revered on FLASH GORDON and TARZAN respectively.

The strip was highly schizophrenic. While TYLER was intended to be a "boy's" adventure strip, the storylines in SISTER began as soap-opera and were aimed at the juvenile feminine reader. At least at first!

Under Raymond, the strip was a clone of the pre-Dagwood BLONDIE strip, echoing Alex's tenure under mentor Chic Young. It involved the misadventures of two Dovey siblings, the brunette (redhead?) Trixie and the blonde titular kid sister Jane. The fate of the mother was never mentioned, but they lived under the watchful eye of their father, as boyfriends came and went in a series of mostly unconnected vignettes. Mr. Dovey's schtick was his ineptitude at home repairs and believing himself to be a skilled checkers player, even though he often lost to his daughters' suitors.

Eventually Jane narrowed the dating field to George Wilners, with the handsome Horatio Chaddleberry -- who actually dated both sisters -- around to stir things up a bit. In the truly bizarre finale to the series, Trixie eloped with George leaving the baffled Jane to grab new admirer Larry Gates on the rebound!
Mr. Lovey and rivals George Wilners and Horatio Chaddleberry

The father abruptly makes his last appearance on May 29, 1932 after a scant nine months on the job. While his disappearance, like the mother's, is never explained nor acknowledged, that same strip introduced his sister Lollie. Though the girls appear to be on their own for several months, yet another aunt, LoTTie Grey, shows up for an extended visit on Christmas Day. She, likewise, inexplicably went to that Great Place in Comic Strip Limbo where all Lyman characters seem to go when their plot usefulness has ended, on March 12, 1933.

By June, the girls have inherited a small fortune from the previously unmentioned Aunt Rebecca Tilton. A phony heir, Ed Harper (presumably unrelated to the athletic CURLEY HARPER whose adventures would eventually displace those of the Dovey sisters atop TIM TYLER), arrives to complicate money matters as does Kay Richley, a rival for George's affections.
Sisters Lolly and Lottie

I'm not yet sure when Raymond left, but these stories were certainly his swan song as both of his iconic Sunday strips, FLASH GORDON and JUNGLE JIM, debuted on January 7, 1934.

Under Hogarth, the sisters became more a more adventurous pair. First they joined forces with police detective Alvin Plant, a DICK TRACY type, and then begin working as stewardesses for Comet Airways to cash in the aviation craze. The latter move turns out to be a mere plot device to strand out heroines on an uninhabited island after their plane crashes. The story suddenly veers into unexpected territory as they are joined by an nameless one-armed evil inventor with a Ray Gun (!!!!!!!!!!!) powered by paralyzing X-Glo rays! Its almost as if Hogarth was stringing together three separate strips that he might have been previously shopping around to King Features and the other syndicates!
Super-KID SISTER and the Ray Gun

Somebody, likely Lyman Young himself or Bob Naylor, put an end to the madness on November 11, 1934. They returned the strip to its soap opera roots and its appeal to female readers when Jane took in romantic rival (and all-around klutz) Mae Fenton as a boarder.

KID SISTER was mercifully put to rest when Naylor's CURLEY HARPER started hitting the books at Lakespur College on March 21, 1935.

The highlights of this strip was in admiring the developing styles of Raymond and Hogarth, especially when they were allowed to strut their stuff in the SISTER'S CUT-OUTS side bars, many of which were tied to TIM TYLER.