Charles William Kahles (pronounced Kah’-less) (January 12, 1878 – January 21, 1931) was a prolific cartoonist responsible for numerous comic strips, notably Hairbreadth Harry. He is credited as the pioneer of daily comic strip continuity with his Clarence the Cop, which he drew for the New York World in the latter 1890s, introducing to newspapers the innovation of continuing a comic strip story in a day-to-day serial format.
The cartoonist and comics historian Ernest McGee called Kahles the “hardest working cartoonist in history, having as many as eight Sunday comics running at one time (1905-06) with no assistants to help him.” Between 1898 and 1931, Kahles drew a total of 25 comic strips, in addition to paintings, book illustrations and advertisements. At the same time he was contributing single-panel cartoons to Life, Judge, Puck, Browning’s Magazine and the Pleiades Club Year Book.
His best-known creation was the comic strip Our Hero’s Hairbreadth Escapes, later retitled Hairbreadth Harry, the Boy Hero and eventually just Hairbreadth Harry. It depicted Harry’s many attempts to rescue Beautiful Belinda from the villainous Relentless Rudolph. In order to concentrate on Hairbreadth Harry, he dropped the other strips by 1923.
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