Early British animation and cartoonal 'co-conspiracy': the case of Jerry the Troublesome Tyke (1925-1927)

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This article examines the self-reflexive discourses of deconstruction at work in the Jerry the Troublesome Tyke (1925–1927) series of cartoons created by Cardiff-based animator Sid Griffiths. Across the Pathé Pictorial series of forty animated shorts, Jerry’s screen persona was typically defined and developed through his routine battle with the artist’s working hands from which he was repeatedly conjured. This article contends that Griffiths’ Jerry series offered a more consistent and extreme mobilisation of early animation’s ‘hand of the artist’ trope than was present in Hollywood cartoons of this period, exemplified in the work Otto Messmer and Pat Sullivan’s Felix the Cat and the Fleischer Brothers’ Out of the Inkwell (1918–1929). By suggesting how the rhetoric of ‘self-figuration’ across the Jerry shorts achieved its impact not via the collision between visual registers but rather through a formal and narrative co-conspiracy that privileged intersection, overlap, and collusion, this article argues that Jerry the Troublesome Tyke’s mixed (and mixing) media aesthetic brought an enduring deconstructive mode of address to maturity within the early years of British animation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-41
Number of pages16
JournalEarly Popular Visual Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


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