Here’s an early (September 1904) example of rarely-reprinted but excellent cartoonist, Gus Mager. He was best known for his strips Sherlocko the Monk and Hawkshaw the Detective, and was also an assistant to Rudolph Dirks on the Captain and the Kids. His “o” ending names for his monkey characters (Sherlocko, Watso, Groucho, etc.) inspired the Marx Brothers names.
Here’s a Rudolph Dirks Katzenjammer Kids strip I scanned from May 6th, 1906 (with a delightful header by Sherlocko the Monk cartoonist Gus Mager). Watch as the Kids bravely rescue the Captain from certain doom so they will still have him around to torture.
Please note that this strip contains offensive racial depictions, common to strips of the era. If this sort of thing offends you, you may not want to view it.
Another Fleischer cartoon utilizing the rotograph. They use it very well here, having the mundane “real world” scenes take place in 2d, and the 3d scenes in Dreamland. The content seems atypical for a Fleischer cartoon… a sweet & cute little story, entirely free of violence and mayhem. Adult anxieties are present as usual for Fleischer cartoons, though… in this case an apparently single mother trying to support children in total poverty (from 1936, the depths of the Great Depression).
Reader Paul Morris asked in the comments if I had any examples of the Smythes by Rea Irvin (the man who created Eustace Tilley). I don’t. But looking around a bit, Hogan’s Alley has a great selection of them. Apparently these are web extras to the 13th issue of the excellent comics/animation art and history magazine Hogan’s Alley (I don’t have a copy yet, alas), which has a feature on The Smythes.
Here’s a fun Fleischer Studios cartoon that makes great use of the Max Fleischer invention, the Rotograph… it is an early example of the technique, as the cartoon is from 1935 and the patent wasn’t filed until 1936. The Rotograph was a technique of building a miniature set on a turntable that could be rotated while shooting cels in front of it to make it appear that the 2d drawings were in a 3d space.