Steve Hulett, on The Animation Guild blog, noted this story by Joel Feingold from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Max Fleischer’s days as a cartoonist at the paper from 1901 to 1905. It also reprints several examples of his work, including the one on the left, from August 1902, noting “Chawles’ resemblance to Betty Boop.” (Unfortunately, the quality of the images leaves much to be desired.)
The story tells of Fleischer’s career at the paper, where he began working as a $2 a week errand boy at age 17 in 1900. It also notes,
In 1901, Fleischer’s art began appearing in the Daily Eagle–little filler drawings, one-panel cartoons, and eventually photographs. By 1902, Max had taken the cartoonist’s moniker Mack, and his work proliferated in the Eagle’s pages. Fleischer sometimes drew editorial cartoons, though rarely the explicitly political ones–these were reserved for older and less whimsical staff artists. Max’s real specialty was the short, funny cartoon. …
While Fleischer’s one-panel sketches often took the form of sly or truly strange social comment … his multi-panel comic-strips were built on ridiculous physical comedy. At a time when the conventions of the comic-strip were still hazy–Pulitzer had only begun running comic-strips in 1897–the young Max Fleischer saw beyond the multi-panel strip to an action-oriented, fluid medium. Even in 1902, Fleischer wanted to be making moving cartoons.