Friday, March 07, 2008

More from the Hart.

For the most recent issue of the dutch fanzine Stripschrift I have translated the Johnny Hart interview Richard Marshall did for Hogan's Alley #2. The issue itself has since been sold out, but the interview can still be read in full on the Alley website at:

It's a long and meandering interview. For Stripschrift I took the liberty of cutting it down and adding informative bridges. I also collected as much rare illustratrations as I could. I think I succeeded pretty well. Johnny Hart's BC has never been reprinted well. There is a whole bunch of paperbacks from the late sixties and early seventies, but they only reprint a fraction of the dalies. There's also one sunday reprint book, that is now out of print and doesn't even turn up that much on e-bay. After that, nothing. B.C. may have been one of the best syndicated strips of it's time - that clearly didn't translate into a good book contract. Recently Checker Publishing did a rather slim book about all five decades of the strip. Johnny Hart even collaborated in the last months of his life. And at least it shows how funny the strip was in the eigthies and nineties still. In fact, it stayed quite good until the end, although the characters were moved to the background in favor of maybe too many wordplay-gags. I hope the book is a big success and one day B.C. will get a complete reprinting in the way that Dennis the Menace and Peanuts are enjoying.

That left me with the opportunity to show many of my never before reprinted sundays from the early sixties and mid-seventies. To that I added one of Johnny Hart's rare advertising examples and a couple of his and Brent Parker's cartoons. I also had room to show a couple of sundays from The Wizard of Id, an equally funny strip that has had only marginally better luck in the reprint department.

But there is never enough room. I have many more B.C. Sundays that I would like to share with you and I will do so over the next couple of days. After that, I will also add all of Johnny Hart's cartoons I could find from cartoon collections and magazines I could find. Some even came in after the magazine had already gone to the printers. After that, maybe it's time for a couple of early Wizard of Id sundays. I have quite a few from the second and third year of the strip, when the look and tone of the strip weren't completely set yet. And maybe a few from the early seventies, just because they are funny.

The best place to find Wizard of Id strips is the yearly reprint books that were done in Australia. I have quite a few of those (and would like to have their B.C. companions), but I am not quite sure if I want to do more than a few samples of those. We'll see how it goes. I have been collecting a lot of interesting newspaper strips from the fifties and sixties, so I could fill the blog only with those. My main interest at the moment is newspaper artists who came from comics, such as Stan Lee and Dan DeCarlo or Howard Nostrand (who did a very interesting strip called Bat Masterson), Jerry Robinson (who did Jet Scott in the early fifties), Bob Powell (Teena-a-go-go) and Joe Maneely (Mrs. Lyon's Cubs). I also fancy doing bits about the early cartoon work of later comic strip artists, such as Hank Ketcham, Virgil Partch and of course, Mort Walker.

If anyone has any wishes or preferences, please let me know.

Among the stuff we had no room for in the interview were these two daily examples of Johnny Hart's sarcastic humor. They are from the seventies and come from the Menomannee Falls Guardian.

We only had room for one Dr. Pepper ad, but here's another one...

As for Johnny Hart's cartoons, I could only find a few. The first is from Dell's 1000 Jokes and the second from a paperback collection of the best cartoons from True magazine. Here are two we couldn't use. There is one more that's still with Ruud Vroman, Stripschrift's wonderful designer. So I will have to add that later as well as any others I hope to find. If anyone has anything to contribute, please contact me privately.

Finally two sundays, from 1962 and 1963 respectively. I will be adding more sundays form the early sixties later, as well as some dalies from all periods. Remember, all this images can be clicked to view larger.

Finally, one from 1961.


Karswell said...

Very nice blog Ger, can't wait to see what you post next!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Hey, I am one of your daily visitors!

How you keep up the daily grind, I wouldn't know. I am still keeping mine under wraps, until I get the hang of it. As for now, I have the tendency to go back and change posts all the time. I have gotten a lot more Willy Lumpkin sundays and I still don't know if I should do a new post, or just add them to the last ones.

I'll stay out of your way, but if you ever need some more horror scans, I have plenty.

Karswell said...

>How you keep up the daily grind, I wouldn't know.

Thanks Ger! I work from home so at some point during the day I take a couple breaks and work on a new post. My honest opinion is if you want a successful blog you have to keep people coming back everyday for their fix... at least this pusher / junkie theory seems to be working so far I guess.

>if you ever need some more horror scans, I have plenty.

I'm always accepting non-EC pre code submissions so let me know what you have. Anything particularly gruesome or extra horrific is very welcome, but of course good art and interesting story are most important. Thanks again Ger!