Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back to my Roots

Tuesday strip day.

I started this blog with some additional material that got left out of my translation of the Hogan's alley interview with Johnny Hart for the Dutch fanzine Stripschrift. Now I return to B.C. with a couple of strips from it's thord year. B.C. started in 1958. a Sunday was added from the start or soon after. These 1960 strips are the earliest Sunday samples I have seen. As soon as I have earlier ones I wills hare them.

I have a fascination for the early years of strips such as this. In the interview Johnny Hart says he wanted his characters look funny and different, just like those of cartoonist Virgil Partch didn't look like anything else. In his cartoons he didn't really develop a style that was very different, but when B.cC. started the design of the characters was very weird. They all had huge hips and funny noses. Hart soon realized that he had made them too weird. These characters couldn't even bend to pick somehting up. He soon streamlined them in in these strips we see him reaching his own style.

What strikes me the most is how different these strips are from everything else in the sunday pages at that time. The use of white space, for instance. The sarcastic humor. The blending of slapstick and oneliners. Around 1960 more strips of this style were emerging (Ms Peach, for instance), but in 1958 Johnny Hart truly was a pioneer.

Unfortunately these strips are from a run of the Winnipeg Journal, which for some reasons doesn't use the same colors as the American papers. Everything seems to be colored either orange, green or blue. I don't know how this saved them money, but it probably did. The fourth strip in this row comes from The New York Herald Tribune, which shares a lot of strips with the Winnipeg Journal, but all in more nuanced colors.

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