Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Before Commercialism

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

It's about time for my quarterly post showing what a genius Johnny Hart was. I have been showing early B.C. dailies and Sundays here from the start of this blog and I won't stop until they are all available in print. This time, I have some of the funniest I have seen in a long time. I think creatively, the Sunday strip was at it's best in the late sixties and seventies, but even this early on some of the slapstick gags were just hilarious. These samples also whow how much funnier the three tier version seems to be than the two tier one. My guess is that this size is just as imortant a factor to the succes of Calvin and Hobbes as Bill Waterston's gags and characters. It's a size that says this strip counts and is not to be taken as a sidedish. So without much further ado, I give you The Main Course.

October 19 1958:

November 23 1958:

Jan 25 1959:

February 22 1959:

March 15 1959 (my birthday):

March 29 1959:

May 17 1959:

June 7 1959:

June 14 1959:

June 24 1960:

November 14 1960:

These last two are in black and white, from a period when the printers in New York were on strike.

November 19 1961:

Dec 13 1961:

And here are some more dailies and Sundays from 1961. I have loads of this stuff and I have to use it somewhere...


Jeff Overturf said...

I drank this stuff up as a kid...I still have all my B.C. pocketbooks.

The minimalist design of Hart's drawings made his very human humor easily digestible, even to my formative mind.

Such well defined characters, with simply a change in hairstle and slight highth difference, he had such well-rounded personalities that always came through. B.C., Peter, Thor, Clumsy Carp, Curls, Wiley and the rest...i didn't HAVE an unfavorite character.

Later on in the late 80's and into the 90's especially, his Sunday strips took on his "born again christian" bent. I am behind any creative voice and the more personal the better, but I'm afraid this put me off more than a little. His early social stuff was too much a joy to trade in for the fat broad washing her loincloth in the blood of Jesus on Easter.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Actually, the obsession with all thing religious was there from the beginning, although I do agree it took over a bit too much. But on the whole I would suggest that Hart's crime was not that he got religious, but thehe got boring. Whatever the reason, his later characters just seem to walk around and talk, sit around and talk... my guess it it all went wrong when they allowed the first joke through that didn't get a laugh in the wrier's room. B.C. at it's best is proof of the fact that quality in a funny newspaper strip should be that it is laugh out funny... and that never happens with safe jokes or jokes that any other strip can make. That only happens with surprising twists and sharp cartooning.