Thursday, October 28, 2010

Long Time No Sam

Thursday Story Strip Day.

If I would have to make a list of reprint books I would buy, Long Sam would be very high on it. If the Sundays were included in color, it would be on top. I can't understand why this delightful strip started by Al Capp, but for most of the time written by his brother Eliott Caplin and drawn by the best good girl artist ever, Bob Lubbers (fresh off his run on the Sunday and daily Tarzan) has not yet been claimed by one of the major reprint houses. My guess is, that good proofs are missing, so it would mean a hell of a lot of retouching. But Classic Comics Press is now working on The Cisco Kid and that must be even harder to do.

But it is true, this very funny and sexy strip was almost never printed well in the papers and the Sundays (which started from the first week and must have been part of the reason this strip sold so well at first) are so colorful, that nothing but a grey blur remains in the mcrofiche copies. I happen to have quite a long run of this strip, which remained one of the longest running tabloid strip until it folded in the early sixties (when Bob Lubbers was already working on Secret Agent X-9, after having done a stint of The Saint, as shown here earlier). But most of my Sundays are from 1956 and later, so I have been trying to get a good run of the start of the strip together. So here, not in the best condition, it is. Consider it a taste of beautiful things to come.


Peter Bangs said...

Thank you so much for showing these. Bob Lubbers was a favourite of mine when I was very young and he was working on The Human Fly for Marvel. I had no idea that the wonderful, kinetic work he did on there was no where near his best. I'm going to lobby everyone I can think of for a reprint book of this.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

There is a great issue of the Italian Glamour magazine with some of his best 'good girl' art. I should scan some of those some time.

Daniel [] said...

Them wimmen must have feet as leathery as an old boot!

Smurfswacker said...

I agree with your artistic assessment of Long Sam. I've seen a handful of color Sundays and they're lovely. The strip had some of Lubbers' finest work, and that's sayin' a mouthful!

On the other hand the stories were less thrilling. It's difficult to create a convincing "unspoiled beauty meets modern world" story. The heroine is ignorant of the simplest aspects of modern life, like airplanes, cars, phones, etc. But to keep reader interest she must adjust instantaneously to new experiences which in real life would terrify her, if not completely overturn her understanding of reality. The backwoods innocent always seems to know too much too quickly.

Caplin made a good stab at it, but it's Lubbers' girls that keep me coming back.