Monday, December 13, 2010

All in the Family

Tuesday Comic Strip Day

I have stated here before that the team of Mort Walker and his assistants were on a roll from somewhere in 1956 to at least 1961. Of course, they made two of their strips, Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois a huge worldwide succes from the mid-sixyies onward. But for me the best, most original and funniest gags were done in this period. With the republication of Sam's Strip, the self-reverential strip Mort Walker made with Jerry Dumas in the erly sixties, Walker and Dumas stated in several interviews, that most of the gags (if not all) wre made by those to men. On their own they created all the gags for Beetle Bailey, Hi and Lois and side projects such as the one I am showing here, Mrs. Fitz's Flats. Mrs. Fitz's Flats was drawn by and credited to Frank Roberge, but in his book Backstage at the Strips Walker admitted to starting up and writing this one himself. Roberge was one of the assistants Walker used for the comic book version of Beetle Bailey. I don't know if he assisted on the gags (Dik Browne is know not to have from the start on Hi and Lois), but when the number of papers taking the strip dwindled, Roberge split from the studio and continued the strip on his own. Or at least, I guess that was the reason.

Anyway, what we have here is a very funny strip from the Mort Walker studio's made in their best period. The strips seems to have started on januari 7 1957 and continued well into the sixties. I don't know when the change-over Roberge was done, but in a previous post devoted to this strip, I showed a series of ads from mid 1961, which seems to fit the bill.

Another Walker asistant was Bob Gustafson. According to Jerry Bails' Who's Who, he joined the studio in 1963. In the fifties, he worked as an assitant on the longrunning strip Tillie the Toiler. But... towards the end of the fifties Tillie the Toiler, too, was drawn in the Walker family style. Was Gustafson showing Walker's influence six years before he workd for him. Or is there some meaning to the fact that Tillie the Toiler, like all Walker strip, was done for King Features Syndicate? I think I will try and reacht Brain Walker, the Walker family and comic strip historian, if he knows what's what. I am showing a couple of Tillie Sundays (I couldn't find any dailies, so maybe at this point it was Sunday only) fro 1957 and 1958. I have shown some of these before, but have added a couple of new ones from the same period as the Mrs. Fitz strips.

To round things off, I also have a couple of nice balck and white Beetle Bailey Sundays from that period, taken from a paper that published the Sundays in black and white (albeit in their smaller two-tier form).

And... looking for all that material, I also came across an interesting spcialty strip, done for a paper in that same month to announce the arrival of Beetle Bailey to their funny pages.

So pour yourself a nice cup of coffee and enjoy.

1 comment:

David Reddick said...

LOVED this article. ;-)