Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Age of the Cavemen

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

In the last couple of years almost everything Harvey Kurtzman ever did, has been reprinted. Or has it? Denis Kitchen is working on a new book that will reprint all of Kurtzman's failed attempts at newspaper stips and probably some other stuff as well. One of the most famous of those failed strips is Kermit the Hermit. For that strip Kurtzman teamed up with an old friend, Elliot Caplin (Al Capp's brother). Caplin had hired Kurtzman to do work for some of his magazines, when he was running Toby Press (like Variety, which featured some of Kurtzman's first MAD-like work). It seems Caplin contacted Kurtzman about doing a strip about a hermit called Kermit. Kurtzman tried out a couple of jokes, but they didn't manage to sell. That much is known, even though the only thing that has ever been seen of the artwork are some copies of copies made by fans. So I will be very happy to see those included in a book.

Imagine my surprise when I cam across a strip called Kermit the Hermit published only a few months after Kurtzman's attempt to sell it in the early sixties. The artist uses a completely different style and frankly I prefer Kurtzman's loose but mature cartooning. I am not sure, if this is another artist doing Elliot Caplin's scrips or if someone came upon the same idea. It uses the same gimmick of having a main character that isn't seen, but gives comments on our daily lives from his cave. But still, if you think of the name Kermit for a Hermit (not a stretch by any means) the rest authomaticly flows from that. This version of Kermit the Hermit did not run very long. The last samples I have are from january 16 1962 (although I can't seem to find any others in for that week in the same paper) and it started in May 1961. Not a full year. The artist is unknown to me as well. There was very little publicity and the name Eli is very little to go on. Maybe some of my more learned friends can assist me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gross Competence

Monday Cartoon Day.

For the fans of Milt Gross, here is a short series he wrote and drew for King Features in 1935. As far as I can see, there were only four episodes, each two weeks apart.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Don't Desert Me

Sunday Meskin Measures.

Another Vigilante story inked by Cliff Young, who makes Meskin's work look a lot less interesting, I have to say.

From Action Comics #51:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Sunday King

Saturday Leftover Day.

Together with the Judge Parker strips I showed this week, I picked up a set of Louie dailies as well. I love silent strips and Louie is one of the all-time greats, only forgotten because it disappeared when it's creator died. What's so good about Louie, is that is manages to be funny while not resorting to surrealism, as so many silent strips do. All the time it remains refreshingly unsentimental and at times even sarcastic. I am presenting two runs here, one from 1952 and one from 1959, to show how timeless the strip remained for over 20 years with six daily jokes and a Sunday each week.