Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Conversion Rates

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

I have shared so many of the early Beetle Bailey strips with you I have to check everytime I have a new batch what I did and did not show before. To my surprise I have left a whole lot of black and white Sundays clipped from the defunct but still running Google News page for the second half of 1955 to 1958. This is where it starts getting interesting, actually. Somewhere around that time Jerry Dumas joined the team and together with Mort walker he developed the characters and made the jokes on all of their strips more character driven. Given the later work of Dumas and Walker it probably wasn't an achievement by Dumas on his own, but rather something he triggered in Mort Walker. Anyway, the work they produced betwen 1956 and 1962 remains the funniest of their respective careers.

Most of the Sundays shown here are two tiers. Sunday comics in those days were delivered to the newspapers in a variety of fromats. These were usually prepared by the artists himself. There were some set models to transfer a three tier gag into a two tier one without too much loss or spillage, but every artist had his or her own preferences. If you compare the two and three tier version of the Beetle Sunday for May 13 1955 below, you'll see Mort Walker didn't use a cut and dried format for this. It seems the two tier was created after the three tier, cutting bits and pieces here and there. But why remove the top of the third panel so that it becomes wider and then crop the sides of the first panel? If you look at the later two tier Sundays, you'll see there is no set width of the panels, which means every one has been put together in it's own way.

For 1956 I have very little.

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