Thursday, December 18, 2014

Out Of The Way!

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

The first time I saw Jay Irving's funny little policeman he was called Potsy. It was one of the not syndicated Sunday only strips that were done especially for the New York News. A charming half page strip with hentle jokes about a pudgy policeman. I liked it, but it was never scanworthy. Next to some of the other Sunday ony strips for that paper (like Gill Fox' Bumper To Bumper, which is why I bought those sections) it was a bit tame and oldfashioned. Recently I came across an earlier version of the strip, which was done in the late forties as another Sunday only not syndicated strip for the New York Herald Tribune. The Tribune at that time was a little more ambitious than the News was a decade later. Not a tabloid, it gave a full half page to such noteworthy strips as Irv Spector's Coogy, Gill Fox and Selma Diamond's Jeanie, the superb Harvey Kurtzman one tiers Silver Linings and Jay Irving's Willie Doodle. Willie Doodle was a precursor to Potsy and himself a continuation of the policeman cartoons Irving had been doing for Clliers ever since the thirties.

This time I was impressed. Taking into account that no strip has ever suffered from being seen in three tiers, I find this incarnation has all the charm and gentle humor of the ater version, but the drawing also impresses with great style and especially rythm. The gags are better when they are built up this way and the whole thing is just gorgeous.

The March 1947 gag is especially interesting to comic collectors. Stan Lee used the exact same gag for a short story in one of his horror quickies in Astonishing #17, drawn by George Roussos. I am not suggesting Stan Lee took the gag from Irving. They could both have thught of it independently if 'What do you think you are doing? Holding up the building?" is an actual New York saying. Or they could oth have gotting it from the same gag book.


fortunato said...

Harpo Marx made a "holding up the building" gag in A Night in Casablanca (1946).

rnigma said...

I thought about that too! And the strip was drawn the same year. Wonder who stole from whom?