Thursday, August 20, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Mel

Thursday Story Strip Day.

Mel Keefer was a journeyman artist, who worked on several strips throughout his career. Usually artists of his style and experience were used as fill in artists by the big names, people like Don Sherwood or Alden McWIlliams. Instead he did his own strips, like the Dragnet Strip in the fifties or this golfing instruction strip in the sixties. Two things struck me, when I looked it up. First of all, how much story there was in relation to the instructions. In most papers it was not placed among the omic strips, but on one of the sports pages (which makes it hard to track and clip). But it would have fit there quite well, I think. Maybe it would have had more of a name. The other remarkable thing is, how long it ran. At least all through the sixties! Mr. Keefer is still wit us and I think a nice collection of his best storylines alongside a selection of the best golfing lessons would make for a great book. But then you would have to find someone with a good and complete run and I dout there are many of those. Even I had a hard time getting together these samples. I sat on them for a long time, hoping to be able to go back and complete them, at least for a longer run. But I didn't and now it's time to er.. let them roll.


Diego Cordoba said...

Sports strips is like the worst idea ever. Even Big Ben Bolt, which is the only sports strip I could follow, had to get out of the ring once in a while and chase after crooks to make it interesting.

Weeks of a guy talking and teaching how to play golf (even if the artwork is great)—oh boy!

I'm waiting for a strip about bowling. Or better yet, one anout curling. Sweep that floor, fellas, and let's wait and see what happens tomorrow!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I don't think I agree. I understand the sentiment, but Big Ben Bolt was never about boxing. Its was a strip about boxers, a very interesting and defined set of people. Mac Divot was not in that class, but what I see of it makes me curious about the rest of the stories.

alan geez said...

Probably the best sports strip ever was Gil Thorpe. By focusing on a high school coach it's storylines were not locked into a single sport. Also by focusing on the character and psychology of the staff and students it had the advantage of the soap opera strip in a time when story strips had gone out of fashion.

Big Ben Bolt was primarily about people who happened to exist in the world of boxing. It's writer, Elliott Caplin, simultaneously authored Juliet Jones, wherein he created excellent characterizations also. Mac Divot on the other hand was a very well executed niche strip.