Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Mox On You!

Tuesday Comic Strip Day

For some weeks I have been showing smaples of Irv spector's early fifties strip Coogy in thi sspot. Coogy was intended as a Pogo knock-off by the syndicate and whatever Spector tried to turn it into didn't work. Funny and welldrawn as it was, in the end it didn't catch on. Coogy wasn't the only strip that was influenced by Pogo. Some strips, like King Aroo, combined Pogo and Krazy Kat influences. Most were not a success. The best Pogo imitation was a Sunday only strip (like Coogy) that didn't even appear in the newspapers. It was Moxie, it was written and drawn by David Gantz and it appeared for eleven episodes only in a comic book section that was handed out for free in a chain of supermarkets in California. Family Comics was produced by the former George McManus ghost Zek Zekely. When McManus died in the fifties, his succesful strip was not turned over to his ghost of many years, but to syndicate stallward Vernon Greene. Zekely, a very funny and competent artist tried to find other ways to earn a living. Family Comics was just one of his projects. It had art by Zekely himself, Gill Fox, Norman Maurer, Boltinoff and even a young Russ Manning. For many years, originals from this interesting fake Sunday were sold by a California dealer under the names Family Comics and Sponsored Comics (which seems to have been te name of Zekely's company). I firts heard of it when Alan Holtz did a series of posts about it on his strippersguide blog. Moxie was one of those features. All my samples are taken from Alan Holtz or from various auctions. Unfortunately, I didn't get any of the originals or any of the Family Comics when Alan finally sold them. I still hope to see them all together in a book sometime.

David Gantz (who died recently) was a good friend of Al Jaffee. For a short time he worked in a style similar to that of Jaffee, when he had his own newspaper strip Dudley D. I hope to be showing more of these and other work by Gantz at a later time.

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