Ed Carey’s Simon Simple is a wonderful exemplar of that most delightful comic archetype: the completely insane man, sowing chaos in his wake for no better reason than his own deranged whim. He messes with his father, local police, polite society, and for nothing but his own amusement. Needless to say, I love him. And I’m not alone in my love; Simon ran in papers for seven years in the aughts of the last century, which is an eminently respectable run in those mercurial times. Then, too, you’d have a hard time convincing me that Bill Griffith was unfamiliar with the character, as his Zippy the Pinhead character bears such a strong resemblance to Simon… We have a decent chunk of Simon’s seven-year run for you here, today, from June of 1904 through June of 1906. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Archive for January 12, 2014
Our hero Samson seems to be moving into straight-up super villain territory here…and at least one of those affected is digging this bad-boy behavior. “I wonder if he is married” indeed!
Imagine an alternate universe where The Family Circus celebrated not the trials and tribulations of raising children in the 1960’s (and beyond), but rather the ups and downs of turn-of-the-century family life. Marrying off the eldest daughter, fretting over the baby swallowing a ten-penny nail…it’s fun to think of the possibilities. Well, imagine no further and wrap your brain around Peaceful? Quiet? Scenes at Home! Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly Bil Keane’s famous strip, but it seems eerily close to me. Take a look and see if you don’t agree.
Here we have a feature from C.M. Payne, creator of the classic strip S’Matter Pop? Those Kids Next Door is precursor to that feature; eventually he would rename the strip and it would run for thirty years. But though there’s definitely a through-line, I feel like Those Kids has a feel that’s separate enough from S’Matter Pop to warrant consideration on its own.
It’s a fun strip which is really mostly about the man who lives next to those kids, Nippy’s Pop. Pop is a wonderful character, a perpetually five-O’Clock shadowed father with a genuine affection for kids, though he’s frequently given to exclaim, “Consarn! Consarn! Consarn!” when their hijinks get the better of his temper. But I like that he’s not the stereotypical comic strip father: a grouch or an idiot or an idiot grouch. He’s really a fellow who generates a lot of sympathy, and that makes the strip a lot of fun, and awfully funny.
Here we have a classic comic strip premise–the ne’er-do-well grifter–with a terrific gimmick: he’s a hypnotist! But while Professor Hypnotiser‘s powers are infallible, the results are never what he expects or wants. (Note that the strips from 1908 are reprints; the feature ran only through 1905.)
Gabe is an ably crafted strip about a clever and mischievous boy. Gee, I’ll bet you’ve never heard that setup for a comic strip before! Gabe is a little bit different, though, in that he’s as often the butt of the mischief as he is the perpetrator; beset upon by two other boys, but managing to turn their depredations back upon them. In this, he’s got a bit of that Tom and Jerry quasi-underdog feel, where he’s kind of the victim, but is shown to be just as capable of cruelty as his tormentors…
It’s a very cute and well-rendered strip. About fish. Living their little Fish Stories.
It’s a very cute and well-rendered strip. About bugs. Living in Bugville. Not to be confused with the feature by Gus Dirks from 1901, or the ones by Morton Thayer or Percy Crosby, either. Bugs were more popular than one would realize, I guess…
They thought he was an anarchist, but he was just a tramp. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, I’ll allow.