While perusing the always-wonderful Stripper’s Guide blog, I saw a feature on a strip that Todd and I had already started collecting, unbeknownst to one another. It was Robert L. Dickey’s “Just Dog” strip, a wonderful work revolving around the adventures of Buddie, a Boston Terrier and the titular hero of the strip. With his friends Angus and Bucky, Buddie ran around stealing sausages and getting in all sorts of mischief, as Boston Terriers are wont to do. (As it happens, I used to own a Boston; oddly enough, his name was Dickie!)
The humor of this strip is decidedly gentle and child-friendly, and the art is remarkable. The animals are rendered in a very realistic illustrative style, but the ranges of emotion that Dickey coaxes from his canine cast is truly impressive. This cat knows his dogs! The strip ran for many years, though in a decidely haphazard fashion. It’s been hard to collect these strips ‘cos they seem to appear almost randomly, in the Sunday paper mostly, but then you’ll find some in the dailies as well, even reprinting some of the same strips in the same week! Frustrating! This chaos extends even to the title of the strip. In the samples we’ve got up so far, spanning 1922-1923, it goes by “Just Dog” and “Buddie and His Friends,” but the strip was also titled “Dickey’s Dogs.” I think it was done just to confound archivists. We’re collecting the run under the single title “Just Dog.” It seems to be the first iteration, and I just think it’s the coolest.
By Robert L. Dickey