Before introducing us to Andy and Min Gump, Sidney Smith rose to fame with Old Doc Yak. Doc Yak is a doctor, and a yak. He's a "beauty specialist," what we'd call today a plastic or cosmetic surgeon. But instead of wealthy dowagers getting chin lifts and Botox injections, Doc Yak's patients were ducks who want long necks, giraffes who want short necks, and ostriches who want their baldness cured. This was the pattern for a while, with Doc fixin' up animals in the dailies, and attempting to collect his bills on Sundays. But this constraint wasn't to last long. Soon, he steals a monkey from an organ grinder, and things really get strange. From that point on, the thrust of the strip changes, and the strip revolves around Doc Yak's quest to make a million dollars. It's easy to see Doc Yak as a surrogate for Smith in this regard, and Smith must have been pretty happy to have finally earned his million when he became the highest paid cartoonist in the world for his work on the Gumps.
Sadly, it wasn't to last. In 1935, Smith had earned another pay raise, to $150,000 a year, but he was killed when his Rolls-Royce crashed on the way home from signing the new contract.
Happily, his work lives on, and we're proud to bring to you what we believe to be the Complete Old Doc Yak.
By Sidney Smith