Thanks to everyone who kindly e-mailed me about George McManus’ work. Though very few folks had heard of him or the strip before, I had a lot of folks tell me they’d seek out his pre-war collections in their library — which is wonderful!
There were enough similarities in enough e-mails, though, that I thought I should recap on some points.
this)….but you just have to trust me that none of these shows the apex of his genius, in the 1930’s and 40’s, when he was at the height of his game. It’s like looking at early Monets or lesser works from Picasso: you get a taste of the genius, but not really.
2.) A few of you pointed out that the strip can be seen over in the “Vintage” area of dailyink.com. But, it’s buried behind a paid subscription wall, thus ensuring that 99.9999999% of people will never see it, hear of it, or choose to pay for it to find out what it is they’re missing.
Subscription walls: old media’s answer to the question,”Hey, what’s this internet thing? Bob, type up a memo on carbon copy paper and have it on my desk by morning.”
3.) After McManus died in 1954, the strip was continued by other artists, hired by the syndicate. So if you’re a Sheldonista that remembers the strip in your paper…it probably wasn’t McManus. And as a lover of comics, I can tell you that that most definitely makes a difference. When a different artist takes over the same strip…it’s never the same. It’s like reading “The Grapes of Wrath, Part 2”, by Bobby-Joe Padoluski…who the publishers hired to keep the series going.
4.) If copyrights weren’t an issue, I’d scan the best images from my “Bringing Up Father” books to share with you in the blog. But since that’s not possible, I’d suggest perusing your larger regional or metro libraries — you may get lucky and find a few yellowed book collections from the the 30’s and 40’s. I hope you do: they’re well worth the effort.