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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Out Our Way with Worry Wart



Continuing my fascination with Dell kids comics from the 40s, 50s, 60s comes Out Our Way with Worry Wart . Based on the daily comic of the same name that ran from 1922-77 by J. R. Williams (the "old" one not the 80s-90s Skinboy, Crap one), this comic almost seems a little out of place with the usual rounder cartoon-y fair of the funny kid comics that Dell cranked out during those decades. It's very pen-and-ink crosshatch-y like the work of Claire Briggs, H. T. Webster, and Williams (and numerous others that I don't know about yet) rather than brush-y like Dan Gormley, Lloyd White, Walt Kelly, and Irv Tripp. When I first discovered this comic 15 years ago, I was stunned at how Crumb-like it looked (at least on the surface). Some of the character drawing is a bit stiff (unlike Crumb) but the backgrounds are detailed and solid. The stories are entertaining boy comics--the younger brother usually irritates and confounds the older brother with his schemes. "The Open Road" is a nice piece of Americana--we see Worry Wart running away with his bindle, passing butcher shops, sandlot games, rail- and junk-yards.



I'll run another Worry Wart strip tomorrow concerning that classic of Boys' Comics--Fantasy Space Travel. Of course, I use "Boy's Comics" like it's a genre we all know but honestly I'm hard-pressed to think of other books besides Tubby that seem so focused on the hobbies, adventures, friendships and rivalries of actual boys. Usually the comics seem to be more along the lines of genres like Western, Jungle Adventure, or Space Opera and featuring adults. {I'm sure there are many. I've only just begun to explore these genres.}

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