Otto Soglow wrote and drew The Little King for more than forty years. In preparation for theupcoming release of our Otto Soglow book, we had to read upwards of 2,000 Little King Sunday pages in order to choose which strips we felt were the most representative of his minimalistic genius. Think about it: we had to read more than 2,000 Sunday pages. Sometimes I have to kick myself in the pants: Does anyone really have a better job than this?
The book, though, is more than just The Little King. It also presents every installment of The Ambassador, the strip Soglow created for King Features as a stand-in for the King until such time as his contract with The New Yorker (where Soglow created his diminuative monarch) ended. Soglow’s career, of course, began before The Little King. As Jared Gardner notes in his lengthy introduction, Soglow was a man whose origins and political sensibilities were always with the working man on the street—and even the angry mob—but whose career brought him into the loving embrace of the most powerful men and corporations in the country, including most importantly William Randolph Hearst. Out of this tension is born everything we love about this cartoon monarch.
Here’s some examples of what the book has to offer:
An book illustration from 1930’s Through the Alimentary Canal.
A King Features promo sheet for the strip.
A 1942 ad for Fleischmann’s Yeast.
An early Little King strip from the New Yorker days.
A 1951 Sunday page.
Above: A 1958 Sunday—Soglow was still fresh and funny after doing the strip for twenty-four years.
Below: samples from 1962 and 1963 that show Soglow as a true master of the form.