Continuing our review of the first two hundred LOAC books, which began here, take a look at our fifty-first to one hundredth releases …
I know, I know — I said I had something planned for September, so we’d do our second humor-based spin of the LOAC Wheel of Fortune later in the autumn. I weighed the options and decided the idea I had for September would work even better if I held it back until October. That certainly appealed to me, since now I had a clear path to doing our focus on our funniest “funnies” in back-to-back installments. Hoo-hah!
You’ll notice that just before and just after our fiftieth release, we offered two delightful single-volume books, Cartoon Monarch: Otto Soglow and the Little King and that splendid rare find, Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was. (I visited the Chuck Jones Gallery during a June visit to San Diego — a highly-recommended destination, if you’re a Jones-booster like me!) I also like to count myself in the forefront of Cliff Sterrett fans, so it’s a grand pleasure that we have offered readers Polly and Her Pals in two beautiful oversized “Champagne Edition” offerings, plus a year’s worth of dailies from 1933 in one of our LOAC Essentials books. Like Blondie, the earliest installments of The Family Circus are something I’m proud we’ve collected and preserved for 21st Century audiences. The humor offerings in our second hundred titles is weighted toward Walt Disney offerings, and notice that as the year has progressed, as Silly Symphonies Volume 4 indicates, our march toward our 200th Library of American Comics book is getting mighty close to that goal. Here’s the list, in order of release:
A few months ago in this space I showed you some photos of our LOAC books, arrayed on my bookshelves — you can see it here, if you’d like a refresher.
More recently, we received some impressive bookshelf photos from another comics historian, the estimable Barry Pearl. Check out this first of five shots of Mr. Pearl’s amassed comics collections and be prepared, like me, to resist the urge to whistle in appreciation …
Several years ago we took some time in this space to show you what my LOAC bookshelf looked like. I shelve my books in alphabetical order by author, or by publisher where that makes more sense — for instance, while my William Saroyans are under “S”, my Fantastic Fours are under “M”, with the rest of my Marvel Comics collections. My Library of American Comics titles are therefore under “L,” and then shelved alphabetically in a logical way (well, logical to me, anyway), as you can see:
Earlier this week, we posted some bonus Sundays that didn’t make the final cut. Here are four that did!
Only two days before CARTOON MONARCH: Otto Soglow and the Little King is on sale. As a bonus and to hold you over, here are some more Sundays that are NOT in the book. Enjoy!
CARTOON MONARCH: Otto Soglow and The Little King is on sale in comics shops this week (and online by the end of the month). Although the book is a staggering 432 pages, we obviously couldn’t include every Sunday he ever drew, so here are some that are NOT in the book. More on Monday!
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.