I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t love Dick Moores’s delightful and charming art and stories inGasoline Alley. His long run on the strip is one of those few cases in which the cartoonist taking over from the original creator actually improves the creation.
Frank King first met Dick Moores in Chicago in the 1930s, when Moores was Chester Gould’s assistant (and letterer); the two then shared a studio while Moores was drawing the adventure strip Jim Hardy. By the early 1940s Moores was in Southern California drawing exclusively for Disney. His much-admired work at that company includes inks on Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse, art on the Brer Rabbit and Scamp Sunday pages, and many, many great efforts in Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, some of which he was allowed to write as well as illustrate.
By the mid-50s, Frank King was looking for an assistant who could eventually take over the daily strip (Bill Perry had been doing the Sundays since 1951) and remembered his old colleague from Chicago. Moores left Disney and moved to Florida in 1956 to assist on Gasoline Alley.
There’s no hard evidence that indicates when Moores took over full responsibility of the Gasoline Alley daily, but our friend Jeet Heer, who co-edits the magnificent Walt & Skeezix series reprinting the early Frank King dailies, tells me that it was most likely in 1960, although King may have continued suggesting story ideas until 1964 when Moores was given a byline, sharing it with King until the elder cartoonist’s death in 1969.
This is all a preamble to announcing that we’re very happy to bring Dick Moores’s fantasticGasoline Alley strips from 1964-66 back to print. Both we and our friends at Drawn & Quarterly think it makes a nice bookend to the early Frank King dailies.
Frank King in a 1964 interview announcing Dick Moores’s byline.
A promo piece to celebrate Skeezix’s 40th birthday!
Three strips from the beginning of 1964 that feature lamps designed by Clovia and Slim. (Click for larger view.)
Above: A later Moores promo drawing (note Nina at left). Below: a past-over head for the final version.
And a wonderful piece of art by Dick Moores, which we’ve used for our cover.