Before we get to the good news, let’s talk a bit about something that’s never a favorite topic: late books.
We don’t like late books, and we know you don’t like late books. Many of you plunk down dollars-and-cents on advance orders, based on our projected release date; when that date comes and goes and you don’t get your book, your money is being tied up for a longer period. We don’t want to put you in that situation, but sometimes it’s simply unavoidable (and you’ll notice it isn’t justour concern —our friendly competitors can and do face the same issue, and even Marvel and DC often have later-than-advertised releases in their Masterworks and Archives programs.
Sometimes, quality simply takes more time than any of us might like.
As you know from recent posts in this space, our long-awaited second Alex Toth volume is at the printers now. Hard on its heels is the book we’ve had to delay longest, but we’re now pleased and proud to announce that King Aroo, Volume 2 is on its way.
This coming March we’ll return to Jack Kent’s winsome kingdom of Myopia for more fun and puns with kindly King Aroo, Yupyop the Faithful Retainer, forgetful Mr. Elephant, crack-brained Professor Yorgle, and the miscast Wanda Witch. It’s as endearing a cast as any comic strip has ever assembled, and our Volume 2 will take you from late 1952 through much of 1954, featuring both daily and Sunday strips, several of which will be available for the first time since their original publication.
If you bought Volume 1 of this series, or if you’ve searched the archives on this site, you know we here at LOAC-Central are great fans of Jack Kent, King Aroo‘s creator, and we hope to convince as many readers as possible to jump on the bandwagon with us.
You may ask what took so long getting Aroo Volume 2 into print. The first problem was locating all the strips needed for the book. The artist’s son, Jack Kent Jr., owns his father’s collection of original artwork, proofs, and tearsheets, but it’s in no particular order, and Jack Jr. has a full-time job of his own that has nothing to do with comics, so sifting the specific material out of the whole turned out to be no simple task. Once he turned his findings over to us, we had to double-check it to insure there were no holes, and to make sure (for example) that a May 15, 1956 strip had not crept in where a May 15, 1954 strip belonged. After that, we then had to shoehorn production of the book into our existing schedule – we hadn’t exactly been sitting around watching the dust settle in the interim, after all!
I did my copy edits on King Aroo Volume 2 late at night, after a particularly hectic day in what had already been a loooooong week … but I love King Aroo so much, doing that work into the wee small hours of the morning was a pleasure. No lie, it actually lifted my spirits, giving me my second wind, and that time spent with Jack Kent and his fanciful menagerie let me finish the day with a smile on my face – a BIG smile!
Last year I had the opportunity to buy a handful of randomly-selected King Aroo Sunday tearsheets from a European collector and I jumped at the chance. Here for your enjoyment is a small sampling of those comics:
Some have suggested LOAC should move into doing more contemporary strips with a humorous, gag-a-day bent. We hope those folks especially will give King Aroo a try, if they haven’t already. Though the strips are over sixty years old, they are as fresh and inventive today as they were back then, and the structure and pacing will be familiar to those who love the other series launched in the early 1950s (you know what they are!).
Finally, if you have young family members, you can be sure they will fall under the spell of Jack Kent’s delightful work. In my own family I have a not-yet-three-year-old nephew. I recognize thatKing Aroo is a trifle above him at this point, but I’ve made sure some Jack Kent childrens’ books are in his library, and his mother and father have King Aroo Volume 1 (and will have Volume 2) on their own bookshelves, ready for him when he’s reached the proper age. From eight to eighty, it’s impossible not to be charmed by Jack Kent’s gentle wit and by the citizens of Myopia, including the one and only King Aroo.
Here are seven sequential dailies from the second book: