Odds & Addenda

Posted by on September 20th, 2010 at 9:29 PM

While he was still assisting on Blondie, Jeff Parker (the editooner, not the funnybook guy) remarked about a couple oddities in the strip. One, he said, was Dagwood’s eyes, those great big narrow ovals. No other character in the strip has eyes like Dagwood’s. (Or hair, we might add. Or a button in the middle of his shirt.)

In addition to these peculiarities, there is the striking similarity of two characters: Mr. Beasley, the mailman, and the Bumsteads’ next door neighbor, Herb Woodley, are spitting images of each other. In profile. As we see here.

But when they turn their heads, we see that Herb has a cleft chin; Beasley does not. Beasley is also somewhat bald, but we seldom see him without his cap, so that distinction is lost most of the time. Most of the time, they look exactly alike.

All of these oddities may be explained by examining the strip through its own history, its own evolution as drawings. And soon, we’ll all be able to do the examination—when the first volume of IDW’s complete reprinting of Blondie, starting with the fall 1930 debut, appears in a month or so, no more. We’ll also be able to determine, for once and all, whether Blondie began on September 8 or September 15 that year, heretofore a mildly disputed fact.

At the risk of seeming to be a Blondie groupie, here’s another instance of the strip as exemplary comic strip art.

No particular drawing oddity this time except the wholesale absence of speech balloons in every panel save the last. Panels devoid of speech balloons attract attention when they appear on a full page of comics. This Blondie leaped off the page. Stark. Attention-getting.

Is that important? Why not.

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