Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Gasoline Alley and the Old Comic Strip Challenge 22-23

In a sequence that began on April 9, 2013, Gasoline Alley centenarian Walt Wallet receives an invitation to the Old Comics Home dinner. Walt has reminisced before about his fellow characters from discontinued comic strips. And since Gasoline Alley began in 1918, there are quite a few of his contemporaries who have been retired.

Days 22 and 23 continues the "mystery," and presents a nice confluence of the absurd.

Fearless Fosdick, the parody comic strip within Li'l Abner was over the top. Fearless would be riddled with bullet holes (always depicted like those in Swiss cheese - a hole through a solid), that he would shrug off as "mere scratches." One of his villains was a murderous Chippendale chair.

Smokey Stover, while not a parody, was a strip that also cheerfully ignored any semblance of reality to mine a deeper vein of humor. Bill Holman's creation drove an impossible two-wheel car, known as the Foomobile. That hole in his hinged hat was for his cigar. The visual puns (usually labelled pictures or calendars) that hung the walls and non sequitur sayings on his car would change from panel to panel, cheerfully ignoring any kind of continuity. All in all, Smokey and Fearless would probably be right at home in each other's worlds.

One more thing -- Smokey's cat Spooky keeps repeating "Foo" for a reason. Holman billed Smokey as the "foolish foo fighter" (substituting "foo" for "fire"), thus providing the origin for the term "foo fighters."

1. Spooky - Smokey Stover (1935-1973) by Bill Holman
2. Smokey Stover - Smokey Stover (1935-1973) by Bill Holman
3. Fearless Fosdick - Li'l Abner (1934-1977) by Al Capp

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