It's a genial tale of 1950s New York, where Broadway is big, and boxing and music rub shoulders in the Brill Building. It's a world where artists and writers of daily-newspaper comic strips live in penthouses and inspire bidding wars for their services and arguably deserve it because their art rises to the level of art:
"I gestured to a Crash Landon Sunday-page original that leaned against the wall next to the drawing board—a beautifully rendered page with swooping spaceships and bold men and beautiful women, done in Alexander's distinctive style known as dry brush and more appealing, to me at least, than the museum's worth of paintings in his living room."That's a touching tribute from Collins to an art form he loves, and it reminds me of the gorgeous Sunday panels of George McManus, creator of Bringing Up Father, featuring Maggie and Jiggs.
The association of comic strips with high artistic quality may seem bizarre to readers of today's blandly written, indifferently drawn, relentlessly unfunny, demographically-driven newspaper strips, and that leads to today's question:
When did daily-newspaper comic strips turn crap, and why? Which went to the dogs first, the writing, or the art?
P.S. Read about the early history of U.S. newspaper comic strips at Lambiek.net.
© Peter Rozovsky 2010