Wednesday, November 11, 2020

I Miss The 1960's Funny Pages

 Starting about the age of ten, I used to love to read the Sunday newspaper funny pages. At that time, in the 1960’s, every comic strip strongly expressed conservative values. I guess that influence, along with my very conservative parents, factored in the development of my political thinking.

Today, I have a collection of cartoon artists’ works hanging in my den.

I have an original self-portrait of Rube Goldberg. His name is synonymous with insane, overly-complicated systems that accomplish nothing worthwhile. For example, Obamacare. A Rube Goldberg contraption if there ever was one. Some other amazing examples are here on Youtube.

One of my favorites is a daily comic strip from George Herriman’s Krazy Kat in 1940. The ongoing Krazy Kat saga was about a female cat who loves a mouse who continually punishes her by throwing bricks at her head. The more he hurts her, the more she loves him. I was so fascinated by the underlying themes and Herriman’s surreal imagery that I wrote a college thesis on it. I think Krazy is an archetypal Democrat.

Another favorite on my wall is a daily strip from Walt Kelly’s Pogo, whose characters resided in the Okefenokee Swamp (which I thought was a fictitious place until I moved to Florida). “We have met the enemy and he is us”, is Pogo’s iconic phrase, so apropos today. My favorite character was LBJ doing a cameo as a masked man with the rear end of a horse, known as “The Loan Arranger”. That cracked me up. Even back then at my tender age I realized he was the most criminally corrupt president America had ever endured, pre-Barry Soetoro Obama of course.

Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie was a dark vision of America threatened by insidious domestic communist forces. Now we see Gray’s vision coming to life. If only we had Daddy Warbucks’ bodyguards, Punjab and the mysterious Asp, who disposed of deadly communists quickly and quietly.

But the pièce de résistance is the huge Sunday comic hanging by my desk. I look at it all the time, but I didn’t make the connection with modern-day events until recently. It is a Li’l Abner by Al Capp. I remember seeing this particular comic when it was published in a Sunday newspaper on October 23, 1967.

The background on this cartoon is that two characters, Lonesome Polecat and his sidekick, cro-magnon man Hairless Joe produce a powerful brew called Kickapoo Joy Juice. Drinking it can cause paralysis, among other nasty side effects.

Polecat reads that the Science Park is commissioning a million dollar statue of two cave men fighting over a woman. He gets Hairless Joe, a woman, and another cro-magnon type to drink the Kickapoo Joy Juice and freezes them in position to look like the statue. He then sells it to the Science Park for a hundred dollars.

Before the unveiling, a gang of Antifa/BLM-type youths vandalize the statue with red paint, saying if they’re caught they will claim to be “underprivileged” so everyone will “blame society”.

Unfortunately for them, the red paint soaks up the Kickapoo Joy Juice and the statue comes back to life. They are beaten to a pulp by Hairless Joe and his cohort, and put on display in place of the statue. The crowd gathered to see the statue cheers, and one man in the crowd yells, “Every city should have a monument like that!”

Over fifty years later and nothing has changed, except that there aren’t enough Hairless Joes on our side to protect statues, businesses and citizens from “underprivileged” youths and grownups.


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