Monday, June 24, 2013

The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics

When I was about nine years old, my father received this book as a Christmas gift. I was a big reader of newspaper comics, and spent endless hours poring over the collections of Peanuts comics, Feiffer, and Pogo my parents were thoughtful enough to put on a low shelf in our home library. So, when this massive hardcover book showed up, so big I could only read it by splaying it out on the living room floor, I was fascinated. I initially made a bold attempt to read it front to back, but the older comics (Yellow Kid, Buster Brown, etc.) were so baffling, I couldn't persevere. But this book gave me an exposure to things like Gasoline Alley, Little Nemo in Slumberland, Krazy Kat, Seegar's Popeye, the Mickey Mouse comics, the Katzenjammer Kids, the early days of Blondie, when all the gags were what an airhead she was, and much more. Today I'm a board member of the Pittsburgh Toonseum -- it's safe to say that never would have happened had I not found this book in 1979.

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