- Posted by Johanna on January 19, 2006 at 2:20 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Frank King; edited by Chris Ware
- PUBLISHER: Drawn and Quarterly; $29.95 US
I’m always glad to see historically important comics made more easily available, but I think I’ll wait for the collection of the beautiful Sunday Gasoline Alley strips instead of buying this book. Those I could appreciate for their artistry and color, not just their significance.
(These comments are based on an abridged preview version that was less than half the length of the full book, smaller in size, and in softcover without the production values of the actual hardcover.)
The lengthy introduction here talks about artist King’s life, which had several similarities to his character Walt’s. There are many photographs of living quarters and car trips reproduced, which had the same appeal for me that looking through someone else’s family album does: interesting in ones and twos, but a bit boring in quantity.
The full book reprints Gasoline Alley strips from 1921 and 1922. (The comic began in 1919, but the “characters aging in real time” approach that made the strip unique didn’t really start until two years later, when baby Skeezix arrived.) The dailies are somewhat dull (rather like life), only coming alive for me when occasional strips focus on the realistic behavior of toddler Skeezix. I’m a sucker for cute kids who really act like kids.
This edited version leaves out the beginning of the story, when Walt found the tyke abandoned, so the material I was truly interested in, I didn’t get to see. Perhaps I’d be more impressed if I’d seen the real book, which sounds like an attractively deluxe presentation. Certainly this review copy was cheaper to send and doesn’t risk cutting into sales of the “real thing”, but the more I think about it, the less it seems to represent the product accurately.
There’s more information available at the publisher’s website.