Walt and Skeezix

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.)

Walt and Skeezix cover
Walt and Skeezix
The Complete Daily Comic Strips
Buy this book

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.


6 Responses to “Walt and Skeezix”

  1. kenchen Says:

    So, are they really putting out a book of his sunday strips? I thought the two Drawn and Quarterly issues collected everything.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I thought I’d heard that they were, which is why they were left out of this collection, but now I can’t find any definitive news or release date.

  3. John Jakala Says:

    I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this collection. Like you, I was wowed by the Sunday strips presented in the Drawn & Quarterly anthologies, but I wasn’t so sure I’d enjoy the B&W daily strips. Shawn Hoke’s review convinced me to try it out, though, and I’m glad I did. Of course, the fact that I just recently entered parenthood myself probably had a lot to do with me being able to appreciate Walt’s devotion to Skeezix.

  4. Johanna Says:

    That’s a good point, John, that our personal interests and placement affect how we interact with art.

  5. John Jakala Says:

    Here’s what Peggy Burns had to say over at Newsarama back on 7/11/2005 (scroll down to the last post):

    Here are some quick replies to the some of the questions that have been posed in this thread:

    1) Do the dailies and Sunday pages form the same continuity?

    No, they have parallel stories but you can easily read them separately. Mostly the dailies have a storyline while the Sundays are usually stand alone. So the Sunday books will compliment the dailies but you can start reading the dailies now and not fear missing anything.

    2) When will we see the Sundays?

    Soon, soon. Drawn and Quarterly is working on releasing the first volume of Sundays, covering the years 1921-1922, next year.

    3) What about the mystery of Skeezix origins?

    This will be mostly explained in the next few volumes that cover the 1920s. However, there are still some unresolved questions that are occasionally mentioned in the strip to this very day. So Skeezix is in fact and 80 year mystery.

    thanks for all of the great feedback! visit time.com to see andrew arnold’s review of the book:

    http://www.time.com/time/columnist/arnold/article/0,9565,1081304,00.html

    Peggy Burns
    D+Q

    So it sounds like we should be seeing the Sunday strips collected starting sometime this year.

  6. Johanna Says:

    Great research skills, John, thanks!

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