Long Sam and Nature Girl: 1 of 2

Al Capp is best known as the creator of the hillbilly masterpiece Li’l Abner, but he always had other irons in the fire. In the latter stages of his career he was also a newspaper columnist and commentator on a syndicated radio series — nearer the middle of his career, after he had won away the merchandising rights to Abner from United Feature Syndicate in court, he founded a merchandising company that employed Al’s siblings and father, included comic book publisher Toby Press, and licensed more Yokum-themed merchandise than any single person could conceive — and in the earlier stages of his career, Capp launched other comic strips with United Feature.

The first, Abbie an’ Slats, launched three years after Li’l Abner‘s debut, in 1937. Capp wrote the continuity for the first seven-plus years, then turned those chores over to his brother, Elliot. Artist Raeburn Van Buren drew the series for its entire thirty-four year run. Van Buren and Abbie an’ Slats both retired in 1971.

Post-War Christmas Day Abbie an’ Slats: December 25, 1945

Long Sam debuted a full two decades after Li’l Abner first bowed, late in the spring of 1954. Like Abner, Long Sam had a beautiful female lead (though “Long Sam” was the star of this new offering, whereas Daisy Mae Scragg was a supporting player, cast as the love interest and eventual wife of Li’l Abner Yokum). It also had a “mountain folk” slant, but Long Sam’s home was in a remote Rocky Mountain valley instead of the more generalized Kentucky/Tennessee/Virginia region in which mythical Dogpatch somewhere resided. Like Abbie an’ Slats, Long Sam was originally scripted by Al Capp and subsequently by Elliot, with visuals provided by “good girl” artist Bob Lubbers.

Here are the first week of Long Sam dailies, for your enjoyment (click each to provide a better view) …

Why offer up this slice of Long Sam? Throughout the duration of The Library of American Comics’s existence we’ve covered several instances of Life reflected in Art, when real world events or true-life personalities made their way onto the newspaper comics pages. We recently discovered an instance of Long Sam‘s Art being reflected in Life (and we’re not just talkin’ the magazine, either!). Join us in this space soon for the rest of the story …

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