It occurred to me that, from time to time, it might be fun to share with you the strips that came immediately after the last ones printed in some of our Library of American Comics volumes. When we completed a series run (as with Star Hawks, for example), there’s nothing more to add, and there’s no sense in re-hashing strips from a long-running series where other publishers picked up the baton after our LOAC run concluded. Yet for LOAC series that never widely extended beyond our own coverage, a taste of What Came Next seemed like a good idea.
I’ve started with one of my all-time favorites from our backlist, one published in July 2008, coinciding with the first anniversary of LOAC: Scorchy Smith and The Art of Noel Sickles.
This was a tremendous learning experience for us, both in terms of immersing ourselves in the subject matter and in the mechanics of releasing a big artbook. Certainly it catapulted Noel Sickles into the stratosphere on my personal lists of both Favorite Comics Talents and Favorite Illustrators. Being able to review the Sickles holdings at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum was a fabulous experience, and stitching together so many major aspects of Sickles’s life and career into a cohesive narrative was a task it was an honor to undertake.
Of course, we reprinted the entirely of “Bud’s” Scorchy output, as well as including a handful of the strips immediately after his departure, when Bert Christman took over the series in the midst of a story set “in the jungle village of Urubu.” Here’s the December 4th, 1936 Christman daily that was the last Scorchy installment contained in our book.
What Happened Next –? Well, here’s the next week of Christman’s Scorchy continuity — click each thumbnail to see the strip in a larger size:
As you can see, Christman used this time to build up “Wing” Mason’s menacing aspects, then he launched Scorchy skyward to face mortal peril in the installments to come.
Of course, ol’ Scorch survived the threat and went on to face many other dangers for another quarter-century, until his series was retired in 1961.
If you like this idea as much as I do, please keep watching this space for the next “What Came Next –?”!