Every so often we receive emails from fans bemoaning the fact that one reprint series or another wasn’t successful enough (in other words, didn’t sell enough copies) for the series to continue.
A recent email to that effect about our two Bringing Up Father books got me thinking.
We have really spoiled ourselves and each other. No complaints – after all, who doesn’t want to be spoiled?
Before this “Golden Age of Comic Strip Reprints” we’ve created over the past dozen-plus years, we were all content (or content enough) to have even a single book that was representative of a strip’s heyday. We never expected to have complete sets of everything. I bought the Hyperion, Nostalgia Press, and other books in the ’70s and LOVED finally getting the chance to read a sequence of Terry and the Pirates, Skippy, Dick Tracy (Tommyguns and Hard Times – what a title!), Annie, Popeye, Polly, etc..
Those “Best of” or sampler collections introduced a whole generation of us readers to the great world of classic newspaper strips. We were so thrilled that we were willing to put up with sometimes poor source material and repro, just so we could HAVE the strips! None of us would have dreamed that there could be an imprint like The Library of American Comics offering more than two hundred volumes!
And yet here we are in 2020 when we’ve been able to locate and present an incredibly wide array of well-known and not so well-known (but equally deserving) strips – King Aroo, Scorchy Smith, Russ Manning’s Tarzan, twenty years of Steve Canyon, two books of Blondie from the very beginning, Maggie and Jiggs, seven book of John Prentice’s Rip Kirby, The Bungle Family, Baron Bean, The Gumps, and on and on.
Perhaps the late Tom Spurgeon put it best when he saw the LOAC Essentials volume of Tim Tyler’s Luck, “It’s a miracle books like this exist.”
So the next time we bemoan the fact that a third volume of Bringing Up Father doesn’t exist (yet!), let’s instead pick up Maggie’s errant rolling pin, hit ourselves in the head, and be thankful for the two books we DO have!
2 thoughts on “Corned Beef, Cabbage, and an Errant Rolling Pin”
The only thing I’d lament is the cost of some of the out-of-print books, and the unavailability on digital platforms like Comixology. I’ve been buying LOAC books from the start, but had to liquidate my collection due to a life-changing event. I’m rebuying the Terry and the Pirates, Little Orphan Annie, and D&Q’s Walt and Skeezix, and seeing some of the LOAC volumes at over $100 is a bit daunting. And I think that while it’s a challenge to properly format old strips for the iPad, it could be done, and would open up a new audience for this great material.
But those are minor quibbles. The LOAC books are beautiful, and I wish you a long, continued success!
Thanks for writing, Ray. Seeing asking prices for OOP books is frustrating. We try our best to keep books in print, but it doesn’t always work out. In the meantime, we have a brand new (and improved!) edition of TERRY in the planning stages, and we’ll make an announcement fairly soon. As for digital releases, it’s not as easy as simply flicking a switch, but we do have it under consideration. While as a collector, I personally wouldn’t want digital to replace a print version, I wouldn’t mind being able to carry around the complete TERRY on my iPAD in addition to having the print version at home!