Odd notes on the day after

Tip: For some time, I’ve been following old Li’l Abner daily comics over at Comics.com. Recently they went back to the beginning and re-started the strip at its very inception (or close to it, as far as I can tell). As you can see if you click over there, at this point Al Capp had not developed his mature style. He was trying to draw fairly realistically, and hadn’t yet adopted the simplified shapes and heavy outlines that made his later work so graphically compelling. Also the characters are unevolved. Mammy (whom you’ll see if you go to the strip on the day I’m posting; I don’t know if you’ll see her tomorrow) is wearing her “classic” outfit, but she actually only put it on a few strips ago, identifying it as her good clothes, which she had to wear for a trip to New York. You’ll also note that she’s too tall. Pappy is also too tall at this point. Capp hadn’t yet decided that they’d be a lot funnier if they were both the size of midgets, so that you’d ask, “How did this couple produce that boy?”

Also Daisy Mae’s bosom has not yet reached its full potential.

Anyway, it’s historically interesting, and I’m looking forward to watching the artwork develop.

How do I feel today, after 24 hours of a book acceptance? Good, but worried. I can’t help thinking that it’s all a big mistake, and that the publisher will soon recover from the concussion that surely disordered his mind. I think that, strictly speaking, this isn’t me spoiling my enjoyment. This is how I enjoy things. It’s my way to celebrate. And I gotta be… you know, me.

I also went to the doctor today, as a couple commenters suggested, to see whether my anemia is cause for concern. I await the results, confident that I probably have only a month to live.

3 thoughts on “Odd notes on the day after”

  1. I’ve been following Li’l Abner for a while now, and the shift to the very beginning strips was fun. As you pointed out, the drawing style is very immature; in some respects, it looks almost like something a high-school student might have done on the margins of his or her notebook.

    And while the seeds of the later humor are there, it’s much more muted. And you don’t have some of the almost-deus-ex-machina gimmicks that Capp used in later strips–for example, in the current story line, Mammy would have conjured up a vision of what Li’l Abner is up to in New York.

  2. I had the very same thought about Mammy’s powers.

    Of course one secret of Capp’s success was that, once the strip took off, he was able to hire extremely talented assistants to do most of the drawing (I believe he always insisted on doing the faces himself). Probably his most famous assistant was Frank Frazetta, the guy who later did all those Conan paperback covers, who specialized in female figures, and was obviously right at home.

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