Aroo, Nell Brinkley, Milt Gross — is there no end to these riches?

How on earth are we supposed to find money and shelf space for all the incredible books of fantastic historical material that keeps flooding out? Who knew that so much of the good stuff would all be available?

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§ Chris Duffy notes that King Aroo is coming!, in reference to the cult comic strip by Jack Kent which Dean Mullaney is collecting for IDW. Duffy posts a sample of the strip, endlessly charming in its simple, clean lines and whimsy.

King Aroo lasted from 1950 through the mid 60′s–a pretty long run by today’s standards, but when talked about historically it’s always considered a strip that got cut off in its youth. Only one reprint book ever came out during its run–covering much, but not all, of the first year. Rick Marschall’s NEMO reprinted a fantastic surreal run of dailies in the 80s, and Tom Devlin edited a collection of Sunday’s for an oversize Comics Journal special a few years ago (using Sundays from my collection, I’m collector-proud to add.) But all that adds up to a small fraction of the run of the strip.


(PS: There’s some other fairly awesome old comics at Duffy’s blog if you dig around.)

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Bookcover Brinkg§ Via Flog, a preview of The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley’s Cartoons from 1913-1940 by Trina Robbins. Brinkley was an incredibly popular illustrator/cartoonist early in the last century — “The Brinkley Girl” was considered a style icon and helped popularize the idea of the young, attractive fun-loving suffragette. There’s a video slideshow and a 12-page preview, and the artwork within can only be considered….wild. We stole one page from the preview to show you, but you gotta see it all.

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§ Over at Comics Comics, Dan Nadel notes that he and Mark Newgarden are working on a book of Milt Gross art:

We have spoken to hitherto undiscovered sources, found incredible artwork, and are finally beginning to understand the scope of Gross’s epic career in comics, film, prose, animation, fine art, and even television. We don’t have a release date for the book yet, but assure you that we will spend summer ’09 sweating it out over our keyboards. Anyhow, should any of you out there have rare Gross photos or ephemera, please contact me: dan (at) pictureboxinc (dot) com.


Gross is generally considered one of the greatest cartoonists of all time, evolving styles over his long career but never losing his wacky, kinetic style. He helped to popularize several Yiddish–influenced catchphrases like “Banana Oil!” His ’30s graphic novel, HE DONE HER WRONG (reprinted in a modern edition by Fantagraphics a few years ago), was an early, and popular example of the form. (The above art taken from an ASIFA archives post on Gross.) [Link via Robot 6]

Wow, with such riches raining down on us, is there anything left to savor and rediscover?

YES!

SMOKEY STOVER!

But in the meantime, this will keep us all pretty busy.

Comments

  1. For those who are curious:
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?EAN=9781600105463
    Complete Milt Gross Comic Book Stories

    No info on King Aroo, but Random House is reprinting “There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon”
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?ean=9780375851377

    Brinkley Girls:
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?ean=9781560979708

    Lessee… in comicstrips, waiting for discovery, there’s:
    (jogged my memory using the NCS Awards)

    Hejji, by Dr. Seuss (will Checker collect these as part of their Seuss library?)

    Barnaby, by Crockett Johnson

    Nancy, by Ernie Bushmiller

    Mother Goose & Grimm, by Mike Peters (I’m talking a definitive collection)

    A Virgil Partch compendium

    Gordo, by Gus Arriola

    9 Chickweed Lane, by Brooke McEldowney (Fans suspect that he is waiting for his contract to expire before issuing collections. HIGHLY recommended, available at Comics.com)

    And, Ms. Beat, do you not get complimentary review copies? Or do you have to compete with your coworkers?

  2. We live in marvelous times, don’t we?

    There is actually a second Gross book coming out as well, this one by Craig Yoe for IDW. It will collect ALL of Gross’s comic book work!

    http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Milt-Gross-Comic-Stories/dp/1600105467/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239893849&sr=1-1

  3. Trina and the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco also have an exhibit of Nell Brinkley’s work. Seeing it there was my introduction to her work and I am grateful I had the chance to see it. I’m sure the book will be gorgeous.

  4. The Brinkley Girls looks so good!

  5. Synsidar says:

    Here’s an online gallery of Nell Brinkley’s artwork.

    SRS

  6. Synsidar says:

    Here are four King Aroo strips.

    SRS

  7. Wahoolazuma!
    Dino is on a roll at IDW.
    Congrats Mr. Mullaney–it’s great to see you doing what you so love to do.
    (Now if I could just somehow process the fact that it has actually been 25 years since we met at PetuniaCon and Dean offered the Beanworld fanzine a shot at the big time at Eclipse Comics!)

  8. Synsidar says:

    Here’s the Smokey Stover site.

    SRS

  9. Notary Sojac.

  10. Great news — but still waiting for NANCY.

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