August 13, 1961. I’m not normally a fan of EB’s pets, but I love the dog’s reaction in panels four to six. Panel four captures amazement as only a dog can show, followed naturally by the dog barking its head off while racing to investigate (why didn’t EB show some ARFs in those last two panels?). I don’t know, maybe you have to be a dog owner to completely get it (when I was 14, one of our half-bulldog, half-husky puppies amazed and amused us no end by pulling the cinder block, twice his weight, that he was tied to, to investigate something he heard in the front yard).
Two other things stand out here. Nancy cracks herself up about as hard as she ever will in panel four, and her “boy that was dumb” gaze at the camera in the final panel seems completely foreign to an EB strip. But the Joe Bftsplk rain cloud that appears over her head is a perfect touch!
August 20, 1961. I am always fascinated by 1960s pop culture’s depiction of computers. They took up an entire room (which was true), had all sorts of bells and whistles and flashing gizmos and gauges, usually run by the sort of gentleman you see here, and the answer to their problems or questions came out on a piece of paper no wider than a receipt. An entire blog could be filled with examples from movies, tv shows, literature and even children’s books from the period, most containing a thinly-disguised fear of this all-powerful, all-knowing “brain.”
What makes it even more fascinating is that your basic laptop, loaded with Microsoft Excel and/or internet ready, is much, much more powerful than this old behemoth. Chew on that for a while, and then consider this: this strip is 52 years old; what will people in 2065 think about our current technology?
August 27, 1961. (Boy I’m chatty tonight.) Nancy waits for, fawns over, and adores her man as he proves how worthy he is by shooting hoops. Despite Sluggo’s fluid movement, I think these panels come off as extremely static (it may be the presence of that utterly graceless basket).
I found this strip in maybe six different newspapers, and all six presented it in this vertical format. It makes me wonder about the nature of newspapers and feature distribution. Did the syndicate present it to its clients (the papers) in this vertical format? Were many/most papers at this time looking to eliminate feature space to run additional ads? (End of August – back to school.) Was it pure coincidence that these six editors all decided to run the same strip in this altered format? And, regarding the strip itself, is that really the title panel (albeit changed slightly), or a quickly-pasted up fake, modified panel?
I will be out of town for the next week and a half. I will resume posting here around December 1.