Friday, September 26, 2014

Alley Oop Sundays, Vol. 2


Foozy, Alley Oop and King Guz.
“…Monstrous Queen Umpateedle reduces all the men in the strip to stunned silence…”

by John Adcock

EIGHTY YEARS AGO the Alley Oop Sundays began, on September 9, 1934. This second volume of Sundays is another beautiful full-color collection from the archives of the Kingdom of Moo. The core characters — Alley Oop, King Guz and Foozy who speaks in rhymeall have explosive tempers which create differing alliances that drive the plots. The monstrous Queen Umpateedle, wife of Guz, can be explosive too and reduces all the men in the strip to stunned silence.
HIGHLIGHTS. The present volume’s highlights include an outdoor boxing match broadcast through the hills on primitive amplified megaphones, the addition of a new animal character named Terry the pterodactyl, aerial warfare, the creation of a Moovian zoo, a traveling circus made possible by the discovery of the wheel, war with the kingdom of Lem, a bruising game of football and the promotion of Oop as top cop of Moo.

New animal characters
INSPIRATION. By winter of 1938 Vincent T. Hamlin was feeling the stress of working seven days a week on the comic strip. Worse, “regardless of the vastness of my Moovian people’s jungle world” his inspiration was drying up. Hamlin’s wife Dorothy, according to his autobiography The Man Who Walked with Dinosaurs, suggested incorporating time-travel into the strip. Hamlin convinced his syndicate to give it a try and Alley Oop and Oola were materialized into the twentieth century on April 8, 1939.
NEA claimed that “the operation was a success,” the majority of letters and telegrams from readers were in favor.
The reaction of readers varied in form from the shortest telegram, “I can’t stand it much longer. For gosh sakes get Alley Oop back to Moo,” to a two page letter from a prominent New York doctor who psychoanalyzed Hamlin and discovered a “dissatisfied” complex that had caused Hamlin to make the change.

ENDING ABSURDITY. Fantagraphics Books published three reprints of Alley Oop time-traveling daily strips in the 1990s. Following that a rumor circulated that time-travel serials appeared only in the daily strips, the Sunday’s apparently all took place in the jungles of Moo. This volume will put that absurdity to rest. The collection ends with the first five time-travelling Sundays dated April 2, April 9, April 16, April 23 and April 30, 1939. Next up, based on Homer’s epic the Iliad, Alley Oop, Oola and Foozy travel to ancient Greece and participate in The Siege of Troy…

Moo – Foozy’s poem of color, green, blue and red

            Alley Oop; By V.T. Hamlin;  
            The Complete Sundays; Volume Two; 1937-1939,
            hardbound, 128 pages.
Russ Cochran/Dark Horse Book.

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