Tuesday, February 26, 2008

 

Obscurity of the Day: PIXies


One of the most unique features ever to appear on the funny pages was Jack Wohl's PIXies. Wohl must have been a glutton for creative self-flagellation because in this feature he limited his characters to numbers, letters and common everyday objects. No humans need apply, in fact no animate objects of any kind.

Wohl did an amazing job of coming up with creative ways to milk his strictly limited subject matter. His creativity in coming up with delightful gags, especially with fonts and letter shapes, seemed practically unbounded.

Now anyone with a half-decent imagination could make a go of a concept like PIXies for a few months, maybe a year or two, but Wohl turned out the feature for over two decades. And for much of the time he did PIXies it was far from the only thing on his plate. Wohl had at least one additional feature going for a good part of that time, and, at least when he started out, was also an executive at an advertising firm on top of it all.

PIXies started as a daily one-column panel on May 16 1966. A Sunday was added but never really caught on -- in the Des Moines Register, one of the few papers to carry it regularly, it ran from March 19 1967 to July 11 1971. The more popular daily panel forged on until December 28 1987.

A few PIXies reprint books are long out of print but still available pretty cheap -- they're definitely on the recommended reading list.

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Comments:
Is this Wohl the same guy who used to do "Wohl Nuts" in the earlier issues of Harvey Kurtzman's HELP!? I would think so given the nature of this strip and "Wohl Nuts"' usage of photographed household objects, foodstuffs (eggs, nuts...) and whatnot to create a series so good that even satire mag biggie MAD swiped a few ideas. Thanks for all the good work in detailing these comic rarities that you've done...please keep 'em coming!
 
Hi Chris -
I'm not familiar with "Wohl Nuts", but I know Wohl did at least one book of captioned photos, so it's pretty likely the same Wohl.

--Allan
 
Can you follow this up with Jerry Robinson's similar talking objects strip?
 
Jack Wohl went on to write for the
Dean Martin Show, Laugh In and many more TV shows. He was also the producer & writer of many TV shows and has won awards including some Emmy's, etc. He was lyricist for the Broadway musical Chu Chem. Mr. Wohl is recently associated with Tales From The Cyrpt, and is still writing for TV.
 
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