Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: Boon Dock

No, this isn't Boondocks, the controversial comic strip by Aaron McGruder. Boon Dock, a self-syndicated effort by George Breisacher, couldn't generate any controversy if it had been trying -- it had a bewildering array of characters that Breisacher didn't really bother to introduce to readers. If these strips above leave you wondering what in the world the strip was about, who the characters are supposed to be, and what their relationship to each other is, join the club. I've read a month of the strip from the first year and I'm no closer to being able to explain anything about this strip than I was before.

Breisacher is best known for his short stint on Mutt and Jeff, where he did pall bearer duty for the strip in its final two years. A shame, too, because Breisacher actually put a spin on the strip that I thought worked pretty well. Breisacher later was president of the National Cartoonists Society from 1997-99.

Boon Dock started sometime in 1972 and I can vouch for it running until at least 1973 -- an obit says that it ran in the Oakland (MI) Press until 1975. It may have been a replacement, or even a renaming, of Breisacher's previous self-syndicated feature, Man on the Street. Does anyone know more about this obscurity? Or for that matter has anyone seen or have samples of the feature he did for the Charlotte Observer titled The First 200?


This strip was reprinted in the Menomonee Falls Guardian. One of the two self-syndicated strips they ran (the other being "Conchy" by James Childress)
I still have a complete set of those old Menomenee Falls Guardians in a box in my basement and I remember Boon Dock and Conchy very well. It was always interesting to see Breisacher show up, phoenix-like, through the years. One rumor I heard years ago that maybe you could clear up: Did Conchy creator James Childress commit suicide? I remember hearing that as a kid and I never saw his cartoons show up elsewhere which surprised me because Conchy was very engaging and had loads of potential.
Sadly, James Childress did indeed commit suicide in January 1977. He was going through financial problems and marital troubles at the time.
I just barely remember Breisacher's take on Mutt and jeff, right before it ended- yet I never see any examples anymore. I keep looking for it, out of curiosity.
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