Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Obscurity of the Day: Casey
Some features deserve to be obscurities, but Casey certainly doesn't fit in that category. Charlie Rodrigues' strip about a cop on the beat was devastatingly smart, funny and had its own unique look. Who could possibly not love a strip that features a nasty old codger named Mr. Herpes!?
There's no particular plot to Casey -- the episodes always concern Casey on his beat passing the time of day with a cast of (ir-) regular characters. You've got the aforementioned old coot Mr. Herpes, Mr. Proust the undertaker, the incredibly dim yenta Mrs. Medusa, Mrs. Xavier the crystal-ball gazer and a few others. Casey's conversations with the motley assortment are farcical, fantastical and very funny.
Casey started sometime late in 1976 and ended in 1979 as a Sunday and daily strip. It was syndicated by the Chicago Tribune-NY News Syndicate. Its lack of success was likely due to spineless newspaper editors worried about flak over the frequent very black humor.
Charlie Rodrigues, who was Portuguese, pronounced his surname "Road-reegs" and was reported to get furious with anyone who muffed it. He was best known at the time for his National Lampoon cartoons. After the demise of Casey he had better newspaper success with a less outrageous panel series titled Charlie. He passed away in 2004.
Unfortunately Casey was never collected in book form, a memorial it richly deserves.