Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Obscurity of the Day: Flook
While this strip is certainly an obscurity in its U.S. run, Flook was a beloved institution in Britain for over thirty years. So rather than expound on a strip that others know much more about, let me direct you to:
A quick Wiki overview
An appreciation of the strip by Stephen Worth, plus a nice long series of strips
A bio of creator Wally 'Trog' Fawkes
An E&P article about Flook
So all that's left for my comment is about the short and unsuccessful U.S. run. General Features, a perennially anemic second-string syndicate, took on the U.S. distribution of the strip a couple years after it began on the other side of the Atlantic, starting here September 10 1951. Why GFC thought Flook would go over in the States I can't imagine -- the strip is so rooted in British sensibilities, slang and culture that most Americans would need annotations to fully appreciate it.
GFC gave it their best shot, though, offering it for almost three full years to a whole country full of indifferent newspaper editors. The U.S. run ended on June 26 1954 when GFC finally pulled the plug and filled Flook's slot in their line-up with a very American two-fisted, take no prisoners reporter strip, Jeff Cobb.
I'm one of those shlubs who would need the annotations, but, yeah, I imagine in the original the mirage was Swingin' London.
Gothasm = the excitement a visitor feels when first arriving in NYC? Make a great marketing gimmick I think, replace "I (heart) NY" with "Visit NY, Have a Gothasm!".
And I put a little page or two fom a tiny Flook book I have, on my blog, after talking a little to Chris about the character:
Not as good, nor as quirky, in my opinion as 4D Jones by Peter Maddocks, which I suspect you might like, it's posted here: