Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Obscurity of the Day: The Almost Family

More Walter Bradford today! This time The Almost Family, a Sunday strip he did for the Philadelphia North American from July 22 to November 25 1906. A relatively simple slice-o-life strip featuring a family with constant bad luck.

I'd like to point out an example of the subtle little things that, to my mind, set apart a great comic strip creator from a hack. Notice in the top strip that we never actually see poppa getting walloped by the coal man. Instead Bradford lets us fill in the blank by having Junior comment on dad's new cauliflower ear. A small point, surely, but when you read as many bad comic strips as I do, that sort of little thing is thrilling. It's a nod to the reader's basic ability to make a simple inference that few comic strip creators, even today, seem to grasp. When Junior makes his comment, the reader takes a beat and in a moment a mental image of pater saying something smart to the coal man and getting a knuckle sandwich in return is conjured. Draw the reader in, make him a co-conspirator -- good advice for any cartoonist, or for that matter, an artist of any stripe.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples! I just heard that Cole is in the hospital, going into surgery this morning. I'm sure all Stripper's Guide readers join me in sending Cole best wishes for a most positive outcome and a speedy recovery.


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