Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Obscurity of the Day: Woody Woodenhead

The Pittsburgh Courier color comics section was so full of adventure strips, they almost forgot the humor element. However, they did grudgingly allocate one page for gag strips, one of which was Woody Woodenhead (the other was Sunny Boy Sam by Wilbert Holloway). This feature had a simple formula -- a dimwitted kid innocently puts his foot in his mouth and faces the wrath of an adult. It wasn't exactly Shakespearean in depth, but the strip was always nicely executed and the gag well-told.

The creator, Edo Anderson, I know nothing about except that he did a few things for Smith-Mann Syndicate and the Courier, chief among them being Woody. He certainly did have an interesting drawing style -- note for instance the noses on the characters which look like they were chiseled out of a block of wood.

Woody Woodenhead debuted along with the Smith-Mann color comics section on August 19 1950 and ran until August 4 1956, outliving the color section in the Courier by two years. After the first few years the title of the strip was often abbreviated to just Woody.

Thanks to the University of Michigan Special Collections Library for photos of their collection of Courier color sections. They have the only known run of the early color sections from 1950-51, and were very gracious in sharing photos of the strips in their collection with me. Above are the first two strips in the Woody Woodenhead series.


Happy Birthday to Oliver Wendell Harrington, born 100 years ago today.
Sorry for the digression.
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