Friday, August 10, 2012


Obscurity of the Day: The DeBrees

The DeBrees has been languishing on my E&P Mystery Strips list for years now. Several correspondents swore that they remember seeing it, but none could come up with a sample. Finally, Cole Johnson rides to the rescue with these two Sunday strips from the Philadelphia Inquirer. He says they seem to be the only two strips from the series that the Inky actually found space to run, both in December 1975.

This points out something we have to keep in mind about syndicated features. Just because a paper paid for it doesn't necessarily mean that they ran it. And here at the Stripper's Guide, that's a very important distinction.

No doubt creators Kipp Schuessler (art) and Charles Barsotti (writing) would tell me that the feature was picked up by 'x' number of papers, perhaps 10, 20 or even more. But it is quite possible that these few strips that ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer are the only ones that ever actually became ink on newsprint anywhere. Back in the day, papers often bought features for strategic reasons -- sometimes to keep a competing paper from getting it, as a favor to a syndicate salesman, as a hedge against the feature at some later date becoming a hot property, or because they liked it well enough but then got cold feet when it came time to drop some other feature to make room.

So, although The DeBrees has lost mystery status, that certainly doesn't mean there aren't unanswered questions. Did it run elsewhere, and if so, for how long, and did the advertised daily version ever run?


Have you check the L. A. Times? It's the clue you have about it (Being the syndicate that carried it).
It doesn't appear in the index of L.A. Times strips compiled by Dave Strickler. Home newspapers don't carry every strip of their syndicate...
So when you gonna finish posting the final third of the alphabet of the Mystery Strips? D.D.Degg
They evidently were colleagues at Hallmark at one point. Kipp Schuessler is deceased but Charles Barsotti has a website. I tried to e-mail him but had no response. Maybe you'll have better luck.

Dana, I emailed Barsotti a few years ago about his various obscurities in the newspaper comics realm, also got no response.

DD, those posts take a lot of time to prepare, and I'm still waiting for those 30-hour days I requested to start showing up. I haven't forgotten them, I swear!

I always am frustrated when folks include "contact me" pages on website and thennever respond. UGH!

Well, evidently the September-October 2006 issue of The Cartoonist has an interview with Barsotti. Maybe if you can have someone scan & send that it may have some help about his strip efforts...
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