Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Obscurity of the Day: Middle Ages
The Washington Post Writers Group syndicate has a knack for picking winners when it comes to comic strips. I'm not sure if they had one of their rare missteps with Middle Ages, or if newspapers failed to see its potential, or what other factors may have cut its life short.
Middle Ages seems to be a good fit for the mid-80s, when it debuted. A cast of middle-aged schlubs dealing with life's curveballs would certainly seem to be a subject that would resonate with the typical newspaper reader of the day. The gags were reasonable funny, and had just enough of an edge to be seem hip. The art, while not exactly rivaling Walt Kelly, didn't look out of place on the funnies page. The strip had a lot of workplace humor, but wisely didn't limit itself only to that venue, but let the characters have home and social lives as well. The only obvious flaw I can find is that (based on my limited archive) the cast of the strip is rather extensive, which might make it tough for new readers to follow what's going on.
The strip seems to have begun on November 12 1984. At the time the strip was, I gather, self-syndicated. At least the early strips bear no syndicate stamps. On January 7 1985, the Washington Post stamp begins appearing, and stays on the strip until its apparent demise on December 10 1985, only a year and a month into the run.
The creator, Ron Jaudon, is a mystery man to me. This is the only cartooning of his I've been able to uncover.