Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Obscurity of the Day: Sunnyside
Here's the delightful strip Sunnyside by Clark Haas, who later went on to have the dubious distinction of helping to create one of the creepiest limited-animation TV series of all time, Clutch Cargo. I'm sure the show has its fans, but those disembodied lips make my skin crawl.
But let's get back to the strip. Sunnyside was created by Haas for Western Newspaper Union (obviously not Wheeler-Nicholson, which had been out of business for decades, despite the claim of the Wikipedia entry for Haas). WNU specialized in servicing rural weekly newspapers with a full slate of features, including a whole page of comic strips. Sunnyside was added to the line-up on May 6 1948 and ran until the demise of the syndicate itself, on March 29 1952.
As was the case with most of WNU's comic features, Sunnyside was quite well done. Placing the action in a diner affords Haas with a million gag opportunities which don't require continuing stories or a large cast, which are weaknesses for a weekly strip. Although there wasn't much about the strip to create a devoted fanbase, I'm sure the readers of the Cowpie City Discus-Thrower thoroughly enjoyed the strip.
By the way, you may notice that the strips above all have an unnecessary panel after the final story panel. This was WNU's way of allowing for different newspaper column widths, a nice nod to those rural client papers who did not necessarily keep up with the times regarding industry standards. A client paper could clip the extra column off, or use it to fill a gap depending on their paper's setup. What I find charming is that while some WNU strips used the same 'fill the gap' panel every week, Haas and some others would go to the extra trouble of drawing a new panel for each strip.
And, for what I know, Schlensker worked on dailies.