Monday, December 10, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Moco
Seems like if you are really serious about getting a syndicated comic strip into your curriculum vitae, go pantomime. If your art and gags aren't necessarily masterworks, that's okay because your potential audience is approximately 7.5 billion people, as opposed to the paltry hundreds of millions that you filter down to by using a particular language and marketing yourself only in your home country. If you can get someone to syndicate you to all those worldwide markets, you're practically guaranteed to find enough editors who like your stuff, or at least perceive you as good space filler for the money.
Moco was created by Danish cartoonists Jørgen Mogensen and Cosper Cornelius and sold in their home country as Alfredo. The strip was offered on the international market, and according to one website was running in over 100 papers at its high water mark. Of those supposedly 40 were in the U.S. The U.S. title, Moco, comes from combining the first two letters of each creator's family name. I do not know what the division of labor was on the strip. The two creators seem to have had very similar art styles based on the samples I've found online of their separate works.
In the U.S. the strip was offered by the Los Angeles Times-Mirror Syndicate starting on October 12 1959*. However, I have a few examples of the strip running as Alfredo in the Toledo Blade as early as 1956, so someone else was syndicating it earlier. Perhaps PIB, the Danish syndicate, was giving a whirl to syndicating it in the U.S.
Alfredo, or Moco, or Presto or Pepe as it was also known in some countries, concerned the misadventures of a mustachioed gent who seemed to gain a new profession every day. The only stable thing about his life is his wife, a strong-willed Maude-type. The visual gags almost always land well enough if not spectacularly. It's one of those strips that you happily glance at every day in the paper, but if it disappears after twenty years the next day you may struggle to remember what was in that space.
The LA Times Syndicate last advertised the strip in 1976, and the last paper I find running it in the U.S. is the El Paso Herald-Post, which ended it on November 19 1977. According to Lambiek, Morgenson dropped out of participation on the strip at some point and it was continued by Cornelius alone, but I don't know if that was before or after this point.
Moco continued until the mid- to late-1980s outside the U.S., and PIB advertised it in the U.S. in 1981 and 1982**, with no known takers.
* Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin and several other papers
** Source: Editor & Publisher Syndicate Directory