Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Obscurity of the Day: Debbie Deere

Debbie Deere seemed like a natural for a soap opera strip. Our heroine worked at a newspaper writing an advice column a la Ann Landers. Unlike her real-life counterparts, though, she invariably became personally involved with her lovelorn correspondents and melodrama ensued.

The art by Frank Bolle was a perfect fit for the subject matter, and improved on the typical soaper look by staying away from the endless talking head routine that afflicted some others. The stories, written anonymously, were perfectly good soap opera matter.

Why then did it fail? I can only guess that the genre was already filled with no room left for a new entry. With Mary Worth, Juliet Jones, On Stage, Rex Morgan and Judge Parker already firmly ensconced on the nation's funny pages, perhaps a new soaper entry simply had no empty slots to fill.

Joe Brancatelli in The World Encyclopedia of Comics says that the scripts were provided by none other than Al Jaffee, he of Mad magazine fame. Without additional confirmation I have to take this nugget of knowledge with a grain of salt. At McNaught Syndicate Bolle often worked with writer Nick Meglin on Children's Tales during the same period, and I can't help but wonder if the two Madsters might have gotten mixed up by Joe. Does anyone have more info?

UPDATE: Joe Brancatelli writes to tell me that the Jaffee credit came straight from the horse's mouth. Joe sent him a questionnaire and Jaffee listed this credit thereon. As Joe pointed out, no one would try to pad his resume with a credit like this.

Oh, and I failed to give running dates in my post. Debbie Deere ran 5/30/66 - 11/1/69.


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