Monday, August 20, 2012


Obscurity of the Day: Oh, Lady!

Here's a pretty darn good panel by Ruth Marcus sporting a truly awful title Oh, Lady! Did Jerry Lewis name this feature?

Mrs. Marcus was primarily a fine artist and fabric designer (you'll notice the penchant for drawing elaborate fabrics in some of her cartoons), but her habit of people-watching inspired her to begin sketching, and the result was a new tall one-column panel cartoon from Hall Syndicate that debuted on February 18 1963.

The panel never ran in many papers, and those that did mostly used it as filler. I think it was under-appreciated -- the humor often had a sly edginess to it, and the drawing was modern and clean but stylish.

I wonder if this panel was ahead of its time. In the mid-60s, women in newspaper comics were pretty much strictly caricatures. They were either dim-witted blonde babes or frumpy battleaxes, with little room for anything in between. Marcus' women seem far more real. The temperament and intelligence level differ every day, rarely veering into pure parody. Were newspaper editors not interested in seeing these more realistic women in their papers? Did they prefer the broad caricatures of the other features?

Oh, Lady! ran until sometime in 1968 -- can anyone supply a definite end date?

Marcus returned with other features in the 1970s, but those will be subjects for a different day. Thanks to Mark Johnson for the samples and newspaper article about Marcus!


My notes tell me the paper that ran it stopped doing so on 8 March 1968, but that may not be it's actual end date because that was a Friday.
I don't think this would go over well today. But I do like it.
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