Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Visit to the Foozland Zoo: Squirrel Cage by Gene Ahern

Gene Ahern Thursday

When he introduced Foozland into The Squirrel Cage, Gene Ahern found a perfect balance of comedy and surrealism. Sometimes the episodes lacked a punch-line and instead were picaresque glimpses of a bizarre alternate reality that followed its own, unfathomable rules.

Today's offering is a visit to the Foozland zoo where -- as you might expect -- you can see animals quite unlike anything in our reality. Like Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, and Dr. Seuss, Ahern delighted in inventing bizarre new creatures. His Room and Board strips sometimes featured screwball animals (see my post on the weird fish creations in Room and Board).

In the strip below, we are treated to some particularly weird animals -- love that balloon pig! The body-less rolling cow head is a haunting image. The Little Hitch-hiker makes an appearance in the last panel, as Ahern tosses in a Nut Brothers style rimshot joke.

The Squirrel Cage by Gene Ahern - May 13, 1945


  1. Thanks so much for introducing me to the work of Gene Ahern. After seeing your last post on him, I went down to my favorite comic book store and was sad to find that there are no books of his comics currently in print. Someone really needs to get this stuff back out on the shelves.

    Thanks again. This blog is great.

    1. Hey Corey,

      Thank you for your comment. It's great to hear that someone new has discovered the brilliant comics of Gene Ahern. While the the Foozland part of The Squirrel Cage is not in print (hopefully I can change that, someday), there is a swell small book collection of 1937 color Sundays available from Ken Pierce, who also has some Room and Board collections. There's also an excellent book collection from Algrove Press of a full year of 1927 Our Boarding House dailies which I highly recommend. Details and links to the sites where you can order these are on the Gene Ahern page of this blog.