Presenting a large scan of the stunning original art to a loony 1931 Count Screwloose by Milt Gross!
Yesterday, I posted some swell scans of original art by Walter Hoban. I've decided to make every post this week a look at scans of originals I've collected -- stay tuned and spread the word!
Today's offering is a "topper" strip that ran above the larger Dave's Delicatessen. In earlier posts ( to see these, just click the Milt Gross Monday link at the top right of this web page), I've shared examples of full page versions of Count Screwloose from 1928 - 30. When Milt started his new feature, Dave's Delicatessen, he made Count Screwloose into a topper. Gross also abandoned the frame of the longer version of the strip, in which the Count escapes Nuttycrest asylum, sees "normal" folks acting crazy, and runs back to the relative safety and sanity of the laughing academy. As we see in this topper, Gross changed the Count into a trouble-causing protagonist instead of a passive observer. The Count is joined in this mischief by his dog pal in the Napoleon hat, Iggy.
|Count Screwloose by Milt Gross - circa Nov. 11, 1931 (date unconfirmed)|
Gross's visual layout is as well-constructed as his story. Notice how he uses the pattern of the Colonel's pajamas to make his panels more visually busy and dense as the action escalates. In the climactic next-to-last panel, the pj pattern becomes a blur scribbles as all heck breaks loose.
You can see a few non-repro blue marks in this scan, but not many. Gross appears to have very loosely penciled the strip and then boldly inked with the confidence of a master. His line is loose and spontaneous within the well-crafted vessel of his solid story structure and visual layout -- this solidity of form and looseness of execution is the essence (and beauty) of his style.
Tune in Every Monday for a New Milt Gross Comic!
That is all,