Friday, September 14, 2012

Smokey Stover Goes Bowling in a Striking Way (1943)

Presenting a paper scan from my collection of a striking 1943 Smokey Stover by Bill Holman. This typically compressed episode leaves nothing to spare, with 16 background jokes, by my count. Holman often scored his background jokes around the theme of the strip. In this case, the theme is bowling, and Holman has a ball with making at least six of his 16 gags relate to his set-up.

As usual, all the gags in this Smokey Stover are G-rated and wholly accessible. It must have been tempting at times, but Holman never put his popular comic, read by adults and kids alike, in the gutter (cough cough).

While Holman has plenty of verbal puns in this strip, he's in fine form as he rolls out several surreal visual puns, such as the "sox-o-phone," or the "fountain pin," which relates to bowling.

In addition to the rich background humor, there's a smashing weird last frame, with the right-angled bowling alley. As if that weren't enough, Holman also throws in a small panel, Foomous Flames, which offers some pretty good curveballs in itself. It's clear that, by 1943, Holman had a grip on the screwball comics form like few others!

February 14, 1943
OK -- who lost the beer frame?

That is all,
Screwball Paul Foomey

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