Friday, September 21, 2012

Smokey Stover's Bathtub and Car: Objects of Screwball Beauty (1939)

More antics of the madcap fireman foo you! Today's BIG color scan is a beautiful example of the early Smokey Stover from late 1939, when Holman began to pack his panels as full as the suitcases of a world traveler.

I 'm not bothering to count the gags in this comic, mainly because I am struck by the superior quality of the background gags more than the quantity (which is high). I love the many screwball embellishments on Smokey's bathtub, including oars, a life preserver, a cat, an anchor, and a door! I love how Smokey's wife's hat has a dangling "Foo" sign. In panel three we get one of Holman's classic twisted drainpipes, one of the many visual obsessions in Smokey, similar to Walter Hoban's goofy trees. The last panel features the fabulous two-wheeled "fire buggy" car, which seems to defy the laws of nature.  The comic ends with a small panel feature, "Foo-losophy." This week's fool-osophy, thematically related to the Smokey comic,  is pretty wise, I think.

September 17, 1939
Ipswitch on the Amscray,
Aulpay Metumay

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