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Alley Oop - (1933 - Present)

I'm an unapologetic reader of comics - newspaper comics - even though I haven't subscribed to a newspaper for about 20 years now. True, I used to read comic books, but I seemed to outgrow those by the time I reached high school. Newspaper comics, however, that's a different story.

One of my favorite comic strips throughout the years has been Alley Oop, which began in 1933 and continues to this day. As unlikely a popular comics character as Popeye was (and is), a time-traveling caveman runs a close second place. Its creator, Vincent Trout (V.T.) Hamlin, a would-be cartoonist, was working in the oilfields in Iraan, Texas, in 1930 when he had an idea that a comic strip featuring a caveman could be syndicated. After several years of development, the Alley Oop comic strip made its debut in 1933. Soon, however, Hamlin realized that storylines were becoming hard to conceive if Oop remained confined to the prehistoric land of Moo. Thus he introduced 20th-century time travel to the strip (as seen below) in 1939 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Hamlin retired in 1973, and his assistant, Dave Graue, took over the strip. When Graue retired, his assistant, Jack Bender, and his wife, Carole, assumed the duties. The Benders retired in 2018, and a new creative team of Jonathan Lemon and Joey Sayers has been introduced. Their work is, shall we say, different. Samples of all creators' artwork are embedded below.

Hamlin's early artwork could be considered crude, but by the late 1960's, his penciling and inking were marvelous. I recall one continuity circa 1968 that looked as if it had been a series of still photographs taken on Skull Island. Artwork since then, especially today's, well, you be the judge.

The history of Alley Oop and its creator may be found here. Note in the 'Popular Culture' section just how popular Alley Oop was; I haven't seen anyone yet compose a song glorifying Calvin and Hobbes (embedded below).

Some of the Alley Oop comic strips are available through GoComics and may be found here. Their archives go back to 1956 but many years are still missing and will presumably appear someday. Older strips are available in book form, as seen in the opening artwork above. Ol' Alley's and oldie but a goodie, and if you have never been introduced, then time's-a-wastin' (to coin a phrase).

V.T. Hamlin story and art from 1939 - where time travel first begins for Oop.

Dave Graue and Jack Bender story and art from 1997.

Jack and Carole Bender story and art from 2018.

Jonathan Lemon and Joey Sayers story and art from 2019.

Alley Oop - the song.

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I really like what you said here. It gives us all a lot to think about. Fragmented media, as well as too much choice/freedom, is definitely pushing society to be more like Mad Max Fury Road. At least it feels that way. I think what it comes down to is - you have to create a society that's good for people on both ends of every spectrum. A society with too much fragmented media, too much open-mindedness (as well as the rise of conspiracy theorists) definitely can't be good for people on the mid-low end of the spectrum. Do a google search of what people dressed like in the 40s-50s, the way they spoke to their elders, the things they cared about, etc. It almost feels like aggressive capitalism is slowly removing the spine from the culture we all loved originally. I duno.
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I read the daily newspaper cover to cover even as a child. It was part of our "lack of choice" that actually bound people together, although we didn't realize it at the time. There was one TV in the house, and it only got two channels, so the family watched TV together, even the 6 o'clock news. We listened to the same songs on the radio, because we didn't pick up many stations. The theater had one movie at a time, and no video rentals. Fragmented media and entertainment choices have their drawbacks.
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I have to agree. But the times, they are a-changin'. We lived across the street from the elementary school that I attended and the playground was studded with baseball diamonds, every one of which would be filled on Saturdays by kids playing pickup games. Today - not a one is in use on the weekends. And I used to read all of my free time, as opposed to staring at a smartphone or computer screen. I'm better off for all that.
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i think kids today would be have better vocabularies, and better manners, if they read comic strips instead of play fortnite.
remember when no one had a cell phone, and you had to look at other people and be classy?
good times.
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