Thursday, April 05, 2007

Number 115

Fritzi Ritz Has Ritzy T*tz!

Ernie Bushmiller's art style is instantly recognizable and more importantly, instantly readable. Anyone should be able to get the joke in a Bushmiller strip. The gags are what comedian Milton Berle called "lappy," so simple they were laid right in the audiences' laps.

Nancy was the character that took over the glamour-girl Fritzi Ritz strip, but it's these covers with their simple jokes and eye-catching pin-ups of Fritzi that got the attention of male readers in the early 1950s. I'm guessing covers with Bushmiller's characters Nancy and Sluggo didn't do quite as well in sales to men.

Fritzi is in the great style of the old-time cartoon cuties of the 1920s through the 1950s. She's curvy and sexy but not sexual. Except for Fritzi in various states of undress there's nothing overt about any of these covers. Well, maybe except for the hot dog cover…but that's more than you need to know about how my mind works.Someone needs to take a collection of Fritzi Ritz covers and turn them into a book like the books on pin-up cartoonists like Bill Ward, Dan DeCarlo, Bill Wenzel, et al. Are you listening, Fantagraphics?

Click on covers for full-size images.

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