Friday, September 17, 2010

Number 809

Felix the Cat

Felix the Cat comic books helped me learn to read decades ago, and I have a nostalgic love of the surreal, fanciful stories by Otto Messmer. Craig Yoe's Felix the Cat, The Great Comic Book Tails, is another in his series of beautiful books of comic art. This time he's featured Felix stories from the late 1940s and early 1950s, that period in Felix's comic book career I especially love.

Felix's stories usually start with something ordinary, then veer off into fantasy. In the first story in this volume, for instance, "Felix the Cat in Starburst", from Dell's 1946 Four Color #135, Felix is having a normal day (for Felix), which turns into taking a rocket ship to the moon, then visiting the signs of the zodiac.

You have to be willing to accept that these stories were written for young readers, probably in the six to ten-year-old bracket, but the artwork is always wonderful. I had always believed that Otto Messmer was the sole artist of Felix, but according to Yoe, Joe Oriolo and Jim Tyer assisted him.

Yoe's taste is impeccable, and as with the other books he's produced, the book itself is beautiful, from the cover to the interiors, meticulously scanned and restored from the original comic books, with top-notch printing on heavy paper, designed for permanence. The books in this series are so well made I believe they will be pleasing readers well into the 22nd century!

It gets my highest recommendation.

Felix the Cat, The Great Comic Book Tails, IDW Publishing, 2010. 225 pages. Available from the publisher, IDW, Bud Plant and

The story I scanned for today's posting is not in Yoe's book. "Misdeal" is the lead story from Felix the Cat #1, 1948.

Copyright © 2010 Felix the Cat Productions


Mykal Banta said...

I whole-heartedly agree on every point. Great review, Pappy!

DEMiller said...

A tip of the hat to Craig Yoe. He is doing some beautiful work. FELIX fans should also check out John Canemaker's book, "FELIX, The Twisted Tale of the World's Most Famous Cat".

Pappy said...

I agree about the Canemaker book. It's out of print, but just a cursory check on shows several used hardcover copies for reasonable prices.

Pappy said...

Mykal is being kind, since his review on the Big Blog of Kids' Comics appeared several days before mine.

We both agree this is a book well worth owning. As you can see by the Felix strip Mykal showed, as well as my own example, nobody makes comics like Felix anymore.

Kirk Jusko said...

I enjoyed that. My original exposure to Felix was the somwhat tacky 1960s TV show that I doubt Otto Messmmer had much to do with. Much later I saw the wonderful silent cartoons which I think were just as good as anything Walt Disney was doing at the time. Maybe Disney (or Ub Iwerks) was inspired by Felix. Mickey Mouse and the earlier Oswald the Rabbit seemed to be drawn in a style similar to Felix.

I see here that Felix is an actual family pet. I don't believe he was ever that in his other incarnations.

Mykal Banta said...

Pappy: I may have beaten you to the punch, but you hit harder ;-) Pappy! The first and always the best!

Pappy said...

Kirk, it's been many years since I saw any of the Felix animated cartoons, so I judge the character on his comic book appearances.

The earlier animation characters like Felix, Mickey, Oswald, etc., were designed to be drawn easily, a series of circles, so they do resemble each other. I like animated cartoons but I'm not a huge fan, so I leave the assessments of their relative merits to others with the expertise.

Pappy said...

Mykal, my punch has been described as feeling like a marshmallow covered in warm oatmeal, but thanks for bragging it up, anyhow.