It’s been a generation since Li’l Abner disappeared from newspapers. It was 1977 when creator/writer/artist Al Capp, sick with emphysema from a lifetime of smoking, shut down the strip. It, like Capp, had been in decline for some time. Capp died two years later, in 1979.
The strip was one of the most popular comic strips during the period of the thirties through at least the mid-sixties. It even influenced popular culture. Sadie Hawkins' Day, which is the subject of today’s post, became an annual event at some colleges and high schools. Up until 1952 Li’l Abner avoided being caught by Daisy Mae.
As biographical information about Capp shows, he had a troubled life and probably had personality disorders which caused him to be a total jerk at times,and then a generous, funny and friendly person at others. Maybe sitting at a drawing board for over 40 years, putting out sharp and oftentimes savage satire — Capp was a conservative when he died, but as a former liberal he still had a stinging view of the rich — will do that to a guy. Speaking of savage, the little character in this story who straps dynamite to his chest is a lot closer to today’s world than that of Li’l Abner.
I have shown this before, several years ago. These are new scans. From Al Capp’s Li'l Abner #74 (1950):
**********Cartoonist Mel Lazarus (Miss Peach, Momma was an editor at Toby Press, which published this comic. The company was founded in 1949 by Capp’s brother, Elliott Caplin. This page of gag cartoons by Lazarus is from the inside front cover of the issue.
Li’l Abner Sundays from 1960 and reprint strips of Li’l Abner that appeared in newspaper in 1988 and 1989: Part 1 and Part 2.