Monday, July 16, 2018

Number 2207: Frank Frazetta and the imitation li’l Abner

Looie Lazybones was a character based on Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner” comic strip. In this entry, from 1949, a fan of Capp’s creation can see the similarities between the two. After all, “Li’l Abner” may have been the most popular comic strip in America at the time, or at least the one with the most cultural impact, and also remunerative. Every cartoonist would be lusting after Capp’s success. According to Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary by Denis Kitchen and Michael Schumacher, Capp wanted to hire Frazetta: “When Capp decided to hire another assistant in 1954, he had one particular artist in mind. Some years earlier, Frank Frazetta was doing his own hillbilly comic, ‘Looie Lazybones,’ which owed much to “Li’l Abner” . . . Capp concluded that Frazetta was not only very talented; he was also capable of mimicking a wide range of styles.”

The artwork in the Frazetta “Looie Lazybones” strip doesn’t rise to the level of plagiarism, but the story could star Li’l Abner and Daisy Mae; it reads like a sequence from “Li’l Abner.”

From Thrilling Comics #71 (1949).

Here is an example of the work Frazetta did for Capp. Just click on the thumbnail.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Seriously? Lil Abner was more read than Dick Tracy or Gasoline Alley or Terry and the Prates? Didn’t know that! And I’ve never read a single Abner comic. Ouch!

Pappy said...

Charlie Horse, I don't know the number of newspapers those strips appeared in, but Li'l Abner was near the top. And I qualified it to say it had the most cultural impact. When Li'l Abner and Daisy Mae got married it made the cover of Life magazine. It was also a gold mine for Al Capp, who kept the rights to the strip, so he could negotiate with other syndicates when his contract came up for renewal, and get more money from licensing. (He was also, with his brother, part-owner of Toby Press, which published comic books and...guess what?...Li'l Abner reprints.)

The thing about Li'l Abner, Gasoline Alley, Dick Tracy, Terry and the Pirates, et al, is that because they do not appear in hundreds of newspapers any more they are not known to new generations. They are available to us in reprint form.

There are a bunch of Li'l Abner reprint books and you can still find them.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Yep! My local library has a ton (!) of comic related books and reprints to be checked out! But those strips are lost to posterity at this point. :(

Darci said...

This is very near the end of the feature (AFAICT it ended with #73). Apparently the GCD has no idea who scripted it. Anyone here want to try?