Saturday, February 25, 2012

I'm an admiree of Jackys Diary

I found these great strips on a blog called The Fabulous Fifties. The blog comes from Holland, but its writer, Ger Apeldoorn, knows more about American comic art history than most Americans. I've always been a fan of cartooning, comic strips and comic books, but Apeldoorn is always teaching me something.

What inspired me to do this post is that he reproduced several examples of a great unknown and unjustly forgotten comic strip from the late '50s, Jackys Diary, by Jack Mendelsohn (age 32 1/2). Mendelsohn was a cartoonist and a writer. He went into television and did very well.

Jackys Diary was a bold and brilliant experiment, which means it was unappreciated in its time. Mendelsohn did it from a kid's perspective, even drawing it like a kid. That was the problem. Newspapers who carried the strip got notes from readers, "My kid can draw better than this!" Well, maybe so, but drawing like a kid isn't all that easy. You have to know the rules of cartooning, and then forget them while you draw. Readers who thought it was just poorly drawn didn't "get it."

I loved this strip when I was 12-years-old, and I "got it." I knew even then it was a parody. That came from being raised on Sid Caesar's TV show, Stan Freberg's records, and Harvey Kurtzman's Mad comic books. These men honed my appreciation of comedy, satire and silliness.

I hope someday Jackys Diary will be collected in book form, and maybe this time readers will "get it."


Kirk said...

Clever and amusing. Too bad it didn't take off.

I wonder if Bil Keane of Family Circus fame was influenced by this. From time to time he would do a week of cartoon supposedly drawn by a child, but those weren't nearly as funny as Jacy's Diary.

Postino said...

Kirk, I've never subscribed to a newspaper that featured Bil Keane's Family Circus. I'm aware of it, but have not read it on a regular basis.