Posts Tagged ‘Cliff Sterrett’

That New Polly and Her Pals Book


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

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Cliff Sterrett's Polly from 1924, the year before he went wild.

As Jog mentioned yesterday, there’s a new collection of Cliff Sterrett’s Polly and Her Pals hitting comic book stores today. I wrote the introduction to it, so I risk becoming a Stan Lee type self-promoter if I say too much about it. But really, of the many books I’ve had a hand in, this is high up there as among the best. My introduction runs to 8,000 words and discusses Sterrett’s career in greater depth than anyone else has before. Dean Mullaney and Lorraine Turner had done a stellar job in putting the book together, especially in the care that went into reproducing the strips. The book itself doesn’t just cover Sterrett’s peak years as a creator, but also well-selected samples of the first dozen years of Polly Sunday pages, all of which are impeccably drawn even though they lack that extra edge of crazy energy that Sterrett gained when he decided to compete with Herriman for the laurel of being the greatest comic strip modernist.

For more on Sterret, you can read this nifty article by Jo Colvin about the cartoonist’s roots in Alexandra, Minnesota.


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Tisserand Talks Sterrett and Herriman


Friday, November 26, 2010

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Michael Tisserand, who is working on a biography of George Herriman, grew up in Alexandria, Minnesota. As it happens, Alexandra is also where, many decades before Tisserand arrived on the scene, Cliff Sterrett grew up. Michael was recently back home for the holidays and during his trip he was interviewed for a local radio station about his Herriman research and also about the upcoming Polly and Her Pals, which should be out shortly from IDW. You can listen to the interview here. To hear Michael talk, you have to fast forward till the 32nd minute or so of the hour long show (unless you wanted to hear about the local theater’s production of “Little Women”).

Michael mentioned to me that he wasn’t expecting to answer the questions about comic strip history that got thrown at him, so he go a few things wrong because he was caught off guard (i.e., he forgot the fact the color supplements preceeded the black and white strips). So I hope none of the nerds on this blog get too pedantic with him. But the conversation is really rich in Alexandria lore relating to Sterrett and there are good tidbits about Herriman as well. I wrote the introduction to the new Polly book and I wish I had had some of these bits of texture when I was writing my introduction (I’ll put them in the next Sterrett book). So I encourage comics history buffs to listen. As a bonus, the whole interview is conducted in a lilt and lingo strongly  reminiscent of the movie Fargo (set, of course, in a neighboring state).  Interestingly as Michael notes this is the same neck of the woods that gave us not only Sterrett but also Frank King and Charles Schulz. So give it a listen.

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Cubist Comics Notes, Part II


Friday, April 23, 2010

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To continue our notes on comics and cubists:

1. Modernism came to America in 1913 via the Armory Show. One early response was this Mamma’s Little Angel page by Penny Ross , circa 1913 or 1914, where the lead character has “a cubist nightmare in the studio of Monsieur Paul Vincetn Cezanne Van Gogen Ganguin.” (The page can be found in the great Smithsonian book edited by Blackbeard and Williams.) This page is an early example of a common joke, later repeated by Frank King and Cliff Sterrett, where American domesticity and “normality” is turned upside down by modern art.


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