Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Little King

Last Sunday one of my favorite comic strips, Patrick McDonnell's MUTTS, warmed my heart when it paid tribute to another comic strip creator Otto Soglow (1990-1975) in this strip:

The above strip is referencing Soglow's own strip, THE LITTLE KING, which Soglow created in 1931 and continued drawing until his death in 1975:

THE LITTLE KING is one of the first comic strips I remember reading since it usually had no words; all you had to do was follow the drawings. At the height of his fame the tiny king was a big man. There were LITTLE KING comic books, LITTLE KING toys, and LITTLE KING puzzles. He shilled for Pepsi-cola, Standard Oil, Tops Gum and even had his own brand cigarettes:

As you can see the line between adult comic strips and children comic strips was blurry for awhile there. I remember Fred and Barney of The Flintstones doing commercials for Winston cigarettes. Not only did THE LITTLE KING do advertising, he became a movie star when Van Beuren Studios released 12 animated cartoons staring the little guy. He even made one with Betty Boop:

I haven't thought about THE LITTLE KING in years and writing this post has reminded me of just how much comic pleasure the little man gave me as a small child. Many thanks, Mr. Soglow.

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