IDW has found themselves in a very enviable position in the comic book market. They publish the Library of American Comics collected editions. The put out compendiums of newspaper strips like Tarzan, Batman, Flash Gordon in beautiful hard covers that are a joy to look at. Dubbed the “Essentials” you get one full year of strips, beautifully reproduced and a very engaging and interesting history of not only the comic but of it’s author and a bit about the world at the time the comic ran. Next up VT Hamlin’s Alley Oop gets the treatment.
Alley Oop ran in newspapers for five years starting in 1939 and is considered a classic of the adventure comic genre. A time travel tale starring a caveman and starting in a prehistoric era where dinosaurs and men roamed the earth, it was equal parts gag-a-day and sci-fi adventure. I, of course, being much too young to have ever read it in a newspaper wondered if I was the right person to review this book. We have several writers here at What’cha Reading who are artists, which I am not and several who are most assuredly more educated in the history of comics. So why me?
Honestly because when I opened the preview and started reading I was hooked. V.T. Hamlin was such a character, his story so convoluted and varied, with a trail of jobs and experiences it totally sucked me in. It’s part comic history, part comic strip, and a slice of Americana.
I can heartily recommend this (and all the LOAC Essentials series), I’d be proud to have these in my living room. This is a five out of five.
LOAC Essentials, Vol. 4: Alley Oop 1939
V. T. Hamlin (w & a & c)
In 1939, Vincent Trout Hamlin had been writing and drawing the successful Alley Oop for more than five years. In Alley Oop, Hamlin created a unique concept, marrying his fascination with dinosaurs and prehistoric times to a rollicking style of storytelling and drawing that was simultaneously serious, fantastic, and loaded with slapstick. The series was set in the kingdom of Moo and starred Alley Oop, the club-wielding caveman, his girlfriend Ooola, friends Dinny the dinosaur and Foozy, and more!
This volume features Oop’s final Moo adventure, followed by his trips to the 20th Century and ancient Greece. Hamlin would send his characters everywhere and everywhen — but the classic Alley Oop begins with the stories contained in this volume.
HC • B&W • $24.99 • 336 pages • 11.5” x 4” • ISBN: 978-1-61377-829-6