Wednesday, October 05, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! OUT OUR WAY 1922 DAILIES by J.R. Williams (Ecomics Space, 2016)

Over the course of the past few months, the next few months and maybe even longer, you have and are going to be seeing a whole lot MORE reviews of both comic strip and comic book collections in these "pages". They have or will be written either by myself or Bill Shute or perhaps even Brad Kohler, and in my case (since I can't vouch for either Bill 'r Brad) these reviews will emanate from books either purchased recently or those that were stuffed in nooks and crannies for years only seeing the light of day now. I'm sure that some less astute readers will get the impression that BLOG TO COMM has transformed into a comics blog but (as if I hadda tell ya!) it will remain a "general interest" outlet for things that interest the likes of myself, Bill and Brad dealing with quite a variety of subjects that are most attuned to the suburban slob way of existence. And right at this moment it just happens that comics interest us quite a bit so if you're a fan of obscure Lithuanian sexual practices or last night's college archery scores you've come to the wrong place buddy!

I've written plenty about OUT OUR WAY on this blog and elsewhere, and as far as "serious" historians go this long-lived (1922-1977) comic was whatcha'd call (to be trite about it) "classic". And at least this one time I tend to agree, so therefore it's really good to see that Ecomics Space has begun reprinting the panel in handy if pricey softcover form.

OUT OUR WAY has been a favorite of mine ever since I could remember, and the style and stories to be found therein continue to resonate inside me reminding me of a time that was perhaps still in gear (if ever so slightly) when I was a child which has since slowly slipped away with the advance of age and the loss of those whose era OUT OUR WAY best exemplified. IN OTHER WORDS the characters in OUT OUR WAY, like those in MAJOR HOOPLE and other old faves, bring back memories of long gone relatives and those who certainly went for comics like these, and although at one time I might have shed a tear thinking about 'em when pouring through these collections nowadays I get the feeling that they would appreciate in their own "up there" way 'n all.

The comics that make up the inaugural year of OUR OUR WAYs are quite a surprise since I never did get to read many of these early examples of J.R. Williams' creation. The familiar large-eyed and finely thin-penned style Williams was best known for is only beginning, and not only that but none of the famous continuing characters like the Worry Wart, the Willetts or Curly and his cowboy friends have arrived. However, you do get the old time rural stories about kids sneaking under circus tents and going barefoot during the summer that Williams just inundated us with for the comic's entire run. Like many comic efforts Williams was still feeling around trying to hit on successful ideas and although he sure had many that would last throughout his life you can see that he was trying to hit the right chord with his craft.

It's interesting to note that some of the regular characters Williams did come up with during the comic's inaugural run didn't last that long like Elf Dakin whose rotundus belly is oft the butt of many a sight gag or Wash Funk, the black guy who might seem stoopider'n most but ends up being the smart one after all. I guess they just didn't pan out with either Williams or his readers which is why these two eventually headed towards the overloaded funny page unemployment line. At least those who came after really stuck in the comics consciousness because hey, without Williams would my dad have called me "Worry Wart" throughout my entire blamed life???

Great start to a classic series. Can't wait to see how the subsequent volumes pan out (which I am most certain they will)!

1 comment:

Bill S. said...

I'm working on a survey of the 1975-76 Charlton Comics six-issue run VENGEANCE SQUAD...should have it off to you by the end of the month. I'll try to twist Brad's arm for you and get him to do something comics related. He loved that Beetle Bailey book which I sent to him before it made its way to you! BILL S.

ps, now Chris, let's not let the movie coverage stop! The world needs an outlet where we can read about anything that stars Lex Barker, Guy Madison, Gordon Scott, Cameron Mitchell, John Carradine, etc.