BOOK REVIEW! THERE OUGHTA BE A LAW by Fagaly and Shorten (Midwood, 1961)
As I and Bill Shute have told ya many-a-time, sometimes the cheap knockoffs are usually better'n the real deal meal! Or if they ain't at least they make for some pretty hotcha-styled fun and jamz which can be had, usually at a cheaper price.
Of course that usually applies when we're talkin' about Cap'n Crunch or PEANUTS vs. SHRIMPY, but as far THERE OUGHTA BE A LAW??? This must be the first time in history that the title of a comic strip answers its own question.
Actually I'm just funnin' ya, for THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW is a good enough swipe of the more famous THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME which I have reviewed in book form earlier in the blogging season. Same format, same situations (work, neighbors, kids...), same kinda characters (Bratinella and/or Little Chlorine for Little Iodine) and the same kinda everyday schlubs from Anywhere USA who send in their pet peeve examples of life's inequities and actually get their names 'n hometown (sometimes even their street address!) printed for all of the nosy nebs to see.
Al Fagaly (try living sixth grade down with a name like that!) ain't as hotcha as Jimmy Hatlo but he's still way better'n any of the women who you see saturating the funny pages nowadays while Harry Shorten does a fine job aping the whole Hatlo sense of mid-Amerigan frustration whether it deals with goofs who mistreat their famblys or the kinda backstabbing co-workers out to get ahead that you see even this far down the line. I guess themes like these are so universal that it really doesn't matter that there were two comics with the exact same fashion and layout competing for precious newspaper space.
Published by Midwood books (the same company that gave you THE UNASHAMED, YOUR SINS AND MINE not forgetting that all-time lulu SEX SCHOOL), THERE OUGHTA BE A LAW was actually the first of a series of paperbacks featuring reprints of the panel, and yeah an imitation it may be but it still zones me into that whole world I remember from my kid-dom that sorta petered out about the same time the generation it represented did the same. I can see a whole lotta the world that my parents lived in via these comics, just like I can see the universe most of my "compatriots" exist in whenever I happen to get a load of, say, STONE SOUP to pick a title outta my brain. And guess which world I'd prefer to place my plasma in, as if you have to guess!
Since the flea markets have probably sold outta the rest of the THERE OUGHTA BE A LAW line around 1979 I guess I'll have to get my fix of comics via ebay. Fortunately there ain't that big of a jones for this 'un in my system as there is for say, more Bob Montana-era ARCHIE dailies (the series of which has sadly come to a complete standstill leaving me in a humongous lurch!) but if one ever creeps up well, you know what I'm gonna be bidding my hard-earned on, right? (And no, it ain't gonna be Liberace memorabilia!)