Thursday, January 19, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! OUT OUR WAY 1925 DAILIES (Jan.-June) by J. R. Williams (Ecomics Space, 2016)

I dunno why Ecomics Space split the year of '25 into two volumes but why argue if they're givin' us the goods we've been deserving for a longer time'n any of us (or at least me) can imagine! And with the mid-twenties rollin' on you can tell that OUT OUR WAY is beginning to shape up into the comic that a few of us certainly remember it being, a nice li'l cornucopian slice of mid-Amerigan fun and jamz the way it was before home computers and personal vibrators became the haute-de-hot accessories for standard suburban lifestyles.

The crossing guard and Wash Funk are still to be found even though you can just sense that their time in the comic is waning, while the group of young boys who were trying to make it to the North Pole by sled have now begun playing soldier after the Dog Catcher got hold of their propulsion. The cowboy saga is beginning to take up a whole passel o' time and, with the addition of bookkeeper Wes who's also trying to write that Great Amerigan Cowboy Novel, is given an even newer dimension what with all the practical jokes being played on this rather gullible and unaware soul. However, you can sure bet that OUR OUR WAY creator J. R. Williams made Wes out to be the ultimate hands down funny sissy of all time in these early appearances---a total washup embarrassment to himself and everyone around him for that matter! Sure the bespectacled one was always outta place next to the rough 'n tumblers who were workin' at the ranch, but in these early appearances he comes off so fey and fragile that even Harold Lloyd (who bears a not-that-striking resemblance, but close enough) looks he-man in comparison!

My faves (as usual) are the ones that flash us back to the older-than-olden times which would eventually be subtitled "Born Thirty Years Too Soon", the ones where Williams and his readers get a chance to reminisce about the days when they were young 'un's which I guess were quite different to the mid-twenties in many a way. 's funny, but at times Williams seems to be mocking those perhaps more halcyon than you'll ever admit days (such as in the panel where a bunch of turn of the century denizens yuk it up over the 1860s styles to be found in a photo album while these modern day smartasses are wearing clothes that even the Katzenjammer Kids woulda tossed inna trash) yet most of the time he laments their passing in the same way Curly the cowboy ruminates about the era of the Wild West and cowpunching coming to a sad end. Kinda makes me wanna do a little snifflin' myself, only over the end of the small-type record shops and the music that went along with 'em before the brave new days of rock video washed away just about everything in its path.

And between the cowboy series, the "Why Mothers Get Gray" fambly sitcom situations and the other fly onna wall aspects of life a good ninetysome years back, it's no wonder that OUT OUR WAY was the most clipped comic of its day. Don't have any scrapbooks with these gems myself (even though I've come across a few in my various antique shop travels) but with this non-biased, straight ahead look at an Ameriga long gone I can see just why families spent time pastin' away back in those tough yet tender sorta times
Since writing the above review I've chanced upon even more OUT OUR WAY collections (including the rest of '25) taking the series well into the mid-thirties with hopefully more to come. In case you aren't aware all of these books are highly recommended, not only for the aficionado comic fan types out there (all THREE of ya!) but everyday suburban slobs like myself who loved the comic pages at least until the old strips started dropping off and the new ones just weren't delivering on the yuks like they shoulda.  And if you can't get your fill of those it seems that clippings of both the daily and weekend strip can be found not only on line but at various antique malls scattered about, and considering just how under-the-radar this comic seems to be these days you might just get your fill of these comics for a mere song if lucky! Keep your peeps open for a future HIGH SIX when I will delve into the OUT OUR WAY mystique a little further.


Stanley J. Kirby said...

I picked up a copy of OUR BOARDING HOUSE(1935 Sundays) a little while ago based on your championing of the strip. I find it not only an entertaining read, but a kind of a touchstone to keep myself linked to a better world while I daily traverse the one I am forced to interact with on a daily basis, due to the fact that i gotta put food on the table. I'm not really complaining, cause I ain't the only one dealing with this, but stuff like that really does help to create an environment that I can exist in when I get home from toiling at the grind. I had not been that interested in picking any OUT OUR WAY collections for whatever reasons, however I think you are starting to convince me. I mean you can never have too big of an arsenal of weapons to help battle the incessant crap of this modern world. I'll be looking forward to the HIGH SIX to learn more.

Anonymous said...

Vibrators were big in the 19th century, btw. (if not earlier) As Yogi Berra said "you can look it up." -Craig Joyce

Christopher Stigliano said...

Somehow I can see Lil Willet using one.