Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Given that the only thing I knew about this comic strip was copped outta old MAD magazines I gotta 'fess up that I was somewhat curious regarding these by now ancient SMITTYs. Sure a strip about an office boy who likes to goof off but is so aw gosh that even his boss Mr. Bailey takes a shine to him (enough that the two go on fishing trips and even vacations together --- gosh, weren't we all so innocent then?) doesn't seem like the kind that would exactly perk my nerve endings. But still, SMITTY was a product of the Golden Age of Comic Strips and just for that I thought giving it a try would be something constructive to do before I clock out of life or happily spend my declining years on life support, whichever comes first.

After going through this gathering of old BORMs it's easy enough to see through the haze of a good ninety years that, although SMITTY is not the attention-grabbing visually pleasing type of comic that LI'L ABNER was, nor was it a simple to-the-point strip about the fun times of childhood as HENRY or NANCY well --- it was better than even I would have gathered. SMITTY was somewhat of a situation comedy strip so-to-speak which presented the daily travails of a young boy who should have been in school but is supporting his parents and younger brother Herby (an actual school kid who seems to be of turdler status) at one of those "what kinda business is this anyway?" sorta places where Dagwood and Ward Cleaver work. It wouldn't've been an exciting comic either without Smitty getting into some interesting scrapes, twists, turns and other story development lines that were bound to keep the usual depression-era wage kids (during and after the depression, and I should know!) tuning in given that well, there wasn't much else for kids to tune into back in them days! 

And tune in they did! Some nice continuity here from the on/off attempt to snag the elusive fish "Big Mighty" to the usual problems and such we all probably had to (and still do!) go through thanks to office politics and ordeals, situations that I guess were later dealt with in the more recent (and way more boring) comic strip DILBERT. I liked the one where some new hotshot kid at the office tries to get Smitty fired so he can take his job which is something people (like myself) have experienced throughout life, only the badskis never did get caught and humiliated like they do here in fantasyville!

SMITTY creator Walter Berndt knew how to keep the art nice and simple and the stories uncluttered so that even the simplest of doofs could get it. And so would the same kinda folk (like us!) who still tune into old NANCY comic strip sites on this here internet if only to re-capture a part of our kid-hood that seemed to vanish once reality began to set in and set in hard.

It was nothing that really lights up the comic pressure point in my brain like a variety of other strips do, but I like it. I get the feeling that if I grew up with SMITTY I would be harboring the same pangs of a happy turdler era lost the same way I do when I read other old comics thinking about a time in my life I would gladly return to, at least if I had the dexterity to wipe my own ass.

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