Capp, Al

Signed photo of the creator of “L’il Abner”

Price: $115.00

Description:
(Alfred G. Caplin, 1909-1979) Jewish-American cartoonist and humorist best known for creating “Li'l Abner”. He also wrote “Abbie an' Slats” and “Long Sam”. He received the 1947 National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year, and their 1979 Elzie Segar Award (posthumous). In 1934, he introduced “L'il Abner”, the 1st strip based in the South. Though from Connecticut, he spent 43 years teaching the world about Dogpatch, reaching 70 million readers (US population then was 180 million), in over 900 US & 100 foreign papers in 28 countries. In 1919, at 9, Capp lost his left leg in a trolley accident. His satire was, to a degree, a creatively channeled, compensatory response to his disability. His father introduced him to drawing as a form of therapy, his formal training came from New England art schools. In early 1932, Capp went to New York and did advertising strips at $2 apiece while hunting for jobs, finding work at the Associated Press at 23. He left the AP in Sept. 1932, moved to Boston, returning to New York in 1933 in the midst of the Depression. He met Ham Fisher who hired him to ghost on “Joe Palooka”. During one of Fisher's extended vacations, Capp's “Joe Palooka” story arc introduced a coarse, oafish mountaineer named "Big Leviticus," a crude prototype of the future “L’il Abner”. His characters were based on mountain folk he met while hitchhiking through rural West Virginia and the Cumberland Valley as a teenager. Leaving “Joe Palooka”, Capp sold “Li'l Abner” to United Feature Syndicate. “L’il Abner” was launched Aug. 13, 1934 in 8 newspapers, inc. The New York Mirror, and was an immediate success. Alfred G. Caplin became "Al Capp" because the syndicate felt the original would not fit in a cartoon frame; he had it changed legally in 1949. His younger brother Elliot, also a comic strip creator, co-created “The Heart of Juliet Jones”, and conceived “Broom-Hilda” with Russell Myers. What began as a hillbilly burlesque soon evolved into one of the most imaginative, popular and well-drawn strips of the 20th century with outlandish characters, bizarre situations, suspense, slapstick, irony, satire, black humor and biting social commentary. “Li'l Abner” is considered a classic of the genre. Li'l Abner Yokum, the simple-minded, good-natured, eternally innocent hayseed lives with his parents, scrawny but superhuman Mammy Yokum and shiftless, childlike Pappy Yokum, in the backwater hamlet of Dogpatch, Kentucky, consisting of ramshackle log cabins, pine trees, "tarnip" fields and "hawg" wallows. He constantly evaded the marital goals of Daisy Mae Scragg, his sexy, well-endowed (but virtuous) girlfriend. Capp gave in to reader pressure and allowed them to marry, which made the March 31, 1952 cover of Life. Capp peopled his strip with memorable characters, inc. Marryin' Sam, Lonesome Polecat, Evil-Eye Fleegle, General Bullmoose, Earthquake McGoon, Moonbeam McSwine, and a host of others. Many became painted noses of WW II & Korean War bombers. Perhaps his most popular creations were the Shmoos, creatures with incredible usefulness and a generous nature; he reaped enormous financial rewards from the merchandising phenomenon that followed. Another famous character was Joe Btfsplk, "the world's worst jinx," bringing bad luck to all those nearby and who always has an iconic dark cloud over his head. Many communities, high schools and colleges staged Sadie Hawkins dances, patterned after the similar annual event in the strip. “Li'l Abner” also featured a comic strip-within-the-strip: “Fearless Fosdick”, a parody of “Dick Tracy”. It first appeared in 1942, and proved so popular that it ran intermittently over the next 35 years. In addition to “Li'l Abner”, Capp also co-created “Abbie an' Slats” with magazine illustrator Raeburn van Buren in 1937, and “Long Sam” with cartoonist Bob Lubbers in 1954. “Li'l Abner” was adapted to radio, animated cartoons, and TV. A successful musical comedy adaptation opened on Broadway in 1956 and ran 693 performances, followed by a nationwide tour. The stage musical was adapted into a Paramount Technicolor film in 1959. During WW II and afterward, he worked tirelessly going to hospitals to entertain patients, especially recent amputees. Capp was also involved with polio patients through the Sister Kenny Foundation. Honorary Chairman Capp made public appearances, contributed free artwork for fund-raising appeals, and entertained in children's hospitals. He prominently urging the National Cartoonists Society to admit women and briefly resigned membership in 1949 to protest the refusal to admit Hilda Terry, creator of the comic strip “Teena”; the NCS finally accepted female members in 1950. Capp insisted on drawing and inking characters' faces and hands, especially Abner and Daisy Mae, and his distinctive touch is often discernible. He originated stories, wrote dialogue, designed major characters, rough penciled preliminary staging and action of each panel, and oversaw finished pencils. For many years he simultaneously produced the daily strip, a weekly syndicated newspaper column, and a 500-station radio program. Capp resumed visiting war amputees during the Korean & Vietnam Wars. A liberal during the conservative 1950s, he became a conservative during the liberal, hippie-era 1960s, spoofing counterculture icons such as Joan Baez (“Joanie Phoanie”) & Senator Ted Kennedy ("Senator O. Noble McGesture" of "Hyideelsport"). He attacked antiwar demonstrators and satirized student political groups. Capp retired in 1977 due to declining health. “Li'l Abner” was one of 20 comic strips included in the 1995 Comic Strip Classics series of US postage stamps. “Sadie Hawkins Day”, “double whammy”, “skunk works”, “Lower Slobovia”, and “shmoo” have entered the lexicon. He also popularized terms such as “druthers”, “schmooze”, “neatnik”, “nogoodnik”, etc. H. L. Mencken’s “The American Language” credits the postwar mania for adding "-nik" to the ends of adjectives to create nouns as beginning, not with beatnik or Sputnik, but with “Li'l Abner”. SP, 10 x 8 glossy b&w bust portrait, signed with slightly balky blue ballpoint pen at left

Condition: Good, very slight bend not breaking surface at top left, slight wear overall
Type:Photograph






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