Americana October 2001
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The Shmoo. Al Capp's most enduring and endearing character. The tiny creatures made their first appearance in Li'l Abner in 1948 in the daily strips that ran a separate story line from the Sunday series. Shmoos gave milk, laid eggs, and died of sheer ecstasy if you looked at them with a hint of hunger in your face. They tasted like anything you desired. Fry it, it tasted like chicken; broil it, it tasted like steak. Their eyes made suspender buttons. Their skin became everything from leather to lumber. The world would never want again. And they multiplied faster than we could use them. Ironically, Shmoos brought only misery because humans faced with a limitless supply of food and necessities stopped working and society crumbled. They were hunted down and exterminated to preserve the status quo. When Capp killed off all but two Shmoos, the reaction was formidable. Hate mail flooded his office and he was forced to bring the loveable creatures back in 1949. Their 1949 return began in the Sunday strips. This is one of the rare original art drawings for the Shmoo return sequence in 1949. It is one of less than 10 Shmoo Sunday pages known to have survived. In this page dated 6/5/49, Honest Abe Yokum and his band of Shmoos meet the "Nogoodnicks," the bad Shmoos, the "Russian-like" Shmoos from Lower Slobbovia. The third panel is a stat that is the same as a panel from the previous week's story. Capp was just too lazy to redraw it. The art is spectacular and the page contains 39 Shmoos, counting the Nogoodnicks. The topper is a stat as with all the pages of the majority of comic strips of the time. The Near Mint art measures 19" x 27" and displays beautifully. An original Shmoo page represents the cream of the Al Capp crop.
Rare Al Capp Original Shmoo Sunday Page Art
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