September 29, 2009

Wow! A Complete 22 Page "Scribbly" Story By Sheldon Mayer!

Long before Harvey Pekar brought us true-life tales "from off the streets of Cleveland," Sheldon Mayer, the innovative genius who championed Superman and helped put together the first meeting of The Justice Society of America, pioneered the concept of autobiographical comics. Scribbly Jibbet, boy cartoonist, might have had slightly more madcap adventures than Mayer himself, but there is no doubt that he and the other characters in the long-running strip were based on real-life counterparts, even Ma Hunkel.

I am always amazed by the personal nature of Sheldon's artwork. When he draws a sofa, it's a sofa like only Sheldon could draw it. His characters have thousands of nuanced expressions that convey thousands of nuanced moods. If Scribbly's boss is angry, you can gauge his anger level on a scale from 1 to 10. But Sheldon also had a great talent for writing clever plots, complete with colorful authentic dialogue, and that's what I love about this 1949 story. Scribbly is found to have a condition (M.U.M. - Marvelous Unconscious Mistakes) in which his clumsy accidents always cause great good. He is put to work by the U.S. government, but in a twist worthy of an early Woody Allen farce, his abilities vanish after being given poise lessons by a kidnapper.

Scribbly #5 (April-May 1949)


Paul C.Tumey said...

I bestow upon you lavish praise for sharing the amazing and criminally under-appreciated works of Sheldon Mayer. His SCRIBBLY stories rank among the very best that comics have to offer, in my opinion and it's always been a mystery to me why these stories are not more celebrated. I like your notes on the appeal of Mayer's work a lot. I think you are exactly right in saying that a Mayer couch is something only he could draw... much in the same way that a couch, or tree, or object drawn by PEANUTS creator Charles Schulz was unique to his style. Aside from his uniqueness, Mayer's stories are rich with Americana, filled with great gags and gentle humor, and are extremely entertaining. I love your blog!

peacefulshades said...

Love this post and the kudos for my favorite comic genius!