Booklist on WALT & SKEEZIX

Walt & Skeezix

Booklist    |    Gordon Flagg    |    September 1, 2005

The enormously long-running newspaper strip Gasoline Alley began in 1919 by depicting neighbors who bonded in their enthusiasm for the then-new automobile. In 1921 the strip shifted gears when bachelor Walt Wallet found a baby boy on his doorstep. Thereafter, the strip transformed from a daily-gag to a "continuity" strip unreeling single story lines for weeks and months. It became famous as the sole strip whose characters aged rather than, like the perpetually preadolescent Little Orphan Annie, remained the same. This volume inaugurating a series aiming to present the strips entire run begins with the year that baby Skeezix appeared. Creator King's art is simple yet expressive in these daily installments-his visual brilliance would flower in the full-page, color Sunday strips-and the homespun charm of the characters is what makes these early installments worthwhile. The handsome collection is designed by alternative-comics maestro Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan), whose introduction rightly praises King for "capturfing] the texture of life as it slowly, inexorably, and hopelessly passes by."

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