WALT AND SKEEZIX 3 in The Washington Post

Extra, Extra: Vintage Strips Rise Again

Washington Post    |    Dougas Wolk    |    January 13, 2008

Walt and Sheezix: Feb. 13, 1925: Unca Walt celebrates the anniversary of finding baby Skeezik on his doorstep, now "the most wonderful" 4-year-old. (Frank O. King)

Aficionados of classic comic strips used to have a tough time of it: If you wanted to read Milton Caniff's "Terry and the Pirates" or Chester Gould's "Dick Tracy," you had to track down ancient, hopelessly rare newspapers or rely on fragmentary and butchered repackagings. The last few years, though, have seen a cluster of smartly designed, comprehensive reprints of vintage comics, going all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century -- and, in one notable case, earlier.

WALT AND SKEEZIX 1925 and 1926 By Frank O. King | Drawn & Quarterly. 400 pp. $29.95

The loveliest rediscovery of the vintage-comic-strip renaissance is Frank King's "Gasoline Alley," in which characters aged in real time, growing and changing. The third volume of Walt and Skeezix, collecting King's daily strips from 1925 and '26, marks a gradual but enormous transformation in the series: Chubby, cheerful bachelor Walt Wallet falls in love, heads toward marriage and slowly learns how to let go of the single life that he's outgrown. The "Skeezix" of the title was an infant left on Walt's doorstep in 1921; he's 4 and 5 years old here, and the barriers between his imagination and his real environment are still permeable. Designer Chris Ware also contributes a fascinating overview of the merchandise based on the strip.

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