I collected (and read!) all the Kitchen Sink L'il Abner books starting in the 80s. Sadly, they didn't sell well enough to continue. Meanwhile, post-Snoopy v. Red Baron keeps churning out the junk that Schulz sold his soul to Met Life to produce...but that's another subject. Just when Abner got to the point when I started reading it in the funnies, it stopped. Then it started over with a new publisher...from the beginning! WITH the missing Sundays! So if you want the Sundays Kitchen Sink didn't print, you have to buy the whole volume again. Plus, it'll take years to get to 2 of Capp's best story lines: Joanie Phoney and Corporal Crock Comics. I'll probably be dead by then. And where I'm going, the only comics will be Beetle Bailey, Grandma, and Dottie.

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I know exactly how you feel, JHK! I, too, have all 27 of the Kitchen Sink Press volumes. I wish I had had the foresight to collect them in hardcover, but the only HC one I own is volume 26. I look at it this way: not only to the IDW volumes include the Sundays, but each contains a full two years of continuity, so not only do we get more bang for our buck, but we’re moving forward at a steady clip. (You wanna talk about a series moving at a glacial pace, that’s Walt & Skeezix!) Having said all that, though, I’m still hanging on to my KSP tpbs for a couple of reasons. First, I’m certainly not getting rid of them until the IDW series catches up to that point; second, I want to keep the wonderful essays and introductions; third, I prefer reading the dailies at that size. After having read all the volumes of the IDW series released so far, I’ve discovered I really prefer the daily to the Sunday continuity.

...I always found the idea of Kitchen Sink , a company very much rooted originally in the underground era and the hippie/" movement " period it came out of , reprinting LIL' ABNER amusing , considering the move Capp made in his later years towards conservatiism and satarising things about & related to that same " movement "...Yeah , though , the KSP series stopped before reaching then , which was about when/slightly before I actually started reading it , while my starting to really pay attention to it/remember much about of it would have been , in general , later than that , about early 1971 maybe...When did you start , JHK ?

...My family bought the Sunday NEW YORK NEWS every week , and LA was carried in it .

About the early 70s the News also started carrying a prose column written by Capp , a would-be Art Buchwald style political humor one . A book titled THE HARDHAT'S BEDTIME STORY BOOK collected these columns , with illustrations by Capp . Has anybody here ever read it ? Recently ?

  They tended towards spoof-news reports , a la Buchwald's columns or Mike Royko's visits with " Dr. I. M. Kookie " , et al .

  During this century , I found a waaayyy-beat-up copy in a bargain bin , bought it , intended to read it in detail and post about it (Perhaps at the old Comics Journal board , where I was a regular) , but I trusted it (and some other things) to someone who " stored " them for me - and lost them .

I am in favor of making fun of everything and everybody, so whether Capp made fun of Phony Joanie (Joan Baez) or  Elvis could amuse me. I always thought Abner's job as a "mattress tester" was funny, for instance. But in one of his late plots,  Capp satirized comic book collectors with Gen. Bullmoose's determination to acquire, at any cost, the First issue of "Corporal Crock" comics. (Sad Sack?) Tiny Tim owned it. I don't recall how it went beyond that, but I'm sure everyone at Captain Comics could relate to that storyline.  His narrative in "My Life on a Wooden Leg" choked me up in parts. His life was fascinating; his feud with Palooka Joe's creator, for instance. Any rate, it's good to know that the new editions are 2 years at a time. I'll have to buy them for the Sundays (except when it gets to the Frazetta years, which KSP published and I have).    

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...I always found the idea of Kitchen Sink , a company very much rooted originally in the underground era and the hippie/" movement " period it came out of , reprinting LIL' ABNER amusing , considering the move Capp made in his later years towards conservatiism and satarising things about & related to that same " movement "...Yeah , though , the KSP series stopped before reaching then , which was about when/slightly before I actually started reading it , while my starting to really pay attention to it/remember much about of it would have been , in general , later than that , about early 1971 maybe...When did you start , JHK ?

I know Al Capp spoofed the Beatles (and I’m looking forward to reading that, eventually), and after that, John and Yoko. I know Capp’s politics took a 180 degree turn at some point, and I’m looking forward to watching that happen as well. Capp visited John and Yoko during their “bed-in” for peace following their wedding in 1969 and he behaved like a total d*ck. I saw it on a $5 DVD I plucked from the discount bin and his performance was so distasteful I wish I hadn’t seen it. It put me off his work for a while. I’ve seen very little of his later work, but from what I understand, he died a bitter and unhappy man.

Back to the collections, I have to say I support IDW’s decision to publish a comprehensive collection from the beginning rather than picking up from where KSP left off. Comic strip collectors (and publishers of collections) can be an odd bunch. They aren’t as anal as comic book collectors can be, and will gladly jump from publication to publication, publisher to publisher, to complete a run of a favorite strip. And publishers generally comply, picking up a given run from wherever the previous publisher left off. I remember reading that, when IDW started their comprehensive Little Orphan Annie series, collectors petitioned them to start in 1939 (rather than 1924), which is where Fantagraphics left off. Fortunately, IDW ignored the request.

I know what you mean about those publishers, but my experience is that no publisher EVER finishes their run. Flash Gordon's a prime example. There have been at least 3 publishers that I'm aware of, with varying degrees of quality. Anyway, if I had confidence that Abner's current publisher will ever finish the project, I wouldn't mind so much. Probably some Abner fans will stop buying when the subjects of Capp's ridicule become the anti-establishment. Sadly, Peanuts fans are cluless of how much that strip declined in its final 20 or so years, after Schulz discovered his strip was a means of selling Snoopy dolls, insurance, and those scary characters at Knotts Berry Farm with giant Lucy and Linus heads. Bill Watterson and Gary Larson knew when to throw in the towel, at the top of their games; I think they made veiled references to Peanuts when they shut down. Not Berke Breathed (Opus dolls) or Schulz. And I know my opinion infuriates their fan base, but I call 'em the way I see 'em.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I know Al Capp spoofed the Beatles (and I’m looking forward to reading that, eventually), and after that, John and Yoko. I know Capp’s politics took a 180 degree turn at some point, and I’m looking forward to watching that happen as well. Capp visited John and Yoko during their “bed-in” for peace following their wedding in 1969 and he behaved like a total d*ck. I saw it on a $5 DVD I plucked from the discount bin and his performance was so distasteful I wish I hadn’t seen it. It put me off his work for a while. I’ve seen very little of his later work, but from what I understand, he died a bitter and unhappy man.

Back to the collections, I have to say I support IDW’s decision to publish a comprehensive collection from the beginning rather than picking up from where KSP left off. Comic strip collectors (and publishers of collections) can be an odd bunch. They aren’t as anal as comic book collectors can be, and will gladly jump from publication to publication, publisher to publisher, to complete a run of a favorite strip. And publishers generally comply, picking up a given run from wherever the previous publisher left off. I remember reading that, when IDW started their comprehensive Little Orphan Annie series, collectors petitioned them to start in 1939 (rather than 1924), which is where Fantagraphics left off. Fortunately, IDW ignored the request.

I think most series should end at some point. You don't have to break people up or kill anybody either... just stop at some satisfying point, before things get STALE,  (Like, oh... every single thing Marvel or DC has published in the last 15 or more years.)

Oh, ye of little faith!

You’re absolutely correct that few publishers in the past have seen their series through to completion, but I have high hopes for IDW’s entire “Library of American Comics” series. Regarding Flash Gordon, I think the point of those collections (and I’m thinking KSP, Checkerbooks and IDW) was to reprint just the Alex Raymond years, which they did accomplish. Dark Horse reprinted only four volumes of Mac Raboy’s lengthy run, though, and I’d certainly like to see more of those. I wouldn’t mind seeing more comprehensive reprints of John Cullen Murphy’s Prince Valiant, either.

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