L’edicola sfoggia orgogliosamente la copertina del terzo numero di The Phantom – L’Uomo Mascherato, una rivista pubblicata da Eura Editoriale che non ci stanchiamo (noi fans) di pubblicizzare perché questo grande personaggio della Storia delle strisce lo merita (e non soltanto per ragioni di affetto da parte di chi l’ha seguito fin dall’infanzia). Come ha fatto anche Gianpaolo Bombara, blogger comicscom(m)unitario ideatore ed estensore delle pagine che recano l’esplicativo titolo di Lettori di Fumetti, alle cui pagine vi rimando per leggere i dettagli e le valutazioni sul fascicolo, che per la prima volta in questa collana presenta anche autori italiani.
A proposito di strisce americane, gli appassionati e gli studiosi possono gioire per l’eccezionale novità che si prospetta loro, lo Stripper’s Guide Index redatto dal noto storico ed esegeta di questa produzione Allan Holtz (vedi foto sotto, con in mano il contratto), titolare dell’indispensabile sito Stripper’s Guide.
Il volume, dal titolo Guide to U.S. Newspaper Comic Strips and Cartoon Panels, sarà pubblicato dalla University of Michigan Press.
Il comunicato stampa inviato ieri, in coincidenza con i lavori di chiusura della convention di San Diego (Comic-Con), così recita:
The book is a compendium of the vital statistics about comic strip and panel series that have appeared in American newspapers. A product of over twenty years of research, the books contains information on over 7,000 unique series from 1894 to present.
For each feature the title and running dates are listed, along with dates for each artist, writer and syndicate involved. Alternate titles, format and frequency are detailed, along with a list of reprint books.
Unlike previous reference works on the subject, Holtz’s Guide takes into consideration the vast amount of misinformation that has been published about newspaper strip history. Therefore he does not include any feature that he hasn’t seen himself. “One of the reasons I started working on this book many years ago was that I got frustrated with those references. There were so many mistakes in them. It seemed like every time I looked something up there was no agreement between sources, and many times my own collection, small as it was at the time, would prove the information wrong or incomplete. The worst was when they’d write about some feature and then I’d find out that no such feature had ever actually run in newspapers.”
Holtz’s plan of attack, after first verifying that features did actually exist in newspapers, was to gather information from all the secondary sources he could find but then verify and correct the information based on primary sources.
That meant twenty years of poring over newspapers on microfilm in addition to amassing a huge personal collection of newspaper comics. How much time did he spend in libraries?
“There are librarians all across the country who recognize me on sight. My wife hasn’t had a proper vacation in twenty years. Any time I have off from work becomes a trip to a library somewhere around the country with wife in tow as research assistant.”
Holtz calls the Guide a community effort at heart. “I’d like to make it clear that this work is not the product of one guy. I could never have done it alone. Not only have I built my work on pioneering researchers of the past, I’ve been lucky to discover a community of dedicated and knowledgeable comic strip fans who selflessly gave time and effort to tracking down information on my behalf.” Every piece of data contributed to the listings is credited to the researcher responsible, and Holtz also credits the newspapers and reference works in which each nugget of information was discovered.
The book includes not only mainstream features, but also local features and the products of the ethnic press. “I’ve done my best to leave no stone unturned, ” says Holtz of the project.
“I will never be able to call this reference absolutely complete. There are so many oddball newspapers out there, so many local and obscure features, that the well will never go dry.There are always new leads to track down and more papers to review.”
So why publish now? “Besides finding a publisher crazy enough to take it on? Many years ago a fellow collector was looking over what I had documented so far — at the time it was only a ‘mere’ couple thousand features. He asked how many features in all it might be possible to document. Wanting to impress him I threw out a crazy number — 7,000. He was suitably impressed and I’d just set myself a very high bar to hurdle. And yet, twenty years later, I hit that crazy number. It’s time.”
Allan Holtz writes about newspaper comics in Hogan’s Alley magazine, the NBM “Forever Nuts” series of classic strip reprint books, and his popular blog, Stripper’s Guide (http://strippersguide.blogspot.com). He is a resident of Tavares, Florida.
The release date and price for the Guide to U.S. Newspaper Comic Strips and Cartoon Panels have not yet been set. The book is expected to be approximately 800 pages, and images of many of the features will be included on CDs or DVDs sleeved with the book. The title, which was long presumed to include Holtz’s well-known “Stripper’s Guide” moniker, has tentatively been neutered in deference to the sensitivities of library and school buyers.
Tra le immagini, esempi di produzione per quotidiana famosa e un po’ meno: il classico mago Mandrake di Lee Falk e Phil Davis (1938), due assaggi del Popeye meno noto (inedito in Italia) disegnato dal bravo Bela Zaboly, con un Pisellino – Swee’Pea in versione ragazzo, e la misteriosa serie Lena undt Loui (1911), scoperto clone di Bibì e Bibò dovuto evidentemente a Eugene Zimmerman (Zim), che teneva un corso di disegno per corrispondenza in quel periodo; questa breve serie si può considerare come una sorta di pubblicità a fumetti a suo pro.