March 6, 2019
One in a weekly series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of our favorite comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels.
“Oor Wullie”: immediately recognizable by his cropped head, his black dungarees and his strong preference for sitting outside the back of his house on an upturned zinc pail, the final panel most of the strips end with. (If he’s gotten the strap for that week’s misadventure, a pile of pillows may intervene to protect Wullie’s tender bottom from the hard surface of the bucket.)
Our Scottish grandfather, habitué of used book sales and great proselytizer on behalf of his country’s literature (see also: Stevenson, R.L.), used to send us bundles of old annuals at Christmas, not just R.D. Low and Dudley D. Watkins’s Oor Wullie (1936–1969) but also The Broons and The Dandy. We read them as we read all comics (Garfield another favorite of that era), lying on our stomachs on the floors of our bedrooms in suburban Philadelphia and turning the pages with utmost seriousness.
Wullie is full of schemes, though the limit of his dreaming is usually the acquisition of sixpence to buy sweeties; his favorite exclamations (“Jings!” “Crivvens!”) are agreeably alien to the USian ear. Oor Wullie and its ilk were how we learned some of the Scots words that our grandparents had had beaten out of them at school in the 1920s but that crept back into their everyday language in the domestic years of our grandfather’s retirement in the 1970s: messages (shopping), awfy (awful), th’nicht (tonight), breeks (trousers). We encountered the dumpling (something like an English Christmas pudding) in Oor Wullie’s pages and it prepared us to eat real clootie dumpling, with its unmistakable glutinous skin, for tea at our grandparents’ house in North Berwick. Who says literature can’t prepare you for life?
SERIOCOMIC: Mimi Lipson on LITTLE LULU | Sara Ryan on AMPHIGOREY | Gary Panter on THE NUT BROS./THE SQUIRREL CAGE | Gordon Dahlquist on POGO | Robert Wringham on VIZ | Matthew De Abaitua on CAPTAIN BRITAIN | Jessamyn West on FUN HOME | Bradley Peterson on HELLBOY | Stephanie Burt on KITTY PRYDE RETURNS | Jenny Davidson on OOR WULLIE | Luc Sante on MARSUPILAMI | Susan Roe on BLOOM COUNTY | Marilyn Berlin Snell on CHARLES ADDAMS | Deb Chachra on ARKHAM ASYLUM | Judith Zissman on ERNIE POOK’S COMEEK | Alexandra Lange on BETTY (ARCHIE) | Catherine Newman on VERONICA (ARCHIE) | Josh Glenn on SPIRE CHRISTIAN COMICS | Adam McGovern on THE CREW | William Nericcio on ERRATA STIGMATA | Chelsey Johnson on DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR | Sherri Wasserman on TANK GIRL | Tom Nealon on MEGATON MAN | Erin M. Routson on THE WEDDING OF SCOTT SUMMERS & JEAN GREY | Douglas Wolk on FRANK IN THE RIVER | Annie Nocenti on DICK TRACY | James Parker on 2000 AD | Adrienne Crew on NUTS | Vanessa Berry on MEAT CAKE | John Holbo on WITZEND | Michael Campochiaro on SPIDER-WOMAN | Miranda Mellis on RED SONJA & BÊLIT | Michael Grasso on THE NEW MUTANTS | Ty Burr on BINKY BROWN | Bishakh Som on AMAR CHITRA KATHA | Mark Kingwell on CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED | Brian Berger on JIMBO | Kenya (Robinson) on AGENT 355 | Seth on THE ETERNALS ANNUAL | Susannah Breslin on SLASHER | Lisa Kahlden on JACK CHICK TRACTS | Mandy Keifetz on KRAZY KAT | Tom Devlin on DUM-DUM POSSE READER | Eric Reynolds on ACTION COMICS #460 | Rick Pinchera on EIGHTBALL #16 | Juan Recondo on DAYTRIPPER | Elizabeth Foy Larsen on ROZ CHAST | J.E. Anckorn on HALO JONES | Deborah Wassertzug on GREAT POP THINGS | Peggy Nelson on MAD MOVIE SATIRES | Holly Interlandi on ANGEL SANCTUARY | Karen Green on THE SMITHSONIAN COLLECTION OF NEWSPAPER COMICS.
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