Credit: Journal Sentinel files. At its peak, the comic strip by Al Capp was published in more than newspapers in North America, with more than 70 million readers. The strip sparked merchandising juggernauts, TV shows, movies, a Tony-winning Broadway musical and even a theme park.
Writing a definitive biography of the "Li'l Abner" creator meant coming face to face with just how shockingly mean, and just how perplexingly kind, the controversial artist could be. In the year run of his satiric comic strip "Li'l Abner," Al Capp not only launched iconic American characters Abner, Daisy Mae, Mammy Yokum, Pappy Yokum, the Shmoos and places Dogpatch, Lower Slobboviabut introduced lingo like "hogwash," "natcherly," and "double-whammy" into the lexicon. His legacy, though, is more complicated than that.
Li'l Abner is a satirical American comic strip that appeared in many newspapers in the United States, Canada and Europe, featuring a fictional clan of hillbillies in the impoverished mountain village of Dogpatch, USA. Written and drawn by Al Capp —the strip ran for 43 years, from August 13, through November 13, Comic strips typically dealt with northern urban experiences before Capp introduced Li'l Abner, the first strip based in the South.
Previously, the introduction and part two of our story. His parents had come from Latvia to New Haven in the s. Alfred was the eldest son of Otto Caplin, a chronically unsuccessful salesman, and Matilda Davidson, a woman with a fierce survivor instinct who shepherded her family through a persistently penurious existence. As a child, Capp the pen name he adopted as his legal name in had been a prodigious reader.
The comic strip abounded in stereotypes of Appalachia. Its title character, Abner Yokum, was a handsome, muscle-bound hillbilly, as lazy as he was dull witted. The strip-within-a-strip Fearless Fosdickwhich Abner liked to read, was a parody of Dick Tracy ; it became a sensation in its own right.
At one time, the strip counted more than 60 million readers and in when Li'l Abner, the handsome lummox hero, married Daisy Mae, the long-awaited nuptials were splashed across the cover of Life magazine. Now, Denis Kitchen is publishing the entire run of the daily and Sunday comic strip -- the unabridged history of life in Dogpatch and its colorful residents. It is an unprecedented project in this field.
No doubt about it: Al Capp engaged in depraved behavior. Most disgraceful was his attempted rape of a number of women, from college co-eds to Grace Kelly. And, as the interview below suggests, there may be more.
The title character was the perpetually year-old big-hearted lunkhead, the son of spitfire Pansy "Mammy" Yokum and the dull-witted useless Lucifer "Pappy" Yokum. For many of the early years of the strip, the marriage-fearing Abner was pursued aggressively by the lovely Daisy Mae Scragg; inCapp gave in and let her finally marry Abner. The strip was known for its vicious satire of current events, initially from a more liberal perspective though switching to a conservative bent in its twilight years as Capp grew older.
Al Capp September 28, — November 5, was an American cartoonist best known for the satiric comic stripLi'l Abner. He also created the comic strips Abbie and Slats and Long Sam. Capp used his humorous strip to expose greed, corruption and social injustice to around 60 million readers for more than 40 years.
Al Capp was one of the most praised satirists of the s and s. His long-running comic strip 'Li'l Abner' was a phenomenon during its heyday, published in over American newspapers and 28 countries. It inspired radio series, puppet shows, films, animated cartoons, jazz songs and a theater musical; it penetrated American pop culture in degrees unimaginable today. Schulz ' 'Peanuts' it was one of the first American comics to receive critical praise and popularity among intellectuals.