Smokey Stover was a million different things. It was possibly the greatest
screwball comic ever. On another level it may have been the best expression of
the manic energy created by a tight Vaudevillian revue ever found in the world
The strip also contributed timeless phrases to American slang
(Foo anyone? How about Notary Sojac?). Smokey celebrated one of the worlds most
thankless occupations, the fireman. Whatever it was to whomever was reading it,
it was undoubtedly one thing, really, really funny.
This week, Scoop
celebrates the birthday of Smokey's creator Bill Holman. Born on February
22, 1903, this amazingly gifted artist and writer not only did Smokey, but at
one point in his career had three strips running at the same time. Besides
Smokey there was the daily gag panel Nuts and Jolts and another strip devoted to
the cat Spooky.
Each strip was filled with multiple jokes. Sometimes
three or four in a single panel. The strip started on March 10, 1935 and lasted
until Bill Holman's retirement in 1973. The unique individuality of the strip
made it almost impossible for anyone else to carry on after Holman's departure.
Holman's life was devoted to comics, his family and his country. During
WWII he promoted Saving Bonds, made numerous trips to the South Pacific to
entertain troops and also visited Veteran's hospitals regularly. He was also
one of the co-founders of the National Cartoonists Society and in 1961-62, its
Scoop has enjoyed a long freindship with Holman's nephew,
Victor Alsobrook. He currently runs a highly entertaining website devoted to his
Uncle's life and craft. There are plenty of Smokey, Spooky and Nuts and Jolt
comics to read. As well as a great biography of his uncle's life. In addition
Alsobrook cares for Holman's wife, the 88 year young Dolores.
official site for Smokey Stover is at http://www.smokey-stover.com/index.html
has featured Smokey. Scoop
has featured Smokey several times
over the years. They can be found at http://scoop.diamondgalleries.com/scoop_article.asp?ai=6246&si=124
and also http://scoop.diamondgalleries.com/scoop_article.asp?ai=2413&si=126