EssentialsLOAC ESSENTIALS is a new series that will reprint, in yearly volumes, the rare early daily newspaper strips that are essential to comics history, seminal strips that are unique creations in their own right, while also significantly contributing to the advancement of the medium. The strips are presented in a novel format: 11.5" wide by 4.25" high, each page containing a single daily. By reproducing the strips one per page in an oblong format, it allows us to have an experience similar to what newspaper buyers had fifty to a hundred years ago—reading the comics one day at a time. Each page will also showcase the title given to that daily by the cartoonist, plus the weekday and date.

    LOAC Essentials Vol. 1: Baron Bean 1916

    by George Herriman
    Edited and designed by Dean Mullaney, Essay by Jared Gardner.

    This inaugural volume features the first year of Baron Bean, by perhaps the greatest of all comic strip stars: George Herriman. From his earliest cartoons, the creator of Krazy Kat found few themes as fascinating as the power of titles and the ways in which worth in society is determined based on a hat, a name, or the color of one’s skin. Baron Bean quickly developed into one of Herriman’s richest and funniest creations, second only to Krazy Kat, whose citizens would occasionally grace the panels of Baron Bean. Each day Herriman gives reason to question not only the superiority of would-be “Barons” over their vassals and retainers, but equally the superiority of so-called “humans” over the animals they call “pets.” The complete series from 1916 to 1919 will be reprinted in three volumes.

    "The book itself is in proportion to the dimensions of a newspaper strip. The accompanying essay - always a must read in any LOAC volume - goes a long way to educating the reader about Herriman and Baron Bean, and it's an incredible package for $19.99."—Scoop

    Once again The Library of American Comics sets the standard for archival and reprint quality. In addition to the historical importance of this volume in the annals of comic history, Baron Bean also provides a detailed look back at the sociological issues in America at that time.—New York Journal of Books

    Oblong 11.5” x 4.25” hardcover, 336 pp, $19.99. ISBN: 978-1-61377-442-7

    LOAC Essentials Vol. 2: The Gumps 1929

    by Sidney Smith
    Edited and with an Introduction by Jared Gardner. Designed by Dean Mullaney.

    In the second decade of the 20th Century Sidney Smith created a formula of melodrama, adventure, mystery, and comedy that made The Gumps one of the country's most popular comics and himself perhaps its richest cartoonist. So devoted were his readers that they regularly wrote in to offer advice for his characters' love lives and business decisions and generally treated the characters as friends and family members.

    In 1928-29, with the launching of what would be his most famous story, "The Saga of Mary Gold," Smith's relationship to his readers would be tested as never before. Its heartbreaking conclusion would change comics forever. Here for the first time since the story made headlines across America in the spring of 1929 we reprint the saga that Hogan's Alley magazine called "One of the Ten Biggest Events in Comics History"—a tale that has lost none of its power to captivate readers in the 21st Century.

    "What holds The Saga of Mary Gold together more than anything is the inevitable march toward the end. As the reader begins to realize where Mr. Smith is taking us the anticipation builds to the point where you almost want to cry “NO!” out loud….A volume of touching sincerity that reinforces the best of what it meant to be an American in times of turmoil. The reproduction of the art is flawless.…" —New York Journal of Books

    "Readers will be astonished how well this engaging and tragic tale still holds up after nearly 85 years."—Michael Taube, The Washington Times

    Oblong 11.5” x 4.25” hardcover, 344 pp, $19.99. ISBN: 978-1-61377-573-8

    LOAC Essentials Vol. 3: Polly and Her Pals 1933

    by Cliff Sterrett
    Edited by
    Dean Mullaney. Introduction by Bruce Canwell.

    By the early 1930s Cliff Sterrett had transformed Polly and Her Pals into the world's premier surrealistic comic strip. Polly debuted in 1912 as one of the earliest "pretty girl" strips, but it was in 1925 that Sterrett entered his peak period, developing a new style replete with Art Deco decorations, abstract backgrounds, and distinctive surreal perspectives—all within the context of a down-right hilarious situation comedy. Sterrett's Sunday pages (also being published by The Library of American Comics) have long been hailed as individual masterpieces, but his daily strips—due to their rarity—have eluded archivists for the past ninety years. The discovery by the Library of American Comics of syndicate proofs for some early 1930s dailies—plus new information about Sterrett's involvement with a Maine-based artist colony—fills a major hole in comics history. The strips reprinted here—the complete year of 1933 dailies—show Sterrett at his most inventive, building gags upon gags within one- and two-week continuities, culminating in a spectacular holiday story in which the entire cast—Polly, Maw and Paw Perkins, cousin Ashur, Neewah, and the rest of the outrageous Perkins household—is transfigured into living, breathing Christmas dolls.


    Oblong 11.5” x 4.25” hardcover, 344 pp, $24.99. ISBN: 978-1-61377-698-8

    LOAC Essentials Vol. 4: Alley Oop 1939

    by V. T. Hamlin
    Edited and designed by Dean Mullaney. Introduction by Michael H. Price.

    In 1939, Vincent Trout Hamlin had been writing and drawing the successful Alley Oop for more than five years. In Alley Oop Hamlin created a unique concept, marrying his fascination with dinosaurs and prehistoric times to a rollicking style of storytelling and drawing that was simultaneously serious, fantastic, and loaded with slapstick. The series was set in the kingdom of Moo and starred Alley Oop, the club-wielding caveman, his girlfriend Ooola, friends Dinny the dinosaur and Foozy, plus Oop's rival, King Guz, and Guz's Queen Umpateedle.

    Yet Hamlin knew that the strip's horizons in Moo were limited. When in early 1939 King Guz steals Dinny's egg and has Oop and Ooola cornered in the jungles of Moo, what starts out as just another prehistoric adventure is turned upside down. Oop and Ooola see a mysterious box and, to the utter amazement of Guz and his minions, promptly fade from view. That Saturday, April 6th strip ends with a caption: "Dear Reader: you must now say goodbye to Moo...if you are to follow Alley Oop in this strangest of many strange adventures. — V. T. Hamlin"

    Guz wasn't the only one who was amazed. Readers also wondered what happened to their favorite caveman, only to shockingly discover that Oop and Ooola had entered a time machine and were now living in the modern day 20th Century! Their host was the inventor of the time machine, Dr. Elbert Wonmug (a clever reworking of "Albert Einstein"—"one mug" being coloquial English for the German "ein stein").

    Hamlin's time-tripping device broadened the popular appeal as assuredly as it expanded the cast and the scope. Alley Oop, with every time period in history available as a backdrop, became a bigger hit than ever.

    The strips reprinted here begin on March 6, 1939, with Oop's last Moo adventure before being whisked away to the 20th Century, and continue through March 23, 1940 as Oop and Ooola re-enter the timestream and end up in ancient Greece to share adventures with brave Ulysses, the beautiful Helen of Troy, and the mighty Hercules. V. T. Hamlin would use his extensive autodidactic knowledge to educate readers as well as entertain them, sending his characters everywhere and everywhen—but the classic Alley Oop begins with the stories contained in this volume.

    The book is introduced by Michael H. Price, who first met V. T. Hamlin in the 1960s and remained friendly with him for the rest of the cartoonist's life. Price also composed the musical score for Hip Pocket Theatre's production of Alley Oop.

    Oblong 11.5” x 4.25” hardcover, 344 pp, $24.99. ISBN: 978-1-61377-829-6

    Coming Soon

    LOAC Essentials Vol. 5: The Bungle Family 1930

    by Harry J. Tuthill
    Edited and designed by Dean Mullaney. Introduction by Paul Tumey.

    Art Spiegelman called The Bungle Family "the most underrated comic strip in our history." Bill Blackbeard wrote, "There has been nothing like it in comic strips since." Hogan's Alley magazine proclaimed, "The Bungle Family was about as wholly an adult comic strip as the field has ever known." Yet until now only sporadic examples of Harry J. Tuthill's masterpiece have been available to modern readers. This complete collection of 1930 dailies remedies that situation.

    Almost three decades before The Honeymooners, The Bungle Family revolved around a squabbling couple, George and Josephine Bungle, apartment dwellers who are constantly at odds with not only each other, but with their neighbors, landlords, relatives, and just about anyone who crosses their paths, constantly conniving and scheming for financial or social advantage. Unlike Ralph and Trixie Kramden, the Bungles are also trying to marry their daughter Peggy to a rich prospect (including the recurring con man, J. Oakdale Hartford, who figures prominently in this volume).

    Perhaps no other comic strip better defines LOAC Essentials's mission to reprint the daily newspaper strips that are essential to comics history in yearly volumes. Like previous Essentials offerings, The Bungle Family will give readers an immersive experience, similar to the one newspapers readers had may decades ago—reading the comics one day at a time.

    Oblong 11.5” x 4.25” hardcover, 344 pp, $24.99. ISBN: 978-1-61377-958-3