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The Short Life and Happy Times of Shmoo

Al Capp

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ISBN 13: 9781585674626
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More than 50 years ago America was taken by storm when Al Capp introduced the Shmoo into his comic strip Lil' Abner. In the words of Life magazine, the nation was "Shmoo-struck." The adorable squash-shaped character was so popular it immediately spawned a massive merchandising craze: there were Shmoo dolls, Shmoo watches-even Shmoo ashtrays and Shmoo fishing lures. More than a hundred Shmoo clubs sprung up around the country-including a "Society for the Advancement of the Shmoo"-and inflatable Shmoos managed to reach German soil as part of the Berlin Air Lift. It was, as a reviewer in The New York Times commented, "a cultural event of enormous significance."

For the first time, Al Capp's comic strips featuring the Shmoo have been collected in one volume, from Lil' Abner's first inklings of the Shmoos to his discovery of the Shmoon valley. It looks like the citizens of Dogpatch have it made: the charming little critters can lay eggs, give milk, and be broiled into steaks-all Grade A-while their eyes make exquisite suspender buttons, their whiskers fine-grade toothpicks, and their hides the softest leather. The Shmoos provide for every need, and the frisky creatures reproduce at such a prodigious rate that no one even fights over them! Soon, however, America's captains of industry wage war on the creatures to protect their profits. Will Lil' Abner, Daisy Mae, Mammy and Pappy Yokum, and the rest of America choose the Shmoo-or the status quo?

The Short Life and Happy Times of the Shmoo is Al Capp and his incisive social criticism at its best, making it clear why John Steinbeck once hailed the cartoonist as "the best satirist since Laurence Sterne."

Al Capp (1909-1979) created Lil' Abner, considered by many the greatest comic strip of all time. With their first appearance in 1934, Capp's gang of Dogpatch hillbillies struck a chord with Depression-plagued Americans, and the strip was soon an overwhelming success. Capp continued drawing Lil' Abner until 1977.

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PG Wodehouse