Bolery Ranel - My Milt Gross Tribute (1982)

BOLERY RANEL is my 1982 one-pager comic inspired by Milt Gross. At the time, I was attending Florida State University in Tallahassee. While I acquired a somewhat mediocre liberal arts education there, I used the fabulous microfilm archives of the university's Strozier Library to provide myself with an education on newspaper comics history. At the time, rerpint books were few and far between. The only real in-depth books on American newspaper comics were Bill Blackbeard's Hyperion Library (Strozier has a complete set). Hmmm... come to think of it, perhaps my mediocre college education was in part the result of those stolen hours spent as a comics archaeologist.

For three years, I regularly visited the twilight basement of the huge library where I sat in front of ancient microfilm viewers and noisily cranked through tens of thousands of muddy newspaper images to search for great old comics. Little did I know that my long-time friend and colleague, Frank Young (winner with David Lasky of the 2013 Eisner award for The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song) was doing the very same thing -- our paths probably crossed several times before we met. In this way, I read a ton of Herriman, Segar, and Milt Gross, my favorite. 

Milt Gross had a strip called Nize Baby in which a young boy unwittingly created chaos in his cranky father's life. The last panel of the Sunday comic usually depicted the boy being spanked by a fuming father. I emulated that in my one-pager. In my own way, I also emulated Gross' line. I drew the page directly in ink, with no pencils, and without looking at Gross' work -- but it was in my mind. 

I should also mention my friend Kevin Lakey, who owned a copy of Gross' book, Nize Baby. We'd sometimes hang out, drink too much, and have a lot of fun reading the brilliant Yiddish-English accounts out loud. Kevin was an actor and relished Gross' richly comical language.

You can read more Milt Gross comics at my Master of Screwball Comics blog, here

Explication of Bolery Ranel: 
A man named Bolery Ranel is walking with his son past a bookstore. The bookstore is mobbed with fans of a book called "Bowling Panels." The boy -- taken with the similarity in names - mentions it to his Dad, causing a huge crowd to chase him up down the street. He saves himself by climbing up a phone pole.

All text, comics, and art copyright 2013 Paul Tumey