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Titillating the Tumbleweedsmania since 1968.

§ August 11th, 2021 § Filed under comic strips, tumbleweeds § 2 Comments

So my internet pal Adam was going through some of his stuff the other day when he came across a particular set of vintage items. Seeing this, he thought “why, there’s only ONE MAN in the world surely brave enough to have these in his own collection,” and that’s how I ended up with the Tumbleweeds fan club kit from 1968.

Sent away for by his father when he himself was only 16, he received in the mail (and given to me in the original envelope!) the following items:

The membership card, natch:

An official fan club certificate, suitable for framing and hanging up there next to your college diplomas and pictures of your family (click on image to eenlarge):

I like how cartoonist Tom K. Ryan is titled “Official Historian.”

And a newsletter (also clickable for resizing), welcoming you to the club, hawking some wares…

…and just generally making you feel inadequate when you find out the fella in charge here was only 17 years old:

All in all, a pretty neat find, and in shockingly good shape! Somehow Adam’s dad resisted scribbling his moniker into the spaces provided on these pieces of paper, and just left them folded in their delivery envelope, awaiting the day when some weirdo would scan ’em and put them on his site.

The follow-up you never expected.

§ February 7th, 2020 § Filed under comic strips, tumbleweeds § 5 Comments

So I acquired a collection of comics the other day that included a number of paperback comic strip reprints, including one copy of this book from 1985:

Now as I stated in this post, I mentioned wanting to buy a copy of a Tumbleweeds paperback to see if the strip was as…not to my taste as I recalled. I never did get around to deliberately purchasing one off Amazon, like I’d planned, but hey, one fell into my lap, basically, so that’ll do. It’s a little later in the run than I was looking for (I was thinking about finding one from about the time I originally had a Tumbleweeds book, which was the late ’70s) but the contents don’t appear significantly different from what I remember.

And what do I think of it? Well, okay, I haven’t had much of a chance to read it all — oh for the days when I could just plow through books like these in short order — but what I’ve read has been, you know, fine. It’s cute, with weirdly detailed characters and some soft chuckles. Not the best thing I’ve ever read, but not nearly as off-putting as I remembered.

I do really like this gag on the back cover:

So perhaps my harsh assessment of Tumbleweeds was a little unfair. Though, come to think of it, perhaps it wasn’t as harsh as all thoat, and more a filtering strategy created by the subjective memories in my brain to keep me from, well, wanted to read every comic-related thing. A mild disregard for a comic strip, evolving over years, decades, into “I DO NOT LIKE THAT STRIP, AVOID IT ENTIRELY” so that I’d be able to focus more on the stuff that appealed more.

Again, not bad, just not up my alley…though I like it a bit, so maybe it’s got a foot or two into my alley anyway.

However, here’s the real test…given the last line in that post I referred to earlier…guess which other comic strip paperback ended up in my possession?

Sigh. Yes, I’ll give it a shot, too. I’m a sucker.

Sad Sack fans, just send your hate mail to “mikester” at this domain name.

§ March 18th, 2019 § Filed under comic strips, tumbleweeds § 15 Comments

So as a young Mikester, I had a lot of newspaper strip reprint books. You know, the small 4 by 7 inch ones that were, what, 100 or so pages pages with a strip per page (or maybe a Sunday spread across two pages). Yeah, you know the type.

I read them from a pretty young age, and actually still have most of the books I had managed to gather up back then. The strip for which I had the most reprint books was Peanuts, which was probably far and away the most popular of these sorts of things. A distance second was B.C., though I had a pretty good supply of those as well…a weird and great strip in its heyday. And at some point I got into Beetle Bailey and got my mitts on several of those books over the years.

There were other scattered paperback strip reprints that passed through my hands…some I kept, some got passed on or lost over the years. I do still have the couple of Wizard of Id books, and it surprised me that I didn’t try to get more, because I really enjoyed that comic. Not so surprised that I didn’t keep the one book of Crock I had, which I did not care for.

Somewhere in the boxes of books I still have the first Doonesbury collection I was ever given (An Especially Tricky People), presented to me by my grandmother shortly after its initial publication in 1977, when I was eight years old and probably had a heck of a time making heads or tails of the thing. I got that parts of it were funny, and that Honey wasn’t getting the attention from Duke that she wanted, but the political content just whizzed over my head. (In later years, I ended up tracking down and buying just about every Doonesbury book, from the one reprinting the college strips up through, say, the 1990s.)

Some of the books I had but didn’t keep around were titles like The Family Circus and Dennis the Menace, which I liked well enough, I suppose, but the one-panel, essentially non-sequential nature of those comics didn’t really provide the…narrative, I guess, that I wanted from these comics as a kid. I mean, sure, I’ve come to appreciate them a bit more now (“oh, Not Me, you’ve done it again!”), but they just weren’t scratching that comical itch.

Another one I didn’t keep around was the one paperback of Tumbleweeds I somehow had on my shelves.

I was thinking about Tumbleweeds a bit over the last day or two, as it had been reported that the cartoonist behidn the strip, Tom K. Ryan, had died. Well, okay, sure, I was thinking about the strip a few weeks ago when I made this gag at the end of the post here (and it was a gag…that’s not what I gave pal Dorian for Christmas…I gave him a gift card to Tower Records). I do remember reading that one book I had…I remember reading it multiple times, because when you’re a kid you do things like that, since you have lots of time to kill and your imminent death from old age isn’t just around the corner.

I seem to recall thinking it was…well, I don’t recollect my exact reaction to it, but it was something along the lines of “it was okay, at least it’s not the Peanuts books I own and have reread a million times.”

However, for some reason, as I got older, I found that Tumbleweeds just wasn’t for me. It just didn’t appeal to me…the art rubbed me the wrong way, I had trouble even parsing the appearances of the characters, the jokes didn’t do much for me…man, at this point, I can’t even remember any of the character names from the strip. Was there someone actually named “Tumbleweeds” in the comic? I couldn’t tell you. And I think the strip changed over to some sort of mechanical lettering versus hand lettering…no, sorry, couldn’t do it.

To be fair, it wasn’t like I was declaring from the rooftops “As God is my witness, I hate Tumbleweeds” or anything…it was more “this is not for me, but for other people” and left it at that. It doesn’t fill me with anything like the revulsion I have for Sad Sack, a comic that just seems so wholly terrible that I can’t understand anyone ever tolerating, much less supporting multiple titles for so many years. Yeah, sure, I realize this all sounds pretty rich from a guy who likes, well, you know, but for the longest time just a partial glimpse of Tumbleweeds on the funny pages made me avert my eyes and move on.

Well, seeing the write-ups of Tumbleweeds of late (and getting a tad bit of pushback from the Christmas gift “joke” I mentioned earlier) has made me decide to give this comic a second chance. I will buy a copy of one of the paperbacks (preferably one reprinting slightly older strips, maybe from the 1970s) and I’ll give it another shot. Could be that I’ll still not like it. Could be I’ll find myself collecting yet another series of strip reprints that I’ll have to find room for. I don’t know.

If anyone has any suggestions as to which book to try, feel free to let me know in between your defenses of Sad Sack. My preference is to try out one of those small paperbacks, like the ones I got as a child. Maybe, if I can figure it out, I’ll try to find a copy of the one I originally had.

I however won’t be revisiting Crock. Sorry, friends, I have my limits.