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Walt and Skeezix: Book One, 1921 & 1922 (Walt & Skeezix) (Bk. 1) Hardcover – June 23, 2005


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Walt and Skeezix: Book One, 1921 & 1922 (Walt & Skeezix) (Bk. 1) + Walt and Skeezix, Book 2 (Walt & Skeezix) (Bk. 2) + Walt and Skeezix: Book Five: 1929-1930 (Walt & Skeezix)
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Product Details

  • Series: Walt & Skeezix
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; 1st edition (June 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1896597645
  • ISBN-13: 978-1896597645
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 9.8 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Chris Ware edited and designed this volume of Frank King's classic comic strip Gasoline Alley, but this collection doesn't quite begin at the beginning, 1919. Instead, it starts when the strip abruptly got really interesting, a few years later. King's protagonist Walt is a good-natured, roly-poly bachelor with a fondness for cars; as this book begins, he acquires a "stepchild"—an infant abandoned on his doorstep named Skeezix. The great innovation of this strip was that all of its characters aged and grew in real time. A lot of the early jokes about Skeezix have to do with Walt trying to keep the baby happy the same way he keeps cars running smoothly, and the strip's main tone is calm amusement about parenthood's lighter side. But there's a melancholy undercurrent: who will become a mother figure to Skeezix, and what will that mean for Walt's independence and relationships with his car-enthusiast friends. The daily strips reprinted here don't have the glorious visual inventiveness of King's Sunday pages (which will appear as separate volumes), but they're still lovely. The book includes an extensive introduction by Jeet Heer, featuring drawings and photographs from King's archives. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The enormously long-running newspaper strip Gasoline Alley began in 1919 by depicting neighbors who bonded in their enthusiasm for the then-new automobile. In 1921 the strip shifted gears when bachelor Walt Wallet found a baby boy on his doorstep. Thereafter, the strip transformed from a daily-gag to a "continuity" strip unreeling single story lines for weeks and months. It became famous as the sole strip whose characters aged rather than, like the perpetually preadolescent Little Orphan Annie, remained the same. This volume inaugurating a series aiming to present the strip's entire run begins with the year that baby Skeezix appeared. Creator King's art is simple yet expressive in these daily installments--his visual brilliance would flower in the full-page, color Sunday strips--and the homespun charm of the characters is what makes these early installments worthwhile. The handsome collection is designed by alternative-comics maestro Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan), whose introduction rightly praises King for "captur[ing] the texture of life as it slowly, inexorably, and hopelessly passes by." Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I have read books 1-3 and am about to read book 4.
Sye Sye
Classic daily comic strips such as Gasoline Alley have recently experienced a MASSIVE resurgence due to a flurry of reprints, and this is absolutely amazing!
Kevin Skorney
Buy this book if you are interested in history or if you just like a good story.
Lee Hawley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Frederick Norwood on August 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Gasoline Alley was created by Frank King and first appeared Sunday, November 24, 1918. The daily began about a year later, Aug 23, 1919. After many changes of artist and writer (many fans think Dick Moores was the greatest -- see Comics Revue monthly to decide for yourself) the strip still runs both Sunday and daily in newspapers today (2005), just thirteen years short of its hundredth aniversary.

The most memorable event in the strip, chronicled in this book, is when Walt Wallet finds on his doorstep a baby basket, containing Skeezix, on February 14, 1921. (Popeye, in the Thimble Theatre strip, would find Swee'pea in a similar basket ten years later).

The daily Frank King Gasoline Alley seems a bit slow and talky by today's faster paced standard, but his full color Sunday pages are often marvels of color and design. For some of the best full pages, see Bill Blackbeard's The Comic Strip Century.

Frank King died in 1969.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By C. Wagner on July 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The first volume of the proposed complete publication of Frank King's "Gasoline Alley," dailies printed in an agreeable two strip per page format, properly dated and containing 1921 and 1922. The characters are alive and grow older even as we ask where did this Skeezix come from? Who is this Mrs. Blossom, really? How does she support herself, and exactly what is going on or not between her and Walt? Ah, you will have to buy volume 2 to find out or not... Frank King drew in a simple, realistic style and put great thought into the characterization of his stars. This is not your average gag a day strip. Recommended for public and academic libraries, as well as for gentle readers of vintage cartoon strips and Frank King aficionados.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lee Hawley on December 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Buy this book ! It is outstanding. There is a 50+ page biography of the strip's creator, Frank King, and then all the daily strips in order for the years 1921 and 1922. The biography provides context for the strip. Then there is the strip, itself. It makes for fascinating reading because a window is provided for life at the time. My favorite part was when Walt and friends went on a driving tour out west. Driving was certainly a different experience back then.

Buy this book if you are interested in history or if you just like a good story. You will not be disappointed !
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Dog VINE VOICE on January 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had never really understood the appeal of Gasoline Alley. I sensed that it was a pleasant enough "slice of life" comic strip, well drawn and harmless. I had given it a glance now and then over the years, not even beginning to sense the iceberg that was always there, just beneath the 3 or 4 daily comic panels. This was all before I was exposed to the collected early stuff and the absolute genius of creator Frank King. Now, after having just finished the first volume of "Walt and Skeezix" which covers years 1921 and 1922 of this wonderful strip, I am simply very grateful to the Montreal publishing house, Drawn and Quarterly, for undertaking the multi-year project of collecting all the dailies from the King years.

The effect of this strip is somewhat cumulative, and Jeet Heer puts it best in his introduction when he writes "Gasoline Alley needs to be read in bulk to be appreciated." As I read along, it became increasingly clear to me what an astonishingly bright gem I was looking at. After I had read about six months into the dailies from 1921, I knew I was onto something very, very unique. The story of Walt and Skeezix unfolded exactly at the pace of real life, with all the well drawn characters growing older in real time. This infuses the strip with an immediately gripping "realism" that in turn makes the reader identify in a powerful way with the characters. The moments of subtle insight into human nature are many and so brilliantly done I found myself re-reading a single daily strip two or three times to truly savor it, finding ever-deepening levels to appreciate (if this sounds like hyperbole for a review of a comic strip, all I can say is buy this volume and I bet you will agree).

I don't want to gush and ruin your enjoyment of this work.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Artman on July 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Finally, the first part in a projected series that reprints the most underrated masterpiece in American comic strips. There was no flash or (for the most part) melodrama to Frank King's Gasoline Alley; just an amusing look at four buddies endlessly tinkering with their cars in the alley behind their homes. Then, a few years after the strip began, the one bachelor among them, Walt, is left with a newborn baby on his doorstep. From there the strip gains the stride that has never failed it in its nearly 90 year history. Gasoline Alley is a chronicle of the upbringing of that baby, and the love between Walt and Skeezix. The strip would have been a classic with that subject alone, but King widened the Alley universe and populated it with dozens of unforgettable characters. As readers went about their everyday lives, so too did the Alley denizens, through Prohibition, the Depression, war and prosperity. There were births and deaths, laughter and sorrow, all rendered by the deceptively simple lines of Frank King's pen.

As an added bonus, the book is crammed with never-before-seen photographs of King, his homes, the actually locale of Gasoline Alley and Robert, his son who became the model for Skeezix.

Did I mention I kind of like this book? Buy it and discover a family you really would like to know.
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