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Felix the Cat’s Greatest Comic Book Tails! Hardcover – August 24, 2010
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About the Author
As with the entire line of Yoe Books, the reproduction techniques employed strive to preserve the look and feel of expensive vintage comics. Painstakingly remastered, enjoy the closest possible recreation of reading these comics when first released."
Top customer reviews
The book is very sturdy and the spine does not buckle when the book is fully open. The cover is slightly different than the one posted on Amazon, but Felix is very prominent in glossy black with the title and authors in glossy white (the remainder of the cover is a matte white). The re-printed stories appear color-accurate to their originals and not touched up (ie they appear to be high quality color scans from printed comic books) to their originals (as opposed to the Harvey Classic reprints from the 90s which were re-colored and cleaned) and are about 10-20% larger in size than the Golden Age originals. The pages themselves are off-white (maybe light peach?) of heavier, matte (non-shiny) paper stock, perfect for re-reading! For collectors, the Dedication Page (page with ISBN number) includes a break down of page art by Joe Oriolo and Otto Messmer... helpful, since I have yet to see a comprehensive list of Felix the Cat stories/strips along with their publication date/writer/artist listing.
I really didn't know what to expect from this book, but after reading it, it just makes me want more! I guess I'm a true fan. Hopefully IDW, Craig Yoe and Don Oriolo continue the Felix revival.
Here are some things I look forward (hoping) to seeing in the future (print or on-line).
1. The complete comic strips in chronological order!
2. A cross-reference of comic strips/comic stories (because the strips were syndicated in many different newspapers, then reprinted in some comics).
3. An "art of" book with production and pre-production art (like the ink w/blue line on the last page of this book).
4. More reprints of the comic books (in chronological order), maybe like the Gladstone Carl Barks Library or like the Hailton Felix Keeps On Walking publication.
Now hurry up and ADD THIS TO YOUR CART!
Funny animal comic books are a very underappreciated genre of comics. They're not the stuff of great literature, but they're perfect stories to read in while relaxing in your armchair on a cool summer day—and Craig Yoe's Felix the Cat collection is a perfect example of that. These comics are perfect for kids (and grown up cartoon nerds or cartoonists, like me) and make for great cartooning reference. The artwork of Otto Messmer and Joe Oriolo is deceptively simplistic, but full of solid drawing and composition skills, and rife with pure appeal. The stories are simplistic, but unpretentious and imaginative—something you don't see much of anymore.
Overall, Highly recommended!
Yoe starts the book with a brief essay that introduces Felix without bogging the reader down with a lot of detail. Comics historians differ on who actually created Felix, Joe Sullivan or his employee, Otto Messmer, and given the way studios worked at the time, it's hard to know who exactly did what. Indeed, at the beginning of the book, Yoe notes that most of the artwork and stories in the book are by Messmer, and then he points out a few that were identified as being by Joe Oriolo, who drew the Felix comics in the 1940s and 1950s. Most of the comics aren't signed, and one that is--a newspaper strip from the 1920s--is credited to Sullivan although Messmer is the actual artist.
This introductory section includes a few remarkable facts about Felix: He was the first cartoon character to be represented by a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade; Charles Lindbergh had a Felix decal on the side of his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis; and Felix was the first cartoon character to be shown on television, although not as a cartoon. When NBC tested the first RCA television camera, in 1928, they used a Felix doll rotating on a turntable for their test image. Yoe includes photographs of this event as well as a fascinating array of early Felix ephemera before launching into the meat of the book, the comics.
All the comics collected here are from the same era, from 1945 to 1954. At this point, Felix has moved pretty far from his Roaring '20s roots, and like many cartoon characters, he lives in an ordinary house (complete with overstuffed armchair in the living room), works at various jobs, and is bedeviled by his mischievous nephews. What sets Felix apart is his almost hallucinatory adventures. Traveling to different planets on his flying carpet, he encounters vegetables bent on revenge (and is tried by an all-carrot jury); a fish tries to catch Felix and fry him up in a pan; and when he mixes jumping beans with his garden seeds, he ends up with fast-growing plants that get him out of a number of situations. The stories have a slapstick character, with lots of physical humor, and the gags come fast, one or two per page. That makes the stories seem rather episodic. It's like the creators start with a theme--Felix has an unlucky day, say--and run with it until they run out of ideas. And they have plenty of imagination: In one sequence, Felix lands his spaceship on the bottom horn of a crescent moon and falls asleep. When the moon wanes to a thin sliver, his spaceship falls off. The art and paneling are workmanlike, not brilliant, but the stories move fast and deliver plenty of laughs--just like a good children's comic from any era.
-- Brigid Alverson