Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ANDY CAPP: Take Time to Laugh Your Head Off

Above: ANDY CAPP for the Daily Mirror in 1957, back when it was a single panel. And a violent single panel to boot. From the British Cartoon Archive, with a hat tip to my friend Ralf Ziegermann.

Everyone knows who Andy Capp is. Reg Smythe (1917-1998) created the strip about working class Andy and his wife Flo in 1957. Andy is forever at the pub, playing snooker, having a row with Flo and then sleeping on the couch. He's a layabout, a liar, and, you get the idea, he's not a nice fellow. Roger Mahoney and Roger Kettle are currently credited on the strip, which is syndicated in the US by Creators.

I remember what Homer Simpson said upon reading the strip:

"Heh heh heh. Oh, Andy Capp. You wife-beating drunk. Heh heh heh."

For a lot of us, this spells the strip out. And, while its misogynistic tendencies have been criticized, it does have its fans all over the world.

In The Daily Nation, Caroline Njung'e, reporting from Kenya, writes a loving tribute to the ANDY CAPP comic strip in an article titled Life is Too Serious. Take Some Time to Laugh Your Head Off.

"What do I like about this cartoon strip? The fact that it allows us to laugh at issues that are too painful and depressing in real life to elicit any humour.

"We all have an Andy among us, that easy-go-lucky person who is reluctant to embrace his responsibilities, a person who enjoys the easily, hassle-free life, especially if someone else is paying for it."

Over fifty years later, and the strip resonates. The entire article is here.

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