Another Vertical Original

I kind of liked the way the Bullwinkle strip original I ran sideways looked, so I’m going to dig into my original art stash every now and then and run more pieces this way. Tilt your head and enjoy…

Here’s an example of Vi and George Smith’s The Smith Family, an unjustly obscure strip that ran for decades. (This one is undated, but I’m guessing it’s from the late 1970s or 1980s.) Vi Smith had a unique, highly animated style, and the strip was reliably funny, often in a somewhat dark manner. I’m not sure what George Smith’s involvement with the strip was, but much of the time (not in this example), it was done from a woman’s point of view.

I read it for years in The Boston Globe–where it ran every day, then every Sunday…and then, it seemed, only when they had unexpected space to fill. I’m not sure when the strip died altogether, but it ran into the late 1980s, at least.

I would wonder if I’m the only person on earth who remembers The Smith Family, except Shane Glines’ Cartoon Retro has a discussion going on about it, with more examples.

Update: This comics index says that the strip ran from 1951 until 1994. I’m not sure if I’d buy a Complete Smith Family series, but I’d love to see some sort of best-of collection. It’s a strip that’s thoroughly worthy of rediscovery.

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3 thoughts on “Another Vertical Original”

  1. This wasn’t the strip that had the opening panel on Sundays that said “Kids:X Grandkids:Y” was it? I’m not sure if I remember this or not, though I must have read it, being a Boston boy. Lovely brushwork. It’s amazing how loose it is yet still repros so well.

  2. Yep, this was the strip with the Kids/Grandkids ticker. When I first started reading it, it was about a family with scads of kids; later, the only ones who ever appeared were Georgie and Babs. I’m not sure what happened to the others, or if it was ever explained…

    Great brushwork, indeed–it started loose and quirky, and got looser and quirkier as the years went on.

    –Harry

  3. Yes, I remember “The Smith Family” very fondly and I think this strip was in some way responsible for the wave of “subversive youth” strips that includes “Baby Blues” and “Calvin and Hobbes”. What basically happened with the strip was that there were 11 kids that George and Vi had, ten girls and Georgie (and for some reason the only other one I can remember is Tish). As the big girls married and had kids of their own they moved out, exited the strip, and left Georgie and Babs, clearly the funniest ones.

    And yes, the strip did become quirkier and maybe a little dark toward the end, as evidenced by the strip you’ve shown. By that time it was in maybe only thirty newspapers which included The Miami Herald. In the NY area, the Newark Star Ledger carried it for years. Unfortunately, our house got The Asbury Park Press.

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