Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, November 25, 2017


As a fourteen-year-old boy in Sweetwater, Texas, Roy Crane's future career became obvious when he took a correspondence course in cartooning from Charles N. Landon. At nineteen, he studied briefly at Chicago's Academy of Fine Arts and then spent some time at sea and riding the rails before landing a newspaper cartooning job at the New York World when he was twenty-one.  Crane was twenty-three in 1924 when he began a humorous comic strip -- Wash Tubbs -- which soon took grocery store employee Washington Tubbs II hunting for treasure in the South Pacific.  Wash Tubbs soon morphed into an pioneering adventure strip and, with the addition of the character Captain Easy ( a soldier of fortune with a mysterious past) in 1929, comic strip history was made.  Tubbs was eventually relagated to a minor character and the strip officially changed its name to Captain Easy in 1949 and ran until 1988.  Crane left the popular pair behind in 1943 to start a new adventure strip, Buz Sawyer, which ran until 1989 -- a dozen years after Crane's death, although the panel was signed by Crane until 1979.

John Singer Sawyer, better known as "Buz," was a young Navy pilot during World War II.  The air ace and his sidekick Rosco Sweeney had many exciting adventures in the exotic areas of the Pacific, but when the war ended Buz returned home to civilian life after a special peacetime mission, only to find life has changed.  The girl he's sweet on is now at university, another girl has moved to New York, a younger crowd has taken over the old hangout, people he knew have moved on, and life is boring, boring, boring.  Buz moved to New York in search of a job, finally landing one as a trouble-shooter for an international oil company.

Buz Sawyer #1 reprints some of the strips from 1945 and 1946, when Buz was a civilian and before he found the job with the oil company.  During this interregnum, there were still adventures to be had.  Buz meets up once again with two women from his past:  old girlfriend Tot Winters, now engaged to opera singer Count Franco Confetti, and Sultry, the Maharani of Batu, who has ong held a torch for Buz.  Added to the mix is Skagg, sultry's thuggish assistant, and Taboo, Sulty's pet tiger.  And, of course, Buz is reunited with Sweeny, as well as with old friend Chili Harrison.

Buz finds himself arrested for murder, which culminates in a life or death battle on an ocean-going yacht.  Who said civilian life was easy?


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