Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, June 9, 2018


From 1938 to 1942, the United Features syndicate reprinted some of their newspaper comic strips in their Single Series comic books.  Each of the 28 issues featured a single newspaper strip character, many of whom -- Iron Vic, Little Mary Mixup, Broncho Bill, Danny Dingle, Joe Jinks, Mr. and Mrs. Beans, Peter Pat, and Frankie Doodle, among others -- have been relegated to obscurity, known only to the most dedicated fans of old comic strips.

Jim Hardy was created by Dick Moores, a former assistant to Chester Gould on the Dick Tracy strip, who first envisioned the character as Jim Conley, a hard-as-nails ex-con vowing to go straight.  Newspaper editors balked at the concept, which was then revised as Jim Hardy, one of millions of down on their luck men during the Great Depression.  Jim Hardy was still a tough guy with an urge to do the right thing.  Eventually he became a reporter (an ace reporter, mind you) with a girlfriend and a kid companion.

Jim Hardy was not not very successful.  Moores had a talent for story telling, but these talents were just not suited for a fast-moving adventure series.  He was geared more to quiet, character-driven stories -- he found much greater success when he took over the Gasoline Alley from Frank King.  Late in the strip, Moores introduced Windy (a cowboy) and his horse Paddles.  The two soon became to focus of the strip and Jim Hardy faded away.  The strip was killed in 1942 and Jim Hardy became just another forgotten comic strip character.

United Features used Jim Hardy strips for two issues in their Single Strip series:  first for issue # 6 (January 1, 1939), and then for #27 (linked below).  Some of the comic strips have also been reprinted in UF's Tip-Top Comics, Giant Comic Editions, and Treasury of Comics.

Enjoy these adventures of a (mainly) unsung comic strip hero.  He cudda been a contender!

No comments:

Post a Comment