Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, February 29, 2020


The official name of this comic book is United Comics but the cover emblazons Fritzi Ritz.  And who is Fritzi Ritz? I hear some of the younger whippersnappers ask.  She started off as a flapper in a comic strip created by Larry Whittington in 1922.  Whittington left after three years to be replaced by a young (20-years-old!) Ernie Bushmiller, who soon began to model Fritzi on his then fiancee (and later wife) Abby Bonhet.  Fritzi live with her father and aunt (who was later retrofitted to become her mother!), eventually gaining employment as an actress working for Star Studios where her boss was Mr. Blobbs.  Fritzi's first boyfriend was Ted, an impoverished guy, although rich Bobby Bonds kept trying to date her.

When Bushmiller took over the strip, Fritzi gained a new boyfriend, Wally.  In 1933, Fritzi's niece Nancy appeared and comic strip history was made.  Eventually Nancy took over the strip and in 1938 Sluggo Smith was introduced and the daily strip was renamed Nancy.  Poor Fritzi Ritz faded ito the background for a while.  When Guy and Brad Gilchrist took over the strip, Fritzi once more gained an important role in the strip.  She also gained a new boyfriend, Phil Fumble, who at one time (beginning in 1931) had his own Sunday strip.  In the last of the Gilchrist's strips, Fritzi and Phil got married.

In 1918, Olivia Jaimes rebooted Nancy and brought back Fritzi Ritz as Nancy's unmarried guardian.

Fritzi Ritz/United Comics #17 not only reprinted Sunday Fritzi Ritz strips, but also published two other United Feature syndicate strips -- Russell Patterson's Mamie (which ran from 1951 to 1956; "a flapper strip that somehow wandered into the wrong decade," according to comics historian Maurice Horn) and Raeburn Van Buren's Abbie an' Slats (1937 to 1971, with J. Pierpoint "Bathless" Groggins coming center stage in later years.)

Nothing truly exciting here, although Patterson's artwork is stunningly detailed and Bathless Groggins is always a treat.  As for Fritzi Ritz, she'll always come second to Nancy.

Enjoy these samples of Sunday morning comic strip entertainment.

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