Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, March 21, 2020


The Adventures of Smilin' Jack ran for forty years in the comics pages, from 1933 to 1973.  The popular aviation comic strip was actually the most popular comic strip for boys in 1940.  The extensively researched aviation background combined with thrilling stories, quirky and individual characters, and dastardly villains were a formula for comic strip success.  Created by aviation fan and cartoonist Zack Mosley, Smilin' Jack was originally named Mack Martin in the strip originally called On the Wing but the editor of the Chicago Tribune did not like the name Mack so the hero's name was changed to Jack Martin after the strip had been running  for only three months and the strip's title was changed to The Adventures of Smilin' Jack (a nod to creator Zack Mosley who had been nicknamed Smilin' Zack by his colleagues).  The strip eventually became known as Smilin' Jack.

Smilin' Jack's supporting characters may be more notable than the title character.  Jack's co-pilot and sidekick Downwind Jaxon is so good looking that women swoon with passion when they see his face.  Therefore, Downwind was also drawn in a 3/4 profile so readers never see his complete face.  Comic relief Fat Stuff was a corpulent Hawaiian whose overstretched shirt kept popping buttons; how he replenished those buttons remain a mystery.  In a number of strips the buttons were eaten on the fly by a chicken.  Other characters in this issue are Fat Suff's baby triplets, the Little Stuffs, Woo-Woo Bai, Snake-Bite, Senors Lopez y Caranza, Senoritas Paprika y Tamale, Cucuracha, Cindy, and the villains Toemain the Great and Catize.  I won't say any more because you just have to experience the characters for yourself.

Correction:  I will say one thing more because the comic book opens with a mysterious and unseen employer called  Hammer-Head who hires Downwind and Fat Stuff to help put a pipeline through a south American jungle.  As to the true identity of Hammer-Head, read the comic book.

Beginning in 1936, Dell Comics began issuing small comic books based on the character; these books were later combined to make the larger, 36-page comic -- issue # 1 linked below combines five of the 7-page 1941 comics under one cover.

Check it out.

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