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& MELENA RYZIK .
Inc.B55Y584 2007 741. Blondie (Comic strip) I. Title. Inc. Hart FLP and Creators Syndicate. www. Distributed by King Features Syndicate. All rights reserved.C. World Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission of Universal Press Syndicated. HI & LOIS Written by Brian & Greg Walker. ZITS by Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott (page 169) Zits © 2005 Zits Partnership. CURTIS by Ray Billingsley (page 168) Curtis © 2005 by King Features Syndicate. Thomas Nelson.5’6973--dc22 2007012830 Printed in China 07 08 09 10 11 – 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 . Inc. MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM by Mike Peters (page 166) Mother Goose & Grimm © 2005 Grimmy. World Rights Reserved. Distributed by King Features Syndicate. Inc. without the prior permission of the publisher. scanning. cm. Inc. Inc. by Thomas Nelson. Inc. Tennessee. SHOE by Gary Brookins and Chris Cassatt (page 166) Shoe © Tribune Media Services. Inc. BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH by John Rose (page 167) Barney Google & Snuffy Smith © 2005 by King Features Syndicate. Inc. Reprinted with permission. GARFIELD by Jim Davis (page 164) Garﬁeld © 2005 Paws. paper) 1. No portion of this book may be reproduced. Inc. © 2005 Creators Syndicate. Inc. or sales promotional use. mechanical. World Rights Reserved. Inc. Ryzik. Inc. business. by Johnny Hart (page 170) B.C. Inc. Hart FLP and Creators Syndicate. recording.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Young. or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews. Distributed by King Features Syndicate. Drawn by Chance Browne (page 167) Hi & Lois © 2005 by King Features Syndicate. ROSE IS ROSE by Pat Brady (page 164) Rose Is Rose © United Feature Syndicate. Inc. SALLY FORTH Written by Francesco Marciuliano. Inc. World Rights Reserved. or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic.creators. All rights reserved. II. PN6728. stored in a retrieval system. 1938Blondie: the Bumstead family history / Dean Young and Melena Ryzik. ISBN-13: 978-1-4016-0322-9 (alk. MUTTS by Patrick McDonnell (page 165) Mutts © 2005 Patrick McDonnell. Inc. BIZARRO by Dan Piraro (page 170) Bizarro © Dan Piraro 2005. World Rights Reserved. Drawn by Craig MacIntosh (page 165) Sally Forth © 2005 by King Features Syndicate. B. www. Distributed by King Features Syndicate. World rights reserved. editor-in-chief of King Features Syndicate and scholar of the arts. Distributed by King Features Syndicate. Inc. MARVIN by Tom Armstrong (page 169) Marvin © 2005 by North America Syndicate. fundraising. Thomas Nelson is a trademark of Thomas Nelson.com Reproduced by permission of John L. please email SpecialMarkets@ThomasNelson. BUCKLES by David Gilbert (page 168) Buckles © 2005 by King Features Syndicate. World rights reserved. titles may be purchased in bulk for educational. paper) ISBN-10: 1-4016-0322-X (alk. All rights reserved. Inc..creators. BEETLE BAILEY by Greg & Mort Walker (page 166) Beetle Bailey © 2005 by King Features Syndicate. Reprinted by permission of Universal Press Syndicate. photocopy. Drawn by Rick Kirkman (page 168) Baby Blues © 2005 Baby Blues Partnership.com Reproduced by permission of John L. World Rights Reserved. Dean. Melena. Published in Nashville. p. All Rights Reserved. FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE by Lynn Johnston (page 167) For Better or For Worse © Lynn Johnston Prod. WIZARD OF ID by Johnny Hart (page 165) Wizard of Id © 2005 Creators Syndicate. Dedicated to the memory of Jay Kennedy (1956-2007). HAGAR by Chris Browne (page 169) Hagar © 2005 by King Features Syndicate. Inc.© 2007 by King Features Syndicate. BABY BLUES Written by Jerry Scott. For information.
TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 7 CHAPTER T WO GETTING MARRIED 83 CHAPTER THREE FAMILY LIFE 93 CHAPTER FOUR DAGWOOD AT WORK 111 CHAPTER FIVE BLONDIE GOES TO WORK 127 CHAPTER SIX FAVORITE STRIPS 143 CHAPTER SEVEN THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY 163 CHAPTER EIGHT FOREVER YOUNG 183 .
honor. It’s almost like the strip could write itself. and keep funny. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed the privilege of creating them for you. and the comic strip will take care of itself. It was a great fatherson relationship and a great working relationship. “If it seems funny to you. just do it. I wasn’t so sure when 300 newspapers dropped the comic strip immediately after his death. plus hundreds more — proof enough that his words were remarkably prophetic. And every day. and the characters that he created more enduring than he could have ever imagined.Over the years I have often wondered what my father. I thank my lucky stars for this magical menagerie of zany comic strip characters that became my responsibility to protect. I’m sure he would be thrilled to know that the world is still enjoying a daily dose of his wacky creation.” he said. Chic Young. The strips on the pages ahead are some of my personal favorites. Sometimes I just turn them loose and let them do whatever they want. What a thrill it is to work with characters that literally explode like chemicals when they come in contact with one another. we got all of those newspapers back. With this cast of characters. even a monkey could do it! My dad taught me all the nuances of how to run a big-time comic strip during the twelve years I worked with him. In the years that followed. however. would have to say about the amazing durability of the characters that he created almost eight decades ago. One day toward the end of working together was particularly memorable when he told me never to worry about the comic strip. .
sit back. As you thumb through the pages of this book. have brought of this adored comic strip. relax and enjoy some treasured to cope. amily members — you can’t live with them and humor and joy into the homes of millions of Blondie fans around the world. quality time with family.CHAPTER 1 THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM you can’t live without them! But why would F People recognize and relate anyone want to live without the Bumsteads? to the Bumstead family because they see themselves Since 1930. . Dagwood and Blondie Bumstead.” So. along and their loved ones reﬂected inside the paneled walls with their children Cookie and Alexander. without losing sight of the little things that count. This enduring domestic comedy continues to make The Bumstead Family Album is a celebration of family at its most genuine. take pleasure in the book’s most an indelible impression in the hearts and minds of simple and universal truth: “home is truly where the Blondie fans who connect with the Bumsteads’ ability heart is.
a job. pouty lips. Chic Young. 1930. then a slew of boyfriends for the eternal Dagwood Bumstead—of the J. the ﬂapper was a rebellious risk-taker and a free spirit. and she was already a knockout. Blondie epitomized that combination of pluck. on the other hand. Yet her creator. she 8 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . But the Depression put a damper on this party-heavy image. As a fun-loving. which could chronicle her adventures. was beautiful but decidedly lower middle class. and passion that drove the American Dream at a time when the nation needed it most – and we loved her for it. this one-of-a-kind cartoon ﬁgure quickly enchanted millions. two kids. recognized something more than a newsprint-ready blonde joke. and a sensational BLONDIE shape. humor. Blondie. man-chasing young lady with the perfectly comic surname Boopadoop. In the jubilant post–World War I years. embodying the whirlwind lifestyle that the “It” girls of the era seemed to suggest. The original doyenne of domesticity. Blondie and Dagwood’s ﬁrst date wasn’t depicted in newsprint. a husband. and misadventures alike. long-lashed eyes. The pretty woman in the rufﬂed dress arrived in the nation’s newspapers as a two-dimensional—as in pancake-ﬂat—stereotype of a character that had already captured the public’s imagination: the ﬂapper. the early Blondie displayed a decidedly screwball sensibility. so was she. As Blondie’s real-life counterparts were evolving. With a relentlessly can-do spirit. A symbol of women’s growing independence in the years following the Nineteenth Amendment. She wasn’t a dizzy blonde as much as she was a dizziness-inducing blonde. he was nonetheless a millionaire. With wavy golden tresses. and a house in the suburbs. rail industry titans and the funny page answer to the Vanderbilts. she was a perfect subject for the pages of the daily and weekly comics. Preternaturally awkward. Bolling Bumsteads. But it wasn’t always so. First she traded ditziness for a diploma as she became a student. she eventually grew to symbolize the myriad changes in American womanhood. a dog.B londie was born on September 8. that is—he deﬁnitely got the sandwich). a sandwich (pastrami on rye) and a chaste kiss—if Dagwood was lucky (about the kiss. but it probably involved a soda. the beneﬁciary of his father’s riches.
and all Dagwood’s. Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 9 . . . she is warm. sweet. Her unique brand of logic can solve problems that might confound the most brilliant scholar. gentle. and friend.Beautiful wife of Dagwood Bumstead. A loving wife. mother. She owns and operates Blondie’s Catering Service. . Her great good looks balance Dagwood’s propensity to operate without all his oars in the water.
and fashion magazines (not Vogue—the middle-class blonde. books. especially Blondie. the J. Her clothing. she has modern. has undergone a makeover—where adored by all. In the process. Stan Drake. inadvertently paving the way ters. which quickly fell for this ie’s iconic curly ﬂapper ’do has become more relaxed. and counting. series starring Arthur Lake. and unlikely couple. Dean and John—and all the perils of real life? Like any industrialists worth their rep. accomplished businesswoman. workforce with her very own catering business. now she is devoted to Bloomingdale’s. (If only real life were as kind as newsprint!) 10 Cartoonist Dean Young. where she’ll likely—and enviably—stay. Nonetheless. suspiciously good-hearted. who took over the comic strip Read by hundreds of millions of people the world over. she entered the seventy-ﬁve years. Chic Young quickly realized that after his father Chic’s death in 1973. Blond- and Dagwood and the nation. including Jim Raymond. radio shows. up-to-date with today’s trends and for a historic. picking her wardrobe out of catalogs playboy and the gorgeous. They and Denis LeBrun—have taken pains to keep the charac- disinherited their only son. Now in Blondie has remained beautiful for every one of those her mid-thirties. Working together. (a 1957 Roebuck catalog. another series from 1968 to BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . Blondie has overseen an empire that has once Chic Young lifted her fashions out of the Sears. It’s a love affair that’s lasted more than her personality more astute. though. In the 1990s. They use cell phones and computers. or even. ever-expanding relationship between Blondie technologies. diets or exercise. actually does all of it was a match made in newspaper heaven—the pathetic Blondie’s shopping. luminous skin. seemingly. Bolling Bumsteads didn’t care for reality. Blondie has evolved from a frivolous good-time gal to a Botox.had graduated from student to secretary and still lived with her mother. TV. seventy-ﬁve years. spanned newspapers. managed to retain her increasingly sensational ﬁgure and she’s cemented her status as America’s favorite blonde. artists before him. Without the beneﬁt of plastic surgery. Was she a gold-digger? Was he handsome enough Bumsteads are on a budget) for artist John Marshall to to keep her attention? Would their affection survive the illustrate.
“for every guy in the world.” voice and presence in American culture. and the comic’s success is no Dagwood). As one of only a few comics to survive the political. and twenty-eight full-length Columbia Motion doubt based partly on the idea that a woman like Blondie Picture movies. Through all the changes she’s seen and undergone. Blondie is in many ways an idealized woman. mother. or.1969.” Dagwood may be the funny one. one of her most important roles is never mentioned. in fact. The Blondie cast has appeared in nearly every medium But Blondie is much more than the sum of her (very substantial) parts. even a Broadway musical is in the works. Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 11 . including greeting cards. the Dagwood is one of the founding principles of the strip. long-suffering sigh—that gives heft to the humor. Blondie paraphernalia Whenever he ﬂails through a situation. In fact. and friend. No wonder it’s named for her.” light switch plates. Above all. let’s face it. the Ricky to his Lucy. starring Loni The Bumsteads’ long and loving relationship gives Anderson as the voice of Blondie and Frank Welker as hope to misﬁts everywhere. “for every guy in the world. Penny Singleton and could go for a guy like Dagwood. In fact. and cookie jars. towels. panel. though it’s evident in every that’s ﬁt to print. ﬁgurines. Appearing the Hardy to Dagwood’s Laurel. and an animated version in 1987.” says Dean Young. and economic upheaval of the thirties and come out stronger for it.” says Dean Young. though. Today. From 1938 to 1950. it is Blondie’s is considered very collectible. Blondie is not just a comic strip. the surprise. she is a loving wife. social. the strip’s “straight (wo)man. lunch boxes. at pop culture auctions and on eBay. but Blondie is the constant—the backbone of the strip. the character Blondie has maintained a consistent Blondie is in many ways an idealized woman — “a fantasy. Arthur Lake brought Blondie and Dagwood to life on the big screen. “A fantasy. Blondie is. Her devotion to reaction—the smile. it’s a phenomenon.
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although a few million dollars poorer. Chic. trademark locks. His morning begins. With clothing on. with the buzzing of an alarm clock. the creator of Blondie. Still. “If you change those cowlicks sticking out. Dagwood was a loser. he’s been the same wild-haired string bean since 1930. tumbling comedy of errors. and white shirt with one giant button (a convenience device Chic Young invented to avoid drawing rows of tiny fasteners)—has stayed intact. Except—and here come the circumstances—his morning is somehow perpetually ten minutes behind.” avers Dean (he means it in a loving way). he’s already substantially late for work. bow tie. so he must be doing something right. our hero makes a mad dash out the door and past—or more likely into—the hapless mailman. But it’s difﬁcult to tell what it is. of course. No time to spare for apologies. “If Dagwood didn’t have that hair. but a rich one—he stood to inherit his family’s rail industry fortune. As envisioned by Dean’s father. his family has engineered a clothing-coffee-breakfast routine that would leave NASA’s efﬁciency experts agog. Dagwood himself remained largely unchanged. talking. sorry! Dagwood races on. 20 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . But when a certain blonde intervened. Dagwood Bumstead is hard-pressed to get through even one day of life unscathed—or not hungry. Though he’s lost the old-fashioned sock garters.D agwood Bumstead. Dagwood chose love over money. A walking. when Blondie debuted. Ditto his quarter-slot eyes and. and the trajectory of the strip was forever cast. To save precious moments. the guy has managed to hang on to one of the most attractive women in the funny pages for more than three-quarters of a century. and briefcase in hand. like most of ours. Dagwood’s workday uniform—slacks. Physically. It’s like the tinsel on a Christmas tree!” While Blondie looks like a real woman—our hero Dagwood looks more like “an alien from the planet Zork. you’re in the wrong business. he’d look like Archie. “is the greatest victim of circumstance in the world. By the time he’s up.” DAGWOOD It didn’t start out that way.” Dean Young is fond of saying. coffee gulped.” says Dean Young.
He loves food. baths. superduper sandwiches are so well known that ”Dagwood sandwich” is listed in Webster’s Dictionary. Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 21 .Surely the greatest victim of circumstance the world has ever known.. His chronic problems include running into the mailman and getting to work on time. sleep. His stacked-to-the-ceiling.. and most of all his wife and children.
Happily. Then Sleeping. At the ofﬁce. the shops’ sandwiches taste better than Dagwood’s sound. and alternately of the strip. like lunch.” crows Young. he’s also fond of sleeping. eating. 22 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . he be- consumed over the years. napping. whose metabolism must run at super- vorite TV programs—or simply stare off. Dagwood can regale no slouch in the gustatory arts himself.) But man is not destined for lunch-meat love alone. Young is no them with tales of his exploits—otherwise known as his fa- match for Dagwood. working — these are the essential ingredients of Dagwood’s life. and it’s home to Blondie. A running gag since the beginning gins a long day of avoiding work. 2006.If he hasn’t missed his car pool (a modern-day upgrade “He’s got a black belt in buffet. who is from the bus he used to take to work). Still. a chain of fast-food restaurants famous for—what else?—overstuffed sandwiches. and his favorite part of the day: the passionate kiss hello. then breakfast. his mind occupied cartoon-human speeds to account for all the calories he’s with more pressing matters. (In satisfy it. Dagwood’s monster multilevel sandwiches— cowering from and arguing with his boss. (Circumstance again. who has not seen ﬁt to give him a raise in decades. from cheese to sausage to sardines to onions (for “authority”) slapped sandwiches he creates to between two paltry pieces of bread—are an art form. lunch.) Another car pool ride. life began to imitate art when Dean created Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes. Scratch that—his favorite part of the day is dinner. Wait. how do the midnight snacks rank? Dagwood’s appetite is as legendary as the made of every ingredient available in the fridge. napping. In Dagwood’s case.
the most day without night or salt without pepper. working—these are the essential things that Dagwood is not. grace. Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 23 . Anything else? Yes. the Dagwood important thing—family.” says Blondie. eating. She deﬁnes him in a way that’s more than Dean. she’s the epitome of class. and decorum—all the Sleeping. and a were it not for his wife. and it was the the way he does. a crown prince of couch potatoes. “Having a wife like Blondie allows him to operate just circumstantial. in a word. Not only is she fun to look at. the source of so much humor and wife. She was his choice. he would be. king among slouchers. personal or professional.” smartest choice he ever made. would not exist without “Without them. are his most important companions and audience. with a weird look sandwiches are renowned. He’s a cham- would be conﬁned to the back lots of the funny pages pion sofa surfer. She validates his existence. joy throughout the years. Just as there would be no ingredients of Dagwood’s life. fumbling slacker. His children. Dagwood almost any situation. and especially his we know and love. sardines?). If his A bumbling. so is his ability to snore through and weirder tastes (seriously. a loser.and resting—the holy triumvirate of male behavior.
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remains ﬁrm in the conviction that his parents—especially his father—are endless sources of affection. Alexander is nothing if not normal. where Alexander’s appetite and sandwich-making skills may soon grow to rival his dad’s. 1934. in many ways. And when he’s not busy practicing with his band. Alexander is a junior Dagwood—albeit with hipper clothing and musical taste. Luckily. an early assistant to Chic Young. and above all.ALEXANDER T he eldest Bumstead child was born on April 15. Only the truly advanced of character can stomach the sardines. Alexander does manage to absorb some lessons in the fatherly 32 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . who became Chic and Dean’s longtime collaborator. (Not necessarily in that order. amusement. and the brother of Jim Raymond. After nagging his parents a lot. after a pregnancy so uneventful. He will likely remain there for as long as there is comic tension to be mined from the relationship between teenagers and their parents—which is to say. Well. was chosen in honor of Alex Raymond. His full given name.” the little boy was the son the Bumsteads always wanted—adorable. or asking for cash. Now Alexander has ﬁnally graduated to teenager-hood. Still. forever. Alexander. plays football and basketball. being publicly known as Baby Dumpling would be kind of like having everyone in the world see your ﬁrst bathtub pics. ﬁghts with his sister. denting the car. watching his son slap together a few (dozen) slices of cold cuts and cheese.) But while Dagwood’s bumbling nature has not escaped his son’s notice—how could it?— he has a lot more in common with his dad than just unruly hair. smother them with assorted condiments. he eventually lost the embarrassing appellation. it nearly qualiﬁed as immaculate. almost. outgoing. and cash. a condition that’s much more difﬁcult to outgrow. and quick with a quip. and stack it all between a hunk (loaf) of bread may be one of Dagwood’s proudest moments. Nicknamed “Baby Dumpling. slacks off. he didn’t grow up quickly—his childhood spanned the 1930s to the 70s. He goes to school. In fact. For any child. Their shared DNA is most obvious in the kitchen. As a teenager.
Blondie and Dagwood’s teenage son. but he seems to be more level-headed and stable. he nonetheless makes his parents proud. Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 33 . He is a star athlete on the high school football and basketball teams. He resembles Dagwood in appearance and appetite. While he is known to roll his eyes at his dad’s ways and his band sometimes plays too loud.
napping. . after all these years. Alexander has really become wiser. Maybe. sharper. Occasionally. nah. and more mature . TV-watching). and leisure studies (avoiding chores.Alexander is a junior Dagwood — albeit with hipper clothing and musical taste. He is still his father’s son. 34 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . . he even notices that there is something to be learned from the old man—a realization it takes the rest of us most of adulthood to achieve. arts: snacking.
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cheerful. or tags along on his daughter’s dates. who received one hundred dollars and lifelong bragging rights. did meet with Dad’s approval. but she’s no lightweight. Cookie looks like every post–Britney Spears adolescent girl. these kids have been acting like teenagers for a long. when the endless parade of inappropriate dates commences. . and just about every boy next door. a joker without a watch. though.000 people entered a nationwide contest to come up with her name.L ike her mother. It’s a winning combination that she often uses to sweet-talk her unsuspecting daddy. Now a spunky teenager. 40 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . a father of three daughters. her room always neat and clean. More COOKIE than 430. Cookie is levelheaded. paces. So will Cookie eventually ﬁnd love with someone like her father? “I hope not. well-liked Big (but small) Woman on Campus. Unlike her sloppy brother Alexander. long. it’s no surprise that she’s got such a wide appeal. the Bumstead daughter was born on April 11. She is conﬁdent that sooner or later her daughter will make the right choice—just as she did. The winner was Beatrice Barken. her manners always impeccable. the only time Cookie really gives her parents cause to complain is . a geek. A straight “A” student and a member of the varsity cheerleading squad.) Given Cookie’s popularity since birth. she even has a blog to prove it. which no doubt meant that Cookie couldn’t care less about him. he has a hunch it would make for some potently funny chemistry. (One guy. every night. and good-looking. Cookie is always perfectly coiffed.” said Dean Young. While Dagwood waits up. With her ﬂippy blonde hair and belly-baring tops. long time. a Cleveland housewife. 1941. even by today’s long-adolescence standards. but her father probably wouldn’t mind if his daughter were just a smidge less attractive to the boys she goes out with. Her suitors have included a tattooed punk. Cookie is every bit the pretty. Blondie is more secure. whose wallet may not survive his children’s teenage years intact.) Still. As a cartoonist. . a star athlete. (Especially since.
not her dad’s disheveled ones. especially when it comes to boys. She is an ”A” student and a member of the varsity cheerleading squad in high school. She is fortunate to have her mother’s great looks.. More popular than most classmates.. she’s a typical teenager in most respects.Blondie and Dagwood’s teenage daughter and younger sister to Alexander. Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 41 .
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Daisy has become a stand-in for Blondie’s numerous faithful fans. the ﬁve pups were a lot of fun. But they were also a handful—not to mention a mouthful to feed—and when newspaper comics shrunk. with her bright collar. Though she does sometimes chew the scenery. though. adopted by the Bumsteads’ neighbors. or sprawled in front of the couch. 46 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . with just enough room for peeking) have made her one famously animated mutt.A mutt. In between her many naps and snacks. the Bumsteads’ DAISY loyal dog. saucer eyes. Daisy never spoils the gag. She often appears at the foot of Blondie or Dagwood’s chair. the Dionne quints. many of whom may also be covering their eyes and thinking I-can’t-believe-he’s-at-it-again. In fact. Daisy can often be found in the last panel of the strip. neighborhood kitties!) has made her not only Dagwood’s best friend but also his canine alter ego. is a constant presence. quizzical look or a deadpan expression. and oddly blue-gray fur (she would have to be a mutt with that coloring). Rescued from a pound in the early days of the strip. her afﬁnity for two of her owner’s most beloved hobbies—sleeping and eating—and her predilection for getting into trouble (watch out. In fact. reacting to Dagwood’s boundless foibles with a ﬂoppy-eared. as a much-loved pet should be. Luckily. Named after a famous Depression-era set of Canadian quintuplets. Daisy. as a shrewd witness to what goes on in the Bumstead household. or searching for scraps in the kitchen. Daisy. Her doggy double-takes and I-can’t-believe-he’s-at-it-again pose (paws over her eyes. In the 1970s. Daisy’s offspring were phased out. Dean Young and then-artist Jim Raymond found that conﬁguring six animals in one panel was too much of a zoo. has remained a comedic mainstay for nearly three-quarters of a century—or almost 525 dog years. Woof! The family dog even had a family of her own—she gave birth to a litter of ﬁve pups shortly after baby Cookie arrived in the pages of Blondie. This four-legged fur ball can sometimes have more sense than the man of the house. “Heinz 57 variety”—that’s what Dean Young calls Daisy.
From humble beginnings as a shelter mutt. paws-over-her-face-with-eyespeeking-out. It is often said that pets share the traits of their owners and she’s no exception -. Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 47 . she has risen to take her place as a beloved member of the family.she eats and sleeps nearly as much as Dagwood. Her signature ”take” on the family is a belly-tothe-ﬂoor. did-I-hear-that-right pose.The family dog and silent commentator on Bumstead family doings.
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Mr. has been in business for nearly three-quarters of a century. and his insensitivity would challenge even the most politically correct professional. Dithers appeared in the strip at about the same time that J. mustachioed gentleman with a generous gut and a shock of white hair. chastising and cutting with a quick turn of phrase. DITHERS outs. old-fogy patriarch is almost unparalleled. there is Genghis Khan—and there is Mr. A short. And when Dithers can’t retaliate on the home front. And at home he’s as meek as a mouse—largely thanks to his wife. Dithers. using it to keep her husband in line.). Dithers Construction Company (whose clients he poached from his former boss—his father-in-law). C. Bolling Bumstead. Both are angry industrialists who think little of their charges. rich. Nowadays she’s fond of the verbal approach. she wielded her large. he takes it out on his employees.I n the annals of terrible bosses. Julius C. he’s got a heart as big as all outdoors. In the ofﬁce. A tyrant with a temper to rival a roomful of anger management drop- MR. so he’s not totally devoid of empathy (or political correctness). In the early days of the strip. which is no coincidence. 52 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . C. at least. but if Dithers had one. founder of the J. Dithers runs his ofﬁce like a dictatorship—a cheap one. And he’s been ﬁghting with Dagwood for most of them. He did outﬁt his ofﬁce with Kleenex. As Dithers would be the ﬁrst to tell you. Dithers Co. pointy umbrella the way a lion tamer would a whip. it would look like this: $$$ Driven by greed and a Draconian work ethic (there are no “personal days” at J. In fact. “As a comic character. His stinginess is as legendary as his tantrums. Dagwood’s father.” says Dean Young. stout. the irascible. Blondie cast members make only infrequent use of thought balloons. Dithers bears a suspicious resemblance to J. But he’s not all bad. Dithers. Cora Dithers. he’s master of his domain. Bolling was phased out. for the many occasions on which he makes his employees cry.
he has ice water in his veins and is certain that the most important quantum in life is the almighty dollar! He is lord and master of all he surveys.C. . with one notable exception. Dithers Construction Company and Dagwood’s irascible boss. A dictator who abuses his employees.Founder of the J. verbally and physically. Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 53 . his wife! Deep down inside of him. he claims to have a heart that beats and bleeds for all humanity. .
Mr. Dithers would deﬁnitely make the Hall of Fame for bad bosses. And for a car- world over. “I live for that vitriol. so he universal and a character like Dithers is recognizable the morphed him into Dithers. Khan! toonist.” Young said ruefully. because it goes to the comedic level where everything is heightened to the nth degree. embodying the boss from hell is oddly gratifying. and he wanted that character back in the strip. When it comes to mismanagement. Take that. Mr.“I think my dad realized that the father was really bad bosses. Mr. Everyone has had a terrible boss—an inﬂexible micromanager whose greatest joy comes from saying no—a demanding autocrat with a weakness for pinching pennies.” The comedy in this case is not exaggerated. a superior who acts it.” Young recalled. humor is funny. Dithers would deﬁnitely make the Hall of Fame for 54 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . “Dithers makes that job easy because he’s already up there.
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Their relationship is a series of misadventures—but at least they’ve still got those knockout wives to look after them. uh. Though Herb has a bit more money—and a bit less hair—than his buddy. ﬁghting over borrowed tools. ﬁshing. dinner parties. In fact. and weekend outings—that everlasting friendships are made of. Blondie and Tootsie even look alike—or at least. Their success is emblematic of their friendship—they’re fair. They work together (in Blondie and Tootsie’s case). Herb and Dagwood are “double trouble. the Woodleys and the Bumsteads have been great friends and neighbors. or just generally hanging out. and Blondie and Dagwood THE WOODLEYS Bumstead are lucky that they’ve each found theirs—Tootsie and Herb Woodley.” said Dean Young. 64 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . these girlfriends are not likely to admit it. Brunette Tootsie and blonde. they both have bodies that most women would kill for. these guys cannot help but foul up. and create mischief together (in everyone’s case). playing poker. And if managing those lay-about men—and catering to their appetites—gave them a (well-shaped) leg up on the competition. but not stupid—he knows that Dagwood can sometimes lead him astray (and vice versa). In 1991 the ladies went into business together at Blondie’s Catering Shop. these two couples are following a parallel suburban path. he is in many respects Dagwood’s equal. car-pooling. play together (in Dagwood and Herb’s case). where they dish about the many misdeeds of their well-meaning guys.” Look out world! Whether they’re golﬁng. Down to the family pets (the Woodleys have a cat). Blondie spend a lot of time together over coffee at the kitchen table. “When they’re together. and savvy. From the moment they moved in next door in the spring of 1933. And they outﬁt them well. the Woodleys and the Bumsteads sort of look after each other.” says Young. Herb is loyal. bowling.E very great hero—or heroine—deserves a sidekick. As a duo. Over the years they’ve established the kind of routines—backyard barbeques. generous. “it’s almost as if there are two Dagwoods out there. Best pals and business partners.
Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 65 . Tootsie. She and Blondie are able to commiserate together over the zany lifestyles of their husbands. He ﬁnds himself often caught. is Blondie’s best friend and business partner. Herb’s lovely wife. inexplicably.Herb is Dagwood’s best friend and next-door neighbor. He and Dagwood are tuned to the same frequency. in the web of Bumstead-inspired plans which have gone astray.
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a slice of pie. when we had the time to invite the postman in for a cup of coffee. . dust himself off. only to get up. newspapers. From 1936 when he ﬁrst meandered slowly—sometimes very slowly— down his route. of course. but it’s nice to know that even in this era of electronic missives and digital communiqués. to angry customers. Beasley may only be able to survive in the pages of the comics. to the undeniable terrible certainty that sooner or later . cards. letters. wham! Down he’ll go. thanks to Dagwood’s inadvertent training. he brings the Bumsteads their bills. Mr. Beasley. in a cloud of arms and legs and hair. same as his brother—Beasley père was one lazy papa) delivers the mail devotedly. some things are still as constant as the mail. cats. Beasley has served to slyly reference both our deepest suspicions about the men and women that come into contact with our mail (they must read the postcards. neither sleet nor snow nor rain nor threat of full-body collision can deter him. letters and packages.MR. airmail ﬂying. ready to do the same. Mainly.” it would be Mr. and start all over again as Dagwood rushes off. right?) and our best wishes for them—that they can be a part of our family. BEASLEY T he Bumsteads’ postal carrier is probably the hardest-working man in comics. signing up for such morale-building events as the postal Olympics (where. 70 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . and a chat. Beasley (full name: Beasley Beasley. though. he might’ve won a gold medal in tumbling) and performing a polka at The Letter Carrier’s Spring Fling (he is light on his feet). But even someone as dedicated as Beasley needs to rest. and magazines—after he’s ﬁnished reading them. . and even a parrot—incidentally the only one of the bunch to apologize). And he takes pride in his job. And why not? Blondie treats him to some TLC. His bond with the Bumsteads is reminiscent of a quieter period in American life. retrieve his mail. to kids throwing snowballs. Now ﬁgures like Mr. from yapping pets (he’s been bitten by dogs. Though if anyone had cause to “go postal. which he does frequently—on the Bumsteads’ couch. who has suffered nearly every indignity known to his profession.
Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 71 . Mr.The Bumsteads’ friendly neighborhood postman. Beasley is a familiar face and a crash test dummy. Neither rain nor sleet nor being pummeled by Dagwood’s hasty morning exits will ever keep this mailman from his appointed rounds.
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neither sleet nor snow nor rain nor threat of full-body collision can deter him. Beasley is probably the hardest-working man in comics.” Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 75 .“Mr.
B. sweet little boy. like snow angels and playground bullies. skateboarding. Dagwood needs Elmo to remind him of his role as an authority ﬁgure (his own children have long since forgotten that he is one) and to keep him up-to-date. In the early-morning hours. 76 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . skateboarding. He’s an expert on many vital kindergarten concerns. His companion—and occasional nemesis—for much of this? Dagwood Bumstead. and general childhood fun. though he doesn’t seem to bother them nearly as much). car pool for Mr.). easy to manipulate: he’s a continual source of golf course employment.ELMO W ith Alexander and Cookie ﬁrmly ensconced in their teenage years—as mature as they’re going to get—Chic Young turned to Elmo Tuttle to fulﬁll the role of the playful. can ﬁx anything. money. He’s also. Mr. hockey games. B. B. It’s symbiosis at its most basic—and most tasty. when Elmo and he wait on the corner for their respective rides (school bus for Elmo. he has play dates and camera phones. But at heart. and general childhood fun. inquisitive child. But their friendship isn’t one-sided. despite Elmo’s obvious lack of skill—and strength—as a caddy. Elmo is probably the most in touch with today’s technology and trends. Perpetually ﬁve-year-old Elmo lives across the street from Dagwood and Blondie (and Herb and Tootsie. Elmo has found. A comic staple and a point of reference for Blondie’s youngest fans. Like any ﬁve-year-old. Clad in an ever-present baseball hat and sporting a wide grin. or as Elmo refers to him. hockey games. with boundless enthusiasm and curiosity—especially about food—which is probably why he gets along with Dagwood so well. he remains a Elmo’s carefree days are ﬁlled with softball games. Mr. Elmo’s carefree (and oddly parent-free) days are ﬁlled with softball games. he can answer questions about the important things in life: women. and bologna.
With the curiosity of the child he is. He is Dagwood’s little pal as well as his nemesis.The spunky ﬁve-year old neighborhood boy. and cajole something out of him the next. Chapter 1: THE BUMSTEAD FAMILY ALBUM 77 . Elmo can seek adult wisdom one day by questioning Dagwood.
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Long Island. ofﬁcially began on their wedding date. Chic was already a successful cartoonist. man about had resulted in a stalemate. if awkward. and traditional mores. and of course. he became one of the ﬁrst cartoonists to retain the rights to his own work. eventually retreating to his home studio attraction was that of opposites—she was as out of place Chapter 2: GETTING MARRIED 83 . With his determination. Chic engineered a town. the boss had second thoughts. In the summer of 1930. A Dithers-like dis- what would become the world’s most popular comic strip. when he set out to create Blondie in 1930. In protest. contemporary else?—a raise and ownership of his then most popular strip. In its earliest incarnation. Dagwood was a rich and important. and relationship started earlier. their Within a few weeks. Blondie. with several well-loved and widely syndicated strips to his credit. he drafted of visionary Blondie creator Chic Young. Their work stoppage. Blondie was a poor—but beautiful—nobody. Blondie was about the pute with his boss at the newspaper syndicate over—what clash of social classes and backgrounds. Dumb Dora (whose titular character was also a ﬂapper). men and women. in the imagination Chic got back to work.CHAPTER GETTING T 2 MARRIED hough Blondie and Dagwood’s life together on Great Neck. The impasse didn’t last long.
their love wasn’t exactly exclusive— a social-climbing money-grubber. At times Blondie and Dagwood’s relationship had a rocky start. Surely she was after his both had other suitors. Through it all. at his parents’ behest. a nick-of-time rescue. pillar—rejected Blondie. if awkward. Dagwood embarked upon a historic and life-changing protest—a hunger strike. this unlikely couple But Dagwood remained loyally lovesick. Gil McDonald. One young man in Nebraska even initiated a When Dagwood ﬁrst introduced Blondie to his father. Dagwood. fortune and not him. So in the winter of 1933. Seeing the poor infatuated Dagwood take to his Blondie ﬂuttered her eyelashes. but the Bumsteads would not “My precious girl. who in their eyes was nothing but And in the beginning. a literal readers. legal loophole and. their love was an obvious attraction of opposites. became engaged to not one. Their bed in starving dissent galvanized the country. These pillars of society— thousands upon thousands of letters and telegrams from especially Mrs. well. professing Blondie—and no one else—that he wanted.in his family drawing room as he was in her dancehalls. gossip column mentions. then. was determined to marry. Blondie was a poor— but beautiful—nobody. while have it. but two women. because. barrel-chested mechanic. man about town. Bumstead. 84 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . It was kept returning to each other.” Dagwood would say (men were more romantic back then). but was saved from the clutches of matrimony by. and stead family. The couple their love and devotion. including a studly. just look at him! Blondie had a succession of boyfriends. an incredible Dagwood was a rich. gladly I’d grovel in the dirt at your feet. ﬁrst. The strike main obstacle was a big one: the Bum- generated news stories.
where beloved Blondie—with the caveat that he would nonethe- weddings were still a rarity. to Japan. That many of the movies of the day still dealt Meanwhile Dagwood was languishing. But no one could deny their happiness or doubt their love. not only proved him to be a worthy hero for the strip. Dagwood’s God.copycat strike. twenty-two seconds into the hunger strike. defying his parents and his stomach in the in light of the growing poverty in the country following the name of love. delirious with the lifestyles of the rich and fabulous only served to and dreaming of his two great loves. obsessively in love and obsessively hungry. glad to at least happy couple on a journey that has endeared be eating again. Blondie was more popular than ever. and gave him permission to marry his great events of the funny pages. a foreshadowing of the man he would become— gold-digger. And Blondie’s His mind was ﬁlled with thoughts of stuffed turkeys. accomplished the neat trick of doing away with the millionaire storyline. accepted. Twenty-eight days.S. but a woman deeply in love. it also from the U. Chic Young had set up a storyline based around a Their love wasn’t exactly exclusive and both had other suitors. eight minutes. and parading desserts. Dagwood. Blondie—and food. 1929 crash. Chapter 2: GETTING MARRIED 85 . and Blondie and Dagwood’s marriage in February 1933—before their families. Iceland to Germany. ﬂying commitment—she stood by her man even as he grew leaner sandwiches. make Dagwood more of a populist hero. It was a prophetic in body and billfold—attested to the fact that she was no moment. And it set the less be disinherited if he did so. The showdown with his parents them to millions of readers around the world. seven hours. and everybody—was one of the parents relented. which frugal Chic Young felt was unseemly In one fell swoop.
after all) forced to do so to justify his ﬁber of the strip—the love they have. that turned out to be the perfect union.” ute bride. “You’ll help with the dishes. Blondie discouraged Dagwood’s relationship with Irma in whatever way she could. with appetite and a born-and-bred reluctance to work (he had Antony and Cleopatra.couple—Dagwood. That’s when they really fell in love—madly and ated comedy for decades. One of her ﬁrst questions to her new “But.” he said. growing-savvier-by-the-min- the readers like to see it. Blondie. A marriage to Irma it is! 86 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . Dagwood’s parents encouraged a marriage with Irma. a girl more Dagwood’s “social equal” and Blondie’s roommate. Dean Young says that the secret deeply in love—and the strip soared because of it. Dagwood got in the real world and had to hack it like the won’t you?” And this was in 1933! That storyline has cre- rest of us. However. Real love and real life. But J. and the affection Blondie and Dagwood have for each other. the slacker loser with an unyielding “You can equate their love with Romeo and Juliet. and his beautiful. In the pages of the comics.” he added. I like to show that and marriage.” is the affection that his father had for his characters. “that all happened when Blondie and husband post-marriage was. Bolling Bumstead would not be crossed. “I think that’s part of the been a millionaire.
it’s discovered that Dagwood’s marriage to Irma was not legal. Dagwood and Blondie say their parting words. Chapter 2: GETTING MARRIED 87 .And so Dagwood and Irma were married. At the last minute.
Blondie becomes engaged to Gil. Dagwood agrees to marry Elaine so that Blondie can marry Gil. Dagwood’s mother says he can marry Blondie. And you thought TV soap operas were complicated! Showing his true love for Blondie. Discouraged.The drama continues on the high seas as Mrs. but Dagwood ﬁnds out Blondie is engaged to Gil. But guess who stops the wedding because Gil is underage? 88 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . Bumstead and Lady Whistlestop conspire to have Dagwood marry Alicia Whistlestop.
Dagwood falls ill. True love overcomes all obstacles.. and his parents still insist that he marry ABB (Anyone But Blondie)..When Gil and Elaine marry and Dagwood rushes to propose to Blondie. Chapter 2: GETTING MARRIED 89 ..
and on . . The famous hunger strike begins! The hunger strike goes on . . . .” Dagwood decides on drastic action. And on . . 90 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . “like all girls disappointed in love. .Blondie is pushed away once more and she is determined to start a new life.
and 22 seconds. 7 hours. That’s when they really fell in love—madly and deeply in love—and the strip soared because of it.All hope for Dagwood is almost gone. Deeply in love and against all obstacles. Chapter 2: GETTING MARRIED 91 . Dagwood and Blondie marry. 8 minutes. Dagwood’s hunger strike is over and the nation rejoices. After 28 days.
92 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . Blondie reﬂects on her 50 years with Dagwood in this rare strip which breaks “the fourth wall” and acknowledges itself as a comic strip.And they began their lives together with the enthusiasm that would carry them through the ups and downs of daily life for decades to come.
With T back-to-side easy chair setup has been the source of a lot two teenaged kids. where even the furniture arrangement is comical. Blondie and Dagwood’s keep the strip up-to-date is to reference real-life events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars. a dog. said Dean Young. . with Alexander practicing his drums. Chic Young felt. and what’s on TV. and two working par- of confusion over the years. It’s another way Blondie Chapter 3: FAMILY LIFE 93 . As artist John Marshall can attest. asleep on the couch. who can often be found snoring away on the loved ones. Why is it put ents. it’s a lot easier to On any given day. . nience.CHAPTER 3 FAMILY LIFE he Bumsteads’ life revolves around family. the living room doubles as a nap room for they are typically domestic. Blondie perfecting recipes for seating is organized that way. one way to Let’s start with the living room. and Dagwood . her catering shop. one of the universal themes that have kept couch—sknxx-x! It’s also the place where the family has Blondie so relevant for so long. the state for sentiment and humor. For Dean. is always prime material many important conversations about their lives. Of course. ﬁt two people—and a conversation—in one panel when the Cookie working on her blog. of the world. The relationship between Dagwood. their home—located. in the together that way? The simple answer is graphic conve- suburbs of a city like Philadelphia—is a hive of activity.
once an incontrovertible tradition. perhaps. More so. ior. that intimacy was so Not because of Blondie’s cooking—which is. with security being what it is.” just in the way you’re thinking. the kitchen is as much a centerpiece for the Bumstead home as it is for any American household. way—the leaky faucet or scrounging for snacks or planning an after-dinner game just so he can sleep through it. they have some of their Another area that’s ripe for joking is the kitchen. “If the reference is timely. because the family dinner hour. In fact. In fact. still thrives in the pages of Blondie. These days. that’s just another opportunity for family bonding—and joking. the upstairs bedroom is a sacred space. If he runs into Alexander ﬁxing his own. Dagwood is a homebody. And who can blame him. now a comparative rarity. said Dean. Whether Dagwood’s ﬁxing—in his own inimitable instead of in two separate beds. but Dagwood is still liable to sneak downstairs for a midnight snack. Chic Young exemplary—but because it’s such a locus for misbehav- deﬁed convention by depicting the couple in bed together. preferring the camaraderie of his family to that of his ofﬁce-mates or friends. á la Lucy and Ricky. . best conversations there. it these years. Not takes the gag up another couple of notches. important that in the early years of the strip. or Cookie coming home from a date. there is nothing more important than being home for supper—if only to witness Dagwood’s monster appetite in action. Blondie is less likely to Luckily for them — and us — the Bumsteads are able to poke fun at themselves in any situation. well. of course. For each family member.remains grounded in the everyday realities of people’s For Dagwood and Blondie. And. still romantic after all interests. aside from the occasional poker game or golf outing with Herb. when he’s coming home for a lip-smacking kiss with a woman like Blondie? 94 hear a prowler.
And the fact that computer time. that’s what makes them such an integral part of our families. Chapter 3: FAMILY LIFE 95 . day just being Dagwood. they reﬂect our experience. the woman isn’t a saint.” if not a collection of shared grudges and in-jokes.But all this togetherness doesn’t mean the foursome kids have developed to get Dagwood out of bed each always gets along. because family is nothing each other. after day after day after day. and even the usually cheerful Blondie ﬁne art of sandwich making or to advise his daughter on sometimes gets riled about her own limitless list of house- her love life or to dutifully do the chores Blondie lays out hold tasks or Dagwood eating in bed or Dagwood sneaking for him each weekend. of course. the Bum- though she’s about as close as we can get without Vatican steads value each other above everything. Throughout it all. “They love too. goes a long way to counteract any food before dinner or Dagwood sleeping late or Dagwood of the little foibles and mistakes he foists upon them. In this. The complex system that his wife and And in the end. Dagwood grumbles about his wife being Dagwood is ready to drop anything to tutor his son in the perpetually late. family really loves being together. And routines. Cookie and Alexander quarrel over morning is a testament to their affection. intervention. After all.” says Dean. Luckily for them—and us—the Bumsteads “I want to make sure that people realize this are able to poke fun at themselves in any situation.
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” says Dean.“I like to think of Blondie and Dagwood as intelligent human beings going through life together sharing and caring for all the things two people in love have to share and care about. Chapter 3: FAMILY LIFE 103 .
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By acting out the worst behavior of that universally known goofball. Dagwood Bumstead is reliable. and a hard worker. C. whose very joy in life is berating his employees to scheduling naps behind his desk? Who else can chroni- the point of hair-curling awe. he didn’t really expect to become manager. Instead. after day at the ofﬁce. regularly Dagwood’s boss Dithers is somewhat more forgiving— if a despot who’s liable to go apoplectic over a misplaced memo. Dagwood is familiar to every the son of a millionaire. he hasn’t forced Dagwood out yet. where his job title might as well be “ofﬁce procrastinator. he would be. growing up as the freeloading colleague. if Blondie weren’t a comic strip. that’s who. or frankly put off projects until someone else comes by responsible. and corporate honcho in the world— a workingman. At cally come in late and leave early? Who would dare to the very least.CHAPTER 4 DAGWOOD AT WORK A s an ofﬁce manager at the J. can be called forgiving. for example. though Chapter 4: DAGWOOD AT WORK 111 . ably substandard employee.” Who else would consider. Dagwood is perhaps the world’s most laugh- to pick up the slack? Some employee in every ofﬁce. supervisor. Well. Dithers Construc- simply delete the boss’s e-mails without reading them. Of course. tion Company. And his aversion to labor is evident day though they probably would’ve ﬁred him by now.
And really. He sticks it to the man and the system. dards of industriousness or productivity makes him a hero to the millions of people who dream of putting in as little effort as he does. “He knows . or shirk some particularly inane assignment? Acting like the unchecked id of the ofﬁce worker. though there’s a rise in productivity whenever Dagwood goes on vacation. so the rest of us don’t have to. 112 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History Dagwood has become technologically savvy. or tell off the boss. Who among us hasn’t wanted to rest our feet on the desk from time to time. “He can’t just be a total bumbler ever been an underling.” says Dean. can you blame him? But Dagwood’s slackerdom also makes him identiﬁ- Still.” As part of the ongoing modernization of the strip.” says Dean.he has steadfastly refused to grant him a raise. Dagwood lives out the secret fantasies of employees the world over. “Every once in a while I have him do something right at able to a big portion of the population—anybody who’s the ofﬁce. he’s not all play and no work. His refusal to kowtow to any stan- all the time—you wouldn’t respect him. “Every once in a while I have him do something right at the ofﬁce.
the absurdities inherent in professional life. because in today’s world. if he had his Dithers—uh. Chapter 4: DAGWOOD AT WORK 113 . not only because of all every weekday. Of course. Employment has always into the revolving doors of his ofﬁce skyscraper each and been a central concern of Blondie. whether they be pastrami.” spend their days in a corporate behemoth or a mom ‘n’ He has to be. he’s in today’s world. but because. even million- pop shop.how to use a computer.” notes Dean. so especially these days. “His password might a subject people the world over can relate to. But then. druthers—he’d revolve right back out again. no one can afford not to work. So Dagwood does up his bowtie and marches aires’ sons have to make money. It’s would the rest of us. but still and all.
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” ironed. Content to best friend and neighbor. married to a guy like Dagwood—she cooked. opening Blondie’s Catering Shop with her women of her generation. often decision to do so proved to be one of the most cata- called the most famous housewife in America. In 1991. loves to work. “I thought about it and thought about it. and this was such a departure from the Chapter 5: BLONDIE GOES TO WORK 127 . she For the majority of her life.CHAPTER 5 BLONDIE GOES TO WORK londie. American life profoundly as they did so—Dean Young going along ﬁne. and raised two children. them. All this time I’d been cruising. of her compatriots moved into the workforce—changing I was a little apprehensive. like most of the ﬁnally did so. “I thought about it for a couple of years before I did it. especially when you’re The decision was not an easy one. And her B began to feel that maybe it was time for Blondie. was a homemaker. run the household—a sizable task. on the other hand. Tootsie Woodley. Blondie. cleaned. to join clysmic changes in the history of the comic strip. after months of overtures and hinting. But as more and more Dean Young said.
“I didn’t want the strip to be an anachronism. How could you not vote for Blondie?” Luckily for the politicians of the world. You can’t hold this back. It’s time to go. And I saw that more and more women kept Astute readers will note a certain similarity between author and character here. like going into uncharted waters. The move sent ripples throughout the nation. Eventually. Charlotte. Blondie even made the cover of Working Mother magazine. though. Dagwood came around—especially when he learned about all the new food he would going into the workplace. good common sense. had been a teacher for sixteen years. Blondie’s Catering opened—in the Bumstead house. though.course we’d been on all these years. Blondie had happily worked at home for decades and the strip had prospered.] I wanted Blondie to be a contemporary woman. It’s far from the only one. And he has better hair. Blondie Bumstead’s going to work signaled once and for all that women could be—and were— 128 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . to be part of that movement. Articles appeared in hundreds of publications. I thought. good common sense. but the ﬂesh-and-blood guy is a bit more sophisticated. and all of a sudden get to taste-test. and Peter Jennings named Blondie (and Dean) his “person of the week” on ABC News.” After all. better. Dean considered several pos- she wants to break the mold and do something different? sible careers for Blondie before settling on the catering It’s like whoa. and on Labor Day 1991. or even be a congresswoman or senator. Actually. she’s fast on her feet— and she is a very attractive lady. she’s fast on her feet—she can handle anything—and she’s a very attractive lady. “She’s got great street smarts. His thinking was Why would you mess with a good thing?” “I thought she could run for mayor of her city. Why change it now? But. was following in the footsteps of millions of women before her and paving the way for millions since. of the “traditional” family archetype. An icon of American womanhood. he decided to go with something closer to home. “For sixty years he was used to having Blondie be a devoted wife and a wonderful mother. He sure did like the status quo. [His own wife. At ﬁrst. Anybody she ran against would be in real trouble.” Dean said. That’s a good combination for a politician. Blondie has great street smarts. Dean said.” Dagwood was harder to convince. and he didn’t realize it was going to be for the different option: politics. it’s going to change the setup of our house- business. “He was just used to the tried and true.” he recalled. Jay Leno joked about it on his show. her negotiation skills suggested a very hold.
professionals, wives, and mothers all at the same time. The
front. Dagwood, as usual, was hesitant about the shift,
level of support for the change was astounding. Thousands
but he got over it.
of letters poured in from readers, men and women all essentially saying the same thing: “You go, girl!”
“It was huge,” Dean recalled. “I was really surprised.
But after all these years of Blondie being a housewife,
and then boom, she goes out and gets a job, that was
“He had to change some of his ideas,” Dean said.
“But I think there were a lot of men and husbands at the
time having to reacquaint themselves with the new way
of life. So he wasn’t alone.”
For perhaps the
pretty earth-shattering. Maybe I waited a little too long,
ﬁrst time in his
but still, for Blondie it was groundbreaking.”
long life, Dagwood
And in the pages of the newspaper, the catering shop
didn’t fall prey
was an immediate success. Within a year, Blondie and
to a change in
Tootsie were considering expansion, and in 1995 they
moved their endeavor out of the house and into a store-
he embraced it.
Chapter 5: BLONDIE GOES TO WORK
Now he is his wife’s number-one fan,
customer, and helper, always ready
from ﬂighty ﬂapper to professional work-
to don an apron—or a napkin—to aid
ingwoman, gold-digger to small-business
in her pursuit of the perfect meal.
owner. But the transition from home to
Blondie, too, has gained something—not just admiration from
work was one that this unﬂappable lady
took in stride. Though the details might
a new set of fans, but a new sense
be a little different, yet again, Blondie’s
of self. “I think there’s a degree of
growth paralleled that of her audience.
respect and credibility that she gained
It was quite a transformation,
“I’m really happy with the choice
by going out into the workforce,”
she made,” Dean said. “I’m happy,
Dean said. “She’s a gal who can do
the Bumsteads are happy, and most
her own thing.”
importantly, so are the readers.”
BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History
Chapter 5: BLONDIE GOES TO WORK
132 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History .
Chapter 5: BLONDIE GOES TO WORK 133 .
134 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History .
Chapter 5: BLONDIE GOES TO WORK 135 .
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138 BLONDIE: The Complete Bumstead Family History .
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Chapter 5: BLONDIE GOES TO WORK 141 .
The transition from home to work was one that this unﬂappable lady took in stride. 142 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History .
and one-liners.Dean’s lection of e s a is re He al with ips that de r st e it r o v fa ituations everyday s CHAPTER 6 FAVORITE STRIPS T new twist on the Bumstead brand of humor. so I keep updating the comic strip. the no-nonsense attorney. the endless parade of kooky clients that come knocking Good plumbers will always be hard to come by and on Blondie’s door at the catering shop—and explore a expensive to work with. sleeping. and come with a side of too-honest-for-its-own-good service. for example. Each new scenario has presented an opportunity “I want to do new stuff that people can relate to. gags. And while traveling salesmen Chapter 6: FAVORITE STRIPS 143 . Of course. But as the characters and the comic strip “I think it’s important in the world today that we are have grown.” he themes that have been constant in the history of Blondie—eating. where the special always seems to Tweezer and Claudia. thousands of strips and the source of countless jokes. some stalwart setups and backdrops have remained comical since the early days. so too have the situations they ﬁnd themselves current in our thinking. from the daily car pool to the catering shop. making a living. The lunch to create new characters—like carpoolers Dwitzel counter. and raising children—are the focus of most of its in.” says Dean Young.
and one-liners. sleeping. the door).are an extinct breed these days.” and doctors—none of whom know what they’re in for when a Bumstead walks in the door. Finding the humor in these everyday situations is as much a Blondie trademark as Dagwood’s screwy hair. a variety of service personnel and professionals. from you’ll be more likely to laugh it off. making a living. Hopefully. supermarket managers to pet store employees to dentists “The themes that have been constant in the history of Blondie— eating. telephone solicitors are Here is a selection of Dean’s favorite strips that deal as prevalent as ever (though they are harder to kick out with the problems that everyone encounters. And Dagwood and his family still interact with next time you ﬁnd yourself stuck with something similar. 144 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . gags. and raising children—are the focus of most of its thousands of strips and the source of countless jokes.
Chapter 6: FAVORITE STRIPS 145 .
146 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History .
Chapter 6: FAVORITE STRIPS 147 .
148 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History .
“This strip was such a big hit! Readers loved it!” Chapter 6: FAVORITE STRIPS 149 .
150 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History .
” Chapter 6: FAVORITE STRIPS 151 .“Dagwood’s hair is drawn that way to differentiate him from all the rest of the world. Dagwood just wouldn’t be Dagwood. Without those famous cowlicks on his head.
152 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History .
counterman, has been such a jjoy
y for me.
When I’m desperate for a gag, he’s my go-to
Chapter 6: FAVORITE STRIPS
“I love doing new and
current stuff because it
keeps the strip fresh
and up to date.”
BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History
Chapter 6: FAVORITE STRIPS
“ It used to be that Alexander and Cookie
grew up in the strip. That was until
it occurred to us that at some point
everybody would grow right out of the strip.
In my mind today, the kids are teenagers,
and Blondie and Dagwood are in their thirties.”
BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History
Chapter 6: FAVORITE STRIPS
BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History
I wouldn’t want to be anything other than a cartoonist. could be happier in his work than I am. surely.“I’m happy with my work. and no man. The strip’s doing great.” Chapter 6: FAVORITE STRIPS 159 .
160 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History .
“ I’ve always felt that as a cartoonist. you are allowed to be a teenager forever!” Chapter 6: FAVORITE STRIPS 161 .
” 162 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History .“This is the way we celebrated 70 years—with shenanigans and love.
personally congratulating Dean in a letter. The party that Dean ing multiple generations with their good-natured Young dreamed up for her and the rest of the Bumstead take on family. clan was unprecedented. Blondie enjoys unbelievable popularity. it is without a doubt actual anniversary gathering—September 4. domesticity. when all those things and more serve to divide of the other beloved characters in the newspaper’s funny people’s attention. Even the president of the United States made an Syndicated to twenty-ﬁve hundred newspapers in ﬁfty-ﬁve appearance. pages. its VIP guests included many Even today. 2005—when the world’s most beloved comic strip. Blondie wanted a real games and iPods. and the American dream. before video B seventy-ﬁfth anniversary in 2005. devoured by 290 The storyline began two months in advance of the million readers. the Bumsteads were entertain- celebration. the Bumsteads started sending invitations to their fellow So when it came time to commemorate this classic’s comic mainstays. from Dilbert to Beetle Bailey to Hagar Chapter 7: THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY 163 . seven days a week. countries and thirty-ﬁve languages.CHAPTER 7 THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY efore television and the Internet. She clearly deserved it.
B. Shoe.. Family Circus. Curtis. Zits.the Horrible. Making a circuitous journey through the strips of their neighbors- The anniversary storyline appeared in Garﬁeld. Sally Blondie wanted a real celebration. Forth. Wizard of Id. Thick Thin. ROSE IS ROSE 164 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History CREATED BY PAT BRADY. to come to the bash chez Blondie. All rights reserved. Marvin. Al Konetzni of Walt Disney and Floyd Johnson also memorialized it in single-panel strips. Mother Goose & Grimm. Inc. Baby Blues. in dozens of cartoons to promote the occasion. Buckles. For Better or Worse. Rose Is Rose. GARFIELD BY JIM DAVIS Garﬁeld © 2005 Paws. Cathy. Dick Tracy. Hi & Lois. and Bizarro. Snuffy Smith.C. She clearly deserved it. Born Loser. It worked! in-newsprint—a trip that was as rare as it was clever. And Dean Young dreamed up an unprecedented one. BY DON WIMMER . Reprinted by permission of Universal Press Syndicate. Gasoline Alley. Fellow comic artists also paid they also made personal appearances or were mentioned their own tributes to the strip. Mutts. The Bumstead anniversary was the most star-studded considering the competition among today’s cartoonists— affair in comic history. Dennis the Menace.
SALLY FORTH WIZARD OF ID MUTTS BY FRANCESCO MARCIULIANO. DRAWN BY CRAIG MACINTOSH BY BRANT PARKER & JOHNNY HART BY PATRICK MCDONNELL Chapter 7: THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY 165 .
Reprinted with permission. SHOE © Tribune Media Services.BEETLE BAILY BY MORT & GREG WALKER MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM BY MIKE PETERS The Bumstead anniversary was the most star-studded affair in comic history. Inc. All Rights Reserved. 166 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History BY CHRIS CASSATT & GARY BROOKINS .
HI AND LOIS BY BRIAN WALKER. GREG WALKER. & CHANCE BROWNE FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE BARNEY GOOGLE AND SNUFFY SMITH BY LYNN JOHNSTON BY JOHN ROSE Chapter 7: THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY 167 .
BUCKLES BABY BLUES CURTIS 168 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History BY DAVID GILBERT BY RICK KIRKMAN & JERRY SCOTT BY RAY BILLINGSLEY .
HAGAR THE HORRIBLE MARVIN BY CHRIS BROWNE BY TOM ARMSTRONG Chapter 7: THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY 169 . Distributed by King Features Syndicate.ZITS BY JERRY SCOTT & JIM BORGMAN © 2005 Zits Partnership.
C. Blondie is without a doubt the world’s most beloved comic strip. B. 170 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History BY JOHNNY HART .BIZARRO BY DAN PIRARO © Dan Piraro 2005. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.
Chapter 7: THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY
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180 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History .
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and it will stay that way. 182 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . fun. and humor of Blondie will carry on. “That immortality— the sense of fantasy—is what’s fun about comic strips. “The Bumsteads’ world is pretty steady and nice. the event was a highlight for Dean Young. he has managed to extend and even elevate the characters his brilliant father created during the Depression.” —Dean Young Marking more than forty years of his own work on the strip. carrying them through the turn of a century and into another era. who will put her own spin on the characters for decades to come.” And just as Dean inherited Blondie from his father.“That immortality— the sense of fantasy— is what’s fun about comic strips. Against all odds. he is preparing to pass it on to his successor—daughter Dana Coston.” he says proudly. Immortality is possible in the comics where the magic. That’s the magical quality. That’s the magical quality.
” His father. but with after-school and frugality.CHAPTER 8 FOREVER YOUNG O ne of the funny pages’ longest- painter. began inauspiciously enough. as well as the decidedly un-German nickname weekend jobs as a postal clerk and salesman at the family “Chic. Chic worked cally Teutonic traits like stubbornness. this meant that all four school and a typewriting course. daughter Jamar a commercial artist. January 9. and Chic’s lasting and most dynamic storylines older brother Lyman. where Chic would eventually ﬁnd a home. Of course. James. dedication. German-Lutheran neighborhood where he inherited typi- urging him to draw at every opportunity. After high think highly of artists. 1901. Louis. and on his high school yearbook. he found a job in Chicago of his children were creative types. he didn’t have much time to practice. a for King Features Syndicate. Murat Bernard Young was born in Chicago. was a shoe salesman who didn’t shoe store. the ﬁrst Young drawn to comics. and grew up on the south side of St. In fact. Son Walter was a as a stenographer for the vice president of the Illinois Chapter 8: FOREVER YOUNG 183 . with a man wound up creating the adventure strip Tim Tyler’s Luck who even his friends and family considered painfully shy. it was Lyman who cultivated Chic’s talent.
he enrolled in night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. 184 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . The classes paid off. 1922 with the Bell Syndicate. Beautiful Bab made its appearance on July 15. who may have served as inspiration for Dagwood’s father. was Chic’s ﬁrst comic strip. railroad tycoon J. Bolling Bumstead. which he drew for the Newspaper Enterprise Association. When he was only twenty. Chic secured a job as a cartoonist for the Newspaper Enterprise Association Chic working at his drawing board The Affairs of Jane.Central Railroad. But he didn’t neglect his talents entirely.
as he then signed his work. it provided Murat Young. twenty-two dollars a week) and a and created another similarly sounding board for his still-maturing talent. Chic switched syndicates (albeit a meager one. 1921. William Randolph Hearst was renowned for discovering talent. and now his attention had landed on Chic Young. The offer that Hearst extended— a job in the art department at the King Features “bullpen” in New York—was technically a step down. were ﬁnally coming into their own in the pages of the Though Jane only lasted six months. who in the 1920s which debuted on September 26. which Chic created for King Features Syndicate (NEA) in Cleveland. unerring eye for drawing young women. with a salary comics and elsewhere. which drew the attention of a particularly important fan. Chapter 8: FOREVER YOUNG 185 . Athel Lindorff at her concert harp.An early Dumb Dora strip. After his stint with NEA. But the company was so prestigious for comic artists—many of the cartoonists who were then making it big had started as ofﬁce boys or touch-up artists there—that Chic gleefully accepted. Beautiful Bab. then still a struggling young Cleveland cartoonist. The Affairs of Jane. just about the time she met Chic Young. His strengths themed strip. where he created the ﬁrst in a long included an unerring ear for social trends and an equally line of strips centered on pretty girls.
Soon the strip was appearing in more than one hundred papers. Dean. is taking over a newspaper ofﬁce in this promotional drawing. In 1927. Dumb Dora (subtitle: “She’s Not So Dumb As She Looks”). But the call he the Young home. so the deal was a better one. she always kept it turned out.” he said. 186 Though “A. A true creature of the Jazz Age. a French-trained concert harpist before. he was on his way to becoming a success. she found him on the bered the call.” as Athel BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History Jeanne. A King executive traveling through Cleveland had from Rock Island. Athel. “Let’s get the request for a meeting married. he had answered it himself. But the bullpen sidewalk beneath her window. he made another And after he moved to New York. the offer had a beautiful gold harp in been real. Illinois. (And to . auburn- he’d had a near miss with King Features more than a year haired Athel Lindorff. Chic’s move to New York had proved fruitful. Chic had come up with a more lasting strip. Chic Young’s most enduring creation before Blondie. By 1924. he realized that step in that direction when he met the beautiful. and Chic Young visited Paris in the early 1950s. Dora sported miniskirts and a cavalier attitude about her suitors. gave was responsible for such a up her career once she good gag.” Surprisingly. None of them. who was touring New York. made an appoint- she agreed. spotted The Affairs of Jane and called NEA. Chic remem- Within days of their ﬁrst date. at NEA was so full of practical jokers—Chic included— and a call from a King exec to a newbie was so ridiculously unlikely that he simply listened with mock politeness to “Why don’t you come in out of the cold?” she asked. But he wasn’t interested in short-term company. marriage lasted forty-six and then hung up. which she got a year later was at the played regularly to keep behest of Hearst himself. married. were never quite as appealing.Dumb Dora. her skills intact. won- happy years. and the ment at a false address. dering which one of his unsuspecting colleagues came to be known. though. Practical jokes. “I want you to come down. with him.
the business. not to mention a ﬁnancial one. and Dean jumped at the chance. From her early years as a ﬂapper to her recent incarnation as a business owner. the brother of fellow cartoonist Alex Raymond. Gersher. died from jaundice at age six. in his studio in and his assistant Frank Cummings. all of whom have Chapter 8: FOREVER YOUNG 187 . and Chic Young soon was one of the most celebrated cartoonists in Soon enough. until his death in 1989. Blondie has maintained a consistent style and tone that has charmed the country. he left—sailing on a Jim Raymond Stan Drake cruise ship to France with A in tow. who became a guiding force in the strip. Jim Raymond. his father offered him the opportunity to work on the strip with him. Wayne. Denis LeBrun.Great Neck Long Island. When the management of King Features refused his request for a raise or for the ownership of Dora. Chic Young now felt set. reading every strip before it was sent to the syndicate. he created the last comic strip he would ever work on—Blondie.) Throughout her life she was an important force in the success of Blondie. who also started on Blondie before working on strips such as Flash Gordon. After the stock market crash of 1929 dissolved his carefully laid out investments. worked with Chic Young and his Chic Young successor Dean. allow her husband to make the joke that she was always “harping” on something. Mike Chic returned to the promise that he could do his own strip. he was more determined than ever to improve his salary. even taking it over for a year when the Youngs took a sabbatical after their ﬁrst son. just as Dean’s wife Charlotte does to this day. helping cement the look and feel of the strip as a valued and trusted contributor. John Marshall Over several weeks in the summer of 1930. and most recently. but it wasn’t long until he felt a creative itch again. King blinked ﬁrst. Raymond. and He was followed by artists including Stan Drake. He hired assistants—including an artist. Personally and professionally.
188 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . (Though Chic envisioned for the strip. the family did to their changing clothing. Chic’s wife. moved to California to be closer to those Hollywood productions. “My mom was a guiding force in the comic strip. Blondie’s popularity had surpassed the pages of the newspaper. the characters in Blondie occasionally get touches of the celebrity life. Chic enjoyed this photo-op with Bette Davis in the 1930s. By the 1940s. reviewed every Blondie strip before it was sent to King Features Syndicate. From their full-body depiction remained a shy man who shunned publicity.Athel. remained true to the sense of realism that Chic Young A daughter. visiting the resemble anatomically correct people—with just a few set to meet the 3-D version of Blondie and Dagwood. was born soon after. Penny features punched up for comic effect. There was never anything done or sent out from the studio before my mother proofread it. Jeanne. The An early rendering of Blondie as a beautiful ﬂapper Youngs.” – Dean Young Although he was a shy man. along with their one-year-old son Dean. the characters were reborn in radio plays and in twenty-eight Columbia feature ﬁlms.
working ﬁrst with Chic and later with Dean (left). his shows. together. he chose to pursue another career at ﬁrst. until Jim died in 1989. who created Blondie Dean Young. where instrumental in shaping Jim Raymond (right) was Blondie’s artist and a guiding force in the strip.” Dean said. just brilliantly. the family death in 1973 proved moved to Clearwater Beach. After graduating from college with a business degree. who increased Blondie’s popularity Chapter 8: FOREVER YOUNG 189 . The ten Lyman lived.Singleton and Arthur doubt. no crumpled and threw out Dean’s ﬁrst attempt at a Sunday Chic Young. When years they worked Dean was a senior in together before Chic’s high school. of a very long Lake. Dean ﬁgured out how. Dean still resides. and Dean jumped at where his brother the chance. (The beginnings. people. Though his father sales executive for a grocery chain. Chic found on the strip with him.) Dagwood on the radio Soon enough. Florida. he preferred Florida.) After more than father offered him the ﬁfteen years in Califor- opportunity to work nia. “He put these ing in his youth. and then as a Soon enough. Though Dean had displayed some interest in cartoon- Dean’s understanding of Blondie. “My dad was a genius. he how’d he do that?” worked in an advertising agency in Miami. though. these characters. I mean. who also played love affair with food.
but he was also wary about not living up to his father’s legacy. fearful that without its creator at the helm it would founder. page. Dianne. I have a lot of his DNA. “In the beginning.” In his spare time. don’t offend anyone. I thought: I need to conquer this fear.” He did it by remembering some of the lessons his father had taught him: do what’s funny to you. Dean is an award-winning spearﬁsherman. hundreds of newspapers dropped the strip. not enemies. not enemies. and Dana . and not meanspirited and insulting.” Dean says of being mentored by his dad.” “I think of the comics as a refuge. and “make friends. where you can see something that’s pleasurable and funny. “It was great. and “make friends. I thought about all the millions of fans—I would try to picture them when I was in a football stadium—and it scared me. don’t offend anyone. so we think alike.Dean remembers what his father said: do what’s funny to you. and it seems to be working. “Thankfully.” 190 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History Dean with his three daughters: Lisa. Dean was devastated.” he said. “That’s my formula.” But in the year after Chic’s death. the two eventually grew into a rhythm.
is yes. “We both like naps. “There needs to be this osmosis thing that goes into me.” Dean said. because he gets asked about it most often—whether there are any similarities between Dagwood and him—the answer. and cartoonist-in-training. good sandwich!” Part of its success. using two days for creative work and the rest for administrative duties. I see that right away. but the two stay in constant communication. were together for a King Features promotion at the World Financial Center in New York City. creator of Beetle Bailey. now his wife. Dean adheres to a regular ﬁve-day-a-week schedule in a studio near his home. The “Kings of the Comics World” Mort Walker. in his off time he’s an avid boater and award-winning spearﬁsherman. but I translate that into the comedic thing that happens in the Bumsteads’ world. Chapter 8: FOREVER YOUNG 191 . Dean ran the strips by her for approval. a lawyer. newspapers and added more than seven hundred to its I see exactly where the balloons are. Dianne Erwin. and Hank Ketcham. to think about it. John Marshall. the strip has replaced the dropped graphically. now all grown up with families of their own—provided plenty of fodder in their teenage years. Dean Young. It consistently ranks among the top ﬁve ter’s going to speak ﬁrst—that character’s going to be on the left side. I see the strip happening has written Blondie. lives and works in Binghamton. “I try to read two newspapers and magazines every day. Bill Keane. Dean believes. where I’ve got what’s going on in the world.It certainly does. “And I love a most popular comics in newspaper polls around the nation. Charlotte. is because of his continuing efforts to keep it fresh. I know which charac- publication roster. In the thirty-plus years that Dean “More than any other way.” their dad chuckled. inspiration can hit closer to home. of course. Blondie’s artist.” he said. “I see where the characters are. and Dana Coston. and the relationship runs smoothly.” Of course.” Dean laughed. graphic designer. creator of Family Circus. When his mother Athel was alive. I don’t even have Blondie consistently ranks among the top ﬁve most popular comics in newspaper polls around the nation.” And as to the question he does have to think about. With retirement still years away. fulﬁlls that role of sounding board. “I think they recognize their situations. His three daughters—Lisa Rogers. creator of Dennis the Menace. respectively. New York.
Dean’s wife. his assistant (on left). and Frank Cummings. Blondie and Dagwood. Dean with John Marshall. appropriately. 192 BLONDIE: The Bumstead Family History . Their two dogs are named. Dana Young Coston. Charlotte. he plans to pass the strip on to his daughter. Blondie’s artist (on right). who will undoubtedly put her on spin on it. follows in Athel’s footsteps and reviews every strip. Just as Dean inherited Blondie from his father. John and Frank have remained true to the sense of realism that Chic envisioned for Blondie.
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