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Monday, June 16, 2008

Comics Legend V.T. Hamlin - From 1999

"He's the toughest man there is alive! He wears clothes from a wildcat's hide. He's the king of the jungle jive. Look at that caveman go!"

Alley Oop was the caveman of that 1960 rock and roll hit record, and the brainchild of comic strip genius, V.T. Hamlin.

Begun in 1933, the exploits of this time-hopping apeman have made Oop one of the most popular comic strips in history.

As appealing as were his rough and tumble stomps through the dinosaur infested jungles of Moo, Oop's real fame came when he proved that time waits on no apeman. While minding his own business in prehistory, Oop and his girlfriend, Ooola, dissolved from Moo to reassemble in Doc Wonmug's time machine in the 20th century. This first chronic adventure began on April 5th, 1939.

With a powerful premise, stylized and beautifully detailed artwork filled with a kinetic energy, and a distinctive supporting cast with well defined personalities, it's no surprise that Oop became and remains one of the greatest adventure strips in history.

Among Hamlin's works are four Big Little Books (Alley Oop and Dinny, Alley Oop and Dinny in the Jungles of Moo, Alley Oop in The Invasion of Moo and Alley Oop in the Missing King of Moo), Alley Oop comic books (Dell Four Color, Standard Comics, Argo Comics), appearances in The Funnies and The Comics, two Alley Oop collections (Kitchen Sink Press) and Alley Oop: The Sawalla Chronicles (Ken Pierce). Of these, the last three are excellent, available and affordable.

V.T. Hamlin's strips are also being reprinted in the magazine, Comics Revue.

Hamlin's apeman from Moo was the subject of a U.S. Postage stamp in 1995.

The work of V.T. Hamlin is highly recommended.

Some older titles are expensive and difficult to locate. Price guides or comics dealers help. Comics shops, conventions, mail order companies and trade journals are best sources. Prices vary; shop around.

Michael Vance