Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > Letters to CR

Andrew Mansell On My Summer Reading Of Walt Before Skeezix And The Bungle Family
posted July 14, 2014

Regarding the Bungles:

I've had a working theory that strip reading is best when the avid reader mixes it up. Fast example, I found I could never get very far with Rip Kirby. So for some insane reason I started to alternate between Alex Raymond and Williamson on Secret Agent X-9. The jump from the homogenized '50s to the following decades -- where the world was always on the verge -- made both strips more compelling and much more fun to read. Short story, long: I've had trouble with the Bungles for years. I admired it but the unlikeable characters made me uncomfortable and I would only read small chunks. So I started to alternate between Barnaby and the Bungles (great minds, I tell ya!) and I am having a blast.

Regarding the appeal of the big single panel:

I've felt the same way (I swear this isn't a build up to borrow money from you). When I was young one of my favorite strip to look at were They’ll Do It Every time because of the single panel multiple word balloons. I'm thinking it reminded me of the great MAD magazine double page spreads. And as the strips morphed into 1/3 pagers, there was very little variety so the occasional single panel (and a B & W daily to boot!) was a unique treat (Even Billy's Family Circus Ritalin fueled GPS adventures were always a Sunday highlight).