Cartoons Comics & Toons

Gasoline Alley

Gasoline Alley is a comic strip created by Frank King that was first published on November 24th, 1918.
The Chicago Tribune ran a page on Sundays called The Rectangle. Staff artists would do one-shot panels, or continuing plots or themes. A small, humble corner of The Rectangle was home to Frank King's Gasoline Alley, where weekly Walt, Doc, Avery, and Bill had a conversation on cars. This black-and-white panel of the page slowly gained recognition and either on August 25 of the same year or in January of 1919, the daily Tribune picked up the panel. It became a strip, then the Sunday version moved from The Rectangle to a page of its own, full color. The Sunday pages, particularly of the 30's, had neither traditional gags nor fantastic adventures, but instead presented a gentle view of nature or imaginary daydreaming with expressive art.
Captain Joseph Patterson, the Tribune's editor, wanted to attract women to the strip and had Walt Wallet, the protagonist, find a baby on his doorstep -- the only way to introduce a baby into the strip since Walt was a confirmed bachelor at the time. Ten years later, another confirmed bachelor, Popeye, star of the comic strip Thimble Theatre, found a similar basket containing the infant Swee'Pea. Walt Wallet eventually married Phyllis Blossom.
The baby, Skeezix, grew up, the first occasion where real time elapsed in a major comic strip. The Katzenjammer Kids never grew up! Granted, Hairbreadth Harry had grown up from an infant, but stopped doing so in his early 20s. Even today, Charlie Brown lives in perpetual childhood. Only a very few strips allow their characters to age, notably Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury and Lynn Johnston's For Better or For Worse.

In 1995, the strip was one of 20 included in the Comic Strip Classics series of commemorative US postage stamps.

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