Posted By Art Baxter


Today we take a look at a sequence from a mid-February 1935 sequence of four ALLEY OOP dailies. Alley Oop is a caveman who lived with dinosaurs in his earliest years then went on to have time traveling adventures through history. Presented here is a brief interlude highlighting the caveman's cute and plucky girlfriend, Ooola.

ALLEY OOP was created by Vincent T. Hamlin (1900-1993), who became interested in cavemen and dinosaurs after he found a fossil on a texas oil field at the age of 24. The daily debuted on August 7, 1933 with the Sunday starting in September of the following year. Hamlin retired in 1973 having turned the drawing of the strip to his assistant a decade earlier. The strips presented here are from halfway through the strip's second year. Hamlin was an excellent draftsman and OOP is quite a handsome strip especially Sundays. He gives great depth to the picture plane by graphically layering foreground, medium ground and background. His figure work is also excellent. His characters are well designed, have weight and are lithe. I regret to say that despite my being attracted to the art, I find the ALLEY OOP strip to be completely un-engaging. I just don't give a crap about these characters.

Take this four strip sequence. I look at and read the pictures and I love it. I like the line work, Ooola's beautiful figure and body language. There's air around the character. The imaginative jungle setting reminds me of Skull Island from the original KING KONG from the same era.  Hamlin tells the story with great economy making it look effortless. He is a master storyteller, no doubt. But that dialog just kills it for me. It's flat.

On the other hand, Ooola's going skinny dipping and rips her dress making it all the more revealing. What's not to like 'bout that? I really like this sequence and I hope you get a kick out of it.

NEXT: Easy does it!

ALLEY OOP is © NEA Service, Inc.

2 Comment(s):
Charlie Boatner said...
It IS a nice sequence. The last panel of the first strip has me suspicious. Just a splash of water is not very interesting. Did Hamlin draw too much of Ooola's diving figure and the syndicate white her out entirely? I liked the stories just fine. I recommend the later, Sci-Fi adventures reprinted in the Kitchen Sink books.
Saturday, November 5, 2016 07:32:51 PM
sammy said...
the drawings always got my attention but the copy always left me flat as well. I remember being confused as a kid thinking, well, this plot was too involved for me. Interesting about him finding the dino bone and turning to comics...
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 10:55:41 AM
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