Wife Gets Smart, Makes Husband Happy: Supermarket Comic Strip Ads of World War II

Compiled & Annotated by Nat Gertler
Foreword by Dr. Vicki Howard

When a major American supermarket chain began including comic strips win their newspaper ads in 1941, they probably thought that it would just be a series of little tales that just reminded you to shop at their stores. But then America got pulled into the war, and the strip became an unintended chronicle of life on the homefront, with patriotism, shortages, rationing, fundraising, fears, hopes, and ultimately expectations of a better tomorrow. Here are the hundreds of strips that made up that campaign, which ran from 1941 to 1947. Plus, there’s dozens of examples of comic strips from ads for independent grocery stores from before and after the war, and as an added bonus, a healthy run of Glamorous Gloria, a hilarious strip advertising clothing stores.

“Nat Gertler’s Wife Gets Smart, Makes Husband Happy is a time capsule of comic strips that gives insight to an era in the United States where food rationing was enforced and families were encouraged to grow their own food so that more processed food was available for American soldiers. […] It’s a history book about mid-20th century America, a practical guide in using sequential art to quickly convey a message, and — if you happen to be a collector of grocery store memorabilia (yep, they exist) certain a book you’d want to have on your shelf. Grade: 5.0/5.0″ — RJ Carter, CriticalBlast.com

“The American comic industry has always had a space for small, independent publishers, and I’m glad, because it means you can sometimes stumble across something like this […] odd but strangely readable.” – Comics Worth Reading

  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 175 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1949996417
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1949996418
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.9 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.5 x 0.44 x 6 inches

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Bootsie’s Big ’50s: a Dark Laughter collection

“Negro America’s Favorite Cartoonist” – that’s what Langston Hughes called Ollie Harrington, whose cartoons and comic strips were a staple of America’s Black newspapers for decades starting in the 1930s. In his single-panel series “Dark Laughter,” Harrington brought out the vibrancy of Harlem life in its day, while serving some cutting looks at the politics of the time.

At the heart of “Dark Laughter” is Bootsie, a cunning, conning, girl-chasing ne’er-do-well who is nonetheless beloved in his Harlem community… if often reluctantly. Bootsie is both the victim of the world’s troubles and a frequent cause of them for others.

Here’s a collection of prime cartoons from the mid-1950s, drawn with the detailed joy that only Ol Harrington (who also worked as Oliver W. Harrington) could bring, finally available to a larger audience.

  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 155 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1949996352
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1949996357
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.04 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.5 x 0.35 x 11 inches
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Bootsie’s War Years: a Dark Laughter collection

In the 1940s, the comics pages of America’s weekly Black newspapers were filled with characters both inspirational and aspirational. In addition to the life stories of great African Americans, there were fictional tales of Black reporters, Black detectives, Black government agents, Black aviators, Black people rising in the ranks of society, even Black superheroes, all to give their audiences the sense of the best that was possible.

Then there was Bootsie.

Bootsie was a liar, a womanizer, a layabout, a scammer, a cheat, and an all around disreputable dude. Among the denizens of Harlem he was scorned, threatened, detested… and yet nonetheless loved as a part of the community.

Collected in this book for the very first time are almost 150 “Dark Laughter” cartoons from 1941 through 1946, during which time Bootsie goes from being a draft evader to a draftee, an enlisted man, a serviceman on the ground in Europe, and ultimately to a veteran for the winning side. In these, cartoonist Ollie Harrington’s lively art captures the rich reality of Bootie’s world while telling tales that are sometimes joyous, sometimes very harsh, like the world itself.

  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 161 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1949996336
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1949996333
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.7 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.41 x 9 inches
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Cherry Sundae: The Complete Collection

Before Pete Tumlinson drew the early adventures of Marvel’s Kid Colt, Outlaw, he created this wild romp of a strip that was published in papers throughout the United States.
Cherry is a comely carrot-top car-hop at the local drive in who finds herself being courted by two young men. They battle for her attention and affection… on the land, in the water, and in the skies above!
Unseen since it ran in newspapers in the late 1940s, this offbeat strip is collected here for the first time, in this complete 75th anniversary edition.

  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 87 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1949996360
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1949996364
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 6.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.5 x 0.22 x 6 inches

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Bridge Mix: The Bridge Cartoons of Charles M. Schulz (color edition)

From the mind of Charles M. Schulz, the world’s most beloved cartoonist, comes these funny looks at the game of Bridge. The game, the culture, and the very human foibles of those who play it all come under his masterful attention, with over sixty cartoons in full color.
Charles Schulz was a player of various types of bridge over the years, and he included it in his famous comic strip. In the late 1950s, he set out to launch a new strip just about bridge and the people who played it. While the plan for the strip (called “It’s Only a Game”) eventually expanded to include other games and leisure activities, Schulz still made sure to include at least one cartoon each week about bridge, and those are all collected here, in this one volume, in color!

  • Paperback : 72 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1949996174
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1949996173
  • Dimensions : 5 x 8 inches

Miss Caroline: the Complete Camelot Collection

written by Gerald Gardner
drawn by Frank Johnson

The year was 1963. The Kennedy clan inhabited the White House, capturing the imagination of the Nation. JFK inspired the nation’s dreams. Jackie inspired the nation’s fashion. And young Miss Caroline Kennedy inspired a book of cartoons that found the humor in both White House life and in being the next generation in a dynasty.This edition collects, for the first time, all of the Miss Caroline cartoons that saw print, either in the book or in the strip’s brief newspaper run, all written by Gerald Gardner, a screenwriter on such hilarious series as Get Smart and The Monkees, and writer of the best-selling “Who’s In Charge Here?” photofunny books and drawn by Frank Johnson of “Boner’s Ark.”

  • Paperback : 135 pages, 5.25″x8″
  • ISBN-10 : 1949996271
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1949996272

Order it from Amazon! (Or ask your favorite independent bookseller to order it for you.)

Lots of Fun in Church

A reverend and a cartoonist team up to take a loving look at the fun, frolic, and foibles of people in the pews and at the pulpit!

Father Henry C. Beck was a newspaperman, a mystery novelist, and a noted New Jersey folklorist as well as a the rector of the Calvary Episcopal Church in Flemington, NJ. He served as an idea man, while W. Bolte Gibson, who did cartooning for everyone from Campbell’s Soup to The Polio Chronicle, contributed his own ideas and all of the art.

First published in the 1950s, these cartoons are both a portrait of their time and an example of how some truths are eternal. This contains all the cartoons that were in the books Fun In Church, More Fun In Church, and Lapses In The Apses – over 170 cartoons in all!

  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1949996077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1949996074
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches

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The Blank Comic Strip Panelbook – Basic, 7″x7″, 127 pages

The BlankTM Comic Strip Panelbook is a simple sketchbook for drawing daily-format comic strips, with four square panels on each page. Intend as a sketch-and-concept book, this handy volume will hold months worth of daily strip concepts.

(Please note: this book is not intended for final artwork, and the paper is neither archival nor acid-free.)

List Price: $7.99
7″ x 7″ (17.78 x 17.78 cm) 
Black & White on White paper
128 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1979107532
ISBN-10: 197910753X

 

Bridge Mix: the Bridge cartoons of Charles M. Schulz

by Charles M. Schulz with Jim Sasseville

bridgemixFrom the mind of Charles M. Schulz, the world’s most beloved cartoonist, comes these funny looks at the game of Bridge. The game, the culture, and the very human foibles of those who play it all come under his masterful attention.

List Price: $8.99
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
64 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1936404254
ISBN-10: 1936404257
BISAC: Games / Card Games / Bridge
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Small World

smallworldby Sam Brier

Is this oddball 1950s comic strip about little kids pretending to be grown up, or is it about grown ups who look like little kids? That’s for you to decide! Back in print for the first time in half a century, it’s Sam Brier’s “Small World”!

List Price: $7.99
6″ x 6″ (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
128 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1477477717
ISBN-10: 1477477713
BISAC: Comics & Graphic Novels / General
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