warehouse find

Jiggs is Back
by George McManus
with an introduction by William Kennedy
commentary and analysis by comic historian Bill Blackbeard
Celtic Book Company
1986; ISBN 0-913666-82-3
oversize softcover
64 pages; full color

On 17 October 2003 we purchased 52 copies of Jiggs Is Back from a warehouse in California.  As a result of this find, we are able to offer these uncirculated, unread copies of this book, the best collection of one of the greatest -- and most popular -- comic strips in history, at just a tad above the original 1986 price!

George McManus was he-of-the-steady-hand.   No one drew a cleaner line.  He influenced, and continues to influence, comics artists in America -- he was a formative influence on Carl Barks -- and around the world -- compare Joost Swarte's artwork to McManus's some time.

Running as the lead strip in the Hearst syndicate Sunday supplements from 1918 until McManus's death in 1954, Bringing Up Father was one of the most widely read strips of its day, and embodied the American immigrant experience (while McManus specifically addresses the Irish-American experience, this experience has nevertheless been repeated in its broadest  aspects by all immigrant groups, and this continues even into the present:  the upward mobility; the assimilationist imperative; the conflicts in gender roles between the old world and new; etc.) in the era between the two world wars, albeit in an extreme and parodic manner -- but that's what comics are for!  Featuring Jiggs, his wife Maggie, their daughter Nora and a supporting cast of misfits and oddballs, McManus's strip was graphically inventive, gorgeously drawn, and most of all hilariously funny.  It was the embodiment of the domestic situation comedy before the era of television, but with a level of artistry that was the equivalent of Howard Hawks directing I Love Lucy on a weekly basis.

Jiggs Is Back provides a wonderful window to this classic strip, which in turn offers a glorious view of a bygone era.  The prefatory essay by Bill Blackbeard -- the dean of comic strip scholarship in America -- is both an informative history of the strip as well as a paean to McManus's artistry.

Here's a sample page:

original 1986 retail price - $12.95
2007 copacetic price - SOLD OUT!  (sorry...)

We do, however, now have THIS amazing new collection of Bringing Up Father, which includes some of the same classic strips as this one, oincluding the entire cross-country trip.

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prices and availability current as of 30 November 2010