On Strips: Foolish Fred

By | Friday, September 25, 2015 Leave a Comment
On this day in 1904, a strip debuted by the name of Foolish Fred. It wasn't successful, lasting only a few months, and is pretty unremarkable even for strips of the time.

Foolish Fred

In fact, the only reason, I supsect, it's remembered at all is because it was by C. W. Kahles who, only a year and a bit later, created Hairbreadth Harry who was perpetually trying to save Beautiful Belinda from the evil plots of Relentless Rudolph. Kahles continued working on the strip until his death in 1931, and the strip carried on under the hand of F. O. Alexander for another eight years. Even if you haven't seen Hairbreadth Harry, you're likely familiar with Alexander's work -- he did the original illustrations for the board game Monopoly, which are still being used today. (Although my initial thought was that Alexander stopped working on Hairbreadth Harry thanks to the royalties he received from the wildly popular board game, it looks as if he was never paid at all for that work!)

In any event, you can see from the example above the concept of Foolish Fred isn't that interesting or original. It's not really bad, but just a fairly standard gag strip with little characterization to interact with or appreciate. I will say, though, that I am impressed with the execution of the brickwork in the final panel above, which is rendered only through color and without any linework to "hold" the individual bricks. Very nice and effective use of the medium, but hardly enough to save an otherwise mediocre effort.
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