Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Woody Allen: The Comic Strip(?), this Sunday in Heritage Auctions Sunday Internet Comics Auction

Nov. 19, 2009
Written by Barry Sandoval

(I got this nice little post yesterday from Barry Sandoval, Heritage Auctions' Director of Comics Operations, regarding quite a fun little lot we have in our Nov. 22 Sunday Internet Comics Auction. It may not be as glamorous as the massive spread Heritage Auctions got yesterday, Nov. 17, in The New York Times on the upcoming auction of Joe Kubert artwork, but it's still plenty cool and just the sort of thing that makes Heritage such a fascinating place to work.

Barry writes nicely and concisely about the original art work for a Sunday strip for Inside Woody Allen, an insecure comic that actually ran in various markets for the better part of a decade. Was it any good? Um... If Woody Allen is your thing - and during the period of the comic he was indeed creating some of his greatest work - then it carries a very intersting place in pop culture.

As a young Jewish kid, let's just say that I was exposed to Woody Allen early and often, and I count Hannah and Her Sisters as one of my Top Five movies of all-time, and proof that there is goodness in the unvierse and that all is right with the world - watch it this Thanksgiving and see if you don't agree with me... As for the strip Barry writes about, let's just say I'd like to have it for my own collection. The bid right now stands at $33, plus BP, so it's just possible I might... Read, enjoy, and thanks to Barry! - Noah Fleisher)

I’ll wager that most people do not remember the comic strip, “Inside Woody Allen,” which ran in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Or more precisely, most people have probably never heard of it in the first place, and whether you have or not probably depends on your hometown. Reportedly a number of newspapers dropped the strip in fairly short order.

One is tempted to say that a strip about a guilty, neurotic type who has dating misadventures wouldn’t “play in Peoria,” but that same formula worked just fine for Cathy, which debuted in 1976 (the same year as Inside Woody Allen) and is still going strong today. Perhaps neuroses are more endearing in a woman than a man… In fact, I’m sure they are.

The strip has received a retrospective in the form of the newly released book Dread and Superficiality: Woody Allen as Comic Strip by the strip’s writer/artist Stuart Hample.

Yes, I said writer/artist – Allen did not write the strip, but as Hample told The Guardian: “(Allen) judged the material and offered suggestions on how to develop characters and pace gags, and pleaded with me to maintain high standards.”

Heritage hadn’t offered an Inside Woody Allen Sunday before this week, but there’s one in the auction ending this Sunday night, offered without reserve.

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- Barry Sandoval

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