Tag Archives: gag strips

Snoopa (1979-1984)

Publication: (Snoopa) 29 April 1979-21 November 1981; (Crayzees) 28 November 1981-31 March 1984

Artist: Joe Collins

Snoopa 1

(Snoopa’s third appearance in Penny. He comments on the free gift that came with her third issue.)

Snoopa was a regular cartoon in Penny. He was with Penny from her first issue and proved his durability by going not through one merger but two. Of course Snoopa had the advantage of being drawn by the popular Joe Collins, which enabled him to be absorbed into the other Joe Collins cartoon in Tammy. More on that in a moment.

Snoopa 2

(Snoopa, 1 December 1979. Joe Collins is clearly more comfortable with Snoopa, whose appearance looks more developed than in his early days in Penny. And here, Penny makes one of her appearances in Snoopa.)

Snoopa was a mouse who (presumably) is a resident of Pennys house. I do not have the first Snoopa to verify that he did in fact live in Penny’s house, but Penny herself is seen in several of his cartoons. Interestingly, Penny’s face is drawn in a style that aims at realism rather than the cartoony style that Collins uses in his typical drawings of people (see Crayzees below).

Update: I have now viewed the first Snoopa cartoon, in which Snoopa mistakes the plastic cheese gift that came with the first Penny for real cheese and breaks his teeth on it. Penny takes pity on him. It still does not fully confirm that Snoopa lived in Penny’s house, but it can be safely assumed that he did.

Many of Snoopa’s gags centre on food because Snoopa has a big appetite and is often pilfering food. This leads to another running gag – weight loss schemes that have varying degrees of success. Other gags focus on him running the gauntlet with the resident cat with his pilfered food or getting into other scrapes with it.

Snoopa 3

(Snoopa’s first appearance in the Jinty & Penny merger, 12 April 1980.)

And Snoopa continued with his gags in the Jinty and Penny merger. Together with Tansy of Jubilee Street, he was the longest-running Penny feature in Jinty.

On 28 November 1981 Jinty merged with Tammy, and Snoopa merged with the Joe Collins cartoon in Tammy. Originally “Edie the Ed’s Niece”, it became “Edie and Miss T” when Misty merged with Tammy, which brought Misty’s Joe Collins cartoon, Miss T the witch, to the merger. When Snoopa joined, the Joe Collins cartoon became “Crayzees”. In my opinion, “Crazyees” was an even better cartoon than when its respective characters had their own strips. The amalgamation of three gag strips into one meant more characters, and they were very diverse characters. This made scope for more variety, situations, interactions, and a more diverse range of gags that ranged from fantastical (with Miss T being a witch) to gags that centre more on the animals in the strip, such as Miss T’s cat’s birthday.

To celebrate their merger, Edie, Miss T and Snoopa moved into a new house in Crayzee Street – presumably to give the name to their combined strip. Snoopa brings the key to the new house and declares, “I’m Snoopa from Jinty!” This upset one former Penny reader who said Snoopa was properly from Penny. She also complained about Penny‘s gradual disappearance in the merger. But that, sadly, is the way mergers go, and Snoopa did come over to Tammy from Jinty after all. In any case, as Snoopa is moving into a new house, that means he is leaving behind the one he shared with Penny in his own strip – and with it, his Penny roots.

Edie took an instant dislike to Snoopa because he was a mouse, and she never seemed to overcome it. But Miss T’s cat falls head over heels in love with Snoopa – which is really ironic considering that Snoopa had a cat for an enemy in his old cartoon. Snoopa found it increasingly unbearable to have the cat mooning over him and took refuge in his mouse hole. The cat pined, so Miss T’s solution was to make Snoopa the size of a human. The size of a human?!? Oh, well, this is called “Crazyees” after all. Snoopa’s new size displeased Edie, but it made Snoopa and the cat happy.

Crayzees lasted until Princess (series 2) merged with Tammy in 1984 and was replaced with Princess’s Joe Collins cartoon, “Sadie in Waiting”. Personally, I missed “Crazyees” but I guess there was room for only one Joe Collins cartoon in a merger.

Crayzees

(Snoopa, Edie and Miss T come together to form Crayzees. Tammy & Jinty, 28 November 1981.)

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Do-It-Yourself Dot (1974-1976)

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Publication: 11 May 1974-(?) 1975
Artist: Alf Saporito
Writer: Unknown

“Dot’s good at making things – especially at making a nuisance of herself!”

Thus ran the blurb to introduce readers to Do-It-Yourself Dot, one of the two cartoons in Jinty’s first lineup. And Dot enjoyed a far longer and more successful run than Jinty’s other cartoon in the lineup, The Snobs and the Scruffs. It is not hard to see why. Dot is the more superior cartoon, because unlike the Snobs and Scruffs, she is a far more rounded and colourful character who has a proper name. There is more variety, with different situations and differing outcomes every week. The only thing that stays the same is what invention Dot has come up with this time that starts the action off.

Dot, as the blurb says, is good at making things. She takes inventiveness to heights that would rival her nearest equivalent, “Clever Dick” in Buster. She can make sailboats, ventriloquist dummies, a go-cart powered by a hair dryer, a boomerang out of a broken hockey stick and even jigsaw puzzles out of old pieces of cloth. The trouble is, her inventions don’t always work out as she planned. In her first episode she makes her very own harp. However, her music talent is nowhere near as good as her inventiveness. But in the end the harp proves its usefulness as a chipper. Yes, sometimes Dot’s inventions work out in the end, though not as she originally planned. In one episode she makes a steam pudding, but it ends up with the consistency and weight of a cannon ball. Annoyed, she throws it away where it ends up foiling an escaped convict. And yes, you guessed it – the pudding becomes a new iron ball for his chain.

Sometimes Dot’s inventions don’t work out so well, especially if she really is using them to cause a nuisance. In one episode she makes stilts and uses them to play pranks on some golfers. But she ends up hung up to dry after landing in wet cement and needing a wash. At other times, the inventions just backfire, such as when she tries to use her do-it-yourself hand picker to nab a criminal, but it goes wrong and she ends up in trouble with a policeman and saying “How come my do-it-yourself ideas always land me in trouble? Moan!”

But of course there are the times when things work out well for Dot. For example, a bully wrecks her aforementioned go-cart with snowballs and brings down a whole heap of snow on her front path. He intends to put the blame on Dot, but her quick thinking ensures that her father has the bully clearing the path.

However it goes, readers always have to admire Dot’s inventiveness and resourcefulness. One suspects that many wished they could be as handy as Dot is with do-it-yourself.

There seem to be some similarities between Dot and Fran Anderson, the zany fixer-upper of “Fran’ll Fix It!” Both girls use their talents and quick wits to fix things up. Some of them are successful and others are not, but readers are always guaranteed a hilarious situation that will raise loads of laughs. It is tempting to wonder if Dot was an influence on Fran.

The Snobs and the Scruffs (1974)

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Publication: 11/5/1974-17/8/1974
Artist: Unknown
Writer: Unknown

Every girls’ comic must have a funny regular cartoon, and “The Snobs and the Scruffs” was the first for Jinty, along with “Do-It-Yourself-Dot“. The title says it all – snobbery vs. commonality, in the form of the scruffs from Scruffley Secondary and their neighbours, the snobs from Snobville Academy next door. Each week the snobs try to score their superiority over those common scruffs next door: “We snobs are always on top! It’s time those common scruffs realised that!” But of course the scruffs always win in the end.

Snob vs. Scruff is a long tradition in comics, and an extremely popular one because you just love to see haughty snobs being taken down a peg. However, you see it more often in the funny comics, such as Ivor Lott and Tony Broke (Cor!!!! / Buster) or “Top of the Class” (Jackpot / Buster). The theme would continue in Jinty’s “Alley Cat”, with the streetwise Alley Cat vs. his perennial nemesis, Spotty Muchloot the rich snobby boy. Unlike the Scruffs, however, Alley Cat occasionally lost to Spotty. And it was not all Alley Cat vs. Spotty – Alley Cat would have other adventures such as catching fish or treasure hunting.

The characters in Alley Cat also had individuality and personality to make them even more engaging, which is not the case in this strip. The snobs and scruffs look pretty much the same – the snobs all looking like proper little ladies with shoulder length blond hair, and the scruffs with straight, even spiky dark hair (though not looking that scruffy). None of them have any given names and little individuality to make any of them stand out, as, say, “Top of the Class” did with its snobs and scruffs. They are flat characters, and with the strip focusing solely on weekly battles between the snobs and the scruffs, it would raise laughs, but perhaps not quite be the material for a classic funny strip. Indeed, it was short lived while Do-It-Yourself Dot proved the lasting cartoon.

Further note: Greek magazine Vavoura reprinted “The Snobs and the Scruffs” in issue # 12 (December 1st 1981) and again in issue # 61.