Between the adorable language, the window onto early automotive life and the plain fun of reading comics from that era, this volume is a delight for any cultural history buff...The book is delightful on a purely physical level, too, with much thought and expense clearly poured into every detail. It even smells good.NPR
The prelude to the Walt and Skeezix series offers a portrait of a country in transition
Walt Before Skeezix collects the first years of Frank King’s beloved comic strip Gasoline Alley—one of the most widely read and syndicated strips of its time, which is still syndicated today. These comics, produced between 1919 and 1920, focus primarily on Walt Wallet and his friends as they engage with the then-novel automobile sensation that was sweeping the nation.
This period of the newspaper strip is especially fascinating as a historical time capsule, charting a moment in America’s past when horses and buggies shared the road with cars, and when the country was making the transition from rural farmers to urban, industrialized society.
King was a pioneering American cartoonist who changed comics forever by setting his strip in contemporary America and having his characters age. These lavish volumes pay tribute to the evolution of his style and storytelling. Designed and edited by the world-renowned cartoonist Chris Ware (Building Stories),Walt Before Skeezix includes a wide-ranging introductory essay from the noted comics historian Jeet Heer, the coeditor of Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium, and an essay by Tim Samuelson, the cultural historian for the city of Chicago, about how Chicago’s history is reflected in King’s newspaper strip.
Praise for Walt Before Skeezix
By the end of Walt Before Skeezix … the stage is set for the greatness that would soon come.Mental Floss, Most Interesting Comics of the Week
This latest volume demonstrates that King had mastered that easy cadence and benevolent outlook even before Skeezix arrived, when the strip still centred around a cast of automobile enthusiasts who congregated in a Chicago back alley... King instills the proceedings with his signature brand of kindly, leisurely warmth, and true fellow-feeling.Globe & Mail
Even before Skeezix, this volume reveals Frank King as an ambitious cartoonist eager to burst beyond the limitations of a weekly single-panel car strip.AV Club