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  • Dogpatch, USA

    "'Abner' started out as an adventure strip and it evolved more into a satirical and humor strip. There was always humor present, but there used to be longer adventures. They became shorter and as they got into the 50s and certainly into the 60s, the strip became more pointed, more political. Capp always ran caricatures of famous politicians, sometimes in an approving way as background characters, but they became more and more political and not always to the right. Early on he used General Bullmoose as an example of the epitome of capitalism gone amuck. General Bullmoose was the richest man in the world, a kind of Scrooge McDuck type and so he was typically a villain; the poor denizens of Dogpatch were always the worst off Americans you can imagine, always enduring whatever indignities were heaped upon them by politicians or evil sorts. Then...sometime around the late 60s Capp did this 180 degree turn and targeted students, leftists and Joan Baez. There was no turning back because unfortunately he was also losing his sense of humor. The bile and bitterness took over and the attempted humor was very awkward. When he retired the strip in 1977, in his last interview he said the strip hasn't been funny in years. That was a remarkable bit of candor.

    ...

    The syndicate and Capp made a decision not to carry it on when he retired. It was determined, mainly by Capp himself, that it would die with him. Had they continued it and found some young Al Capp it could conceivably still be popular today. The other thing is making fun of Appalachians is not politically correct anymore. Today I think Southerners especially would look at it differently than they did in more innocent times. As a comics historian I think it's amazing in every respect, but I see clearly that it's not something that has an appeal to most younger readers who aren't interested in comic history. The sheer artistry of it, I think, speaks for itself. But in reprinting it, so much has to be annotated to put it in context because it's topical and has caricatures of people long gone."

    -Denis Kitchen on comicbookresources.com 4/25/13