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Gasoline Alley

Gasoline Alley was first published November 24th[?], 1918.

The Chicago Tribune ran a page on Sundays called “The Rectangle[?].” Staff artists would do one-shot panels, or continuing plots or themes. A small, humble corner of The Rectangle was home to Walt, Doc, Avery and Bill. Their weekly conversation was on cars. This black and white panel of the page slowly gained recognition and either on August 25 or in January of 1919, the daily tribune picked up this “Gasoline Alley” panel.

It became a strip, then the Sunday version moved from The Rectangle to a pageof its own, full colour.

Captain Joseph Patterson, the paper’s editor who’d latter help out Terry & the Pirates[?] and Little Orphan Annie, decided women should like it too. So, Walt Wallet, the main character found a baby on his doorstep, a course of action that had to be taken -- Walt was “a confirmed” bachelor.

This baby aged, marking the first time any such cartoon character would do such a thing. This path has been followed by very few, Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse being the only strip of merit. Granted, Hairbreadth Harry grew up from that baby character, but stopped doing so in his early 20s.

Gradually, characters married, had kids, and it became the first comic strip-soap opera in the post-War babyboom 1940s, before there was even such a genre as the soap opera.



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