The Rest of the Scrappy Comic Strip. Finally!

Among Scrappy rarities, few items are as tantalizingly obscure as the Scrappy newspaper strip. Though perhaps “newspaper strip” is a misnomer: As far as I know, the guys who tried to sell it to papers, Will Eisner and Jerry Iger, didn’t get it into any. But they did manage to sell it overseas, where it appeared in an Australian comic book called Wags around 1938. If you didn’t read it there (or in France’s Bilboquet), chances are that you didn’t read it anywhere—at least until 2016, when I began running the Wags version here. I apologize for taking so long to complete this exercise, but at long last I’m going to share the last Scrappy strips I have with you.

First, in the unlikely event that you’ve somehow forgotten our story thus far, kindly revisit these four previous Scrappyland posts:

Strips 1-6

Strips 7-12

Strips 13-18

Strips 19-22

Second, a little background on the strip…well, actually, more of an admission that I don’t know anything about it. Man, I wish I’d known about it a little earlier when I might have been able to buttonhole Will Eisner at the San Diego Comic-Con and grill him on the topic.

The big question, of course, is: Who drew this thing? When I started running these examples, I tried to answer that question, and failed. The one thing I was pretty confident about is that Eisner himself didn’t do it. But then, after seeing some additional examples of his early work, I changed my mind and decided he might well have been the mystery artist. However, I was thinking about the earliest examples: As the strip continued, the style changed noticeably. I really don’t have an opinion about who did the ones you’re about to read, except that they don’t feel like they were by an otherwise unpublished neophyte. The quality of the cartooning and storytelling is quite good, even if it has virtually nothing to do with the Mintz theatrical cartoons. So there seems a decent chance that we’ll eventually figure this out.

With that out of the way, here are strips 23-26 in the thrilling tale of “Scrappy and the Border Patrol.” Return with us now…

And that’s all the Scrappy comics I have for you. Whether it’s all that was drawn and/or Wags ran, I’m not sure. You’ll note that it seems to end in mid-action. But a few years later, when Eisner and Iger transmogrified Scrappy into a “new” character named Shorty Shortcake for Wonderworld Comics and ran a lightly retouched version of the Border Patrol story, they left off the last panel in the last strip above, giving the tale an abrupt conclusion in Wonderworld #3. And then, in the next issue, “Shorty” and his girlfriend “Suzy” were on to a new adventure set in Guatemala, drawn by a new artist. (The nominal creator, Jerry Williams, was a whole bunch of different guys over the feature’s run.)

Shorty Shortcake continued to run until Wonderworld #20. So if you consider him to be Scrappy operating under an assumed name, as I do, the end of the official Scrappy comic strip didn’t mean the end of Scrappy comics. Maybe I’ll run some of his stories here—it would be sad to think there are no more Scrappy strips out there to rediscover.

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