#8 Elmo: An American Experiment by Cecil Jenson, edited by Frank M. Young, Middletown DE, Labor of Love Press, $14.99
What a find. Young has unearthed and reprinted a darkly surreal strip from the late 1940s by the author of the later Little Debbie strip of the 1950s. It seems like a Li’l Abner knockoff, with the rural rube Elmo encountering urban caricatures. But Jenkens sends Elmo down some of the darkest urban and psychological alleyways of post-war America. Its brief run shows it was too strange for post-war audiences groping to return to normality after WWII. But Elmo suggests a kind of unease to that project that would also come out in 40s noir, crime comics and 50s horror comics.
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