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Crawford by Chuck Jones

Did you know Chuck Jones drew a daily comic strip in 1976 and 1977? The strip concerned the musings of two children, not unlike Jones’ animated character Ralph Phillips (and his friend, as seen in The Adventures of the Road Runner featurette). I used to clip the Sunday Crawford strips (sometimes titled Crawford and Morgan) each week from the New York Daily News. But my collection is far from complete.

Collector Kurtis Findlay is currently compiling these strips and locating a publisher for them. But he’s asking me if I think there is enough interest in a bound, complete collection. I, for one, am very interested. Though Crawford is part of Chuck’s later psyche, and appeals more to the intellect than the funny bone, its significant for understanding the man and where he was at this time. That’s of interest to me – but is it to you? Is this a comic strip worth collecting in permanent form?

  • Thom Foolery

    Yes, absolutely!

    Wouldn’t LJE or Mr Jones’s estate have some, if not all of the originals available for high quality reproduction in the book? Or perhaps they have some studies or perviously unseen sketches of the characters for additional supplemental material since the book would only be 104 strips at most (hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m eager as hell to see any new work from Chuck…well, new to me at least).
    Who was the publisher/syndicate of the strip? Perhaps they might have some of the plate archived somewhere.

  • Bob Clampett’s comic strip was funnier ; )

  • There were dailies too. I have xeroxes of a couple of daily CRAWFORD strips.

  • uncle wayne

    omg!! I am so glad i was not dreaming this. When i had the (great) occasion to spend an afternoon with Mr. Jones (in the mid-80s….here in N.O.), he was astounded (even then) that someone knew of his strip!! Thank you, SO much, for ressurecting it!!

  • George

    Ummm… Yes.

  • Rat

    Hmmm… he forgot to tell a joke.

  • Thomas Dee

    Oh my god, definitely! There are so few real surprises in the careers of the greats, since so much has been seen and so much has been written about them, but this came as a complete surprise to me. I’d love to have a book of all of them.

  • I would buy a copy, for sure.

  • Anthony C.

    Definitely has my support for a compilation. It’s cool to see Jones’ familiar style and timing carried over to comic strip form-I had no knowledge of this myself. Bring it on. :-)

  • Yes, I enjoyed the strip when it was coming out. I think it deserves to be permanently collected.

  • There’s a lot of surprises in Jones’ career during the 70’s.

  • YES!

  • Jorge Garrido

    I would buy a book collection of it.

  • I think it is a substantial, if not essential, work by a legend of cartooning and is absolutely worth compiling!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    It would be an interesting book to print of material from such a well-recognized person, and perhaps an insight into his thoughts on life, love and other subjects as presented in this strip.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    “Hmmm… he forgot to tell a joke.”

    It’s like that joke I saw Jones and others done before where someone thinks in a grandiose manner, someone talks then down and they go “Well I can dream, can I?” It’s no doubt that’s what is going on in the strip presented here with the kid dreaming of his dog doing these fantastic things, only to wake up to reality and see him as a normal dog after all, and saying that. Again, this strip isn’t obviously going for the funnybone as more for the mind.

  • Not bad. I would really love to see a collection of Irv Spector’s comic strip Coogy. That would be so cool.

  • Intriguing… but it’s difficult to judge from just one strip (or this one anyway) if It’d be a worthy collection. I’d really like to see a collection of a variety of Jones’ personal and non animation work, if there’s enough material in existence to sustain such a thing. I remember one of Amid’s magazines had some square dance related art by Chuck, nifty stuff also.

  • Yes, and it’s a good time for it with so many independent publishers putting out lovely editions collecting old daily strips.

  • At the time of this strip’s publication, I thought it was typical of Chuck Jones’ work during this period of his career: pretentious, precious, self-important and unfunny. This sample is fairly representative of the strip’s general approach and tone, as I remember it, at least.

  • Sure, he’s one of the great cartoonists of all time.
    His work has enormous appeal and has certainly stood the test of time.

  • Melissa

    Absolutely. I would buy a copy.

  • FP

    It looks like a typical comic strip from a newspaper.

  • purin

    By any other artist, that strip would be completely dull, I think. In this case, the expressions are fun to look at.

  • I’d buy it for the art alone, whether or not any of the strips are funny. (I grinned at this one, at least.)

  • Yes! I’d definitely buy one!

  • I would certainly but a collection of this strip, if anything for historic value and to see a project that has all but disappeared from existence.

    I am so glad to hear that someone is trying to compile these. I once wrote to Chuck’s web site asking if there were ever any plans for the strip but never got a response (it’s possible the person who reads the e-mail had no idea what I was talking about). I only hope that when a publication deal is signed that Kurtis will have access to whatever archives are out there.

  • Not2Foul

    Yes, Yes, please release this!!!!! I love comic strip books, and Chuck Jones, so put me down for a copy!!!!

  • John

    I think it’s important to compile for historical reasons, but I’m not sure I’d rush out and buy it. But knowing there’s a copy on Jerry Beck’s shelf means I know it’s being preserved and that can only be a good thing.

  • The critic in me agrees with Scott Shaw—but the historian in me thinks the strip still ought to be collected, as the work of an animation pioneer, rather than drifting down the memory hole.

  • captainmurphy

    Does anyone here recall, (or better yet, have in their archives) a Time or Newsweek story in the late seventies, on Chuck Jones, where they give the impression that he was deaf? I think they may have even used that to explain the RoadRunner cartoons lack of dialog!

    Anyway, apparently he had no problem hearing questions the rest of his life; perhaps at best, he had a hearing aid. But that is a far cry from “his deafness may fuel his visual genius”

    I’d love to get some hint of corraboration of what I thought I read back then.

  • w

    I’d buy it.

    But imagine how awesome it’d be as part of a compilation of strips/comics done on the side by WB animators?!

  • Yep, very interested on the book.

  • Carol is right the market is very good for this sort of project now. Strip compilations saturated the market in the 80s and it was 15 years before new titles finally had a chance in a revived marketplace. Just because it is Chuck Jones it has a good chance of selling decdent numbers and thus being of interest to a publisher.

    You’d think the Jones estate has proof sheets of the strip to use for reproduction, but maybe not?

    W, a compilation of the sort you describe would be much more expensive, harder to compile and likely sell much less. Dream projects sometimes have burdens that sink them due to real world realities. Heck, even relatively beloved strips like King Aroo have still not been put in book form. And even the 1980s paperbacks of Barnaby (much less the original 50s hardcovers) now command collector prices. There is a lot of worthy material waiting to be issued.

  • Actually, a complete King Aroo reprint series has begun! The first volume came out a month ago with volume two coming in December!

    I have contacted LJE and the Chicago Tribune about the original art or proof sheets, but neither has a complete set. I am currently exploring other avenues and leads to make this set complete.

    I plan on putting in as much supplemental material as I can find in this book. But I need everyone’s help! Does anyone out there have newspaper clippings of the dailies or Sundays, Crawford sketches or any other Crawford promotional material?

    Please email me if you can help: kurtis[at]coveringthemouse[dot]com

  • Some Jones Fangirl

    A collection of my idol’s art that I was previously completely unaware of? Yes please!

  • I would buy it!

  • mark Newgarden

    Not really.

  • Rooniman

    I’d go for it. I’ve always wondered what Jones’s work was like in those times.

  • mrscriblam

    sounds interesting. id read a comic by chuck jones

  • Chris Sobieniak
  • messy

    I remember asking Jones about it when he showed the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner movie at the NY Film Festival too many years ago.

    His reply was something like “Somebody actually read it? I remember him with a big smile on his face.

  • Shannon

    I would definitely buy a compilation. His characters have more warmth, sass, and genuine humanity than any other animation artist’s work that I have had the pleasure of viewing.

  • Crawford has always been a personal favorite, one of the most beautifully drawn comic strips of all time!!

  • Jed G Martinez

    Believe it or not, I’m one of the few people who also collected Sunday editions of “Crawford” (in the N.Y. Daily News comic pages). If I can relocate those colorful clipped strips from the 1970s (in that ‘Bermuda Triangle’ I call my cluttered condo), I’d be more than happy to scan and post a few of them for your Cartoon Brew visitors, Jerry.

    I also have a press kit for the short-lived syndicated comic by Mr. Jones, with a couple of B&W daily strips, highlighting some of the other characters – such as the dogs ‘Shep’ and ‘Rawlf’, ‘Morgan’ (the title character’s best friend), and ‘Sam Dunk’ (a basketball player who’s so tall, readers only get to see the athlete – next to the kids – from shins down). It’s been so many years, I forgot how I came into getting that press kit; but it’s among the prized possessions of my own Chuck Jones collection (which includes a personal letter from him about ‘procrastination’, several original production cels from his “Kipling TV Trilogy”, a few signed posters of CJ exhibits at the Circle Gallery in NYC, and his autograph in my copy of “Of Mice and Magic” by Leonard Maltin).

  • I would love to own a collection of these strips. Bring it!

  • I’ve seen a couple of the originals, to see Chuck’s actual ink line is a treasured experience.

  • Julius Gryphon

    I’ve always thought Crawford had a quiet understated charm. I’d buy a collection of them in a heartbeat.

  • I’d vote for it! Interesting post.

    The way you described the strip, it almost sounds Clavin and Hobbes-like. ANd probably as equally well-drawn.

    I’d love to see this stage in Chuck’s life be made into a book. Count me as a “yes” vote.

  • Joe Heffernan

    Yes, Yes..a thousand time YES! I’d buy it in a heartbeat!

  • God

    I just don’t think Chuck Jones’ comic strip Clifford can never top like good ol’ Sparky Schulz’ ever popular Peanuts comic strip and besides for good Bob Clampett fans out there his own comic strip adapation of his beloved creations Beany and Cecil is way funnier and much better than Chuck Jones’s work after all.

  • You got your wish with Dec 2011 release date: