This is one tough item to find. I saw it several years ago when it first appeared in stores, and declined to buy it at the time. But I’ve found since I would like some early Blondie strips to join my volumes of early Peanuts, Little Orphan Annie, Prince Valiant, and Popeye. Unfortunately, this is no longer in print, and copies routinely sell for more than $100 on Amazon. When I happened to check one day and found a copy for only $50, I snapped it up.
It covers the very early years of the Blondie comic strip, before they were married. In fact, the early strips revolved around Dagwood’s romance with Blondie. However, their romance was constantly stymied by his fabulously wealthy parents, who didn’t approve of his love for a poor girl of little social standing. The culmination of this early phase of the strip occurred in winter 1933, when Dagwood went on a hunger strike until his parents finally relented to his marriage, with the only catch being he was to be completely cut off from his inheritance–a small price to pay for the hand of his beloved Blondie! The wedding took place on February 17, 1933.
I think what surprised me most was that it wasn’t just a gag-a-day strip in the 1930s, as it is now. There were some fairly long story arcs that went on for weeks or even months. I think my favorite was when Dagwood was unable to gain entrance to a university, so his father simply bought one and admitted Dagwood and Blondie:
|Dagwood makes friends at school|
Needless to say, the two weren’t really cut out for college life and the strip soon moved on.
I’m leaning away from picking up the next volume, however. Despite the longer story arcs, this one was fairly repetitive, with the themes of Blondie’s airheadedness and Dagwood’s wimpiness hammered home over and over again. Still, it’s fun to see the roots of a long-time strip that’s still running more than 85 years after its creation.