Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Otto Messmer's Parrot

Comicrazies has reprinted 22 examples of the comic strip Laura, drawn by Felix the Cat creator Otto Messmer, from 1932. Laura is the name of a pet parrot, though in this series of strips, she's one of 6 parrots.

In the old days, famous comic strips would get an entire newspaper page on Sundays. Often, the creator would add a second strip to the page. In this case, Laura was the strip on top of Felix. Another example would be E. C. Segar's Popeye having a topper called Sappo.

Messmer's design is heavily rooted in the 1920's. The poses are hardly naturalistic and the character construction is based on the "circles and hosepipe" animation approach of the time, though Messmer's characters are generally more angular. The style has definitely dated, but I always found it charming.

Looking at these strips, I wonder if Messmer was an influence on Herge and his ligne clair style.

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