There are two kinds of newspaper strips today: comic and adventure. Some 40,000,000 people follow the antics of both in their favorite dailies, some fanatically enough to make observers wonder whether there is anything else in the paper they read.
It would not be true to say that newspaper editors go out of their way to bring blood and thunder into the funnies. But circulation is the great god of the fourth estate and if you could show how to build that only with Mutt & Jeff, they might be willing to try it, if only to shut up a lot of indignant parents' associations, children's welfare clinics and civic organizations. For many a kiddy's nightmare has been traced to the modern comic page, and some squawks appear justified.
But for every outraged complainant there are a hundred fans - hence, the prevalence of "adventure strips" among what used to be known as the funnies. If you happen to be in the kitchen, here is a recipe.
Adventure Strip Hero a la Mode
6 cups of wild herbs
1 teaspoon cloves
A dozen bay leaves
1 pinch of the jawbone of an ass
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Add pepper personality, a salty sense of humor, and a sugar disposition. Must be hard boiled as well as tender, so place in Bessemer Steel furnace and leave there.
Your adventure strip hero obviously can't be a weak or silly-looking type, He must look like a few dozen other strip heroes, blond or brunet, blue or black-eyed. He must be slim at the waist and tremendous in the shoulders and chest - a man like your father probably dreamed of being till he saw it was hopeless.
The chief proponent of your vehicle must be a paragon of virtue, ready to defend law and order and fight corruption here or on any other planet within easy reach of his space ship. An expert in the use of all the very latest death dealing weapons, he must also be prepared to give a supreme account of himself with his fists. Woe betide man or beast who disturbs him in his peaceful pursuits.
This then is the kind of character you must create if an adventure strip is what you decide to do. It is important that your draftmanship be A No. 1. A glance at the high level of commercial art used in this field today will convince you of that. Many former magazine illustrators are now doing adventure strips for there is much lucre in it.
Next: How to do an adventure strip