The Saturday Comics: Herman

8 Sep

September 8, 2012

I remember Herman growing up. Before The Far Side there was this strange one-panel strip that seemed to star no one in particular. It was populated by odd characters in odd situations. I seem to recall that the strip also had more than its share of the main character getting blown up, though I didn’t find any examples of strips with explosions.

From wikipedia, insert your own joke:

Herman was a comic strip written and drawn by Jim Unger. While the daily ran as a single panel with a typeset caption, it expanded on Sunday as a full multi-panel strip with balloons.

It was syndicated from 1975 to 1992, when Unger retired. In 1997, Herman returned to syndication with a mix of classic strip reprints and occasional new material.

The eponymous Herman is actually anybody within the confines of the strip—a man, a woman, a child, any animal or even an extraterrestrial. All characters are rendered in Unger’s unique style as hulking, beetle-browed figures with pronounced noses and jaws, and often sport comically understated facial expressions.

I don’t think that the Sunday strip ran in NYC but I could be wrong. I simply don’t remember it.

This (more accurate) information is from, whom I don’t mind plugging since I took all the panels from there:

HERMAN®, the hilarious groundbreaking cartoon feature that appears in hundreds of newspapers worldwide, continues despite the sad passing of creator Jim Unger.

Unger, who died in June 2012, left a legacy of more than 8,000 HERMAN comics and a large following that’s still going strong today. In order to keep the laughs coming, Unger passed the comedic torch to cartoonist David Waisglass and illustrator Roly Wood. Waisglass had been working closely with Unger on HERMAN since 1997, when Waisglass stopped work on his own syndicated comic, FARCUS®, to assist his mentor and manage HERMAN.

In 2010, Wood joined the team to help create new Sunday strips with Waisglass and Unger. Unger told friends and family that he’d never before met anyone who could draw HERMAN as well as, if not better, than himself! Unger loved the new material and began contributing more and more new gags until his death.

Although Unger wanted to publicly credit his creative partners, Waisglass and Wood strongly believed that the focus should remain on the work and its originator.

Amazing. The strip is still signed with Unger’s name. This may be the first case I know of where the creators don’t want credit!

I obviously don’t know which are classics and which are new but they are all copyright 2012. It doesn’t really matter anyway since the strip is still the same as I remember it from all those years ago. (Except for the awful coloring. This is the first time I’ve seen Herman in anything but black and white.)

Click the thumbnails to enlarge.


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