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Longest article you’ll ever read about Andy Capp

Andy Capp by Reg Smith

Paul Slade has written an opus about Reg Smyth and his comic Andy Capp wherein he looks at the global popularity of the strip – rivaling only Charles Schulz’ Peanuts but with much, much less respect.

He begins:

Reg Smythe was the greatest British newspaper strip cartoonist of the 20th Century – and second only to Peanuts’ Charles Schulz on a global scale. So why don’t we treat him that way?

Smythe invented Andy Capp for the Daily Mirror in 1957, personally writing, drawing, inking and lettering every line of the 15,000 Andy cartoons he produced over the following 40 years. When he died in 1998, the strip was syndicated to 1,700 newspapers – 1,000 in America alone – translated into 14 languages and read by a combined audience of 250 million people in 52 countries round the world.

Community Comments

#1 Paul Tubb
July/26/2012
@ 10:25 am

Andy Capp was a huge favourite of mine…

Still is, although my collections are no more… Peanuts though is adored by Children and Adults, Andy Capp is mainly enjoyed by non-Children…

I can see why Peanut’s is held in higher regard…

Although the deaths of both Smythe and Schulz really upzset me…

#2 Jim Lavery
July/27/2012
@ 8:29 am

hahaha–brings back memories. When I was a kid, my uncle–who WAS Andy Capp–would always have me draw Andy for him. I remember those feet so well!

#3 Gerry Mooney
July/30/2012
@ 7:37 am

When I read it growing up I’m sure that a couple of strips a week were drawn by a ghost artist, though the article says Smythe drew every single one. But there was definitely a second hand at work on it in my opinion.

#4 Richard Adams
August/5/2012
@ 10:30 pm

I have most of The Daily Mirror reprint books from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. Andy’s been a fascinating character. Simple, yet Smythe could come up with a different gag for each strip for 40 years, I don’t think I’ve seen many, if even one repeated.

What’s the appeal? Hard to say, it’s like watching the neighbors fight through a knothole in a fence, terrible, but you can’t drag yourself away from it. I also think some bits of Andy’s character have a bit of fantasy appeal. We can’t live like that, nobody could; drinking, smoking, fighting and so on into his 50’s (he’s supposed to be about 50, if I recall correctly.)

As Reg said, Florrie Capp gives as good as she gets, I couldn’t really say, she seems on the receiving end of a pretty rotten deal, but she’ll fight anyone for the man she loves. I guess it’s a cultural thing, from an age when people put up with a lot they shouldn’t. Now, she’d divorce him and be done with the little bugger.

Regarding having a second hand – when Reg Smythe died he had a buffer of 2 years of strips he had drawn and piled up. They ran until exhausted, before a new artist was assigned the work. Doesn’t sound like someone who needed an assistant, does it?

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