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First and Last – Short Ribs

Frank O’Neal was a successful freelance magazine cartoonist of the 1950s and, like many gag cartoonists before and since, he thought a syndicated comic strip was the ticket to ride. So following the likes of Mort Walker, Hank Ketcham, Johnny Hart and others, O’Neal came up with an idea and signed with the Newspaper Enterprise Association.

 


The first Short Ribs comic strip from November 17, 1958.

 

But O’Neal wandered from that well-trod path in one way. He wasn’t going to be tied down to one character in one situational comedy. No. he created a multitude of characters in a multitude of settings.

The Stone Age, Ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, the Wild West, the Current Era, whenever. And if occurring in The Present it could happen in Cold War Russia, Mexico, Tropical Jungles, the Frozen North, and, yes, life in Modern America was always fair game.

 


The first Sunday Short Ribs appeared June 14, 1959.

The gag didn’t fit the environment, the environment fit the gag.

 

By the late 1960s Frank Hill was assisting, and occasionally ghosting, Frank O’Neal. In 1973 O’Neal passed the strip on to Hill. The second Frank also saw variety as the spice of life and continued the song and dance behavior that had been established by the first Frank.

 

Well, for ten years anyway.


The final Short Ribs daily – May 1, 1982.

 

Frank Hill had some warning of the coming end and was able to create farewell strips for the feature.

 


The last Short Ribs comic strip -May 2, 1982.

 

Ger Apeldoorn has posted a nice selection of O’Neal Short Ribs.

There is no similar presentation of Frank Hill Short Ribs, here’s a couple.

A big tip of the hat to Jimmy Delach for the Sunday scans above.

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Harris J.
September/15/2018
@ 9:39 pm

That last Short Ribs may have been the inspiration for John Scully’s The Comics Strip That Has a Finale Every Day

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