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First and Last – The Girls in Apartment 3-G

Career women was not a new concept in 1961, but those shown on the comic pages were rather old-fashioned. Nick Dallis, creator of Rex Morgan and Judge Parker, decided to update the concept for a modern audience – within reason. Three independent, liberated women in the big city, who would not pass The Bechdel Test. Romantic adventures were a major part of the stories, and a big burly father figure was prominent for advice and protection.

The strip premiered as Apartment 3-G on May 8, 1961.






above: the first week of dailies from May 1961

I’m not sure when the Sunday page first began, but here’s an early sample:


above: June 4, 1961 Sunday strip (third page format)

For a time in the 1970s the strip was retitled The Girls in Apartment 3-G.

In the early 1960s the three were referred to as “gals”; “girls” was no better and the syndicate soon dropped that after getting response from the reading public.

From the beginning the main attraction of the comic was the Alex Kotzky art. Kotzky spent 35 gorgeous years on the strip, and on his death in 1996 the strip was passed to his son Brian Kotzky.

 

In 1999 comic strip and comic book veteran Frank Bolle inherited the strip. Fresh off an eleven year run on Juliet Jones and having done Winnie Winkle for fourteen years from the 1980s into the 1990s, Frank was not a stranger to drawing comic strip women.

above: from the second month of Frank Bolle’s stint as Apartment 3-G artist (h/t Russ Cochran)

Unfortunately, because I have always liked Frank’s work, when compared to Alex Kotzky, Bolle’s art is only good journeyman effort. Also, when he took over the strip at age 75 Frank had quite chore doing art and lettering for a seven day a week strip; plus doing layouts for J. C. Murphy’s Prince Valiant then also.

But most unfortunate is that when the strip ended in 2015 Frank was still doing the art and letters at the age of 91, with the client list being so small that the pay was not enough to afford any assistance (other than his son?). King Features, I should note to its credit, is well-known for keeping comic strips with minimal circulation continuing as long as the artists involved wish.

Apartment 3-G ended on November 22, 2015. Below the last seven days.







Chroniclers: Nick Dallis (w) 5/61-x/91
Alex Kotsky (w) x/91-x/96
Lisa Trusiani (w) x/96-10/05
Margaret Shulock (w) 11/05-11/22/15
Alex Kotzky (a) 5/61-x/xx
Brian Kotzky (a) x/xx-12/99
Frank Bolle (a) 12/99-11/22/15
Active: 5/8/61-11/22/15

 

Resources:
The Apartment 3-G Facebook page for the early strips.
The Lovely Ladies of Apartment 3-G for the last strips.

Further reading:
Ger Apeldoorn’s The Fabulous Fifties for selected Apt. 3-G strips.
Mark Carlson-Ghost page for stories and characters of Apartment 3-G.
Professor Mendez’s Rules of Attraction appreciation of Alex Kotzky art.

 

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
February/9/2020
@ 9:22 am

Kotzky’s art was a standout on the page. I found more of his work, from WW2, in MILITARY COMICS at Comic Book Plus. His art made the typical wartime stories more exciting than they maybe deserved.

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