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Bozo by FoXo

above: from March 24, 1935

Earlier this year GoComics began running the classic comic strip Bozo by FoXo Reardon.
Recently the GoComics crew interviewed Foxo’s son Michael about his father and the strip.

What was it like to grow up with a cartoonist as a father?

My father had been working as a professional cartoonist for sixteen years when I was born in 1937. He had worked the last fourteen of those years as a staff cartoonist for the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch, one of the South’s leading newspapers, doing every type of cartooning: news, sports, humor, editorial, and creating a number of regularly published features, as well as working outside sketching assignments at the courts and at crime scenes.

Among his created features was Bozo, the world’s original pantomime comic strip. He created that strip at age 16 in 1921 just after being laid off as sports cartoonist at the Times-Dispatch and before being rehired in 1923.

above: A couple of the first Reardon cartoons for the Richmond Times Dispatch in 1921 by the then 16 year old. The “apologies to Christy Walsh” is because the editor and the cartoonist displaced Walsh’s cartoon (below) on the sports page which “Blasts From The Bleachers” copied.
Both are early samples of caption contests.

In 1945, at the end of World War II, my father became internationally syndicated with the Chicago Sun-Times Syndicate with his comic strip Bozo, which was always his first love. The strip had appeared weekly in the Times-Dispatch from at least 1925. Syndication was a big change for him and our family. He set up his drawing desk between the living room and dining room at home, and his presence was always there.

above: May 31, 1925 (Bozo’s first print appearance?)
below: October 2, 1927 – FoXo’s Sunday page expanded over time

My dad was a born cartoonist. He never held a job title other than that of “cartoonist.” It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that he was born with a drawing pen in one hand and a bottle of India ink in the other. He liked to tell the story of how he as a 16-year-old “sat on the editor’s doorstep every day” until he was finally hired.

Read the full interview with Michael Reardon at the GoComics blog.

Read Michael’s biography of FoXo.

Read Bozo (three a day!) at GoComics.

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disclosure: The Daily Cartoonist and GoComics are both under the Andrews McMeel Universal umbrella.

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
@ 11:25 am

The umbrella guy is called “Fuzzy,” at least by those of us commenting at GC.

Thank you for allowing me to share the entirety of my vast knowledge of Bozo with you. Read the strip! (Yes, one “reads” pictures.)

#2 Michael Reardon
@ 1:17 pm

I check your site quite often and was, to say the least, thrilled that you have featured my dad’s comic “Bozo” as well as samples of his earlier works. Can’t thank you enough! And thank you, Kip Williams. Blessings!

#3 Gent Bear
@ 2:01 pm

Bozo is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best of the funny entertaining cartoons ever. Bozo is a must read for every true comic lover. Everything in Bozo is expressed solely in the form of artwork, without a single word uttered by any of the characters. Foxo Reardon was undoubtedly a master cartoonist and his name deserves to be mentioned when mentioning the best and talented cartoonists.

Plus, the brilliant artwork of the cartoonist Foxo Reardon is itself a treat to a true comic lover. The perspectives are so well drawn on a two dimensional sheet of paper that a reader can feel the three dimensional depth of any scene in the comic. And it is all drawn in such detail that it is always a pleasure to read Bozo.

A big thanks to both Michael Reardon and Go Comics for replublishing these wonderful comics and letting those of us who never knew of it to read it and enjoy it.

Long live Bozo!

#4 Allan Holtz
@ 3:05 pm

Rats. That book seems to be unavailable in Canada, thru or through BearManor Media, the apparent publisher. Ah well, the price we pay to live in the True North Strong and Free.

#5 Katherine Collins
@ 4:29 pm

To Allan Holtz:

Allan, I’m sure you must know scads of people in the USofA. Surely you could order the book and have it sent to an American friend, who could then forward it to you. I have done this from time to time. I have a big box of books waiting for me, in Oroville California, just a-sittin’ there waiting for the border to open. My friend will come up here for a visit, bearing gifts!

Don’t let ANYTHING stop you from buying books!

#6 Michael Reardon
@ 4:32 pm

Thank you, Gent Bear, for that wonderful analysis of Bozo and for your appreciation of my dad’s works.

Thank you, D.D. Degg for such an outstanding presentation of Bozo and of my father’s works. Could not have asked for anything better. And it was all unexpected, which makes it extra special. Can’t thank you enough!

#7 Randall Besch
@ 1:33 pm

Thank you for speaking about this forgotten comic that should never have been. A real thespian comic with very little dialog and excellent physical comedy.

The art work is flawless and the way the false multi dimensionality is given to add to the panels.

Thank you for sowing us more going back to 1927. It is a wonder
to me how this guy wasn’t animated.

I am just thankful that Gocomics has presented Bozo to us.

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