Rarity: The First Dirty Duck as Daily Strip

In the last year of Dan O’Neill’s Odd Bodkins for Chronicle Features O’Neill had met Bobby London and others who would make up the famous Air Pirates. According to Brian Doherty in DIrty Pictures Bobby had been “working with O’Neill on the final months of Odd Bodkins,” which would be the late Summer and Fall of 1970.

It was then that Bobby London created his Dirty Duck character. From Wikipedia:

London originally created the Dirty Duck character in 1970 to appear in an unsigned “basement” strip that would run underneath Dan O’Neill’s syndicated Odd Bodkins strip. The cartoon strips planned to run underneath O’Neill’s “Odd Bodkins” never saw print [emphasis added]. The first person who succeeded in helping the strip see print was Gilbert Shelton, who ran it under his Fat Freddy’s Cat strip in the Los Angeles Free Press in early spring of 1971.

a February 5, 1971 Fat Freddy’s Cat(© Gilbert Shelton)/Dirty Duck(© Bobby London) Los Angeles Free Press page

But those “basement” strips did appear though, apparently, not in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Allan Holtz’s American Newspaper Comics reports Odd Bodkins ending on November 21, 1970 sourcing The San Francisco Chronicle. Not having access to The San Francisco Chronicle of November 1970 I can only guess that that paper did not run the last week of Odd Bodkins as produced – cutting off the first appearance of Dirty Duck in their newspaper – because the final week was created in a sort of Herrimanesque The Family Upstairs/Krazy Kat tribute.

Since 1965 in the Santa Clarita Valley, a bit northeast of Los Angeles, The (Newhall) Signal had run Odds Bodkins. By 1970 the then thrice-weekly Signal was running two strips in every edition a week later than the original publication dates (the Monday edition of The Signal carrying the previous week’s Monday and Tuesday strips, the Wednesday edition carrying the previous week’s Wednesday and Thursday strips, and the Friday edition carrying, you guessed it, the previous week’s Friday and Saturday strips). And the paper carried it until the end, the last strip(s) published in The Signal on November 27, 1970.

Importantly The Signal ran those Dirty Duck companion strips which appeared with the last week of Odd Bodkins.

So here is the final week of Odd Bodkins (featuring Bucky Bug, The Phantom Blot, and Mickey Mouse) with the companion Dirty Duck strip by Bobby London attached via newspapers.com and fuzzy microfilm (apologies).

Dirty Duck © Bobby London; Odd Bodkins © Dan O’Neill