Rose Is Rose is Forty

Though in my mind Rose Gumbo is around thirty years of age, she turns forty today.

At least her comic strip does.

above: the first three dailies and the first Sunday

Rose Is Rose began on April 16, 1984 with the title character portraying the life of a homemaker.

Within a couple years creator Pat Brady moved the housekeeping away from center stage choosing to focus on Rose’s life as the wife and mother of a loving family. The strip began celebrating la joie de vivre et amour.

Don Markstein explained what became the foundation of the strip:

In few comics are the protagonists so obviously in love as Rose and Jimbo Gumbo, and few comic strip kids are as clearly and thoroughly loved as their son, Pasquale. For that matter, not many comics pets are as immersed in love as their cat, Peekaboo.

By the end of the 1980s another change came to the comic – cartoonist Brady began stretching his artistic muscles. Experiments with layouts and perspectives begat a unique visual on the funny pages. With the addition of weekend color Rose Is Rose pages became a sensation for the eyes seldom matched by other features in the Sunday comics section. The characters had also evolved into close to their final model sheet appearances.

The GoComics archives for Rose Is Rose Sunday pages start in 1995 and are well worth checking out.

above: Pat Brady’s last signed Rose Is Rose from February 29, 2004.

In 2004, just six weeks shy of the 20th anniversary of Rose Is Rose Pat Brady handed the art of the strip over to Don Wimmer. Unsure if the writing was also passed on to Don at that time. But by Rose Is Rose’s 30th Don is in control:

Writing and drawing a daily comic strip was my dream from early on. Becoming part of Rose Is Rose was so much bigger than any dream I could have imagined. Pat Brady created a cast of characters who are beloved by millions of fans. I will always be grateful to him for trusting me with his creation. Besides being an outstanding cartoonist, he is a great friend and generous mentor.

Don has proven to be an admirable successor to Pat’s amazing creation.

He continues with amazing art and with the heart of the comic – a love of life.

Congratulations to both cartoonists on their 20 years runs for a combined 40 years.

3 thoughts on “Rose Is Rose is Forty

  1. I will always remember “Rose is Rose” for being the comic strip my dad and I read together. My dad loved it because Pasquale didn’t speak in normal words. I loved the angles and fun drawings.

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