Sunday, March 15, 2015

Count Curly Wee

There's nothing weirder than other country's comics -- a fact that I've known since, at the age of five or six, I first opened a packet of British comics sent by my mother's UK pen pal, and first laid eyes upon The Dandy, featuring (among many others) Desperate Dan, Dirty Dick, Korky the Kat, and Cuddles and Dimples. And so, a few years ago, when I picked up an old paper from an empty seat while on the Irish Sea Ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, and saw a pair of comic panels, I had a feeling it might be another encounter with the comic otherworld. And it was: Count Curly Wee, originated by Roland Clibborn, ran under various titles in Irish newspapers, as well as the Liverpool Echo. Cliburn's style was unusual; he drew two narrative panels, with a poem in ballad stanzas at the foot of each. The resulting plates were all numbered; this one that I came upon on the ferry is 6685. Clibborn retired after plate 10,274 -- but I've been unable to locate much further information about him; the Irish Times had been re-running his old panels, which was how I stumbled upon them. His sense of humor was, to put it lightly -- unique -- but absolutely distinctive. If you find it to your liking, the National Library of Australia has a complete volume that you can read or download for free.

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