Several years ago I came up with the brilliant idea of using my birthday to accrue collections of things. This is how I got every Beatles CD a year at a time and also developed a sizable Dave Brubeck collection. I also have asked for every edition of the Best American Comic Series. In each case I have not bought anything from the particular artist/series on my own, but rather waited for my birthday until the next installment.
The idea here was that every year my parents would not only no longer need a list, but would enjoy the hunt. “Which Beatles CD should we get him this year? Last year we got him “Past Masters Vol. 2” they might say as they thoughtfully considered what to purchase. Sadly, this isn’t what happened. They don’t seem to remember the collection idea, and couldn’t tell you anything that they bought me last year.
One of the true treasures of the past few years has been getting a new volume of the complete “Terry and the Pirates” series. This year it’s volume 3, and like with the past ones, it takes a little while to get through. Before I started collecting the books, I had very limited knowledge of the strip. But with the knowledge that it was considered the best adventure strip even written, I decided to take a risk. It wasn’t my money, right?
I have been pleasantly surprised, especially now that in the third volume the strips and stories are consistently good. It’s a wonderfully well-crafted strip with superb artwork and intricate story lines that must have been a chore to pop out every day (I know he had assistants, bit still.)
I am intrigued by the concept of the continuing storyline strip as it has all but dies out now. I doubt you could even market one to a syndicate today. This is really the only way I have read an adventure strip (in collected editions) and I find it a little hard to follow them in a daily format. I subscribe to “Li’l Abner” through their syndicate and find it hard to remember what happens day to day. Perhaps readers in the past were a little better at retaining such things (or had a little more at stake – I have the Li’l Abner stuff in books already, so I can always see them again, which when they came out, was not assured unless you saved them.)
Nevertheless, a terrific read. I’m looking forward to the other two volumes, as well as delving into the Scorchy Smith and Rip Kirby stuff as well.