Comics Legend Billy De Beck
“Where did you get those gu-gu-googly eyes?” asked the popular novelty song.
Why, from cartoonist B-B-B-Billy
Born in 1890 in Chicago,
Billy De Beck graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts located there, and was
His comic strip Barney Google and Spark Plug premiered in June 1919 in the San Francisco Herald-Examiner.
Barney Google was
characterized as a hen-pecked husband with an eye for sports, but grew into a
big city rascal and dapper dresser by the late 1920s. After a bony race horse
named Spark Plug, joined the cast (1922), the strip changed titles. It would do
so again when Barney met his popular hillbilly friend Snuffy Smith (1934).
distinctive but simple art was of the “big-foot” abstract style that has
dominated the American
De Beck’s comic book
work included: Barney Google & Snuffy Smith (Dell, 1942-’43; 4 Color #19,
‘42; 4 Color
De Beck died in 1942. The strip was continued by Fred Lasswell. De Beck’s work in highly recommended.
Some older comics are
expensive or difficult to locate. Price guides or comics dealers help. Comics
Review by Michael Vance
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