Cynical, sarcastic, contentious, irascible, misanthropic, peevish, and frequently a loose cannon — Al Capp, born in 1909, is about as far removed as you can get from his most notable creation, Li’l Abner Yokum—the good-natured innocent hillbilly who lives with his Mammy and Pappy in an atypical American community called Dogpatch. Capp’s satirical comic strip Li’l Abner reached 60 million readers in over 900 American newspapers and 100 foreign papers in 28 countries and had a profound influence on the way the world viewed the American South.
Initially a sort of hillbilly burlesque with oddball characters – the Yokums, Marryin’ Sam, Evil-Eye Fleegle, General Bullmoose, Earthquake McGoon, Senator Jack S. Phogbound, Moonbeam McSwine – and outlandish situations such as Sadie Hawkins’ Day, the strip evolved into one of the most imaginative and critically acclaimed features of the 20th century, filled with black humor and biting social commentary. When after 18 years of pursuit, Abner married Daisy Mae Scragg, it made the cover of Life magazine (March 31, 1952).
Fearless Fosdick was introduced as a comic strip within a comic strip and a dead-on parody of Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy.