Dotty and family. Artist: Buford Tune.


Original Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: Publishers Syndicate
First Appeared: 1944
Creator: Buford Tune
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As concepts for comic strips go, that of Dotty Dripple wasn't exactly dripping with originality. It was a domestic comedy, the sort of thing the comics pages had been full of since the days …

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… of Toots & Casper and The Bungle Family. Specifically, it appears to have been modeled on Chic Young's wildly successful Blondie, but with minor variations. But it made readers laugh, and did so well enough and reliably enough that it maintained a presence in the funnies for more than a quarter of a century.

Cartoonist Buford Tune (the most colorful of whose prior credits was to have painted balloons in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade) created Dotty Dripple in 1944. It wasn't his first family strip — he'd taken over Ben Batsford's Doings of the Duffs back in '28. The strip was distributed by Publishers Syndicate, which also did Judge Parker, Apple Mary and several others. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, this syndicate, like quite a few other small ones, eventually wound up part of King Features. Survivors from its offerings are now distributed by King.

Dotty's family included husband Horace, daughter Taffy, and dog Pepper. Taffy was a middle-to-late pre-teen, and Pepper was one of those miscellaneous breeds about the right size to be a good companion for a kid her age — which didn't change much over the years, tho Taffy did later get a younger brother, Wilbert. Horace was, like many young-ish dads in comics and, a short time later, on TV, nothing but a big kid himself. Dotty was the one who held the family together, which included keeping Horace focused on being a grown-up.

Dotty's comics didn't just appear in the newspapers. In 1946, she was licensed for comic books by Magazine Enterprises (which also licensed Texas Slim and Teena from the newspapers). That publisher put her in a few issues of A-One Comics (its catch-all title where everything from Dogface Dooley to The Ghost Rider appeared at one time or another) before giving her a title of her own. Harvey Comics (whose other newspaper strip adaptations included Joe Palooka and Dick Tracy) took over that title with its third issue. Harvey kept it running until 1955, 42 issues in all, tho it changed the name to Horace and Dotty Dripple in 1952. Dell Comics devoted a half-dozen issues of Four Color Comics (its own catch-all title, which did everything from Bugs Bunny to Brain Boy) to Dotty and Taffy between 1955 and '58.

Dotty's was a formula that had worked before (e.g., The Nebbs) and would work again (e.g., FoxTrot). This time, it worked as long as Buford Tune (who employed assistants but basically ran the show himself) stuck with it, which was three decades. The strip ended in 1974. Tune died in 1989.


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