A panel from the first Hejji Sunday page.


Medium: Newspaper Comics
Distributed by: King Features
First Appeared: 1935
Creator: Dr. Seuss
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"Beyond jagged peaks lies the Land of Baako — hidden — unknown. Shut off from our world by …

continued below

… mountains so high that most birds cannot fly them. Only the Baakinese eagle can soar so high. He has to taxi others across!"

These were the opening words of Hejji, the only comic strip penned by polymath cartoonist Theodor Geisel, whose works range from the "Quick Henry, the Flit" advertising campaign to the "Private Snafu" series of World War II training films. Geisel's best known works are The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and other children's picture stories he penned under the name "Dr. Seuss" (a pseudonym he was already using when he did Hejji).

The Hejji Sunday page begain April 7, 1935, and was distributed by King Features Syndicate. Although publication of his first book was still two years off, Seuss's whimsical imagination was already very much in evidence. The title character was a young traveler in a land where whales live in volcano crater lakes, and harsh penalties accrue to those who molest the music-broadcasting trumpet flower.

Quite a few characters and situations from Hejji turned up in Seuss's later work. For example, a pair of goats whose single beard runs from one chin to the other was echoed in the 1953 movie The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T, for which Seuss wrote the screenplay and designed the sets and costumes. In the film, the reluctant hero, August Zabladowski, defeats a pair of roller-skating Siamese twins, joined at the beard, by cutting through their beard.

The strip itself, however, was very short-lived. In fact, it disappeared before the end of 1935 and has never been reprinted in its entirety. Along with many obscure 1930s advertising campaigns, illustrations for long-out-of-print books by other authors, and scores of magazine cartoons, it stands among the unknown but interesting early works by one of America's great literary and artistic geniuses.


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Text ©2000-04 Donald D. Markstein. Art © King Features Syndicate.