Having mastered comic books and gag cartoons, in 1958, nearly two decades after he unveiled Plastic Man to the world, Jack Cole set his sights on the cartoonist's pot of gold — a syndicated newspaper strip. He hit the bull's-eye with Betsy and Me, a breezy domestic farce focusing on a middle-class urban couple and their smart-aleck genius son. Cole stripped his style down to its bare essentials, creating a strip that sparkles with economy, wit, and charm. What gave the strip its edge, however, was Cole's innovative storytelling, which utilized ironic tension between protagonist Chet Tibbit's words and actions to reveal him as fatuous and delusional. Betsy and Me was an instant success and newspapers were lining up to buy it. Then, with only two-and-a-half months' worth of strips completed, Cole purchased a .22 caliber pistol and ended his life. R.C. Harvey's insightful introduction serves as a biographical sketch and sheds light on the circumstances surrounding Cole's suicide.
Slideshow Preview (view in new window):
"A must-have book that leaves a complex impression... There's sadness both in how Cole's fate hangs over everything and how the strip seems to act as a kind of wish-corrective for elements of the cartoonist's life... It's an absolute treat to be able to read more Jack Cole." – The Comics Reporter
"...Cole's cockeyed optimism and exaggerated cartooning keeps the material fresh, and his relaxed storytelling indicates that he planned for Betsy and Me to run for years. Which makes reading this book both pleasurable and painful... [Grade] A-" – The Onion A.V. Club
"Even with the pall cast over this book by Cole's depression and subsequent suicide, it's hard not to marvel at the cartooning within." – Kevin Church
"An utterly charming riff on late '50s family life that never got the chance it deserved." – Panels and Pixels