|New Release: Betsy and Me|
|Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under new releases, Jack Cole, classics||2 Nov 2007 4:23 PM|
Betsy and Me
by Jack Cole
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.