Vintage Andy Capp Comic Book Mid Century Humor Andy Capp Sounds Off Smythe 1965, English Humor


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Who can remember the Sunday funnies and Andy Capp, an alcoholic, lazy, good for nothing man who berates his, this is mid century humor or horror?

Created by cartoonist Reg Smythe, seen in The Daily Mirror and The Sunday Mirror (London) newspapers since 5 August 1957. Originally a single-panel cartoon, it was later expanded to four panels.
This little book was a whooping 40 cents in 1965, A Fawcett Gold Medal Book, published by The Hall syndicate and Daily Mirror, London. Book is in good overall condition, but please notice the pages are yellow from age.

Andy is a working-class figure who never actually works, living in Hartlepool, a harbour town in northeast England. The title of the strip is a pun on the local pronunciation of "handicap"; and the surname "Capp" signifies how Andy's cap always covered his eyes along with, metaphorically, his vision in life.

Andy's hobbies include pigeon racing, darts, snooker (his cue's name is "Delilah"[6]), football (which always involves fights with the other players, and frequently ends with Andy being sent off), occasional cricket and rugby, betting on horses, getting drunk in the local pub (often falling into the canal and being fished out by a constable, and always, seven nights a week, arriving home late as a result), ending up in the local jail,[7] fishing (and not catching anything bigger than a goldfish), unsuccessfully mooching money from everyone for beer, unsuccessfully flirting with barmaids, picking up other bargirls, loafing on the sofa, and fighting with his long-suffering wife Florrie (also known as "Flo").

Andy's iconic checked cap is always pulled down over his eyes, even when he is napping or bathing. He is often unshaven, frequently intoxicated (indicated by a prominent red nose and dishevelled clothing), lazy, freeloading, belligerent, and confrontational, but just as frequently lovable (he always refers to Flo as "pet", and will instantly "bop" anyone who dares to be rude to her). Until the 1980s he was often seen with a cigarette dangling from his lip. When Andy gave up smoking in 1983 some readers blamed political correctness. However, Fergus McKenna, head of syndication at Trinity Mirror which publishes the Daily Mirror, denied that the newspaper had put pressure on Smythe to change Andy's habits, saying: "The truth is that Reg himself gave up smoking and he said there was no way Andy was going to carry on enjoying cigarettes when Reg couldn't".[8] Similarly, Andy no longer beats his wife,[9] because of concerns about the depiction of domestic violence (which was usually portrayed in a highly stylised manner, as an iconic cartoon smoke cloud with fists and feet protruding), although Florrie gave to him as good as she got. Instead, Andy and Florrie now attend marriage counselling which is just as useless.

Andy and Florrie are always on the verge of poverty. Although Flo works regularly as a charwoman, Andy is unemployed and lacks motivation. Rent on their terraced house and its contents is constantly in arrears, and the rent collector, Percy Ritson, despairs of ever being paid. Their furniture has been repossessed on several occasions. Somehow they always manage to retrieve it, and Andy is always able to afford beer and gambling money, usually by borrowing from Florrie. The "Rose and Crown" barman, Jackie, is regularly seen as well. (Andy also frequents "The Pig and Whistle" and "The Jolly Riveters".) Almost all the characters occasionally "break the fourth wall" by delivering asides directly to the reader, or even as a very terse 'thought bubble', usually referring to Andy's low character. The Oct. 24, 1972 strip revealed that Andy once worked as a sign painter, but had not worked at that trade (or any other) for many years. Should anyone suggest he get one, his response is always very terse and along the lines of 'Don't be so ridiculous!' On more than one occasion, it was mentioned that Andy served in the Royal Air Force. According to Don Markstein,

Early on, the Andy Capp strip was accused of perpetuating stereotypes about Britain's Northerners, who are seen in other parts of England as chronically unemployed, dividing their time between the living room couch and the neighbourhood pub, with a few hours set aside for fistfights at football games ... But Smythe, himself a native of that region, had nothing but affection for his good-for-nothing protagonist, which showed in his work. Since the very beginning, Andy has been immensely popular among the people he supposedly skewers.[10]

The strip takes place almost exclusively in one of three locations: the pub, the street, or inside the Capps' residence at 37 Durham Street (generally with Andy on the couch and Florrie yelling from the next room). Less-frequently visited places include the racetrack (although Andy frequently bets by listening to the radio, thus saving him the trip), the marriage counsellor, and the football pitch (where Andy is either fighting, quarrelling, being sent off, or carried off on a stretcher).

Andy's and Flo's best friends are their neighbours Chalkie and Rube White. Chalkie is a hard-drinking working-class type like Andy, who can often be seen sharing a pint with him at the corner pub, but Chalkie seems mellower than Andy, and more tolerant of his wife. Rube is Flo's confidante, and the two often trade gossip over the clothesline about their husbands' latest escapades. The local vicar is also often seen. Andy despairs of his holier-than-thou attitude, as he is constantly criticising Andy for his many bad habits and vice-ridden lifestyle. He often lets his opinion be known to Flo, who agrees with his low assessment of Andy's character.

At times, Flo will forcibly remove Andy from the pub when she feels he has been there for far too long. When he comes home, especially in the earlier strips, Flo often confronted him about his doings, sometimes striking him. However, Flo is not without her own vices. She (along with Rube) goes to Bingo as often and with as much frequency as Andy goes to the pub. Whenever this happened (also mainly in the earlier strips), the roles are reversed, with Andy usually confronting Flo for being late. Flo is also not a good cook, regularly ruining the meals with her lack of ability.

Flo's mother, an unseen character whose dialogue appears from out of frame, often chimes into the conversation, mostly with sarcastic criticism of her son-in-law. Flo's "mam", whom Andy addresses only as "Missus", is often the subject of Andy's pointed barbs about her weight and less-than-sunny disposition, but she has been known to give as good as she gets. Andy's mother was similarly mentioned and also delivered dialogue from offstage, but her "appearances" were cut back significantly as the years passed. Andy's father has also been mentioned. Flo has an older sister named Polly who is seen once, and never-seen brother. Andy had a pet whippet, Nancy, and has always kept pigeons.

Two of the constables who observe Andy's drunken behavior are named Alan and Trevor.[11]

Reg Smythe died on 13 June 1998, but the original strip has continued. For some time, the writer and artist were uncredited, but in November 2004 the strip began to carry a credit for Roger Mahoney (artist) and Roger Kettle (writer). Circa 2011, Kettle discontinued his work on the strip and was replaced by Lawrence Goldsmith and Sean Garnett, while Mahoney continues to draw. The appearance of the characters has not changed perceptibly since Smythe's death.

In May 2012, Andy Capp (as well as Flo, Chalkie White, the Vicar, and Jackie the Barman) appeared as an animated series for the first time in promotional material for The Trinity Mirror-owned website. The animation was created by Teesside-born Chris Hunneysett, who drew from his own background to place Andy Capp in Middlesbrough. Andy Capp had previously appeared in animated form in television adverts for the Post Office (1986) and Kit Kat (1991).

Materials: paper.