Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Griff and the Unicorn

Universal Press Syndicate seemingly tried to think outside the box when they started in 1970. Their first comic strip was Doonesbury, which looked at the lives of college students and the political activism of the era. The strip was a hit, and 42 years later it's still appearing in newspapers all over the world.

Other strips they introduced in the '70s include Cathy, Ziggy, and For Better or For Worse, all successes. But for every successful strip there were many that failed to take off.

One of those was Griff and the Unicorn, which Universal syndicated from November 20, 1972 to March 16, 1974. The strip was daily only (no Sundays) and was drawn by Dave Sokoloff, a children's book author. He was still in college when he drew the strip, making him one of the youngest nationally syndicated cartoonists at the time. According to the creator the strip was only in 20 newspapers, which explains its short life-span.

The artwork is extremely strange, which is what caught my eye when I found it in newspaper microfilms. I can only imagine what 1970s-era newspaper readers thought of the strip.

In a way, the Unicorn's design reminds me of Lauren Faust's designs for My Little Pony (the large eyes, specifically).


Matthew Koh said...

Do you think that putting highlights on the pupils will make the eyes more appealing?

Togotooner said...

Funny thing,....I love all of the characters but the unicorn. He looked really out of place and didn't fit. The monster or Dragon character looked fantastic!

Valerie Voigt said...

I read all of the episodes of this cartoon when it originally appeared in the UNIVERSITY DAILY KANSAN (where it got its start). I wish there were a book of the collected strips available.

Thomas A. Marino said...

That would be great a book.