Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kelly & Duke

This is one of those strips that I know next-to-nothing about, but I'll give it a shot, anyway.

Kelly & Duke was one of the first strips picked up by the newly established Universal Press Syndicate. It ran from 1972 to 1980. The strip's title was originally just Kelly, but the title changed in 1974. The cartoonist was Jack Moore.

The strip was about a boy (Kelly), and his dog. Duke was a big, talking dog who always walked on his two legs and had a southern accent, evident by how he talks. Once in a while, a beatnik cat named Roscoe showed up.

Beyond that, I don't know much about the strip. I have no idea what happened to Jack Moore, and what his cartooning history are (assuming he has any besides Kelly)

The only reason I've heard of this is because the strip is often mentioned in comics forums and newsgroups. The strip had fans, at least.

I've found few samples of the strip. The strip was pretty unusual at the time. The artwork caught my eye. It was sorta inbetween the cartoonish style and the "serious" style seen in soap strips. Maybe that's why it had fans.

Universal Press seemed to had a goal in what comics they were looking for, judging by this and two other comics they picked up at the time, Doonesbury and, some may argue, Ziggy.

If anyone has more information about Kelly & Duke and the creator Jack Moore (including more samples, articles, etc...) please email me at

EDIT (7/27) - Well, that was fast. I've found more samples at this site. I've also ordered some Sunday samples from eBay. I'll post some when I get them.


Anonymous said...

*NOTE* This comic strip was originally created by Charles Johnson from Charlotte, NC in the early 70's. Charles created the original artwork and characters - Kelly (an image of himself as a small boy and named after his father's surname, which was also the name of his daughter), the dog (which was created in the image of their family dog), and the family cat. Jack Moore was forced to stop running the comic strip by the Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, NC because of the infringement and then began to run the strip in NY until it was also pulled. The last comic strip had the boy "Kelly" stating that he had to stop because of a certifiable nut. He was referring to the original creator from which he had stolen the idea and original material.

Craig said...

I remember this strip from its beginning, when it was almost exclusively a Nixon-bashing effort. My hometown paper (Memphis Commercial Appeal) dropped it after a couple of years, and I lost track of it. The link you provide shows that the artwork suffered considerably in the later years.

Anonymous said...

I have an original sketch of a 4-panel cartoon of Kelly from the 1970s when OPEC had curtailed the supply of oil to the United States. It shows Duke at a desk writing a letter and begins, "Dear Arabs, As you may have heard by now, we do not have much oil. But we are willing to make you a trade. If you will send us some oil, we will send you 500 top bureaucrats (to help you run your countries), 2500 assorted politicians (batteries not included), New Hampshire, Kansas and West Germany..." I won't put in the punch line as at the time it was quite vainglorious, but turned out to be ironic. I didn't know Mr. Moore, but I loved the cartoon and wrote him. It was a delightful surprise to receive a mailing tube from the Baltimore Sun with the original cartoon inside. I had it framed, of course.

Unknown said...

Jack Moore is my dad. I know he would be honored to send you some more comic strip orginals if you would like them.

Tracy is my name and I live here in Raleigh, NC - you can reach me on FB at Tracy Klima Hales

Unknown said...

I need to see the sky is falling/gravity is increasing/diet strip just once more...

Unknown said...

Still looking for both the "I'll let you pass" and the "Increasing Gravity" strips.

Tekochip said...

Every morning in High School I would bring my grandmother her paper, go to school, come back at lunch, and the two of us would share a laugh over Kelly & Duke. “You’ve got to see what Duke did today”, she’d tell me. I know it’s silly, but for me, that strip was a big part of High-School, and something special between me and Granny. When I adopted a very large dog I had to name him Duke, just so I could call him “mah puppy”, and “Duke Daddy!” Tracey, tell your dad “thank you”, from me, and my sainted grandma. We found that strip a real treasure.