CROCKMedium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: Field Enterprises Syndicate
First Appeared: 1975
Creators: Brant Parker, Bill Rechin and Don Wilder
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King Features Syndicate, which currently distributes Crock to more than 200 newspapers throughout the world, claims this comic strip is the world's longest-running
parody of Beau Geste, the 1924 novel by Percival Christopher Wren that was first made into a movie in 1926, then remade over and over for decades.
Not mentioned is how stiff the competition is for the title — but however many contenders there may be, having appeared continuously, seven days a week, since Sunday, October 26, 1975, Crock has a very credible claim to it.
Crock is the brainchild of Brant Parker, Bill Rechin and Don Wilder. Parker had already made a name in syndicated comics with The Wizard of Id, which he did in collaboration with Johnny Hart (B.C.). Rechin had experience in comics with an obscure strip called Pluribus, which took place during America's founding years. Wilder was a newcomer to the field. A couple of years later Rechin and Wilder worked together to co-create Out of Bounds, a panel about sports. Parker left the strip early on, but Rechin and Wilder are still with it. It was originally distributed by Field Enterprises (Steve Canyon, Mark Trail). King Features wound up with it following a series of corporate mergers and acquisitions.
The title character, Vermin P. Crock, commands an outpost of the Foreign Legion. He is hated and feared by all around him — his own men as well as the desert dwellers over whom the country he represents claims authority. Supporting characters include Captain Poulet (Crock's stupid, cowardly second-in-command), Captain Preppie (another vain and useless officer), Maggot (a grunt, and not very bright), Grossie (formerly a "camp follower", now married to Maggot) and Quench (a camel).
Crock hasn't spawned a mountain of merchandise, but it's been reprinted in several books. It also has a presence in Universal Studios' Florida theme park, Islands of Adventure, where Crock's fort is part of the "Toon Lagoon" attraction.