Louie takes orders from his wife. Artist: Harry Hanan.

LOUIE

Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: Chicago Tribune Syndicate
First Appeared: 1947
Creator: Harry Hanan
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Commentators have occasionally remarked on how much Cartoonist Harry Hanan, a short, ordinay-looking man with a deadpan expression masking a sly sense of humor, resembled his best-known creation, Louie. Tho Louie was, like his creator, occasionally …

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… tempted, as Hanan put it, to snip the the feathers off of ladies' hats, he wasn't likely to act very strongly on his impulses. In publicity material accompanying the March, 1947 launch of his newspaper comic strip, Hanan described his rather ineffectual character as "the anti-Superman".

Much like the later Ziggy, Louie was frequently the victim of life's little frustrations — not to the extent of Henry Tremblechin's or Brutus P. Thornapple's victimhood, but he didn't come out on top very often. But he was always soft-spoken about it — even to the point of absolute silence! Like Ferd'nand and The Little King, Louie was one of the more successful pantomimes in the history of American comics.

But not entirely American. Hanan, a native of Liverpool, England, did his strip for The People, a London weekly, as well as both daily and Sunday for U.S. syndication. His first distributor was Post-Hall Syndicate (Dennis the Menace), but during most of the strip's tenure it was handled by The Chicago Tribune Syndicate, whose many famous comics include Gasoline Alley and Dick Tracy (and whose not-so-famous ones included Friday Foster and Texas Slim.).

With Hanan at the helm from beginning to end, Louie silently entertained his fans until 1976, when the cartoonist retired. He died in 1982.

— DDM

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Text ©2007 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Tribune Media Services.