ROSE IS ROSEOriginal Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: United Feature Syndicate
First Appeared: 1984
Creator: Pat Brady
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If there's one rival to Love Is in the area of public display of affection in newspaper comic strips, that rival has got to be Rose Is Rose. In few comics are the protagonists so obviously in love as Rose and
Jimbo Gumbo, and few comic strip kids are as clearly and thoroughly loved as their son, Pasquale. For that matter, not many comics pets are as immersed in love as their cat, Peekaboo.
Rose is Rose, as the title goes, except when she isn't. Like The Badger and, less prominently, Steve Canyon's wife, Summer, Rose suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder — or rather, she displays that trait, as it doesn't seem to cause her noticeable distress. Vicki, her alternate persona, is a biker chick whose responsibilities don't include dishes, laundry and the other mundane duties that Rose has in common with Molly Miller, Andy Fox and other comic strip housewives — or anything else, unless you count hitting the road. Fortunately, she only indulges in the "Vicki" part of herself for a few minutes at a time. Other transformations frequently seen are Rose and Jimbo depicted as juveniles, to indicate manifestations of the "inner child".
The whole family, including Pasquale's mean cousin, Clem, plus next-door neighbor baby girl Mimi and Pasquale's guardian angel (who looks just like him except he also has wings) was introduced on April 16, 1984, as a seven-day comic. The distributor is United Feature Syndicate, whose other offerings are as prominent as Nancy or Peanuts and as obscure as Terr'ble Thompson or Little Mary Mixup. Rose Is Rose has a very healthy circulation of about 600 papers and has been reprinted in about a dozen books.
Cartoonist Pat Brady, who created Rose Is Rose, has stuck with the strip ever since. The quality of his work should be evident by the fact that in 2005, he joined a select fraternity that includes Al Capp (Li'l Abner), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey) and Chester Gould (Dick Tracy) — winners of the Reuben Award as Cartoonist of the Year. In the intervening years, the only major change in the strip's creative personnel came in 2004, when Brady hired Don Wimmer (Believe It or Not) as his assistant. And the only change in the characters came on August 9, 1991, when Pasquale suddenly began speaking normal English rather than quasi-comprehensible baby talk.