Review | Foolish Questions & Other Odd Observations

Before his incredible inventions made him a household word, Rube Goldberg was one of the most popular comic-strip artists in America. This hilarious collection contains the complete Sunday comics run of his first hit, “Foolish Questions,” a daily strip panel that was expanded and colorized for the pages of the Sunday Chicago Tribune from 1909 and 1910.

Plus a brain-scrambling assortment from 1910 to 1919 of the other panels from his daily comics series that gave birth to this wise-cracking classic.

BONUS: a facsimile set of four Foolish Questions postcards from 1913.

Subtitled Early Comics 1909-1919, this is a look at the comics that brought Rube Goldberg into the spotlight. Like all Sunday Press Books, it’s a loving tribute to the creator and their work. This time we’re brought a famous cartoonist, but focusing on lesser known to perhaps unknown works for most readers.

All are single panel gags, offering someone asking a foolish question and receiving a scathing answer. It’s interesting to take the time and appreciate each strip fully: the language used, the clothing, the environments, and the historical perspective entangled in each. As well we have the use of limited color; where it was used and to what effect on the panel. These strips were taken from published newspapers and restored for this volume, and as such a stunning work was accomplished.

The three written pieces add emotion, context and illumination to the included comics. Jennifer George gives a family context to the creator and his career, while Paul Tumey goes deep into Goldberg’s early career and Foolish Questions with some great original art. Carl Linich gives insight into Goldberg’s other attempts with abundant samples.

If there’s a downside it’s the single concept gag; it was designed to appear daily to newspaper audiences, and we’re reading them page after collected page. From our perspective they’re repetitive and one noted, but that’s the case for any collected works of this type. Read one or two, put the book down and come back to it the next day for one or two more.

Production of this volume is outstanding. A wonderful textured paper with a decent weight and sewn binding. Shrinkwrap allows the book to stay free from blemish and keep in the bonus item, a set of four Foolish Questions postcards (see last photo). I’m a big fan of Peter Maresca and Sunday Press Books, and this new volume only strengthens my conviction.

Scott VanderPloeg Written by:

Editor-In-Chief. Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans. Joe Shuster Awards Harry Kremer coordinator.

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  1. June 19, 2017

    I like the one: Peeling potatoes Birdie? (obviously she is) Her reply: No I. am shaving wiskers off door knobs! (hee hee) I did not realize my favorite Mad Magazine artist Al Jafree adopted the Goldberg format as ” Snappy Answrs to Stupid Questions”! I have a mirrorred wall-plack in my home produced in this 1910 early style, where a Stanley Steamer early automobile just knicked into an early bicycle rider knocking him to the ground. “Did you get his number”?, – his pal asks. I think there were three is the reply! (hee hee) **** ( If l need to explain the joke, in 1910, licence plates were so new, his pal thought he was asking how many riders were in the automobile.)

  2. June 20, 2017

    I am unsure why comments require moderation and censorship. Face book is a place to get “likes”. Are different opinions so dangerous? I think the guys posting are doing so out of self interest, and block everything but flattery and congratulations. Do you expect people to read and follow like sheep? There are more open and free websites that allow all opinions.

  3. June 20, 2017

    Moderation was required because you used the same email and website as user “stevie” but now with name “Cody”. New users require their first post to be approved. While we’re on the topic, why do you list an empty website as your homepage?

    What censorship? I first requested your approval and then deleted your series of ridiculous cut and paste comments.

  4. mel taylor
    June 21, 2017

    I don’t think you should feel compelled to justify your actions at all. The number of times this guy, under whatever name, has rambled on several times longer than the initial post, and basically hijacked the post, is getting ridiculous. That last one on Ivan’s post is an ideal case in point, and I believe you followed proper protocol. There are people who appreciate the hard work and commitment of CBD commentators, and I honestly don’t feel that, whoever he is, this guy is one of them.

    cheers, mel

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