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.