* By the early 1930s, Cliff Sterrett had transformed Polly and Her Pals into the world's premier surrealistic comic strip. Polly debuted in 1912 as one of the earliest "pretty girl" strips, but it was in 1925 that Sterrett entered his peak period, developing a new style replete with Art Deco decorations, abstract backgrounds, and distinctive surreal perspectives - all within the context of a down-right hilarious situation comedy. Sterrett's Sunday pages (also being published by The Library of American Comics) have long been hailed as individual masterpieces, but his daily strips - due to their rarity - have eluded archivists for the past ninety years. * The discovery by The Library of American Comics of syndicate proofs for some early 1930s dailies - plus new information about Sterrett's involvement with a Maine-based artist colony - fills a major hole in comics history.
The strips reprinted here - the complete year of 1933 dailies - show Sterrett at his most inventive, building gags upon gags within one- and two-week continuities, culminating in a spectacular holiday story in which the entire cast - Polly, Maw and Paw Perkins, cousin Ashur, Neewah, and the rest of the outrageous Perkins household - is transfigured into living, breathing Christmas dolls.
Samuel Clifford Sterrett was born on December 12, 1883, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. When he was eighteen, an Anglican minister became his patron and helped send the future cartoonist to the Chase School in New York. After two years of study, he was hired at the New York Herald, where he became friends with fellow comic strip pioneers such as Winsor McCay. Sterrett created several strips--including Ventriloquial Vag and When A Man's Married--before inventing For This Have We Daughters, which along with George McManus's The Newlyweds, founded a genre that would flourish for decades to come: the domestic situation comedy. Daughters is also the direct antecedent to his masterpiece, Polly and Her Pals, which began as a daily on December 4, 1912, and as a Sunday a year later. The strip continued until the 1950s.