Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Letters, I Get Letters ~~ Boody Rogers ~~ Part Two of a "Comical Wednesday" Post

I must admit, up until 1987 or so, I'd never heard of Boody Rogers. His 1984 autobiography, Homeless Bound, was advertised regularly in issues of Comics Buyer's Guide. Among other things, the ad claimed that Rogers had worked on the first comic book. And although comic scholars have long debated what should be considered the very first comic book, I figured that this autobiography was definitely worth a shot.

Along with my payment for his book, I sent a copy of my recently-published comic, The Bird #1, written by myself and drawn by my creative partner, Skip Simpson.

Before receiving Homeless Bound, I received the following letter from Rogers:

I was a bit surprised by his saying that I "used some words that [he] never could have gotten away with when [he] was drawing." What words were those? I thought. I certainly didn't remember anything objectionable in the book. Then I looked at The Bird from the perspective of a parent in the 1930s or 1940s whose child would have read it. And remember, comic books back then were largely considered to be strictly a children's medium!

(Oh, if you're wondering about the expression "Holy horsecrud," which nobody in the real world ever said, suffice it to say that it was a private joke at Entertainment Publishing.)

I was a bit jarred by Boody's mention of Milt Caniff, creator of two classic comic strips, Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon. Rogers' offhand reference to Caniff's having "kick[ed] the bucket" seemed a bit irreverent at first, but then I realized that while Caniff was (and is) one of my personal comic "gods," to Rogers, he was just an old buddy!

Boody himself was best known as the creator of the Sparky Watts feature, which appeared in Big Shot Comics as well as his own title.

In his letter, Rogers also mentioned a "hillbilly gal" named Babe, whom I was unfamiliar with at the time. He mentioned that she was "more fun than doing Sparky," and I assumed that Babe, drawn in the 1940s, was no doubt one of those impossibly-dimensioned women that populated comics at the time. I was somewhat pleased to find that such was not the case. It was Babe's offbeat and hilarious adventures that were notable, much more than her physique. In fact, I now own two original issues of Babe, and have read most of the others, thanks to the highly-recommended Digital Comic Museum website.

Boody's autobiography was incredibly entertaining, despite the fact that he told very little about his comic strip and comic book work! Boody's real first name was Gordon, and his full name was usually given as Boody Gordon Rogers, despite the fact that someone's nickname is usually placed in quotes, between their first and last names, as in Star Trek's Dr. Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy.

Also, he got the nickname "Boody" in the first place from when he played football as a youth, because of the way he could "boot" the ball. Which makes me wonder why he ended up as "Boody" Rogers rather than "Booty" Rogers, but hey, now that we're in a world where some people insist on using "booty" to refer to someone's derrière, I guess we can leave his spelling alone.

Boody Rogers, 1904-1996

Thanks for your time.


  1. That is so cool that you got an actual letter from this man whom I had not heard of so thanks for educating me. I would frame this letter

    1. I would, if he hadn't written on both sides of the paper!

  2. Boody is more original anyway, although some may mistake it for misspelled body I suppose.

    Great that you got a letter from him indeed. Goes to show how people see others in a different light when they are close. Can just say they kicked the bucket and go to it. Times change indeed. Can use just about anything in comic books now.

    1. Even I'm offended by some of the stuff they get away with today.

  3. I am sure you were excited to receive that letter. A real treasure. As I was reading your comic I thought ok, perhaps it did have some adult humor. I am sure it wouldn't be endorsed by the PTO. haha. The babe is a little curvaceous for young boys to read. Who was the targeted market for that comic?

    1. I suppose Babe was targeted to a general audience. A lot of female comic characters at the time had exaggerated butts and chests. Babe was pretty tame by comparison.

  4. I'm just catching up. And you could always frame the letter with glass both sides and hang it so that both faces show. Or display it on a small easel type stand on a table. Just a thought.

    So cool - both the letter and the book.


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