Sad Sack was created by Sgt. George Baker and debuted in the May 1942 issue of "Yank Magazine", the U.S. Army weekly. The unfortunate draftee was the first permanent feature of the new weekly. The character proved to be so popular for servicemen and the public-at-large, that two hardback collections were published by Simon and Schuster. The strip also appeared in the Sunday comics of civilian comics and made a one-shot appearance in "True Comics" #55, December 1946, which turned out to be Sad Sack's first comic book appearance.
During this time, Baker's Sad Sack caught the eye of Alfred Harvey. The two men met, became friends and eventually drew up an agreement for Harvey Comics to publish a regular comic book in 1949. This time, as in the Sunday comic strip, the adventures of Sad Sack showed our hero as a civilian. This idea did not last because when the Korean War broke out, Sad Sack reenlisted in a story entitled, "The Specialist", in issue #22.
Suddenly, Sad Sack's popularity soared and "Sad Sack Comics" became one of the first to be published monthly. This popularity led to a live-action firm called "The Sad Sack", in 1957, starring Jerry Lewis. This feature was loosely-based and really just another vehicle for Lewis' crazy antics. This was not Sad Sack's first appearance outside the printed page, as Mel Blanc starred as Sad Sack in a short-lived radio show during World War II.
By the mid-50s, other artists like Fred Rhoads, Jack O'Brien, Paul McCarthy and Joe Dennett turned their pens to writing and drawing the further exploits of America's beloved army man. George Baker continued to illustrate virtually all of the covers up until his death in 1975. Rhoads is probably the artist most-associated with the character in the comic books. He drew the drawing at the top of this page and passed away in 2000.
Sad Sack, like most other popular Harvey characters had his share of spin-off titles, such as "Sad Sack and the Sarge" and "Sad Sad Sack World". The "Sad Sack Comics" series had the longest continuous run of all Harvey Comics produced. 287 issues were produced from 1949-1982.
In 1989, when the Harvey family sold off the Harvey World characters to Jeff Montgomery, they retained the rights to Sad Sack for sentimental reasons. The Harveys formed Lorne-Harvey publications and began publishing "Sad Sack Comics" again on an infrequent basis, also making guest appearances in "Alfred Harvey's Black Cat". If interested in obtaining Sad Sack's latest adventures, contact Alan Harvey at: Lorne-Harvey Publications, P.O. Box 324, Franklin Street Station, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-0324.
Bibliography of comics featuring Sad Sack:
Other appearances include:
First comic book appearance: True Comics #55, 12/46
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