The Comics Kingdom Blog

Ask the Archivist: “The Genius”

Hello DailyINK Comics Fans!

The Genius? No, I’m not referring to my own special gifts, but a short-lived strip that King Features published 40 years ago.

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Dick Oldden (1931-1995) with “The Professor” in 1973.

THE GENIUS was created by Dick Oldden, famous as a steady contributor to the New Yorker, though his work would regularly turn up in publications, such as The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, Playboy and Saturday Review. He even had a strip of sorts, “Clinical Trials” in The Medical Tribune for more than 17 years. He illustrated some children’s books and, when not at the drawing board, he was a world-class expert in the ancient Japanese martial art discipline of Kendo.

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Some art from the original promotional brochure sent to editors.

The strip featured a scientist, known only as “The Professor,” and his assistants in a laboratory, as they endlessly produce strange, unexpected results from their odd experiments. These experiments ranged from trying to make a hen lay a golden egg or developing an anti-gravity machine. They were, however, successful in creating artificial life and some money trees!

Their work was sometimes general scientific research in various fields like genetics, product testing, and even archeology that were done for “The Foundation.” More often, their work was for the Defense Department, examining various missile or space technology.  For that reason, a lot of explosions take place there. THE GENIUS was a daily and Sunday series that lasted from May 14, 1973 to May 8, 1977.

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That’s all for this week,

KFS Archivist

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