UPDATE: Apparently, the “Alley Oop” comic won’t be extinguished. The New York Times reported that the tape, currently in hibernation, will be relaunched in January.
The new creative team behind the tape will be writer Joey Alison Sayers and artist Jonathan Lemon. They will tell the story of Alley Oop six days a week, Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, they’ll move on to the story of Li’L Oop, a new preteen version of Alley Oop set in her early middle school years.
Sayers is perhaps the first transgender comic book writer. She said she hoped to add more humor to the tape. “I want to make it a little goofier and have a little more fun and get readers in,” Sayers told The New York Times. The Sunday Li’L Oop probably won’t involve time travel, unlike the main strip.
“I certainly don’t want to alienate old readers, but I do want to create a starting point for new readers,” Sayers said.
EARLIER: Alley Oop, the 86-year-old comic book caveman who spawned a popular song, a TV cartoon series and whose adventures have already appeared in 800 newspapers, may be on the way out.
Cartoonists Jack and Carole Bender announced last month that they are stepping back from creating the strip, with the latest Alley Oop original appearing yesterday. Andrews McMeel Syndication, the distributor, said the tape would be re-released until the end of the year. After that, no plans were announced.
Alley Oop was created in 1932 as a syndicated cartoon by cartoonist VT Hamlin. The character’s name was taken from a phrase allegedly used by French gymnasts and means “let’s go”.
Originally, the world of Oop was centered on his prehistoric kingdom of Moo. But in 1939, Hamlin took it in a different direction. A time machine invented by 20th century scientist Dr. Elbert Wonmug transported Oop to modern times. Barely phased by this abrupt change, Oop has become a regular time traveler, traveling through history on his adventures.
Hamlin retired from producing the strip in 1971, and a string of artists continued his work. Jack Bender took over as illustrator in 1991, with his wife, Carole Bender, as writer.
The comic still appears in over 600 newspapers, and in 1995 was one of 20 comic strips featured on a commemorative set of U.S. postage stamps.
Oop was also adapted into animation as part of a Saturday cartoon series titled funny fabulous in the late 1970s, rotating with comic book classics such as The Captain and the Children, Broom-Hilda, Moon Mullins, Smokey Stover and Nancy.
But his biggest transformation in other media was his role as the inspiration for the 1960 No. 1 single “Alley Oop,” a hit for studio band The Hollywood Argyles, whose cast later included Kim Fowley. known as the guru behind The Runaways. The song has since been covered by George Thorogood and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, among others.