Full Disclosure Statement.
I like snakes. I have had several over the years. Usually, I pick them up when out and about and keep them for a while before letting them go. I did purchase a Rosy Boa one time and our family had her for many years. She eventually got to be about eight feet (around 2.4 meters) long and was a great hit with the little kids at Library Story Hour.
The Front cover of the US edition.
And the back.
The next two are Australia publications.
I don’t know where I got the US edition of Snake, but I got the other two at “The Book Exchange” in Alice Springs, NT, Australia.
Let us go straight to the source to learn all about Allan Salisbury-courtesy of his own website:
Born 1949 in a small country town in the State of Victoria, Australia. Became a cartoonist by accident, had infact planned to go into Car Tuning. Draw under the name of SOLS, which looks pretty stupid, but is quite comfortable once you get the hang of it. Have created 3 humour strips, “The Ludicrous Life of Lennie the Loser”, “Fingers & Foes” The Little League of Disorganised Crime and my current daily comic strip “Snake Tales” that has been running since 1974. Have worked with two major US Syndicates over the years that have distributed my cartoons worldwide, published numerous books and been involved in character licensing. Member of the National Cartoonists Society of America and The Australian Black & White Artists Club. Lived in Melbourne, New York and currently work from a studio in Riverside, on the beautiful island State of Tasmania, Australia. Married, wife’s name Brenda, three kids, Kylie, Kate and Clare…(maybe I’m not holding my mouth correctly).
According to “Design & Art Australia” which bills itself as a “Database and e-research tool for art and design researchers” Allan Salisbury, comic strip artist, draws the Snake strip. It began as The Old Timer and changed to Snake Tales in 1978. There is some speculation that the earlier cartoons may be signed ‘SOLS’.
Take a peek at google images, and you get some SOLS images, and a whole lot of non sols image. However, that is true for almost any image search. Plow on through; there are some good SOLS related images.
Wikipedia has a summation of the strip and characters and is worth a look for background. The reference to Lady Snake and her bra may or may not be correct. But, what the heck, we are talking Wikipedia here.
For those of you who are more graphic oriented than text orientated, I present,
I e-mailed Salisbury with a question on his strips in the 70’s, as I thought I remembered seeing them in the US. He replied on 9/16/13, that the first syndicate was Field Enterprises who had “The Wizard of Id and “BC”. They also carried his strip “Fingers and Foes…the little league of disorganized crime.” United Media who had “Peanuts” and “Garfield” took on “Snake” in 1982 or 83, he couldn’t remember the exact date. He is still drawing “Snake” and it appears in many countries, but not the US.
From “Snake Fix #6” an interesting comment:
Here is a blog on corporate America and comics and the bloggers take on United Features Syndicate, which I assume is the later name for United Features.
I recently read that Australian newspapers are cutting ‘high priced local artists’ in place of cheap imports.
The article mentioned Swamp (but not Snake) as an example of high priced locals, and Fred Bassett and Garfield as an example of cheap imports. Dogs and Cats? In any case, below is a scan of the comics page from the “ntnews” (that is what the masthead says maybe it should be Northern Territory News) that I picked up on a visit to Darwin last February. As you can see, Swamp and Snake both run in that paper.
The article continues,
More commonly, modern cartoonists build a following online and then making money selling merchandise related to their artwork. However the rich history of the Australian comic strips remains under threat.
With that said, both Gary Clark of Swamp fame and Allan Salisbury of Snake fame have web sites. The Swamp web site is more organized and commercial. I visit it to get the daily cartoon strip. The Salisbury site is helpful, but rather disorganized. There is however, a link for an email to SOLS, and he is generous in his time to answer questions.
In my e-mail to SOLS, I should have asked, but did not, about the background of breast covering for the females in the strip.
Lady snake appears covered in the above newspaper strip from the ntnews, (maybe Darwin is prudish?), but not in the Snake Fix book. That book, however, was copyright 1983 and contained reprinted cartoons from several Australian Newspapers, some which are still in publication. The 1984 US book, also has her uncovered.
We assume the US readers were considered adult enough to handle the blatant display of uncovered mammillary glands which was also true of the home folks of the 80’s. Today, these folks need to be protected from all that ‘stuff’.
Let us leave the Darwin paper, and bounce around with lady snake from an earlier, freer, time.
The Female Native, I have not seen her referred to otherwise, is in all three books.
Here she is uncovered for the US book, date of strip, 1977
And covered for Australian readers. Same date
So, maybe SOLS thought that the US could handle unfettered boobs, while the Australians could not. Or, maybe it was beyond his control.
Well, enough salaciousness. Or lack of. On to some more cartoons.
From “The Best of Snake No. 1” we have the following introduction strips.
Sometimes SOLS can get a bit snarky.
The Flying Doc is in many of the strips.
A couple of general cartoons.
A little Anthropomorphism
We close with the destruction of the fourth wall; obviously before the third child. Gee, I wish I could have come up with a ‘two’ and a ‘one’ to tag onto that sentence.
Oh, and for Snake lovers everywhere, a 1994 photo of Lady Rose, our Rosy Boa.