Paul Sellers, a British-born cartoonist, created his first feature to appear in American newspapers in 1964. Although Lancelittle was marketed by Hall Syndicate as if it was a ‘native’ US feature, my trolling about on the net seems to indicate that the strip ran elsewhere, and that it most likely ran outside the US a heck of a lot longer than it ran here. I hope that one of our international strippers can tell me more about the strip’s life outside the US.
The pantomime strip, drawn in that instantly recognizable Brit-toon style, started here on November 30 1964. The hero was a knight of the middle ages, and the gags often played off historical incongruities like the billiards gag in strip two above. The strip was pleasant enough, and being strictly pantomime it was a great candidate for international sales.
One problem was that the art sometimes made small details crucial to the gag. Sellers’ artwork, with its combination of thick outlines and Benday shading, often turned those details into mud, defeating his punchlines.
After an initial flurry of interest from newspapers with quite a few sign-ups, Lancelittle must have petered out pretty quick because the strip ended around April 1966, not much more than a year after it was initially offered. (Again, I suspect that it lasted longer outside the US.) In any case, Sellers came back with Eb & Flo a few years later, and that had a far healthier two decade run.