Obscurity of the Day:: Terr’ble Thompson

If Terr’ble Thompson reminds you a little of another more famous T.T., the animated cartoon Tom Terrific, there’s good reason. Both are the brainchildren of Gene Deitch. Deitch is better known for the cartoon since Terr’ble Thompson ran just six months, from October 17 1955 to April 15 1956, in a handful of newspapers. The daily and Sunday strip was distributed by United Feature Syndicate.

The strip had a lot going for it. Great art, cute fantasy stories — it had the qualities necessary for a strip that would really catch on. But Deitch was burning the candle at both ends, producing the strip at night after running the UPA animation studio during the day. When CBS Television bought the Terrytoons animation studio and asked Deitch to run it, a hard decision had to be made. Reluctantly, Deitch gave up his newspaper dreams in exchange for an important position in the new world of television animation.

Unlike most obscure strips, Terr’ble Thompson has always had a fan following because of its connection with the beloved Tom Terrific cartoons. In 2006 Fantagraphics issued a complete reprinting of the strip, a recommended book for your comic strip library.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!

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