Obscurity of the Day: Against the Grain

Glenn Foden, an editorial cartoonist whose work appeared in a chain of weekly papers in Maryland for many years, created Against the Grain for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate in 1996. The strip was about the residents of Millandsprocket, a town whose economy depends on logging and tourism. The lumber industry was very much in the news at the time, so the subject matter was opportune.

The strip made fun of environmentalists, dim-witted lumberjacks, crusty colorful locals and tourists. Given that Foden is a right-winger, the tree-hugging Phoebe Geebies endured some of the more pointed jabs while the lumberjack Wilson LeHack was portrayed as a well-meaning good ol’ boy dufus. The strip’s logo, showing a proudly beaming LeHack, chainsaw in hand, next to a gargantuan stump, showed where Foden’s sympathies lay, though the strip was rarely overtly political.

One of Foden’s recurring subjects was roadkill, which made for some rather nauseating gags. Other than that miscue, the strongest material was about tourists, a group about which those of all political strips could enjoy a chuckle.

The fortunes of Against the Grain seemed to rise and fall with the newsworthiness of the lumbering industry. The daily strip began on January 1 1996, added a Sunday on December 6 1998, and then was cancelled sometime in 2000 (anyone know the exact date?).

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