Although John Pierotti had a long, varied and fruitful career in cartooning, the only newspaper strip for which we can definitely credit him is Nutcracker U, which debuted October 2 1950. (Hippo and Hookie still has not been proven to have made it into papers, and Pier-Oddities was a sports panel).
Nutcracker U was self-syndicated by the cartoonist, who characterized taking this route to newspapers thusly: “That means footing all the bills, and when a cartoonist does that, he either is crazier than most cartoonists, or he believes implicitly in his product. The latter part of that sentence applies to me.” Pierotti had, in my opinion, good reason to take a gamble on Nutcracker U. The delightful art, drawn in a style perfectly suited to the new smaller 4-column size standard in the 50s and on, stood out among all the competition. If that wasn’t enough, what red-blooded male reader could peruse the funnies without being drawn to Pierotti’s pulchritudinous women? Oh yeah, and the plot and gags were kinda cute, too.
Despite hitting on all cylinders, selling a self-syndicated strip to newspapers is pretty darn close to impossible, and the workload is mind-boggling. Pierotti had this to say about the experience: “…I syndicated my own strip called ‘Nutcracker U’, until I ran out of money and nerve. Worked practically twenty-four hours a day for a year and a half.” Pierotti gave up the strip on October 27 1951.