Peter Scratch Ad (September 10, 1965, Tuscon Daily Citizen)
The first daily strip (September 13, 1965)
Another strip, date unknown
Short-lived as it may have been, the Peter Scratch comic strip is fondly remembered by those who were lucky enough to have caught it. A product of Newsday, Inc, a Long Island newspaper trying to break into the syndicate business, it only lasted a few years, but it was an honest attempt at presenting a tough guy private eye, well written (although, typically, uncredited) by Elliot Caplin, who stuffed the strip with plenty of hard-boiled patter and fast-paced action, and featuring for most of its run the artwork of legendary comics artist Lou Fine (who was credited with drawing the strip even after he left for the greener pastures of Madison Avenue). The strip was later ghost drawn by several other artists, most notably, perhaps, Neal Adams of Batman fame.
Sadly, nobody seems to have bothered to collect the strips (dailies and Sunday pages), although there are enough bits and pieces on the internet to tantalize, and rumours that someone named Stefan has compiled all the strips on some “comic strip appreciation group.”
Pictured above is an ad from the Tuscon Daily Citizen, one of the papers that carried the strip, announcing its launch on the coming Monday, and the very first strip, which appeared on September 13, 1965. I’ve also included a selection from one of the Sunday strips, from later on in the run.
How tough was Scratch? Notice it only took him three panels in his very first strip to slug someone.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.