As a kid, I eagerly read Li’l Abner in my local newspaper, the Niagara Gazette. This 190-page collection of comic strips features 26 stories from several eras. Al Capp wrote witty storylines for his comic creations. Lil Abner and Daisy are legendary characters. Their interplay is both touching and humorous.

Set in the town of Dogpatch U.S.A. with its poverty and backwardness, Al Capp uses satire to mock the pompous nature of congressmen, the concept of men’s dominance and superiority over women, and the foibles of Life. Al Capp invented Sadie Hawkins Day, Fearless Fosdick, Moonbeam McSwine, Schmoos, Lower Slobbovia, Kickapoo Joy Juice, and Barney Barnsmell. Although this collection was first published in 1978 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston plenty of the jokes and wit stand up to the test of Time. Did you read Li’l Abner? Are you a fan? GRADE: A


  1. wolf

    I remember enjoying these when I read US newspapers in the “Amerikahaus” in the city of Tübingen where I went to university.
    Because their selection of newspapers, magazines (and Science Fiction books …) was limited I sometimes even drove to Stuttgart where they had a much larger selection of things in their Amerikahaus.
    Also Stuttgart had many US soldiers still and the AFN (American Forces Network) radio station, having been part of the American Occupied Zone of Germany while Tübingen had been part of the French Occupied Zone and there was still a French garrison in the 60s.
    All that helped me in my English skills – at school we had French and latin as foreign languages, only later (when I was already14 years) two lessons a week in English

  2. Steve Oerkfitz

    I didn’t read Lil Abner much. Remember liking Fearless Fosdick. Al Capp turned me off later with his right wing politics. He went after Joan Baez with a vengeance and was a big supporter of the Vietnam war.

      1. Todd Mason

        Turns out he was kind of an ass, putting it kindly, even before that…had a rather #MeToo-inspiring bad attitude toward women, including reportedly assaulting the young Grace Kelly.

        Definitely an example of you might want to enjoy the work and never meet the man.

  3. Dan

    I have the old Ballentine paperback, THE WORLD OF LI’L ABNER, with the introduction by John Steinbeck. Capp put out a funny & charming strip, back before he went right-wing crazy.

    1. george Post author

      Dan, I think I have THE WORLD OF LI’L ABNER around here somewhere. I forgot that Steinbeck wrote the INTRODUCTION. Capp was not so funny and charming once he embraced Right-Wing causes.

  4. Jeff Meyerson

    Once Al Capp’s repulsive personal views came out, it turned off a lot of people. I was never a big fan, but as a kid I did enjoy the movie version, especially Julie Newmar and Leslie Parrish. I still remember some of it, including Johnny Mercer’s song lyrics.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, it’s been decades since I watched the movie version of LI’L ABNER. I need to track down a copy. I remember Julie Newmar’s performance was stellar!

  5. Todd Mason

    Yeah, I, too became a big fan of Walt Kelly, whose POGO I barely saw by the time of his death, but I was able to find some of his collections before in the public libraries, then find a few for sale in reprints from Simon & Schuster and Pocket Books. Capp’s strip lasted a bit longer, but never engaged me as much (I already had cartoonists such as Gary Trudeau, Charles Schultz of course, Tom Ryan, Gahan Wilson (who is having onllne fundraising to help put him in a good nursing home), Jules Feiffer and others (almost no one was pushing the female cartoonists at us at this time, but I found the likes of Nicole Hollander and Lynda Barry and many others eventually).

    1. george Post author

      Todd, I’m shocked that Gahan Wilson needs online fundraising. I bought his books and I know he was a staple in PLAYBOY for years.


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