There was something timeless about Al Scaduto's work, mainly because his characters existed in a world out of time, where clothing and hairstyles from the 1940's collided with computers and flatscreen TVs. Over at The Comics Curmudgeon we loved to snark at this weirdly anachronistic strip, but after a while we came to snark lovingly as more and more of the daily strips were actually based on submissions by the regulars at The Comics Curmudgeon.
There was one submission that I always meant to send, but never did:
Snarkly and his friends make fun of that anachronistic old strip that runs in the funny pages...
(Guy looking at paper, saying something like "Couldja believe they still print this stuff?")
...and then talk about it online for hours every day!
("Voices" from computer: "This is the eighteenth time he's mentioned squid this year." "Yet another character in a black sweater-vest!" "How many different jobs has Lula Patoot had in the entertainment industry?")
That was us. Comics Curmudgeon regular Squid Countess actually kept track of the mentions of squid, a favorite meal of Al's characters. I was big into the sweater-vests. And everybody was following Lulu Patoot's illustrious career.
Al never knew. According to his daughter, he didn't even know how to use a computer - she handled all the incoming e-mail for him. I guess our cover was never blown. Which is really a tragedy - it would have been a lot of fun to have had him hanging around the site.
They'll Do It Every Time continued for a few weeks after Al's death - my submission was one of the last to be published. The syndicate announced that no one else would be taking over the strip, which had passed through the hands of several artists and writers through the decades.
It's gone now. No longer do Al's anachronistic characters react with bewilderment to a universe they cannot quite grasp. Squid is off the menu. Lula Patoot has retired for good. And the black sweater-vests have been folded neatly and placed in a drawer. The funny pages are a little less funny.
We miss you, Al.