Bob Zschiesche was an American cartoonist, and the creator of folksy cartoons like 'Our Folks' and 'Harley Hogg', which appeared in regional newspapers. He is however best known for assisting Frank King on 'Gasoline Alley' and Fred Lasswell on 'Snuffy Smith'.

Robert Duane Zschiesche was born in Prophetstown, Illinois in 1929. In an interview with The Dispatch form Moline, Illinois, the cartoonist said he was happy to have inherited his sense of humor from his father. As a young man he began his career with the University of Illinois campus newspaper, the Daily Illini. After flunking out of college in the first semester, he headed for Chicago where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts. After graduation, he was hired by Frank King to assist on the artwork of the longrunning newspaper comic 'Gasoline Alley'. He moved to Florida and worked with King and his successor Dick Moores on the dailies between 1950 and 1963, after which he became an editorial cartoonist for the Greensboro Daily News in North Carolina. One of his cartoons depicting then-President Lyndon Johnson during the height of the Vietnam War criticism in 1967 was later featured in the National Archives commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. Zschiesche signed with King Features Syndicate in 1970 to distribute his cartoons.


'Gasoline Alley' Sunday by Dick Moores and Bob Zschiesche (18 December 1977)

In 1976 Moores unexpectedly asked Zschiesche to return to 'Gasoline Alley'. A year earlier Bill Perry, who drew the Sunday pages of 'Gasoline Alley', had retired, leaving Moores to do both the daily and Sunday episodes on his own. Zschiesche was hired to help him with the workload, even though, back in 1963, it was Moores who had convinced King to fire Zschiesche since he could handle most of what he did at a faster speed. Zschiesche worked on 'Gasoline Alley' between 1975 and 1979, but once again missed too many deadlines. Eventually Moores took another assistant, Jim Scancarelli, and by the time he was fully trained Zschiesche was asked to leave. He returned to editorial cartooning, depicting ordinary citizens and their daily concerns against local landmarks like Victorian houses, gravel driveways, the backs of pickup trucks and courthouse steps. He named the panel 'Our Folks' (1980) and syndicated it himself to about 38 local newspapers.

The project didn't last long, and the artist retired to the family farm near Prophetstown, Illinois. He developed a daily comic strip with anthropomorphic farm animals called 'Harley Hogg', which appeared in some local newspapers from the Midwest. He also picked up painting, but decided his real love was cartooning. In 1989 he began assisting Fred Lasswell on the 'Snuffy Smith' strip, sending his drawings by fax machine from his Prophetstown home to Tampa, Florida, where Lasswell resided. In April 1995 the artist announced he would move back to Florida to work with Lasswell on the aforementioned strip again. The effort was short-lived, as failing health forced him to return home. He passed away of an aneurysm in Rockford, Illinois, on 12 April 1996, at the age of 67.


Bob Zschiesche in 1995

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