1995 32¢ Gasoline Alley
Comic Strip Classics
- Third sheet in the Classic Collection Series
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Comic Strip Classics
Value: 32¢, rate for first-class mail
First Day of Issue: October 1, 1995
First Day Cities: Boca Raton, Florida
Quantity Issued: 300,000,000
Printed by: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Format: Panes of 20 in sheets of 120
Perforations: 10.1 x 10.2
Why the stamps were issued: The Comic Strip Classics sheet was the third issue in the Classic Collection Series. There was push to create a stamp to honor American comics as early as the 1960’s, but didn’t get real consideration until 1993. With the 100th anniversary of the comic The Yellow Kid, a comic committee, and an 83-page proposal the USPS finally agreed.
About the stamp designs: Even though only one stamp was approved, Terrence McCaffrey, head of stamp design, thought there was no way to honor American Comics with one single stamp. Therefore, he had a list of all proposed stamps and had Carl Herrman, art director, mock up a sheet of 20 stamps. McCaffrey wanted all the stamps to be taken from original panels by their respected artist. Herrmann worked on going through thousands of panels to find comics of the 20 chosen that showed the central theme of the comic in one panel with clean lines. Then with the help of American Color, that colorizes most of the comics in American newspapers, he was able to colorize them with accurate color choices, even those that were outdated.
Gasoline Alley (#3000h) – Since the setting was usually a garage, Herrman wanted to make sure there was a car depicted. After getting advice that the characters should faces should be seen, he found a panel that worked perfect. However, the comic was in black and white and Herrman had to search through dozens of Sunday comics to find the color of the car.
About the printing process: In order to include the text on the back of each stamp, it had to be printed under the gum, so that it would still be visible if a stamp was soaked off an envelope. Because people would need to lick the stamps, the ink had to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration as non-toxic. The printer also used an extra-fine 300-line screen, which resulted in some of the highest-quality gravure stamp printings in recent years.
History the stamps represent:
This comic is the oldest strip being distributed by the former Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate. Created in 1919 by Frank King, the strip began as a single panel devoted to the country’s then new fascination with automobiles.
However, comics focusing on the family were also becoming extremely popular, and so on Valentine’s Day, 1921, the infant Skeezix appeared on Walt Wallet’s doorstep. Although meant as a passing storyline, Skeezix became a permanent character, and “Uncle Walt,” as he became known, went on to marry Phyllis Blossom. The rest, as they say, “is history.” Rather than employing the comic license of perpetual youth, Kind enhanced the reality of the strip by allowing his characters to age.