• Kurt J. Kolka

JIM SCANCARELLI: STEERING AMERICA'S OLDEST DAILY AND SUNDAY COMIC STRIP TO THE CENTURY MARK!

Updated: May 2

Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013 12:00 am)

by Kurt Kolka

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jim Scancarelli is the writer and artist of the newspaper comic “Gasoline Alley” and is among the cartoonists who contributed to the new book, "Bullying is No Laughing Matter."


Bullying also played a role in Scancarelli’s childhood and a role in his decision to become a cartoonist. When his family moved to Washington, D.C., for his father’s job, Scancarelli became the target of bullies in school.


“Comics were my escape,” Scancarelli said. “The characters became my friends. My dad used to bring home three newspapers every night and we’d read the comics.”


He had been introduced to comics by his mother and grandfather. “Gasoline Alley,” then drawn by its creator Frank King, was Scancarelli’s favorite.


The strip is about the Wallet family, generations of characters who live in a small community, not much different than most towns in Northern Michigan. The comic is character-driven and the community’s residents are much like the unique characters of any small town who have known each other for years.


Scancarelli had been a freelance artist for several years when he was offered a position alongside Dick Moores, assistant on the “Gasoline Alley” strip. Moores had taken over the comic from its creator and lived near Scancarelli.


So, Scancarelli trained under Moores until 1986, when Moores passed away. Scancarelli then became cartoonist for the strip.


Even today, Scancarelli says the characters are like real people to him.


“I love to come up with a plotline and just throw the characters into to it to see what they’d do,” he said.


While Scancarelli grew up in larger cities, he has also spent time in smaller ones.


As a fiddle player in a bluegrass band for many years, he played in lots of small-town venues and enjoyed working with the residents there.


At churches and one-room schoolhouses, he came to know about life in a small town and has used his knowledge as inspiration for some of the stories in his strip.


One recent story, though, didn’t require any small-town knowledge because the problem happens anywhere. The Wallet’s great-grandson, Boog, is pestered by bullies and has to decide what to do.


It was some of the strips from that plotline that were donated to "Bullying is No Laughing Matter."


“Gasoline Alley” is currently the oldest daily and Sunday newspaper strip still running in

America. On Nov. 24, it will turn 95 years old.


Scancarelli is hoping to conduct the strip to the one-century mark in 2018.


“Gasoline Alley” can be read online at

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