S.F. Library Offers 'Wee' Nostalgic Blast For Longtime Bay Area Residents
If you hail from elsewhere -- or don't regularly read the funny pages of the Oakland Tribune or other BANG papers -- Wee Pals is a Peanuts-inspired comic strip featuring a minority-heavy cast of characters living in Oakland and drawn by Oakland's own Morrie Turner.
While Wee Pals is very much a local comic strip these days, in its heyday it was big -- the strip was syndicated into hundreds of papers across the nation and there was even a short-lived TV show in 1972. My Oakland Kindergarten class entered some kids into a Wee Pals look-alike contest (we had a little boy who was a dead ringer for Nipper, the character with the Union Civil War cap and Turner's alter-ego).
So if this is a source of pleasant nostalgia for you (or if you wish to borrow some of mine), be sure to stop by the San Francisco Public Library's main branch. Starting over the weekend and extending to October, the third floor African American center will host a 45-year retrospective of Turner's comic art.
Thirty years after the Wee Pals look-alike contest, in one of those "I'm glad I got to be a journalist" moments, I interviewed Turner and his longtime friend and "inker" Sid Shaffer for this article.
Afterwards, the two sent me a hand-drawn (and inked!) card featuring yours truly pinning Shaffer and Turner to the ground while snapping their photos with a large box camera.
Finally, a Wee Pals character I can win a look-alike contest for!