One of the major benefits of large digitization projects is that important and amazing artifacts, hidden in the archives, come to the surface and are easy to access not just by themselves but also within their overall context. One of these amazing artifacts is Droopy the Drew Field Mosquito by Harry Lampert. Harry Lampert is best known as co-creator of the DC Comics superhero The Flash. Lampert began his career at the Fleischer studios and worked on comics – including Betty Boop, Popeye, and KoKo the Clown – wrote humor comic books, worked on gag cartoons for many periodicals – including The New York Times, the Saturday Evening Post, and Time – and taught cartooning at the New York School of Visual Arts.
Harry Lampert’s Droopy the Drew Field Mosquito was published in the Drew Field Echoes, the newspaper for the Drew Field Army Airbase (in Tampa, Florida). The University of South Florida holds the physical issues and now the Digital Collections contain the first strip, published in August 1942, and all following strips through February 3, 1944, as well as an article on Droopy from August 13, 1943. The Droopy comics are important for comics scholars because of their popularity and influence, their place within Lampert’s work, and their role within the larger history of military comics and publications. Within the Drew Field Echoes papers, studies of fan cultures also benefit because the paper includes articles that specifically show the fan/community-support culture with articles like “Droopy’s Daddy Takes Himself a Wife.”
The individual Droopy comics are compiled on this page, and each is linked to the Drew Field Echoes issue in which it appears.
As the Digital Collections continue to grow, more treasures will certainly be found. Most fortuitously Will Canova, the project coordinator for the Florida Digital Newspaper Library, happens to be an excellent comics reader who ensures that important comics get the attention they rightly deserve.