The Collected Neil The Horse
by Katherine Collins with an introduction by Trina Robbins
300 pages, b/w, softcover, $25
In shops: May 2017
Originally published by Aardvark-Vanaheim and Renegade Press, Neil The Horse ran for 15 issues in the 1980s. With its tagline, "Making the World Safe for Musical Comedy" it is the world's only musical comic book. It is a totally original hybrid influenced more by Carl Barks and Fred Astaire than by the underground comics of the time. Originally produced under the name Arn Saba, Neil's creator transitioned to Katherine Collins after the last issue. Neil and his friends Soapy and Mam'selle Poupée are a struggling song-and-dance act. Neil is a happy-go-lucky horse with a mania for bananas. Mam'selle Poupée is a romantic and lovelorn living doll from France, whose wooden body is jointed with hinges. With red circles on her cheeks, curly blonde hair, and large bust, Poupée appears to be a cross between Raggedy Ann and Dolly Parton. Soapy is a street-wise and cynical (with a heart of gold) orange alley cat, a cigar smoker and a drinker, who serves as the brains of the operation. Their magical and absurd adventures take them to outer space, the past, and the future in a mix of slapstick, romance and show business. The book includes brand-new commentary by Collins, rare art, sheet music to accompany the stories, and reprints of early syndicated newspaper strips.
"Delighted at your continuing Neil The Horse efforts... and I'm particularly enthusiastic about your continuing probe of the medium. I welcome you as a fellow explorer." ~ Will Eisner
"Neil has a sense of magic to it that is in no way syrupy or cutesy. It should be read by every man, woman, and child in the English-speaking world." ~ Jackie Estrada
"...Influenced by classic funny animal cartoons and covers resembling 1930s art deco designs, the series appears an anomaly. Saba's premise was something both old and new: the musical comedy. Saba had a vaudevillian approach, changing the format of his comics several times within each issue. This variety act included the comic strip, comic book stories, illustrated stories, originally composed sheet music, crossword puzzles, and more. It appeared like a modern version of early twentieth-century hardbound children's annuals that employed such a variety of techniques rarely seen in comics." ~ Dave Kiersh, Indy Magazine