Midway through the US Acres Comic Strip feature, I got an Email from someone who informed me that the series didn't end when the book collections suggested it did. I'd suspected something like this, because the last strip in the final book is kind of a weak gag to end things on:
My suspicions were correct. The strip went on for another two months after this, but it wasn't enough material to assemble another book from, so nobody bothered.
EXCEPT in England.
The mysterious Emailer said that overseas, where the strip is known as "Orson's Farm," it was reprinted in mass-market paperback form. As you can see in that link, their books began by mimicking our titles, but then went off in a different direction. There's nothing punny about "Sows the Seed" or "Feeds the Flock"--those titles are rather uncreative. (However, they aren't as bad as some of the renames Ravette Books gave its Garfield reprints. "Garfield, Admit It, Odie's OK!" and "Garfield, Does Pooky Need You?" are two examples of that.....)
It's the last book in the collection--"Orson's Farm Cuts the Corn"--that had some extra space to fill and covered the strip all the way to its end. This is the only place outside of old newspapers where the real end of the series can be read. Not only did the man's Email tell me all this, it also clued me in to where I could find the book online for two bucks (plus fourteen dollars' worth of cross-country shipping and handling). For this I am eternally grateful; this is a VERY rare book. Most other dealers who have a copy of "Orson's Farm Cuts the Corn" know what they've got and won't let it go for any amount less than $50.
Six weeks later, a small padded package was on my porch. Of the final sixty strips in U.S. Acres history, 59 are in this book (one Sunday wasn't included and was instead sent in by a reader). I couldn't have done it without the mysterious benefactor, whoever he was....(oh, right, he was the editor of Gemstone Publishing).
Hasn't lost a beat. The strip started right out making me laugh as hard as it did in the past. This is going to be my new AIM avatar:
Putting this final batch together was more time-consuming than previous pages. The strip panels were stacked vertically and had to be manually repasted back into the left-to-right format. And in many cases, some panels were printed too close to the book spine to avoid the "blurry dark stuff" without ripping the pages out completely. I'm not interested in destroying a rare book like that, so no griping about subpar scans.
And now, for the first time in America since the few papers that printed them: the Final 60!
The only instance of surfer-talk from Bo in the strip. The cartoon was already on by this time.
BINKY IN U.S. ACRES??? My mind just exploded.
We're halfway done! MORE ON THE SECOND PAGE!