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Mary Worth

Karen Moy & Joe Giella
Flower Shirts Rule!
Photo courtesy Tom Ward Rattle and Hum Sports

By Tom Ward

Special Contributor

King Features’ talented twosome of Karen Moy and Joe Giella have just released their second Mary Worth book called “Searching and other stories of Mary Worth” that is now available for sale on Amazon.com and Lulu.com. This newest edition featuring the skills of the gifted writer Karen Moy and illustrator extraordinaire Joe Giella contains four popular stories from the comic strips involving Mary and her friends with the theme of searching for someone… or something! I found the book had some very compelling storylines written by Ms. Moy and beautifully drawn by Joe Giella. Here are some brief descriptions of the 4 stories in the book: 1.) Mary Goes to Vietnam: When Mary doesn’t hear from Jeff who is on a humanitarian mission overseas, she takes matters into her own hands and travels to Vietnam to search for him! 2.) Gina Looks For Bobby:  Mary befriends a local waitress who’s having trouble getting over a former love from her distant past.  When Mary advises Gina to look for him, what she finds is more than she ever dreamed of! 3.) The Missing Girl:  While at a local diner, Mary recognizes a missing girl she’s seen on a poster, and takes a stand against the kidnapper who’s holding her! 4.) Tom and Beth:  A Search for Love:  Mary invites her neighbors Tom and Beth over for dinner in order to make a match between them.  But when they hit it off, Beth’s mother Elinor protests against their romance!

For those of you who don’t know about the Mary Worth comic strip, it’s been around since 1938. Mary Worth is one of the longest-running continuity strips or “comic-page soap operas”, a genre dedicated to the millions of readers who thrive on continued stories told in brief daily episodes with cliffhanger endings. Contrary to popular belief, Mary Worth is not a continuation of the Depression Era favorite Apple Mary. The strip was created as a replacement feature offered to newspapers when Martha Orr, who created the dowdy apple peddler, retired. The only thing the new title character had in common with her predecessor was a first name. She appeared as she is today: a well-spoken gentlewoman with a knack for quoting proverbs and surrounding herself with interesting people whose lives reflect the daily concerns of society. Past stories have confronted social issues such as juvenile delinquency, unwed motherhood, drug addiction, spouse abuse, alcoholism, infidelity, concerns of the elderly and the generation gap. The reader is asked to remember that Mary Worth stories are not about Mary. They are about a continuing parade of people who enter Mary’s life. If you look closely, you may recognize one of your neighbors — or even yourself.

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The creative people behind the iconic character Mary Worth are Karen Moy, who began writing the Mary Worth comic strip in early 2004, and Joe Giella. Moy is a graduate of State University of New York at Binghamton with a degree in art. Her love of comics and storytelling led to her writing duties on the Mary Worth strip, of which she had been a fan for many years. Like the character Mary Worth, Karen lives in an apartment complex, enjoys quoting aphorisms and occasionally dispenses advice.  Unlike the character, she is a woman who is not quite as handy in solving her neighbors’ personal problems. She currently lives in New York City.

Joe Giella has worked as a comic book artist on almost every character for DC and Marvel Comics.  He was also a freelance artist for McCann Erickson, Saatchi and Saatchi and Doubleday. Giella designed and illustrated 21 t-shirts for Disney, illustrated “The Marvel Strength and Fitness Book” and “The Marvel Superhero Cookbook” for Simon and Shuster, illustrated the syndicated Batman comic strip in the 1960s and assisted on strips including The PhantomFlash GordonJohnny Reb and Sherlock Holmes. For the last 23 years, he has been illustrating the Mary Worth comic strip for King Features Syndicate.  His work is seen each day in newspapers worldwide.  In 2006, the United States Postal Service honored Giella by using his art on two postage stamps in the DC Comics Super Heroes Collection. He was educated at the School of Industrial Arts and The Art Students League with commercial art courses at Hunter College.  He was also in the U.S. Naval Reserve for eight years. Giella is married with four children, three boys and a girl, and several grandchildren.

Further information and updates about the Mary Worth strip can be found on the website:  www.maryworthcomics.com. Additionally, Mary fans can find some great merchandise on www.cafepress.com/maryworth. If you haven’t read any of the Mary Worth comic strips I highly recommend this book because it encompasses the passion and heart of the endearing character Mary Worth that is beloved around the world.

Tom Ward can be reached at www.teetimewithtom.com

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