Although Mr. Lazarus did his school-themed strip "Miss Peach" from 1957 until 2002, "Momma" (which he started in 1970 and continues today) is clearly his labor of love. He told very funny stories about his family and his own mother, the model for "Momma," who regularly extracted "deathbed" promises from her children to, for example, take her to lunch next Friday, before miraculously recovering. Who kept a suitor dangling for years, making him sit at one end of the sofa while she watched a small television--turned so only she could see it--at the other. Who couldn't understand why a boy ever needed a wife when he had a perfectly good mother to take care of him.
the light was dim and I didn't want to use a flash.
I enjoyed one story Mr. Lazarus told about starting his career after dropping out of high school at age 16. It was 1943 and World War II was on. He figured that since most of the cartoonists 18 or older had been drafted, he had a two-year window to fill the voids they left before it was his turn to go to war. His strategy worked. He got some experience and, from 1949 to 1954, worked for the studio of "Li'l Abner" cartoonist Al Capp. That job gave him the material for his first novel, The Boss is Crazy, Too. I also enjoyed one of his asides, as he stepped back to look at one of his sketches with apparent dissatisfaction and quipped, "I draw better when I'm getting paid for it." (I'm stealing that one.)