One of the unsung Masters of the Narrative, Ripley's Believe it or Not provided hours of happy amusement for a credulous public. Sensational headlines often cloak a play on words that renders the fact pointless or banal. I have a great liking for this style of confident, big shout lettering. The drawing too exerts a sort of homogeneity where cosmic disasters exist in the same graphic scale as three legged chickens and Henry VIII's codpiece.


The graphic formula once invented was strictly adhered to, although the very first Ripley was a grid of features. Later, the artist/s developed extraordinary quirks of scale where gargantuan mouths salivated over desert plants.


There were many imitators and I attach the Nick Sprank feature found in Popular Science and a Borg Warner second best, "Amazing But True". The best material, including the testament of the great man comes form my copy of the Ripley's Believe it or Not Omnibus. It is the spirit of Barnum and Bailey let loose in a bran tub of fakes, foolishnesses and the utterly pointless.