The question has often been
asked, “Where did the Klyde Morris cartoon come from?” The answer is interesting.
In his youth, cartoonist Wes
Oleszewski was a space-buff and model rocket enthusiast. At age 12, launching
rockets with no one aboard seemed fairly pointless to Wes, after all, there
had to be a crew otherwise what was the fun? With that in mind, the little
6th grader went out into his back yard and selected some common “cornfield
ants” and routinely blasted their helpless little butts into the sky in
balsa wood spaceships. Wes, being the strict non-conformist, never built
his rockets according to the packaged instructions so every flight was
some sort of contrived design that he had dreamed up. Violating every rule
that the manufacturers could print, he tampered with engines and re-rigged
recovery systems, the result being lots of spectacular disasters and lots
of lost ant crews. In 1970, after a series of disastrous launches, Wes
drew a few single-framed cartoons spoofing his wayward rockets. Unfortunately,
these first cartoons have not survived the passing of years.
By early 1975, Wes again felt
the urge to do some cartooning, and it was logical that his ants and their
ant world that exists among, but un-noticed by the humans, would be the
setting. Inspired by the old television series, “Voyage to the Bottom of
the Sea”, Wes began work on “Forage to the Bottom of the Sea” which featured
not only the ants, but Wes’ boyhood best friends Jim and Ken.