Created in Germany in 1934 by the political cartoonist Erich Ohser (using the pseudonym E. O. Plauen after being persecuted for his opposition to the Nazi regime), the gruff, loving, mustachioed father and his sweet but troublemaking son embark on adventures both everyday and extraordinary: family photo shoots and summer vacations, shipwrecks and battles with gangsters, a Christmas feast with forest animals and a trip to the zoo. Drawn almost entirely without dialogue, the strips overflow with slapstick, fantasy, and anarchic visual puns. Like Calvin and Hobbes or The Simpsons, it is a slyly heartwarming, dizzyingly inventive classic.
Erich Ohser (1903-1944) studied art in Leipzig and moved to Berlin in 1927. His caricatures of high-ranking Nazis led to his being banned from publishing. He paired his initials E.O. with Plauen, the town he grew up in, and using this pseudonym created Vater und Sohn in 1934, which appeared in the Berliner Illustrirte until 1937. In 1944 he was arrested by the Gestapo for disparaging the regime. The day before his trial, he committed suicide in his cell.