Here is something you have never seen before - an original play, written by Gus Arriola and T.E. Bethancourt with Lyrics by Tom Bethancourt.  My photocopy is hand-dated 5/11/81.  The story is about GORDO LOPEZ being pursued by ARTEMISA GONZALES, a very wealthy widow with a keen business acumen who "has only one blind spot: her love for GORDO" and includes the complete cast of GORDO characters.  The lyrics are included in the play as an integral part of the story but, alas, no musical notes to go by.  The handwritten note at the top of the cover read "For my dear friends, Gus & Mary Frances - It was a labor of love!  Tomas"  You can read the entire play at ODDBALL GORDO ITEMS at (you'll have to copy and paste the link).


These eight books were published by Nitty Gritty Productions in Concord, California in 1972.  Each book is 6' 1/4" x 4' 1/4"  and each page is a beautifully colored single panel.  The stories appear to be reprints of Sunday strips.  There is no price printed on the books.  The inside cover and back of each book is identical, save for the book title.



This is not intended to be a complete bibliography of Gus Arriola.  If there are any books missing or corrections to be made, please contact me at  Thank you. 



CelestialArts, Berkeley, California, 1989.  192 pages. Dedicated "To Carlin - our joy and inspiration" with a forward by Herb Caen.  (Carlin is Gus Arriola's son and Herb Caen is a much beloved columnist, lastly of the San Francisco Chronicle.)  Priced at $17.95, this book is a collection of color Sunday strips.  Fortunately, it is still readily (though not cheaply) available at, and elsewhere.




Published 1950 (?) by Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York.  Dedicated "To My Sister Herminia" with a forward by Senor Dog.  Hardback (though I believe a soft cover was also published) and priced at $2.50.  As you can see from the dust jacket, the cover art in no way resembles the actual characters. However, the inside art is true to its source material.


It is too bad that this unpublished book never saw print, as it is a terrific collection of strips, totaling 179 pages.  A complete copy of the strips can be found in the DAILIES section of 1970 and 1980.


Oak Tree Publications, Inc., San Diego, California, 1981.  128 pages.  Dedicated "To Mary Frances Sevier, for reasons beyond count" with a forward by Charles Schulz.  Mary Frances is, of course, Gus' wife and if I have to tell you who Charles Schulz is...  Priced at $6.95, this book reprints many Sunday strips, but not in color.  It is available at, and elsewhere.


SPARKLE COMICS is a rarity brought to my attention by Nat Gertler of the excellent PEANUTS website WWW.AAUGH.COM.  Nat writes of SPARKLE COMICS:
Sparkle was published by United Features Syndicate and is filled with various United Features strips reprinted in color. There’s Nancy, Li’l Abner, Willie, The Captain and the Kids, Little Coronado (which I think are just strips from Gus Arriola’s “Gordo” focused on one of the supporting characters), and Strange As It Seems. 
United Features had several series exploiting largely the same body of strips – Sparkle Comics, Sparkler Comics, Tip Top Comics, and Tip Topper Comics. If that sounds confusing, it’s probably intentional, and the clue for the likely reason is in that “Feb-Mar” date. Back in 1936, United Feature launched Tip Top as a monthly series and added Sparkler a few years later. Then suddenly, after more than a decade, they cut Tip Top back to coming out every other month, and in months they didn’t put out that book, they put out Tip Topper. Same thing happened with Sparkler and Sparkle. Obviously, someone who was looking for Sparkler would recognize Sparkle as basically the same mag. So why would a publisher go to the extra effort and confusion of splitting the title?  Simple: because if you have two bimonthly books, you get more space on the newsstand. The retailer leaves each issue up for two months, creating more chance for each copy to sell rather than getting returned for a refund. (As long as the retailer is wiling to put up with you hogging the space.)

TIP TOP COMICS, which Nat mentions above, has a separate listing on this website for the many comic books featuring GORDO in its title.  Nat was also generous enough to share these images from SPARKLE: