Fred Basset comic strip

Fred Basset, written by Alex Graham, is a comic strip carried by a local paper. I always assumed by the language and contextual clues that the strip was set in England.

A recent Sunday strip showed the family in the car. Steering wheel on the left side; car travelling on the right side of the road.

What gives? Anyone know for sure where the setting for this strip is supposed to be?

It’s not carried in New York, but I’ve seen it on various business trips.

I think it’s supposed to be set in some hellishly dull looking-glass world.


This probably doesn’t help much, but I’ve had some problems figuring out Japanese comics for the same reason. Sometimes the wheel is on the left, sometimes it’s on the right. A friend of mine explained to me that they simply mirror-image the panels on multi-panel pages, so that the action goes in the right order. I.e., in the original Japanese, you follow the text from right to left? Anyway, the upshot is that full-page panels aren’t mirror-imaged, so the wheel stays on the correct (right) side for Japan.

Perhaps someone has mirror-imaged this British cartoon so as not to confuse the Yanqs. With predictable results. (Not as likely, since they would have to re-letter the dialogue, which they have to do anyway for Japanese comics).

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  • Boris Badenov

We get this comic in New Jersey. I do read it. On the one hand, I never noticed anything specifically British about it. On the other hand, I always notice that it has had an unusually sort of humor, which (now that you mention it) is an almost-British sort of droll.

I never knew that publishers mirror the pictures on foreign comics. Wouldn’t that mess up the dialog balloons? I suppose they could cut-and-paste the dialog back after flipping the picture. But I doubt they’d redo the actual lettering of the dialog. And seeing how I never noticed any spelling oddities (colour, for example) my bet is that either (1) it’s not British at all, or (2) the cartoonist makes both British and Yank versions.

What I meant was, they do it for Japanese cartoons which have to be relettered anyway. I was stretching this concept to include mirroring British cartoons so they wouldn’t get sued by people who get into car accidents for driving on the left side of the road. Okay, that’s even more of a stretch.

But then, who’d’ve thought that Mad Max needed to be dubbed from Australian into American?

And yes, they would have to redo all the dialog after mirroring the British stuff.

Fred Basset is a British comic strip that has had some success here in the U.S. (much like Andy Capp). I don’t know why they’re driving on the right, though if the U.S. market is bigger the artist may have either drawn it for the U.S. or did two versions.

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