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Gems for the Funnybone: Comic Strip Hip

October 13, 2000|CANDACE A. WEDLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Comic relief may not always be at one's fingertips, but there's no reason why it can't be at the neck and wrists.

A Napa-based toy company called OddzOn is making an unusual line of jewelry with beads created from rolled-up comic strips--the colorful Sunday kind.

Miniaturized replicas of original comic strips such as Archie, Baby Huey, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Little Lulu and Garfield are reprinted on recycled paper that is lighter than copy paper but heavier than comic or newsprint. The strips are then hand-rolled into beads, covered with a lacquer-type substance to keep the beads from unraveling, then strung on elastic. Besides a necklace, the bracelets come in two versions--a single strand and a cuff.

Tom Prichard, general manager of OddzOn (which is owned by the Pawtucket, R.I.-based toy maker Hasbro Inc.), said the cuff style has been the best received by retailers and consumers.

The inexpensive jewelry Com-X sells for between about $3 and $6 at mass retailers such as Kmart and Target. Each piece comes with its own comic strip patterned bag.

The company, said Prichard, is working on a bead design that will use photos of teen idols such as the band 'N Sync.

Using the images of cartoon characters for jewelry is not entirely new. A good number of lovable comic characters have been accessories over the years--Betty Boop, Tweety Bird, Winnie-the-Pooh.

America, it seems, loves its comics--to watch, read, and to wear.

Cartoonists like the phenomenon. As Jim Davis, creator of Garfield, said: "This is one of the best second uses for a comic strip I've ever seen. Sure beats lining the parrot's cage."

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