Gasoline Alley originated in 1918 as a humorous single-panel cartoon that revolved around the character Walt and his male neighbors discussing automobiles, still considered a novelty at the time. In 1921, perhaps at the behest of Captain Joseph Patterson or his cousin Robert McCormick (both co-publishers of the Chicago Tribune), Frank O. King turned the strip into a domestic drama by dropping a baby onto the doorstep of the bachelor Walt. Walt improbably decides to raise the child himself and names him Skeezix, a word said to have been slang for “motherless calf.”
King demonstrated his mastery of visual storytelling in his later Sunday Gasoline Alley strips. He also introduced real-time continuity to the comics page by having his characters age along with the audience. Baby Skeezix has grown into a young boy in these innovative Sunday pages. Gasoline Alley is the second-longest running comic strip in the U.S. and is still being drawn for syndication.