A seminal and long-running (1934–77) newspaper [[http://www.lil-abner.com/ comic strip]] by Al Capp, which detailed the bizarre lives and loves of the hillbilly inhabitants of Dogpatch, USA. The title character was the perpetually 19-year-old big-hearted lunkhead, the son of spitfire Pansy "Mammy" Yokum and the dull-witted useless Lucifer "Pappy" Yokum. For much of the early years of the strip, the marriage-fearing Abner was pursued aggressively by the lovely Daisy Mae Scragg; in 1952, Capp gave in and let her finally marry Abner. The strip was known for its vicious satire of current events, initially from a more liberal perspective though switching to a conservative bent in its twilight years as Capp grew older. Many of the storylines focused on the innocent Abner being placed in positions where he was easy prey for corrupt villains.

At the height of its popularity, it ran in over 900 newspaper in North America and Europe and an estimated 70 million Americans read it every day. The wedding storyline became a major media event, even making the cover of Life magazine. Al Capp became a regular face in television during the height of the strip's popularity in the golden age of newspaper comics, and one of the few cartoonists to remain a public figure in his own right. Eventually, time took its toll, especially in the 1960s when he drifted into becoming a right wing crank sneering at young folk singers and political activists both in his strip and in public speaking appearance, even picking a public argument with Music/JohnLennon during his famous Bed-In. In 1971, that public reputation was shattered forever when he was arrested on sex related charges and papers began to drop his strip in droves. In 1974, Capp, feeling the previous five years of his strip were terrible and his health failing rapidly, called it quits. The strip's swan song received even more massive coverage in the press, with many calling it the end of an era. Capp himself passed away in 1979.

During the strip's run, it was adapted into two films, a Broadway musical (which served as the basis for the second film), a radio serial that ran from 1939 to 1940 and five short animated films made by Creator/ColumbiaCartoons in [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation 1944]]. While the series itself never became a television show (despite an unsold pilot airing just once on NBC in 1967), ''Fearless Fosdick,'' a ruthless parody of ''ComicStrip/DickTracy'', briefly spun-off into his own 13-episode puppet show that was swiftly canceled, while the Shmoo appeared in two Saturday Morning Cartoon series for Hanna-Barbera in 1979 and again in 1980–84 (both times sharing billing with [[WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble]]). A theme park, Dogpatch, USA, opened in 1968, though it was largely unsuccessful for most of its life and closed in 1993 ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogpatch_USA though most it is still standing]]). The strip is also credited with introducing several colloquialisms into the English language, including "schmooze", "irregardless", "druthers", and even the word "schmoo" has entered into at least four separate fields of science. The strip was also the original source of "Sadie Hawkins Day" dances.

[[ArchivePanic Due to sheer length]], a comprehensive reprint has yet to reach completion. Through the decades, numerous smaller collections of storylines were released, until 1988 when Kitchen Sink Press attempted the mammoth task of reprinting the series in its entirety, reaching 27 volumes before the company unfortunately went under in 1999, getting the series only to 1961. IDW began another attempt at a reprint in 2010, starting all the way from the beginning and so far having released 7 out of a projected 21 volumes.

United Features Syndicate continues to run free daily reruns of a select number of classic Li'l Abner strips on [[http://comics.com/lil_abner_classics/ comics.com]] (though these are hardly complete, jump from plot to plot without conclusions to many of them, and rerun the same storylines over and over).

!!Provides examples of:

* AbhorrentAdmirer: Sadie Hawkins and Lena the Hyena.
* AmbidextrousSprite: A rare non-video game example; ; Li'l Abner had an odd design quirk where the part in his hair always faces the viewer, no matter which direction Abner is facing. When asked “Which side does Abner part his hair on?," creator Al Capp answered, [[TakeAThirdOption “Both.”]]
* ArtEvolution: The earliest strips used a far more realistic style to the point that the characters were hardly recognizable.
* ATankardOfMooseUrine: Kickapoo Joy Juice.
* AuthorTract: When Capp started aging and subsequently got left behind in the generational gap, he would devote a great deal of time firing off {{Take That}}s at left-wing political figures via the strip.
* ButterFace: Sadie Hawkins
* ChasteHero: Abner, to a comical {{Asexual}} degree.
* CoolOldLady: Pansy Yokum
* CowboyCop: Fearless Fosdick
* CrapsackWorld: Lower Slobbovia. Dogpatch itself is only slightly better.
* CriminalDoppelganger: Gat Garson was Abner's double. More than that, Garson's parents were identical to Abner's parents...right down to the fingerprints!
* DistractedByTheSexy: Stupefyin' Jones
* DoesNotLikeShoes: Daisy Mae goes barefoot, as do many of the other Dogpatch residents. (This may actually be a different trope, BarefootPoverty.)
* DeepSouth: Dogpatch (couldn't get much deeper..)
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: The ''Fearless Fosdick'' adversary, the Chippendale Chair, is, in fact, a sentient Chippendale Chair.
* FarmersDaughter: Pretty much all of the women.
* FunetikAksent: Everyone that doesn't speak plain English, especially the main characters.
* FunWithAcronyms: The student group SWINE
* GargleBlaster: Kickapoo Joy Juice
* GeneralFailure: Jubilation T. Cornpone
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Even Al Capp openly wondered how he got Appassionata Von Climax past the censors. Not only did she appear in the strip as one of the many sexually aggressive femme fatales pursuing Abner, but also as a villain in the musical... meaning her name snuck past the Hays Code as well.
* HeManWomanHater: Abner, at least at first. It's not necessarily that he isn't attracted to them, but the second they show any interest in ''him'' ([[MrFanservice which they tend to do]]) he wants to run away.
* HelloNurse: Stupefyin' Jones is the most evident.
** To a lesser degree, there were a wide variety of [[ImpossibleHourglassFigure shapely]] girls that would attract [[DistractedByTheSexy attention]] from the menfolk. [[IncorruptiblePurePureness Except Little Abner himself, of course.]]
* HonestJohnsDealership: Available Jones
* IdiotHero: This is most blatantly lampshaded on the numerous occasions when Abner survives being shot in the head precisely ''because'' the shot was to his head, survives falls from great heights because he happened to land on his head, etc.
* IssueDrift: See Creator Breakdown
* LetsMeetTheMeat: The Shmoos
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: One of the first strips to do this regularly. The [[ShowWithinAShow strip within a strip]] ''Fearless Fosdick'' was often used to comment on the conventions of the actual strip. Taken UpToEleven in the story of Li'l Abner and Daisy Mae's marriage, which came about because Abner took a vow to do whatever Fosdick did in his strip.
--> '''Daisy Mae:''' Look! In today's paper, Fearless Fosdick proposed, an' Prudence Pimpleton accepted!\\
'''Abner:''' Haw! It don't mean nothin'! It's th'usual comical strip trick, t'keep stupid readers excited!\\
''(After Abner proposes)''\\
'''Daisy Mae:''' Oh, how mizzuble all this is! Th'biggest moment in mah life, an' it's jest a joke fum a comical strip!
* MeaningfulName: ''Everyone'' in this strip had a name that either explained or made fun of their character.
* MsFanservice: Daisy Mae, and a whole bunch of others. Stupefyin' Jones is a ''weaponized'' variant.
** Abner himself might qualify as MrFanservice. He may be a big chaste doofus but he's nonetheless a cute, hunky, young guy with jet-black hair and a [[WalkingShirtlessScene great physique]]. YMMV.
** Capp's work [[UnbuiltTrope pre-dated the expression "fan service,"]] but this strip is a very strong example. The strip didn't rely on RuleOfSexy - it was genuinely humorous quite aside from the eye candy - but unlike almost any other media in TheFifties, it [[RefugeInAudacity revelled]] in fan service.
* MultipurposeMonoculturedCrop: The schmoo take the "multipurpose" aspect of this trope UpToEleven.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Most of the villains and pretty much anyone Capp had a beef with wound up with a name like this. These include Nightmare Alice, Evil-Eye Fleegle, and ''Fearless Fosdick'''s syndicate, Squeezeblood Syndicate.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: All celebrity parodies had their names changed, mainly so Capp could use them whenever he wanted. One of the more notorious was ''Fearless Fosdick'' author Lester Gooch, a parody of ''ComicStrip/DickTracy'' author Chester Gould. Gooch was frequently portrayed as mentally deranged, and only capable of writing well when he ''was'' insane.
* NoOneShouldSurviveThat: Lil' Abner has survived virtually everything - death by poison gas, bullets to the chest, innumerable cases of falling damage, quicksand, and so on. Rather than rely on unlikely coincidence, Capp preferred RefugeInAudacity.
--> '''Abner:''' That were a long fall! Goo' thing ah landed on my haid, or I could have got hurt!
* NotNowWereTooBusyCryingOverYou: In a story, this was inverted. Li'l Abner has escaped what seemed like certain death, and goes to Dogpatch to find some of its citizens singing a funeral hymn for their poor deceased Li'l Abner. When he sees this and learns that they're mourning him, he starts singing along in a very sad tone of voice, because who wouldn't feel sad at his own funeral?
* OnlyAFleshWound: Fearless Fosdick
* OrphanageOfFear: One storyline in the late 1930s had Abner go to an orphanage after his parents are (supposedly) dead. It exaggerates the whole trope to its ends: he's forced to change into a new "uniform" (rags), the orphanage master gives bare bones to the orphans with lots of food for himself and whips the orphans, but Abner and the orphans ultimately stage a mutiny.
* OurFounder: Confederate General Jubilation T. Cornpone, who in the musical even gets his own song about his "great" deeds in UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar. He was, in fact, such a horrible general that at least according to the musical, UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln credited him with single-handedly helping the Confederacy ''lose'' the war.
* PersonalRaincloud: Joe Btfsplk
* ThePigPen: Moonbeam [=McSwine=]
* RedEyesTakeWarning: The Nogoodniks (the evil version of the Shmoos) had "li'l red eyes". They devoured "good" Shmoos, were the sworn enemies of "hoomanity," and wreaked havoc on Dogpatch.
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: The Schmoos, which spawned a merchandising mania... until Capp finally got so tired of them overshadowing his strip that he had them all killed off.
* {{Ruritania}}: Lower Slobbovia
* ShowWithinAShow: ''Fearless Fosdick'', which eventually became famous in and of its own right.
* StrawmanPolitical: Again, lots of them.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: A curious example in Tiny, Abner's younger brother. While he never replaced Abner in the strip itself, he did take on the UnresolvedSexualTension part after Abner and Daisy Mae got married, and notably became the protagonist in the annual Sadie Hawkins Day Race strips.
* TakeThat: Whatever or whomever had recently pissed off Al Capp.
* TastesLikeChicken: Fried Shmoo.
* TisOnlyABulletInTheBrain: Getting shot in the head is a minor injury for Abner, because his head contains nothing that he can't function normally without.
* TorsoWithAView: Any man or beast that gets shot tends to be left with large clean round holes where the bullet passed.
* UnresolvedSexualTension: This pretty much defined the first 18 years of the strip when it came to stories about Daisy Mae. Two years after they finally tied the knot, Capp tried to recreate the dynamic by introducing Abner's 15 and a half "y'ars" old brother Tiny, who was then endlessly pursued by Hopeful Mudd and Boyless Bailey.
* [[WeWantOurJerkBack We Want Our Nutcase Back]]: Lester Gooch was once cured of his insanity, leading to horrible ''Fearless Fosdick'' plotlines and his readers bailing. His syndicate eventually put him through various forms of torture, ending with making him watch soap operas, until he finally went insane again.
--> '''Abner''' ''(to Daisy Mae):'' You don't realize what a handy-cap bein' sane '''is''' to [[TakeThatMe a cartoonist!]]
* WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove: Wolf Gal
* YourHeartsDesire: Shmoos were a species discovered by Li'l Abner in the Valley of the Shmoon. They loved humans unconditionally, had a phenomenal rate of reproduction, and provided humanity with ''everything'' they needed for subsistence. They gave milk, laid eggs (a few had even mastered laying ''hard-boiled'' eggs), and acted as pets and beasts of burden. A human could cause a Shmoo to commit [[JustForPun Shmooicide]] just by looking at it hungrily, at which point its skin could be cut thin for cloth, thick for leather, boiled to harden into a timber substitute; its eyes used for buttons, its whiskers for toothpicks: also, of course, its flesh was boneless, and delicious in several different ways, depending on how you cooked it. [[spoiler: As soon as this miracle animal became known to the outside world, American big businessmen attempted to wipe them out, since a solution to world hunger and suffering would have destroyed their profits.]]