On comics page, Ozarks met Appalachians

[Billy] DeBeck‘s primary focus as a cartoonist was always amusement rather than cultural edification, and he played a leading role in constructing a broad-based public conception of Southern hill folk as cartoonish figures.

“He was also instrumental in freely blending Ozark and Appalachian settings into a single mythical geographic location. Although [his comic strip “Barney Google & Snuffy Smith” ] was initially set in the North Carolina mountains, characters in an early episode refer to ordering store-bought clothes from the nearby big city of ‘Little Rock’ — in reality, 600 plus miles to the west. A month later, Sairy Hopkins runs away from Hootin’ Holler and after three days of wandering through the woods arrives in ‘Crystal Springs, Arkansas.’

“Such geographic confusion suggests the willingness of both the creators of the hillbilly image and the reading public to accept the conflation of hundreds of miles of distance and two diverse cultures into a homogenous fantasy mountain South — a process that would only accelerate in the work of [“Li’l Abner” cartoonist] Al Capp.”

— From “Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon” by Anthony Harkins (2003)