|Sylvester P. Smythe|
as drawn by John Severin
|First appearance||Cracked No. 1|
|Last appearance||Cracked: The Comedy Magazine No. 3|
|No. of appearances||368|
Sylvester P. Smythe is Cracked's janitor and serves as the publication's official mascot.
Sylvester is typically portrayed as a short, blonde man with wide, pleasant face. He usually is seen in his janitor's uniform of white overalls and painter's cap, often with a yellow "non-smiley-face" button on it. He is often depicted as mute and gentle of nature.
Sylvester appeared on the cover of the very first issue of Cracked and was seen in the background throughout the issue. He was drawn in this issue (and many of his early appearances) as tall and lanky, usually engaged in the act of patching up cracks in the walls behind the main action. His hair, though already blonde (Bill Everett's Beetle Bailey-esqe depiction on issue No. 1's border notwithstanding), was depicted as long in the front and shaved bald in the back until the late sixties, when he would begin being depicted with a full head of hair. Various takes on this lankier Sylvester would appear for the first couple of years by such artists as Bill Everett, Will Elder and Jack Davis until John Severin's version became the standard around 1961.
Originally, Sylvester was almost exclusively a side character, appearing in the background and on the cover, but not actively participating in the stories. As the Cracked cast of characters grew in the seventies, however, he and the others (Nanny Dickering, The Talking Blob, Sagebrush, etc.) began to appear in their own stories, most notably, the Cracked Movies.
While often mute, Sylvester has spoken many times over the years, most extensively in a 1964 issue in which he ran for President.
In later years, as the publication changed hands and the original artists left the magazine, the portrayal of Sylvester changed. He became more "extreme" and lost a lot of his innocence. By the time of the relaunch in 2006, he was being portrayed as something worthy of derision, although the final illustration featuring Sylvester (a portrait by John Severin from the third issue was rather dignified.
It would seem that Sylvester appeared in every single Cracked publication, even if only in the form of reproduced stock art, so a list of his appearances is pointless. If it's Cracked, he's there.
Though Cracked may have been a rung or two down the pop culture ladder from Mad, Sylvester did still make occasional appearances outside of his home, usually in rival humor magazines when they set their sights on their competitors.