Sunday, April 22, 2012
Number 1144: “I must've given him an overdose!” Smokey Stover and Spooky
Dell's Super Comics #118 (1949) published 24 pages of 1945 Smokey Stover and Spooky Sunday strips by the inimitable Bill Holman. I'm passing along the favor by re-presenting them to you.
Holman came up with wordplay and puns for practically every Smokey Stover panel he drew, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Holman's Spooky strips are more dependent on sight gags than words. They were originally published as the bottom tier of the Sunday Smokey Stover pages, expendable if the subscribing newspaper decided to drop them in favor of advertising.
Paul Tumey's new blog, Screwball Comics, is a celebration of the zaniness from the comics of a lifetime ago, including those of Bill Holman. I strongly recommend you check it out.
Craig Yoe has solved those problems with this volume. Frazetta fans get funny animals like Hucky Duck and Bruno Bear, dozens of the aforementioned single illustrations, the hillbilly strip, "Looie Lazybones," and Frazetta's collaboration with artist Ralph Mayo, "Kathy," among others. It's 256 pages of great comic art.
My guess is that most Frazetta fans will welcome it for what it is, early, talented work in a different genre from that which Frazetta's name is usually attached. Some will dismiss it as kids' stuff. No dark fantasy, no "Death Dealer" or Conan the Barbarian in this book! But for those willing to look past preconceived notions there will be a rich reward. In Frazetta's Funny Stuff we see a major artist in his early days, learning to draw human anatomy (at the request of Ralph Mayo, told in a humorous story recounted by Frazetta), showing his early skill at drawing figures in action, both animal and human.
The book is beautifully produced. Reproduction from old comic books—as I'm here to attest—can be frustrating, but I love the over-sized pages, and especially the enlarged spot illustrations. As always, Craig's books are impeccably designed and printed. Permanent binding, thick quality paper to ensure the best reproduction possible. You will never go wrong buying a book with the Yoe imprint.
Frazetta Funny Stuff is available from Amazon.com, Yoe Books, and your other favorite booksellers.