Thursday, March 15, 2007

Number 107

Doug Wildey's Bug-A-Boo!

When Doug Wildey died in 1994 at age 72 he left behind a body of comic book work but will best be remembered as the creator of the television animation series, Jonny Quest.

In the 1980s toward the end of his career he did some issues of a title called Classic Jonny Quest
for Eclipse Publishing that showed how good an artist he was.

"Bug-A-Boo!" is a story from Mysterious Adventures #17, December 1953. Mysterious Adventures* used EC Comics as its model, and in this story Doug Wildey uses Wally Wood's artwork as his inspiration. The artwork is the main saving grace of this story, which pretty much uses for its model Pappy's Rules Of Horror Comics:

  • Horror comics characters shall be as stupid, unpleasant, or unredeemable as it is possible to be in 5 to 8 pages.
  • Whatever fate awaits those characters shall derive from their own stupidity, unpleasantness or unredeemable actions and shall end in death, the more horrible the better.

In this story the characters are in the jungle trying out a new pesticide. As the old TV commercial used to say, "It's not nice to mess with Mother Nature."

Wildey drew this story when he was about 30 years old and despite appropriating Wood's style (not a bad style itself!) shows that his artwork was very mature. Later on, before Jonny Quest in 1964, he would draw love comics, westerns, mystery and even a run of Tarzan for Gold Key.

*Mysterious Adventures also used The Law Of Skeletons to guide its choice of cover subjects. It's been well known to publishers for decades that a skeleton on the cover increases sales. The cover for this issue had nothing to do with the contents of the comic, but is a story in itself that the reader can just make up on his own.

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