Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Number 168

Billy and Bonny Bee

It's time to throw in a funny animal feature, this time from New Funnies #72, February, 1943. "Billy and Bonny Bee" was drawn by Frank Thomas.

This Frank Thomas is not that Frank Thomas. That Frank Thomas is one of the Nine Old Men of the Disney Studios, famous for his work in animation.This Frank Thomas was born in 1914, was active in comic books from 1938 to about 1952, and drew a variety of features in a variety of styles. He left comic books to work on syndicated comic strips.

This Frank Thomas was a fairly good illustrator of comic book features, but I believe some of his best work is right here in this strip. It was drawn during the first year of World War II and shows some war paranoia, especially in the use of the air raid and dragonfly as enemy. The panel reproduced above is creepy enough to give kids the shivering shudders.

I'm grateful to Michael T. Gilbert and the Eclipse Comics' Mr. Monster's Hi-Shock Schlock! #2* from 1987. I got my information on Thomas from this comic. Gilbert reprinted a Thomas strip from Centaur's Keen Detective Funnies, "The Eye." The main claim to fame of the Eye story isn't its artwork, which in this case is serviceable if not spectacular, but how bizarre the concept is. It wasn't much of a stretch for Thomas to go from a bizarre super-hero to a bizarre funny animal fantasy like "Billy and Bonny Bee." It looks like Thomas' art and heart were more into this type of strip.

*If you go back to Pappy's #125 you'll see the strip, "Toni Gay and Butch Dykeman," which is also reprinted in this issue of Mr. Monster's Hi-Shock Schlock!


Edwin said...

Very entertaining strip, Pappy! I love the mix of stuff you post here. Keep 'em coming, pal.

Pappy said...

Thanks yourself, pal! I love having such discriminating and discerning readers. Pappy