Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Number 236

Rat Fink Christmas

I was reminded of something the other day when I got my friend Dave Miller's annual Christmas CD. To compile his yearly CD, Dave takes some of the most obscure and oddball Christmas music he can find on record albums from thrift stores and yard sales.

Although there's nothing on the CD related to the cover artwork, the cover evokes Ed "Big Daddy" Roth and his famous Rat Fink.

In the 1960s there was a magazine devoted to Big Daddy, published and edited by Pete Millar. Millar died in 2003, and has been forgotten by a lot of comic book fans, because his comic books weren't those normally sold to Marvel and DC readers. He published Drag Cartoons from 1963 to 1968, with the themes being cars and drag racing. That was a subject I wasn't interested in,* but I did like the cartoonists working in those early issues: Toth, Warren Tufts, Russ Manning, and even Millar himself. Millar got a license with Ed Roth to do four issues of a magazine that eventually failed on the newsstands. Pete overestimated how many kids who bought Rat Fink decals might be willing to pay 35¢ for a magazine based on Big Daddy. Number 2 is the only issue I bought, probably because of the Alex Toth story. But that's for later. For right now we've got Millar himself doing a Mad comics-styled "Night Before Christmas," featuring Big Daddy himself.

Pete's artstyle was developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and he is still the only cartoonist I've ever seen work in that style. I've scanned the pages bigger than I normally do. If your eyes are anything like Pappy's eyes you need something bigger so you can see all the tiny details. Just click on the pages for full-size images.

*The only thing about cars that interested me was getting girls into the seat next to me.

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