Monday, August 30, 2010

Number 799

"If I could talk to the animals..."

Here's a curious and yet poignant story from Forbidden Worlds #58, 1957. A bunch of talking animals strike out on the own, for better or worse, after losing their "master," Dr. Dolittle...errrrr, I mean Dr. Marlin.

This doesn't strike me as a typical ACG story, and maybe it was written by someone other than editor Richard E. Hughes, who is reputed to have written all the content for ACG's post-Comics Code titles.

It's well drawn, too, but the Grand Comics Database doesn't give credit.

Any story with gorillas named Steve and Lola is aces with me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Number 798

Born of a nightmare

Consider if Edgar Rice Burroughs had lost Tarzan to a huge corporation which made millions in profit from the character over the years, and fired Burroughs from writing his own creation. Think of Conan Doyle losing Sherlock Holmes in a similar fashion. Good thing those nightmare scenarios never happened.

Superman is an icon like those characters, yet the nightmare happened to creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. A few years after being bumped from Superman they came up with another character, Funnyman. I'm sure they knew all about the Superman lawsuit against Fawcett over Captain Marvel and their lawyers may have told them, "Make any new characters you create unlike Superman or DC will sue." Funnyman is about as un-Supermanlike as you can get.

OK, so Funnyman isn't so funny...more oddball than humorous. And if anyone other than Siegel and Shuster had come up with the character our expectations might not have been so high. But he's not all that bad, either. Unfortunately, he didn't get much time to prove anything one way or another. His self-titled comic was canceled after six issues.

The Grand Comics Database says this was drawn by Dick Ayers ? or Marvin Stein ? but those question marks mean they just aren’t sure.The story, inspired by Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is from Funnyman #4, 1948.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Number 797

Comical Comics Week: The Three Mouseketeers

This is the final day of Comical Comics Week, and with it, Pappy's theme month. On Sunday we go back to the regular style postings.

Sheldon Mayer created The Three Mouseketeers in 1956 for DC Comics. There had been another set of Three Mouseketeers--not the same characters--created in 1944. I showed one of their adventures in Pappy's #212. Mayer's Three Mouseketeers are different than the original Three Mouseketeers. My guess is that the popular Walt Disney TV show, The Mickey Mouse Club, which featured a group of pre-teen "Mouseketeers," was the reason for this strip. Since DC already had claim to the name Mouseketeers* they could tie in to the show by association with the title, and Disney couldn't do a thing about it.

Fatsy, Patsy and Minus were funny characters in the best Shelly Mayer tradition. You can read about them here. These two stories are from The Three Mouseketeers #3, 1956. The young boy in the story, "Working On The Railroad" looks like an older version of Spike, another character S.M. created that year in the comic book, Sugar and Spike. Spike was based on Mayer's son, Lanny. I assume this boy is, also. So did Mayer caricature himself as the pipe-smoking dad?

*For maximum confusion, Tom and Jerry starred in a spin-off comic called The Two Mouseketeers at Dell.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Number 796

Comical Comics Week: Cookie in drag

This is the third day of Comical Comics Week:

In the 1940s cross-dressing in popular comedy was treated in a non-sexual way, like the 1892 play, Charley's Aunt, where a man dressed in disguise as a woman. So does Cookie, but he not only has a girl's name, he's small and looks good in a Veronica Lake wig.


At the time it was illegal in many places for men or women to wear each others' clothes in public, which is why Zoot is hollering for the cops because of a "female impersonator."

Wearing girls' clothes and a bit of sexual confusion sets the tone for some comedy by longtime animator/funnyman Dan Gordon, who also did Superkatt for ACG in the late 1940s. Cookie was another Archie-teenage comic, more successful than most. Cookie lasted for 55 issues, until 1955. Dan Gordon, who had worked for Max Fleischer, then Famous Studios, went back to Hanna-Barbera in the late '50s and did storyboards for their earliest creations, including storyboards for the first couple of episodes of The Flintstones. Gordon died in 1969.

From Cookie #5, 1947: