Sunday, January 02, 2011
If you love old movies like I do, then you've probably seen The African Queen with Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Wallace Wood did this exceptional parody of the movie in EC Comics' own Mad imitation, Panic.
The experience of filming the movie was so memorable to Hepburn that in 1987 she wrote a memoir:
Clint Eastwood played a Huston-like director making an African Queen-like movie in White Hunter Black Heart in 1990.
The Wood version is from the Al Feldstein edited Panic #2, 1954:
This first week of 2011 is a theme week. Well, sorta. It's an EC week with obscure stories you may not have seen. Tomorrow, meet Freddy Firefly, from EC's Animal Fables.
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EC and Signet may have missed a good bet in not slipping reprints from Panic into their paperback Mad series. They'd seen that they could sell stuff generated with Feldstein at the helm, and they could fairly tell the readers that Panic had been produced by the same “gang of idiots”.
But perhaps they felt that they were already near some saturation point.
Pappy: Wow. I have always preferred Wood's "lighter" stuff to his more mainstream stuff. I have always thought his superheroes slash "serious" work a bit stiff and lacking in expression (while always with fantastic draftsmanship and layouts). The stuff which you post here always seems so incredibly vital and alive, so full of movement and style. Very, very lovely.
Daniel, you bring up something I had never thought about...why wasn't Panic reprinted in paperback form by either Ballantine or Signet? My guess is that Panic didn't have the cult following of Mad, which was a very hip comic book amongst older teens and young adults. And they were the crossover readers most likely to be looking on the paperback book racks.
I think either publisher could have blurbed on the covers of any paperback reprints that Panic was a Mad companion. I like your idea of telling the readers it was the "same gang of idiots."
Unlike any other Mad imitator, Panic had the advantage of the same art crew. You'd think it would have been a natural.
All they had to do was entitle the book. MAD PUSHES THE PANIC BUTTON and then get someone (Bob Newhart, perhaps, with his "button" down mind) to write a brief intro explaining what Panic was. I'd have bought a few volumes of that!
Steve, like you I would've bought a volume called Mad Pushes the Panic Button, (great title)!
I wonder if anyone knows whether any serious consideration was given at any time to reprint Panic in the late '50s or '60s.
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