Sunday, November 20, 2011
Uncle Charlie and Peter Pester
Uncle Charlie's Fables was a short-lived (five issues) comic from the same guys who gave us Crime Does Not Pay, Crime and Punishment and Boy Comics. Editor Charles Biro was the "Uncle Charlie" of the title. My impression of Biro is that he was a big man (in various biographical sketches readers he's described as 6'2") with an ego to match his size. Whatever. He had something of a magic touch with comics, and knew how to promote and sell them.
So Uncle Charlie's Fables was probably a flop for Biro, but it came out at a time hundreds of comics were glutting the racks, and a new title was likely in some trouble, anyway. I'm speculating, but it looks like Biro was attempting to sell a title to children, to maybe deflect some of the criticism he'd been under for several years with his crime comics. I don't know that's true, I'm just sayin'...
"Peter Pester" is the first story from the first issue. It's drawn by an artist I have no information on, Hy Mankin. Mankin had the style Biro preferred, all clean lines. The other artists in the issue are elite illustrators: Fred Kida, Bob Fujitani, and Dick Rockwell. Uncle Charlie's Fables, with its painted covers, top art talent, and some humorous stories, probably deserved better. It might have been too offbeat for comic book buyers in 1952.