Monday, January 14, 2013

Number 1298: Going Nuts

This is posting number two of our Funky Funnies week, highlighting some oddball humor comics.

Nuts, which came from the small publisher, Premier Magazines, is actually one of the better Mad imitations. I say that with qualifications. In my opinion no comic ever really came that close to Mad, calling Nuts a better imitation is faint praise. But John Benson, in his excellent compilation from Mad imitators, The Sincerest Form of Parody, gives some space to Nuts. (I'm showing different stories than Benson.) I recommend his book if you're into this type of comic book which, with the success of Mad, sprang up like toadstools after a rainstorm.

The penciler of “Tick Dracy” is unknown, but Hy Fleishman is credited by comic art expert Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. with the inks, and John Belcastro, using his pseudonym Johnny Bell, did “Prince Valuable.” Fleishman and Belcastro both became known in comics during this era of the early 1950s, and did work in various genres. Fleishman is especially well known for his work, pencils and inks, in horror comics. (Check out the search engine using his name in Karwell's The Horrors Of It All blog for some great examples of his work.)


Brian Barnes said...

Let me second Pappy's love for "The Sincerest Form of Parody". A great book.

In my opinion, Atlas came the closest with the EC horror stuff (which was much easier to duplicate), and I thought they also came closest of all the Mad imitations.

Even with stuff like this, though, a lot of times there a panel or a joke that really works. Most of these guys were operating under the Groucho Marx theory where you just make as many jokes as possible; humans remember "hits" and forget "misses." It's sure to work out in your favor in the end!

Keir said...

I spent so much going through both stories and couldn't make sense of either!

Mykal Banta said...

Pappy: This is amazing. I particularly like Bell's channeling Wally Wood on Prince Valuable. What's interesting about this post is that it demonstrates the amazing influence Mad had on the comic/magazine world. Thanks for sharing this!

Pappy said...

Keir, see Brian's post just above yours and his explanation of the Groucho Marx theory.

Mykal, everyone wanted at least part of that Mad success, reputed to be selling a million copies or more an issue. Even people who didn't usually read comics were buying Mad. My brother-in-law, in high school at the time, is an example. He said with him and his buddies it was the hippest and coolest thing going.