Friday, May 22, 2015

Number 1738: Lulu’s Witch Hazel: “If you go down in the woods today...”

The 100-page squareback giant comics Dell published in the fifties are some of my favorites. Little Lulu and Her Special Friends (1955) is all inspired John Stanley humor, and except for the covers, all Irving Tripp artwork. I love that it has four of Lulu’s “Little Girl” stories, with Witch Hazel.

“Old Witch Hazel and the Witless Whirlwind” is a variation on the three wishes fantasy. Hazel whips up a whirlwind to take the Little Girl  far away to die under horrible conditions. But Hazel’s commands to the whirlwind go comically awry. Also in the story, as a disguise Witch Hazel changes into a beautiful woman. “I hate to disfigure myself like this,” says the witch as her magic wand turns her into a glamorous blonde. That is Stanley’s sense of humor at work.

More Lulu “Little Girl” stories. Just click on the thumbnails.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Lulu —the links, too. Lulu was it's own thing a good use of the comics medium —to me, anyway.

In the Luluhaha story where she speaks gurgling Brook-ese, rustling Tree-ese, etc. I couldn't help but laugh.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

I knew the character, but never read her stories.
All in all I like it, nice comic for little kids. Little Girl is drawn in a very cute style.
I've noticed that witches in Kids' Comics (the Sea hag, Magica de Spell, Hazel Nut or this one) tend to have a pretty standardized "uniform": a black dress, a hat maybe. I'd like to see a Witch in Red for a change.
De Spell, by the way, is my favorite witch (in this kind of comics, of course). A duck with long, black hair and fluttering eyes, wow.

Pappy said...

J D, much more than humor for the kiddies! Little Lulu in the 1950s joined Pogo Possum and Mad comics as being considered hip and cool by college students, and people who otherwise would not be caught dead with a comic book. My father, for instance, loved reading Little Lulu stories to me before I could read, and would often laugh at things I did not understand.

Magica De Spell was a wonderful character, but she was "real" in the sense she was introduced as being part of the Duck continuity. Little Lulu's witch only exists in Lulu's imagination, in the stories she tells to her neighbor boy, Alvin. The witch's name is Witch Hazel, which is the name of a product, a disinfectant which (witch?) is used to soothe itching, burning hemorrhoids. Witch Hazel's niece, Little Itch, was introduced later. Ho, ho. It is a long way around for a joke there, but funny, anyway.

Pappy said...

7f7, you got it, buddy. Those jokes within jokes, a sure sign you're reading a Little Lulu story written by John Stanley. Thanks for the comment-ese!

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Intersting. I think I'll dig a little more. thanks.

Unknown said...

That was good! Nothing bad to say about it. I've written before that I'm not a big kids'-comics fan, but I always enjoy yours, Pap. The shots of Alvin flying were especially cute.

Pappy said...

Ryan, thanks. I probably did this unconsciously for years, but then I became aware that I have always been drawn to comics for children that show they were indeed written and drawn by adults, and can be read by adults without too many brain cells being destroyed. (I can't say that about some of the other stuff I show, ostensibly done for mature readers.)

In my mind the greatest of these writers/artists were John Stanley, Walt Kelly and Carl Barks. Stanley and Kelly I feel safe in showing here; Barks, unfortunately, no. Not his Disney stuff, anyway. I would be less afraid of a gang with chains and knives than a gaggle of Disney lawyers.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

So, is Pogo meant to be read by children? Really? This is very interesting.
In my country, it has always been presented on a magazine called "Linus", that published a very "adult" oriented material (I mean Doonesbury and Feiffer, not Vampirella), along with Lil Abner, Beetle Bailey and other strips not exactly meant for LITTLE kids, and Peanuts of course. I remember all the political references in the 60's Pogo strip, the hints on Vietnam, the doggie guy who looked like De Gaulle, all those caption labels etc. The mag was bought by adults.
I can understand that Barks has many levels of "reading comprehension", and a child can enjoy a Scrooge story for its pace, while an adult can get the satyrical hints in Bombie the Zombie, Brutopia and Unsteadystan, but Pogo, you have to be a very mature kid to appreciate it (my opinion).

Pappy said...

J D, Well, I read Pogo as a kid. I didn't understand all the political humor, but I liked it, anyway. It had funny dialogue, characters and occasionally they even sang nonsense songs.

Pogo was invented as a back-up character for Albert the Alligator, and Bumbazine an African-American child. Early appearances were in Animal Comics. When Pogo went into newspaper syndication there was the more "adult" political humor, but there was also the 10¢ Dell Comics version, which was designed for younger readers. Walt Kelly also worked on other children's comics in the forties, including The Brownies, Santa Claus Funnies and Fairy Tale Parade. Kelly was nothing if not versatile. It's interesting to me that Pogo "translated" into other languages, which must have presented problems for translators, much as the recent "Tree Top Timmons" posting presented for you.