Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Number 1879: Suzie the chorus girl

The dumb blonde stereotype goes back quite a ways, long before Suzie was introduced in Top-Notch Laugh Comics #28 (1942), but was well established when she was awarded her own series. Suzie #50 (1945), from which this story is taken, is actually the second issue. At this time she was presented as being a young adult; later on in the series she became a teenager, right out of high school.

In this story, a broad comedy which bounces off the walls with ideas and story points not going directly to the main plot, Suzie gets a job from “Mr. Goldwater,” a talent agent. That inside joke is a reference to John Goldwater, one of the three founders of MLJ Comics, which became Archie Comics, publisher of Suzie.

Al Fagaly, a journeyman comic book man, is credited with the drawing, combining some of his faux Jimmy Hatlo (They’ll Do It Every Time newspaper comic panel) style. Later on Fagaly partnered with MLJ editor and writer Harry Shorten to do a knockoff of Hatlo’s successful panel, called There Oughta Be a Law for the McClure Newspaper Syndicate. Here is a link to examples of the Shorten/Fagaly collaboration from Hairy Green Eyeball in 2009, including one of the panels with an idea submitted by Basil Wolverton.


Daniel [] said...

As well as imitation of Hatlo, there seems to have been some ambition to ape Milt Gross. But what really sticks-out is an attempt to use a gag that would require animation to work, in 6:4 – 7:4. In fact, there are a lot of gags that don't work here for various reasons, ending with the final joke about Mr Goldwater, for which there isn't a proper set-up.

I'm not sure how Suzie could have been the title feature of a comic book for 52 issues if this story is representative. There were better drawn women to be found elsewhere, and certainly better writing.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

There’s hardly a plot here, just a sequence of gags, but I like the drawings and always love to meet a new “dumb blonde”.

My scarce familiarity with many golden age comics doesn’t allow me to spot inspirations, but looking at page 1, panel 2 I have a “Geo Mc Manus” feeling, and the overall impression is that not only mr Fagaly took a good look at Jimmy Hatlo’s art, but also read a lot of Blondie.

P.S.: Have to fix my keyboard! I wrote “Geo Mc anus”… :(
Always check before posting.

Brian Barnes said...

Lots of slapstick, more slapstick, a pretty funny dog/tuba sequence, then a GUY BEAT INTO A COMA JOKE to end it. Uh ... ha ha?

Haven't seen a lot of Fagaly work, but his sexy woman drawings are a little ... off. Mostly in the faces. There's some weird art here. It might be that he was attempting to do another style, but some of it is actually a bit disconcerting. Which I don't think is what they were going for.

Oh, and he liked butts, that's pretty obvious!

Pappy said...

Daniel, someone who is more expert in Archie comics would have to chip in an opinion, but as I recall Suzie became more mainstream Archie-style after a while. I think this early version of Suzie is probably aimed at the young men, servicemen, etc., who are looking for pin-up style artwork.

Pappy said...

J D, ha, ha! "George Mc anus"! I love it. It puts me on a level with my young granddaughters who think poop and fart jokes are the height of hilarity, but then there are a lot of ways I have not yet grown up.

(Here's a family anecdote. Mrs Pappy was with the girls in their home a month ago, and they were cracking themselves up with jokes about excretory matters. My wife said, "What is funny about poop jokes?" The older girl, 11 years old, said, "Grandma, if you were our age wouldn't you think poop jokes were funny?" showing a wisdom beyond her years.)

Fagaly was pretty good at appropriating other artists' styles, especially Hatlo. There are panels within the story, especially the heavily inked close-up panels of Suzie, that I suspect may be from another artist's hand.

Pappy said...

Brian, What! A coma's not funny? Man, that is the height of hilarity, next to poop and fart jokes, that is.

Reminds me of the panel by R. Crumb from the sixties...guy is getting run over by a bus, and Crumb caricatures himself laughing. The caption reads, "I have a morbid sense of humor."

Of course, if it happened to me it wouldn't be funny.

Oh, wait (get ready for another personal anedote)...thirty years ago I stepped off a curb on Geary Blvd in San Francisco, and got hit by a car, flipping me up onto the hood. The driver, a shocked young woman, had her hands to her face; her eyes were as big as 45 RPM records. I waved at her, smiled, and got off the car. I was not hurt. No harm, no foul, and I still think it must've looked funny, but in those days before cellphone videos who would ever see it?

Darci said...

I thought we'd seen Suzie here previously, and sure enough here she is:

Suzie Comics continued the numbering from Laugh Comics.

Interestingly, Jerry Bails Who's Who doesn't list any work by Al Fagaly in Suzie Comics. It does list him working on Archie and the Black Hood in 1945. He was at the C.C. Beck/Pete Costanza Studio that year too. (Is the artwork signed somewhere I didn't spot?)

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Well, I don't really like this kind of "fart" jokes. The funny thing to me (considering that I'm not writing in my mother tongue), is that I actually WAS about to send you the misspelled name.
Sometimes I happen to skip some letters when I write, this time it would also have made sense, in a derisory way. Sort of.
Anyway, it was those two heavily inked panels you mention that made me think about Blondie.

Pappy said...

Darci, are you asking for a signature on the Suzie story? Grand Comics Database says Fagaly was the penciler and inker. I recognize his Jimmy Hatlo-style panels as being typical of Fagaly, but I still think there are other artists involved in this particular case. Fagaly was also doing Super Duck and at least three issues of Super Duck's nephew, Fauntleroy. The latter looks like he owes something to Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Pappy said...

J D, and you aren't 11 years old, either, so far jokes are out.

Once again, J D, I admire your skill with English, and wish more native English-speakers could write as well you do, considering it is not your mother tongue.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

@Darci: well, the cover of that issue, at least, is signed by Fagaly:

Alicia American said...

LOL LOL LOL OMG this girl is a biggerer dolt then my idiot sis Deb LOL OMG SMH

Mike Britt said...

Wolverton and Fagaly were neighbors in Vancouver, Washington and remained friends
for years. Fagaly was obviously a wild and crazy guy or at least that is what I get from reading his wild and crazy Super Duck stories.

Pappy said...

Mike, I have heard that Harry Shorten went on to publish paperbacks (Tower) and softcore porn (Midwood) as well as Tower Comics. He was a busy guy.

Pappy said...

Alicia...gee, I don't know much about Deb but c'mon, "dolt"? "Idiot sis?" Now, now. You girls play nice, y'hear?

Alicia American said...

OMG dont hurt her feelerings she worx hard 2B idiotical yo