Archive for September, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
What am I, a magician? I can’t make things just appear out of the air! I’m a human being, dammit! I have limitations like everyone else. (Possibly more than anyone else.)
Why am I mad? You’d be mad too if you wanted to celebrate the new book, The Cark Barks Big Book of Barney Bear (from Yoe Books, our gracious hosts here at the I.T.C.H. blog) and you couldn’t find a single song about Barney Bear!
The book is great, by the way. If you’re not hip to this material, allow me to en-hippen you. Carl Barks is legendary for his work on Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge. But that’s not all he did! In addition to his Disney work, “The Good Duck Artist” was working for the competition at MGM, drawing Barney Bear comics. (Technically, they were both published by Dell so it wasn’t that big a deal.)
The stories about Barney Bear and Benny Burro are arguably as funny and well-crafted as his duck books, but not nearly as well-known. That’s why Craig Yoe has collected them in full-color in this luscious deluxe volume. (I’m pronouncing that “de-looks” and I hope you are too.) It’s available now from Amazon for a paltry $19.01. (Or, you can buy the old black & white book for $79. Your choice.)
Anyway, back to the music.
Since I couldn’t turn up a Barney Bear song, I did the next best thing. I have one Barney Google song, and one Yogi Bear song. Put them together and what have you got? Yogi Google! Or, in this case, Barney Bear.
Click the links below to enjoy!
Barney Google – Americans In Britain
Yogi Bear Song – The Cars
— DJ David B.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Cartoonist Sheldon Mayer may have had bigger hits in comics but none were as personal to him as Scribbly. It was about Scribbly Jibbet, a short teen with glasses who’s dream of becoming a professional cartoonist was regularly punctured by reality, usually in the form of his otherwise loving family. With it’s mad antics and comic mishaps Scribbly could hardly be confused with a biographical comic but it was obviously informed by the cartoonist’s own life. It was a feature that clearly, dearly wanted to be a comic strip but as good as it was (and it was darn good) the idea of a comic strip about someone who wanted to draw comic strips was probably a bit too ‘meta’ for the 1930’s. Especially since the term ‘meta’ wasn’t in common parlance at the time.
Mayer created Scribbly for Dell Comics in 1936 and he appeared in The Funnies #2-29 and Popular Comics #8-9 but moved his base of operations to DC’s All-American Comics with it’s first issue in 1939 and stayed until 1944, making it’s last appeared in #59.
Though the strip was renamed Scribbly and the The Red Tornado and he was frequently overshadowed by Abigail Mathilda “Ma” Hunkel, a.k.a.The Original Red Tornado (who Mayer claimed was based on a real person). Although obviously a comic take on the whole superhero genre this Red Tornado was no joke; she was an effective street level superhero who kept her neighborhood safe with a combination of street smarts and toughness. if nothing else she was at least memorable enough to “inspire” Marvel’s Forbush-Man.
With interest in superheroes on the wane and humor comics on the wax after the war Scribbly finally got his own series which ran 15 issues between 1948 and 1952
Scribbly took up pretty much where he left off, though he had aged a year or two during his hiatus and was now supposedly fifteen or sixteen. He was still tortured by his pesky younger brother “Snoony” (I get “Scribbly as a nickname for a kid that likes to draw but haven’t a clue as to what the derivation of “Scoony” could be) and fussed over by his mother. At his job as a copyboy at a major daily newspaper his constant screw-ups and over-eager attitude drove O’Hara the editor crazy. But he got support from O.P. Birdnest the paper’s oddball owner and, better yet, encouragement from Red Rigley, a super cute nineteen year old cartoonist.
An unconventional triangle developed between O’Hara, Scribbly and Red. Though she mostly treated him like a kid it was clear the age difference between Scribbly and Red was far from insurmountable; although she still dated O’Hara she sometimes seemed to prefer the company of the sensitive teen. Meanwhile Scribbly had an admirer, a girl his own age named Clover Cooley but he only had eyes for Red.
This status quo stayed static until #6 when out of the blue Red startled Scribbly (and the reader) by suddenly announcing she was actually engaged to O’Hara. Red had always gone out of her way to be considerate of Scribbly’s feelings so I’d like to believe she had just gotten engaged as opposed to thinking she’d been engaged the whole time and just neglected to mention it. But let’s face it, the development was no doubt introduced so the boy cartoonist would set his sights on Clover.
Soon the newspaper, Red and O’Hara were all gone and Scribbly switched from his signature rumpled black jacket and tie to business casual (i.e. he sprang for a sports jacket and started wearing gaudy Hawaiian style shirts. The only evidence Scribbly had ever wanted to be a cartoonist came in the form of occasional gag pages named “Scribbly’s Cartoon Corner”. A rival for Clover’s affections was introduced in the form of a gigantic slab of meatloaf named Bentley and the comic quickly became a fairly standard teen comic. A very well done one to be sure, but it just wasn’t the same.
“Goo is throo!” says Bert Parks. Say it with me, it’s fun! Goo is throo! Goo is throo!! Goo is throooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!
— Steve Bennett
Monday, September 19, 2011
Sadly, we start the day with Mark Evanier giving an eloquent eulogy for Hanna-Barbera writer and expert Earl Kress.
Here is a military parade of cool painted covers from the UK comic, Commando over at Cloud 109.
20th Century Danny Boy comtinues to present fascinating and historically important legal transcripts, in this case one related to Superman artist Joe Shuster.
Finally today, there’s some neat comics-related stuff along with some other retro goodness and even brand new retro toys you can buy at the SherryLou Toys blog. Check it out!
Friday, September 16, 2011
You may not be able to read them but here is an archive of Scandinavian comic strips that are at times surprisingly NSFW. Click the arrows for previous days.
About twenty years ago, I published an article in a fanzine about just how ridiculous Marvel’s Daredevil # 2 was so it’s good to see fans still discovering that fact.
Some great art from Bob Lubbers on the mid-sixties newspaper strip Robin Malone, a longtime favorite of mine.
Finally today, the prestigious Library Journal has discovered Yoe Books! Here’s their take and a rave review of my personal favorite Yoe Book, Archie!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
I’ve always had a fondness for some of the stranger, more obscure DC Comics characters, the ones I missed growing up due to a combination of a lack of spending money and a laser like focus on superheroes. Like the ones who appeared in DC’s science fiction/fantasy anthology titles. At pretty much the first sign of a superhero resurgence Marvel converted their science fiction/ fantasy titles into superhero ones early on. But seeing as how they were still profitable (and the publisher had better newsstand distribution) DC let theirs continue until 66-67.
The main strength of these comics were their wonderfully weird covers and oddball story premises but they did have the occasional reoccurring
Image via Wikipedia
characters, Mystery In Space had Adam Strange and The Atomic Knights, House of Secrets Mark Merlin, Prince Ra-Man and Eclipse, Strange Adventures had Captain Comet and Animal Man and House of Secrets had Space Ranger and The Green Glob. With the exception of Eclipso these characters were heroes except for The Green Glob which was, well, this glob. Although an insanely powerful one from outer space who screwed with the heads of human beings for no discernable reason. Proving that no character is too obscure to be forgotten forever thanks to the Internet I just discovered that at some point when my back was turned The Green Glob was placed into official DC Universe continuity. Being green it’s only “reasonable” that it turns out The Green Glob was yet another ill-conceived attempt to do-good by The Guardians of the Universe.
Most of you are by this point undoubtedly aware that I love me robots something fierce which is why I’ve saved Automan the automatic man for last. He who was not so much a hero as a robot for hire and during his brief career in Tales of the Unexpected his odd jobs got pretty odd. And while certainly not the oddest this is the only issue where he was cover featured, not to mention the closest Automan ever got to a standard superhero bust up. And dude, what a cover! Robot vs.Caveman! Go-Go Checks! They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.
Seeing as how his adventures didn’t take place in the future but the “now” of 1960′s DC Universe, it’s a little starting that he never ran to into The Doom Patrol’s Robotman for whom he was almost a dead ringer It’s also a little startled that no one in the DC editorial department noticed that the characters looked almost identical.
Automan actually exists in the DC Universe (if it can happen to The Green Globe it can happen to anyone) and has made a couple of appearances over the years. Most recently (and least likely) in Enginehead, an almost inexplicable 2004 six-issue mini-series by Joe Kelly and Ted McKeever.
— Steve Bennett
Thursday, September 15, 2011
We close out this year’s Back-to-School College Comics run, with the December 1873 cartoon centerspread and cover of Cambridge University’s satirical student magazine, The Lantern of the Cam. The title ran briefly, from 1871 to 1873, with illustrations signed by Bob Plummet (which might very well be a pseudonym).
Click on either picture to view larger versions.
For those wondering where Part Two of College Scenes is, it will return next year, so that each week can be for a different year of college.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Here’s something one doesn’t see every day–black and white pulp art from none other than Jack Kirby, on display here from a 1941 issue of Uncanny Stories.
Let’s stick with Kirby but jump ahead a few years to meet his Cold War semi-parody version of Captain America, Fighting American!
And while we’re speaking of Captain America, just who did actually create Cap anyway? Daniel Best takes his best shot at that surprisingly complex question.
Finally, for even more speculation on not just Kirby but the whole blamed Marvel Age of Comics in the sixties, check out Marvel Genesis.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Once again, it’s time to celebrate the release of Archie’s Mad House from Yoe Books. Our hosts here at I.T.C.H. seem to put out a new book every week. It’s all I can do to keep up with them. Since my contribution only appears here on Tuesdays, that means most Tuesdays are devoted to a Yoe Books book. And that’s not bad!
I, D. J. David B., happen to be a big fan of Archie’s Mad House. I didn’t have many as a kid, but the ones I had I read over and over again to the point where I can almost recite them. It’s been years since I looked at those old comics but fortunately some of my favorites are included in this volume.
Before you click this link to go to Amazon and order a copy of Archie’s Mad House for yourself ($19.01 – cheap!), click the link below to listen to another song called “Madhouse.” Then, while you’re busy placing your order, you’ll have entertaining background music! This tune is courtesy of Barrence Whitfield and the Savages. Dig it!
Just click the link below:
Madhouse – Barrence Whitfield & the Savages
— DJ David B.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
For this week’s Tigwissel Tuesdays, we present some more “modern” examples in the bespectacled scientist buffoon tradition, of which Tigwissel is a part. Professors O. Howe Wise and I.B. Schmart were regulars in artist Ed Payne’s long-running, 1899 to 1955, Boston Sunday Globe comic strip series, Billy the Boy Artist. Billy’s schtick was to make paintings so good, that the adults around him (including the pair of brainless, observation deficient professors) were constantly tricked into reacting as if what he put his brush to was real.
Click on any picture, to see an enlarged version.
The examples shown here (plus in a previous Billy posting — click here to see those), are from the Payne reprint collection, Billy the Boy Artist’s Book of Funny Pictures, sold in 1910 by C.M. Clark Publishing. The below strip involving a comet, is likely referencing the 1910 appearance of Halley’s Comet.
Below, a better than average kid-coloring job, by an anonymous would-be Billy, who at some point enhanced a number of the pages in my copy of Billy.
Next week, we get to the fifth published appearance of Professor Tigwissel!
Monday, September 12, 2011
For most of my long career of caring entirely too much about comic books I didn’t care about Dan DeCarlo. At first I didn’t know who he was and when I finally found out I didn’t care. As previously established growing up I was a straight up superhero guy and not only didn’t I have any use for Archie Comics they kind of actively creeped me out. But when when the day finally came and I ‘got’ DeCarlo’s work a light bulb didn’t just go on over my head it exploded; Literally overnight I became a huge fan of his work and quickly devoured what his work for Archie. Especially She’s Josie, the comic from which Josie and the Pussycats sprang. Then I discovered the work he did for Atlas comics during the 1950′s on titles ranging from Homer the Happy Ghost to Showgirls.
Image via Wikipedia
Showgirls ran only two issues and served as a kind of oddball anthology title for all of the Atlas pretty girl characters; I say “oddball” because the title is a misnomer seeing as how the only proper showgirl in it was Sherry Storm (who I’d really like to think is a distant relation of Susan and Johnny Storm and one day Ben Grimm will wake up one morning and find her stockings drying in a Baxter Building bathroom).
Cover of the movie Showgirls (No Relation)
Sherry starred in two short-lived series of her own, Sherry the Showgirl one in ‘56 and another in ‘57, both of which ran exactly three issues. Millie and Chili were models,Patty Powers was an actress, Hazel was a cigarette girl and My Girl Pearl was a professional dumb blonde.
Well to be fair Pearl was a little more than that; she was undoubtedly one of the most blatant rip-offs in comic book history. My Girl Pearl was a clone of My Friend Irma, a then popular radio/television series that spawned a pair of successful feature films. If the property is known at all today it’s due to the fact that the first one was the movie debut of the comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The major difference between the two stupid girls was while Irma was Gracie Allen kooky Pearl was just a vehicle for the really lame dumb jokes that Stan Lee relied upon in lieu of actual comedy material back in the 50’s. Between 1950 and 1955 Marvel/Atlas published 47 issues of My Friend irma and between 1955 and 1961 Atlas/Marvel published 11 issues of My Girl Pearl.
— Steve Bennett
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