As well established I’m always inappropriately delighted when I discover something I don’t know. This week it’s the fact there was an Archie character I had never heard of, and I’ve heard of Senor Banana. I speak of The Adventures of Pipsqueak, a short-run Archie series running six issues between 1959 and 60. Pipsqueak is considered by some to be a Dennis the Menace ripoff and while I’ve only read this one issue and he certainly seems to be a lively kid misconstruing the English and causing chaos didn’t seem to be his exclusive reason for existing. He’s a pretty normal kid with pretty normal friends and parents and his ‘antics’ are low key and thoroughly believable. About the only thing of distinction, I can find about this comic is that characters use the archaic nautical term “yare” meaning easily maneuverable, ready. It’s used by both Pipsqueaks friend Knucklehead and his dad and in the context it appears to mean “right” or “I heard that”. Perhaps the writer/artist Walt Lardner had a nautical background of maybe it’s a regional colloquialism; I just don’t know.
Speaking of whom I also learned, a little about a cartoonist named Walt Lardner who seems to have lived a double life. While there is precious little about Walt Lardner, comic book artist, available on the web there’s a bit more about Walt Lardner, an editorial cartoonist. Anyone with any further information about Lardner please to let me know.
Way to stay classy, DC! I’m talking about all the restraint you’ve been using on the TV series Gotham. When you strangle somebody to death on screen, you don’t linger on the shot of the hands tightening around the victim’s neck. When someone is stabbed in the back with an ice pick, we see just one spurt of blood, not two or three. Torture is handled tastefully and delicately, not with a baseball bat. Oh wait, it was with a baseball bat. Never mind. The point is, another company might think it’s proper to wallow in ultra-violence while telling the back-story of a children’s comic book character in the 8 o’clock hour. But not you guys. Youse got class.
But let’s not dwell on graphic violence. Let’s look on the bright side! The Riddler! Or the pre-Riddler in this case. Dr. Edward Nigma as played by Cory Michael Smith in the TV series is a welcome departure from the cackling lunatic we’ve seen before. Ed seems like a genuinely nice guy – an oddball perhaps – but he just likes riddles (and he doesn’t like onions) and he has a crush on a sweet girl in the office. We can relate to him as a human being. And we can see he’s just about to crack. A joke! You can feel the tension as E. Nigma slowly loses his patience on the road to becoming a full-blown nutball. Nicely done!
Which brings me to a riddle. What’s the difference between a convict and The Riddler? A convict has a long record but The Riddler’s is only two minutes and twelve seconds.
Do you know the answers to these riddles? I don’t.
There are definite holes in my encyclopedic comic book knowledge, one of those being non-superhero DC comics from the 50′s and 60′s. For example, their SF/Fantasy anthologies. I’ve often spoken about how much I appreciated the non-threatening, gently reassuring nature of DC’s 50′s and early 60′s comics but when comes to this genre (Mystery In Space, Strange Adventures, Tales of the Unexpected and House of Secrets) I much preferred the sometimes unsettling ookines of the Atlas/Marvel comics (Tales To Astonish, Strange Tales, Tales To Astonish, etc.) . And the Marvels had the better monsters; for me The Faceless Hunter and Yggardis the Living Planet just couldn’t compete with Fing Fang Foom and Googam.
As far as I was concerned the only advantage the DC’s had was they had reoccurring quasi-superheroes like Captain Comet and Adam Stange to fight the monsters. Oh, and the DC’s had gorillas. Now, I love me some gorillas, always have, both the real world variety and their fantastical fictional counterparts. How much? If you were able to check out my hard drive (and you really shouldn’t) you would find a lot of images of gorillas. Like, this one:
Supposedly back in the 50′s and 60′s it was an article of faith at DC Comics that a gorilla on a comics cover resulted in higher sales. Now no one has ever been able to produce an internal memo that substantiates the legend, but as you can see for yourself, the anecdotal evidence is pretty overwhelming:
Which resulted in this lovely one by Nick Cardy. Now that’s one nice, photorealistic gorilla.
According to the Grand Comic Book Database, “The Phantoms In the Ring” was drawn by George PappInks and inked by Sheldon Moldoff.
“The Magic Pass” was drawn by Howard Purcell and inked by Mort Meskin.
And finally bringing up the rear comes our star attraction, “Experiment 1000″ drawn and inked by Nick Cardy. Again, Nick Cardy could draw himself a gorilla.
If you haven’t seen Pinocchio, shame on you! It’s the classic Hollywood story of trying to get a deal with no strings attached. (Strictly the stuff of blue fairies.) Although it’s being remade as Avengers: Age of Ultron, we prefer the Disney version. (Oh wait. They’re both Disney versions. Never mind.) Instead of The Hulk, the green character who steals the show in the original is Jiminy Cricket. The lovable Jiminy acts like Pinocchio’s conscience but you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
Plus, Jiminy Cricket sings! Take that, Bruce Banner.
Today we present another track from the classic Dave Brubeck album (last seen here on January 8th of 2013.)
Click the pic and it blows up real good
This time, Mr. Brubeck takes on Jiminy’s signature song from the film – a Academy Award-winner! But before we get to the music, here are some wonderful pictures to go with it.
As previously established I’ve always had an abiding passion for the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes characters, especially in their original incarnations. Oh, I know that it’s good that they evolved over the years, but I also believe the further they got from their beginnings the weaker they got. I’ve never had the chance to read the a lot of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies comic books, especially the early ones, but I recently came across a treasure trove of them online. And boy, am I happy.
I find them to be charming and wonderfully “on model” (as they say in the animation industry), so it’s a shame that the Grand Comic Book Database has no idea who wrote or drew any of these stories. They’re also more than a little odd; that’s certainly the case withLooney Tunes and Merrie Melodies#8.
There’s a lot of material to cover here and I won’t be covering most of it. Like the Bugs Bunny story with an Arabian Knights theme and toxic African-American stereotypes. I know enough about funny animal comics to know that the Sniffles and Mary Jane stories are generally well thought of, but I frankly wasn’t impressed with this outing. Plus there’s a Kandi the Cave Kid strip by Walt Kelly, but frankly, I wasn’t that crazy about it either.
What did make the cut was an unlikely team-up between two straight men, Porky Pig, and Elmer Fudd who along with Petunia Pig get involved in a fairly straight adventure story It ends with a “continued” blur and them shipwrecked on a desert island
Next up is a story where Elmer actually gets top billing over Bugs in an outing where Elmer is a farmer dissatisfied with his animals output and Bugs a prop in a stage magician’s act looking for a handout. Elmer is clearly demonstrating poor management by cruelly berating his livestock for their poor performance which Bugs sees as an opportunity to seed descent among them. For a moment, I actually expected Bugs to lead them into an Animal Farm style revolt but no, instead he encourages them to seek fame and fortune at the county fair. This, of course, is an unmitigated failure, but all is well in the end thanks to the healing power of an image of FDR.
Next up is an original character that never made it into animated cartoons, RingyRoonga. A roonga being an imaginary African animal created for another strip in a previous issue of Looney Tunes. Here Ringy has been redesigned into a cuter, fully anthropomorphized character, a lost soul who is always being mistaken for a skunk. In this nicely drawn story, he’s teamed with Freddy Fox, a heavy from the short Porky’s Hired Hand.
And finally there’s the feature where the roonga originated, Pat, Patsy and Pete, a strip about two kids and their talking penguin pal. Smith left the feature and went on to do a similar comic, Peter and Pudgie for both Crackajack and Popular Comics
Did you see the trailer for Ant Man? This wasn’t just a teaser. Or the teaser for the teaser. No, this time they finally showed the actual trailer! This may be a new record for movie promotion. The film doesn’t open until July and they’re already promoting it like it premieres next week. I’m looking forward to the next version of the trailer which we’ll see in a month or two. Soon we’ll see advertisements for it. BRAND NEW TRAILER COMING SOON!
That having been said, Ant Man looks good. And I’ve been waiting to see an Ant Man movie since 1962, so I’ll be buying my ticket any day now.
“But wait,” I can hear you thinking. “How can you talk about Ant Man without sharing an Ant Man record? Surely no one has written a song about this miniature marvel.” O, ye of little faith. Of course I have an Ant Man song to share with you. That’s why they call me “D.J. David B., King of the Unnecessary Records.”
The real question is whether I’ll be able to dig up a Giant Man song. You’ll just have to wait and see.
In spite of being superhero-centric in my comic book reading growing up I have nothing but love for the Loony Tunes characters. So it’s always a treat when I come across a comic that gets the characters personalities right and they’re drawn” on model” (to use the term from animation). A lot of times you get what you paid for with free comics, but I was well surprised but just how good this K-Mart giveaway was. Written by JG Weiss and drawn by Oscar Saavedra. 1994 was the Tasmanian Devil’s 40th Anniversary and the comic was no doubt a promotion to help raise Taz’s profile before the debut of the Taz-Mania TV series. The pretext of the story is the gang taking Taz to K-Mart so he can pick out his own birthday present. I really don’t want to say anything nice about K-Mart, but I really have to give the company credit for being good sports about showing Taz trashing one of their stores and indiscriminately devouring their merchandise (without paying for it).
Gotham is back! And that means more Penguin. Only this time, with hubris!
Penguin would rather fight than switch.
You know how some songs tell a story? Like something by Harry Chapin, perhaps? You can close your eyes and just listen to the music. The whole story unfolds in your mind’s eye. Well, have I got a treat for you!
Just like a penguin in bondage. (Song cue.)
Listen to The Penguin Chase by none other than Sun Ra, and plain as day you can see the Penguin get beat up by fishermen for having hubris. You’re welcome.
Here’s another Atlas comic I’ve wanted to read for a long time and never thought I would, Speed Carter, Spaceman. You could say this was just another example of the Atlas Comics “philosophy” of identifying trends and fads then trying to get comics out exploiting them before the bandwagon came to a complete stop. In this instance it was the then going full blast “space” fad (perpetuated by such TV shows as Tom Corbet, Space Cadet, Captain Video, etc.). And while it’s certainly a knockoff it’s at least a very good knockoff, beginning with a cover by Bill Everett…
The Speed Carter stories were written by Hank Chapman and drawn by Joe Maneely.
And the Famous Explorers of the Space feature was written by Chapman and drawn (and signed) by John Romita.
Other than its “good”, I admittedly don’t have a lot else to say about SpeedCarter. Except I hope you enjoy it as much I did.
As we come to the close of 2014, it’s a tradition to reflect on the events of the past year. Or in this case, the past five years. Yes, it’s the fifth anniversary of Yoe Books, our proud sponsors here at the I.T.C.H. blog. Yoe Books is Making Comics History!
Man, time flies! It seems like yesterday that The Art of Steve Ditko was just a gleam in Craig Yoe’s eye. Now, some 50 books later, Yoe Books is a premiere publisher of rare, out-of-print comics and so many cool coffee table books that I had to buy a bigger coffee table. You can see the complete list here.
To celebrate this occasion in the appropriate fashion, Craig and Clizia created a crazy promotional campaign that’s worthy of Stan “The Man” Lee himself. In fact, that’s who they stole it from!
It’s called the Y.Y.Y.S. (or Yippie Yi Yoe Society, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) and it’s a hoot and a half, especially if you’re old enough to be a card-carrying member of the M.M.M.S.
If you were one of the lucky few bloggers, critics or media outlets to receive this membership kit in the mail, consider yourself privileged. If not, I’ll share with you some images (and a song, of course) just because that’s the kind of guy I am. Face forward, true book reader!
Y.Y.Y.S. members received a clever welcome letter, a cute sticker, and a marvelous membership card (suitable for framing).
Best of all, the kit includes a record (or, “DVD” as the kids today call them) with both the Voices of Yoe Books and the Y.Y.Y.S. Marching Song. How fun is that?
And since I’m a nice guy (see above), here’s the Y.Y.Y.S. Marching Song for your listening pleasure. Click the link below and start marching!
BONUS! Here’s the super-cool video that goes with the song. Just click the Yoe eyeball!