Monday, October 29, 2012

A NYCC 2012 Moment # 5 (and final): “Beep-Beep!”

Yep, we finally got around to it! 

Look up! 

Sorry if you were temporarily blinded by the garish colors, but this is the cover to Gold Key’s BEEP-BEEP THE ROAD RUNNER # 65 (July, 1977). 

Thanks to New York Comic Con 2012, a piece of this book is now mine! 
Mine!  All MINE

It isn’t often that you find original Gold Key Comics artwork for sale (presumably, most of it was destroyed) so, when you do, you pounce on it.   As I did with the cover to this issue. 
Pounce on it -- QUICKLY!  Go on...

An art dealer had it stashed among pages upon pages of the more typical mainstream comic stuff, with no notation of what it was, or even of the artist.   For the record, it was Jack Manning, who did lots of the Gold Key Road Runner comics of the period – and some interesting Mickey Mouse stories of the early ‘70s! 

Alas, I cannot scan and share this item with you – which, I must admit, looks FAR BETTER in its original BLACK AND WHITE than its published color version.  Then again, how could it not! 

It measures 13.50 x 20.75 and has the area for the UPC Code sketched in blue pencil covering some lines of the art. 

Below the art are pre-printed designated lines for STORY TITLE followed by a handwritten “Beep Beep # 65”, PUBLICATION followed by “May 1977 G-2546”, and PAGE with no entry. 

And, in the lower right margin is the ACTUAL NAME AND ADDRESS for Western Publishing’s Los Angeles office – the building within whose walls the Dell, Gold Key, and Whitman comic books were editorially formed! 

Western Publishing Co., Inc.
6922 Hollywood Blvd. # 321
Los Angeles, California 90028

How ‘bout THAT?!  Just knowing where these comics were created is worth the price of the piece!  Imagine the myriad talents of writing, art, and editorial processes who walked THOSE hallowed halls over the years! 
Like maybe THIS GUY?  Carl Barks! 
Had I known this some years ago, I’d have sought out that building on one of my trips to Los Angeles.  I’d probably be disappointed to find some “ad agency” or other mundane occupant there.
Finally, if you look REALLY CLOSELY you can see the some of the blue pencil lines which Jack Manning used to create the original sketch, before it was inked.  Even I didn’t see this until pulling it out for a more detailed look to prepare this post! 

And, another "good deal" below!
After a round of haggling, from which I actually walked away and was called back, the price became reasonable enough to close the deal.   Unfortunately, said deal was closed relatively early on Friday and, unlike with other art I’ve purchased in the past, this piece did not fit flat in the briefcase I generally carry around comic cons…

Cash and (unfortunately) carry!
...And so I was forced to carry the darned thing around with me ALL DAY (with Friend of This Blog “JoeCab” to help usher me through the roiling throngs) – and into the evening, even to that dinner with friends where I watched the Yankees win their playoff series over Baltimore (noted HERE). 
And, like the Yankees, Wile E. just ran outta luck - and hits!

Yeah, I couldda probably left it all day with the dealer, but I eventually got used to the burden – and (as any real fan will understand) was just glad to have it with me! 

The worst of it was upon leaving the Con and encountering gusts of October evening wind, whipping through the concrete canyons of New York City.  There was a moment where I thought that the broad, flat image area of Road Runner and Wile E. -- and its broader-still backing board -- would take-off like an “Acme Kite”, and maybe take me with it! 
...Or, just use your own COVER ART!

At the very least, this rendition of Wile E. was often seen “twisting in the wind” that night… a position with which he is not unfamiliar!  

And so we close the (comic) book on New York Comic Con for 2012!   My advice to all of you is to go there someday!  You’ll have great fun… and, if you parse it wisely, much material for your Blogs! 


joecab said...

You shoulda seen Joe haggle! He got the price down to something like 60% of the original asking price -- the guy's a pro!

And as I learned in San Diego, if you expect to buy some original art, bring along some stiff boarding to sandwich it into so you don't end up smooshing any of your purchases. It also keeps everything nice and flat when stashed into your luggage for the trip home. But I'm sure it was a surprise to him, as San Diego has a bigger inventory artwork to paw through.

Joe Torcivia said...

JoeCab writes:

“You shoulda seen Joe haggle! He got the price down to something like 60% of the original asking price -- the guy's a pro!”

All those years of reading UNCLE SCROOGE comics had to count for SOMETHING!

And, honestly – as you know, because you were there – I thought the art piece ITSELF (as opposed to the large backing board behind it) would lie flat at the bottom of my ever-present, con-carrying briefcase. …And I was rather surprised when it DIDN’T!

DC Comics art fit nicely that way. I guess Western Publishing used larger materials.

Ryan Wynns said...


What a great find! I'm mulling over the fact that, amongst all the chaos, confusion, and density of the con, it would've been so easy to have never even known that art piece was even there. Thus, I can't help but think that it was calling out to you -- that it was meant to be! ...hmm, that sounds pretty "flaky New Age" of me, eh? Well, I'll put it like this: the right guy got that art piece!

I can just imagine the thrill of beholding "in the lower right margin[,] the ACTUAL NAME AND ADDRESS for Western Publishing's Los Angeles", not just for the first time, but repeatedly ... and in just knowing that it's there! To actually own a physical remnant of all that (all too lost) history; of the creation of those comics...

Both times that I've been to NYCC, trying to navigate the dense crowds, never for a moment finding myself without people to dodge my away around, has driven me crazy. Why, then, did your account of being "forced to carry the darned thing around with [you] ALL DAY", with “JoeCab” to help usher [you] through the roiling throngs" have me wishing more than I already had been that I'd made it this year? :)

-- Ryan

Dana Gabbard said...

I should note Western's L.A. office moved around so that address was likely their final office location, not where all those classic comics were created...

Clapton said...

Joe I'm not sure whether you check new comments for old posts but I was wondering. When you say Jack Manning had some "interesting" Mickey stories do you mean that in a (good enough to track down and by as back issues) or (WOW that shit was weird). Also did Jack Manning write theses stories or just draw them?

Joe Torcivia said...


With “Comment Moderation” turned-on, I’m always alerted to comments sent to older posts. That way, no spammers can send comments to older posts without my knowledge. Besides, if someone really does send a legitimate comment to an older post (as you did), it allows me to take note and to respond.

When I say Jack Manning had some "interesting" Mickey stories, I mean that, after a literal lifetime (for me) of primarily Paul Murry, occasionally supplemented by Tony Strobl and Jack Bradbury, Jack Manning’s Mickey Mouse stories looked (for lack of a better descriptive phrase) "amazingly different"! I can still recall that Saturday afternoon, in April 1970, when I received my subscription copy of MICKEY MOUSE # 126 in the mail, opened it, and saw something as opposite from Paul Murry as I could imagine! You can see SOME of that difference in the Manning MM cover published in this post, but the interiors are all the more so.

Unlike, the horror of discovering that Kay Wright had usurped Tony Strobl’s (also lifetime for me, then) place in DONALD DUCK in January of 1969, this discovery I liked! "The Space Bandits" looked unlike anything previously seen in the MICKEY MOUSE title – and was clearly the work of the same artist who did the one "different looking" MM serial in WDC&S # 348-350, in 1969. Following it up with "The Strange World of Gregory Gopher" in MM # 127, also unlike anything that had been seen before in the MM title, sealed the deal for me.

Jack Manning may not be to everyone’s taste, and I did not particularly care for his work on UNCLE SCROOGE in the Whitman Era (then again, what WAS good in the Whitman Era?), but I liked him on MICKEY MOUSE, BEEP BEEP THE ROAD RUNNER, SCOOBY-DOO, WACKY RACES, and he particularly excelled in the four issues of PAULINE PERIL!

Oddly, and from a perspective that I did not have in 1970, Jack Manning’s work on MICKEY MOUSE looks very much like the very late period of Floyd Gottfredson’s work of the early to mid-seventies, on the MICKEY MOUSE newspaper strip – which we did not have locally, so I could not have made the comparison back then.

To the best of my understanding, Jack Manning did not write these stories, but only drew them.

As for some truly “WOW that shit was weird” stuff, check out the story I translated and scripted for IDW’s DONALD DUCK # 4, coming in August! THAT is weird! Though, Jack Manning’s Mickey stories were also weird (in a good way), simply by virtue of the way he drew them.

Also, since I enjoy your questions on back issues and your interest in general, I’d advise you (and anyone reading this) that the best way to contact me for personal correspondence is to send a comment to this Blog with your e-mail address. I will not publish that comment, but will respond when time allows. I really should put up a “Contact Me” component to the Blog. But, for now, that is the way, and I invite you (and, again, anyone reading this) to do so.