Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sorry About That, Chief… er, Readers!

In our recent post on GET SMART, we mentioned a few other cartoons and comics that succumbed to the cultural influence of the “Spy-Crazy Sixties”, including Tom and Jerry, The Road Runner, and even Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen.
...And Everything "Nies"?  ..."Nies"?  ..."Nies"?

But, in the comments section of the SMART post, longtime friend Dana Gabbard points out that I omitted one of the most unusual of all – the short run of MICKEY MOUSE SUPER SECRET AGENT, as issues # 107-109 (1966) of Gold Key’s MICKEY MOUSE comic book series.

Mickey Mouse # 107

The stories, written by Don R. Christensen, had Mickey operating in a realistic (or “comics-realistic”, if you prefer) world of espionage. The figures of Mickey and Goofy were drawn by the Mouse’s main artist Paul Murry – with all else provided by Dan Spiegle (BLACKHAWK, CROSSFIRE).

Mickey Mouse # 108

Nothing like it was ever seen before, or since, and everyone should experience these at least once.

Mickey Mouse # 109

And, while we’re at it, we’ll add THE FLINTSTONES to the mix! Again, from that wonderful year of 1966 (that also gave us THIS Italian Donald Duck spy story, that we would not see in the USA until 2010), we had THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE – both in animated film AND comic book form!

The Flintstones # 36 Art by Pete Alvarado
Digression: THE FLINTSTONES # 36 was the only Gold Key comic to show Hoppy the Hopperoo, the Rubbles' pet.  Don't know why he was never used elsewhere. 

Why, even The Beagle Boys gave in to the spy craze – if in TITLE only with this example below (Art by Tony Strobl):

By the tone of the story – and the time in which it was produced – I suspect it was written by Bob Ogle, who also wrote this TOM AND JERRY cartoon for Chuck Jones.

Everyone is invited to name their own favorite sixties spy parodies in our Comments Section… I surely cannot have covered ‘em all!


Dana Gabbard said...

How about Where the Spies Are (1965) with David Niven? I saw that back in the late 70s when we had Showtime and it used to show classic films from MGM and Disney.

The sole modern equivalent to Super Secret is the impending Groo/Conan crossover with Tom Yates doing realistic and Sergio Aragones doing cartoony.

Anonymous said...

In Inferior Five #1 (1967), they met Caesar Single and Kwitcha Belliakin, who were agents for the Competent Organization Using Scientific Investigation for National Fiend, Rogue, and Evil-doer Defense (C.O.U.S.I.N. F.R.E.D.). The cover blurb said that the heroes would battle a powerful criminal organization, then added, "Would you believe...the Campfire Girls?"

Joe Torcivia said...


Yeah, that Groo / Conan thing sounds like it’ll rival those wonderfully odd Murry / Spiegle Mickey comics! …And, I’ll throw an honorable mention to the Superman / Bugs Bunny crossover of over a decade ago.


Do you believe (…or, more appropriately, “Would you believe”) a sixties-lover like me does not have that comic? I’m disappointed in MYSELF! Sure sounds like a Silver Age DC parody comic, though! Great stuff!

Before the spy craze officially hit, Huckleberry Hound did the cartoon “Cluck and Dagger” (1961 – and, I believe the first one with a Hoyt Curtin music score).

Dan said...

Hi, Joe:

Re: MICKEY MOUSE SUPER SECRET AGENT "Nothing like it was ever seen before, or since, and everyone should experience these at least once."

Spiegle did at least one other cartoon/realistic comic book turn drawing the Los Angeles and human portions in the 1988 graphic novel adaption of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" from Marvel(!)

The cartoon character and Toontown duties were exquisitely drafted by Daan Jippes in that adaption, which really added energy and cohesion to the look, as opposed to Murry's later, "flat" style of Mouse and Goof.

Glad to see new ideas and discussions continue to thrive here on TIAH, it's a daily stop for me. Wishing you and all your readers best wishes for a Happy Holiday and a wonderful 2013! - Dan

P.S. If anyone would like to see it, here's a link to my custom Holiday card for 2012:

Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you for the kind holiday wishes, Dan!

…And WHAT a CARD! Everyone, go take that link – NOW! No exceptions!

Do I detect a little William Van Horn influence in your encircled title logo? Nicely done!

And, hey, all my readers… You are all visiting Dan’s Blog, as I suggested a few posts ago, aren’t you?

If not, I’ll suggest again. Take heed! Next time, it’ll be LOBO doing the suggesting… so let’s not give “The Main Man” too much to do. …Besides being the subject of our next post, eh?

Back to Dan…

Yeah, we’ll let Roger Rabbit into that grouping. But, I maintain that the true uniqueness of MMSSA was that it was not primarily a comedy, as was “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. Any other time such characters are combined it seems to be for more comedic purposes. Like my favorite example of Daffy Duck and Porky Pig meeting Looney Tunes producer Leon Schlesinger. There was even such a moment between Porky and Leon in Dell’s LOONEY TUNES AND MERRIE MELODIES # 2. (Surely inspired by that great Friz Freleng cartoon.)

And I do try to keep the old Blog fresh with as much new stuff as I can manage under an often frightful personal schedule… even if it means invoking LOBO (as I will tomorrow!)

The best to you and yours, Dan!


scarecrow33 said...

The MM Super Secret Agent issues are indeed an amazing, one-of-a-kind experience. It's a kick to see Mickey in adult, "real-world" (sort of) situations, interacting with realistic-looking people--the comic book equivalent to a combo live-action/animated film. The cinematic possibilities are intriguing to consider. And how about some of those splash panels?

Of course, I am also a HUGE fan of The Flintstones, and especially of the feature film "The Man Called Flintstone"--a movie I had to wait eighteen years to see! While the spy plot ultimately gives way to conventional "cartooniness" it does provide some interesting moments and a slightly more "adult" flavor in places (although the two Pebbles and Bamm Bamm songs serve as reminders that kids are supposed to be watching along with the adults). I love the extra details, such as the airplane that uses "jet propulsion" to fly the Flintstones and Rubbles to Eu-rock, and the "sewer rats" under the streets of Paris. It's a fun movie!

Then, we can't forget (although someone in the DVD release department has) Secret Squirrel. The few cartoons that I've been able to locate in recent years have proven funnier (to me as an adult) than they were when I was much younger. Secret Squirrel took the Bond-type gadgets about as far as a cartoon could back in those days. It seems to me that some of the background music from "Man Called Flintstone" was utilized in the SS cartoons. It turns up in other late 60's HB cartoons as well.

Thanks for this post, Joe!

joecab said...

The Groo/Conan #1 I preordered ages ago was just cancelled. I assume it's because of Sergio's recent health problems. Hope he gets better soon.

Anyway, does Cool McCool also belong on your list?

Joe Torcivia said...

GROO / CONAN is canceled? Say it ain’t so, JoeC!

I would have made an exception to my “retirement” from new comics to get that series! Shows just how out of touch I’ve become with comics news! Though, I have heard about Sergio’s issues, and it makes sense. Hope he gets well soon!

Of course, Cool McCool belongs!

Joe Torcivia said...


You pretty much crystalize what I wanted to say to Dan above, on “Mickey Mouse Super Secret Agent” vs. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. Funny thing is something like that could easily be done as a film in these modern times, and be done quite effectively – but I’m sure Disney would never consider it.

Haven’t seen it in a very long while, but one other thing that I recall stands out about “The Man Called Flintstone” is the momentary somber tone it takes when Fred considers that Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm might NOT have a world to grow up in, if The Green Goose succeeds in his evil plans. That was a mood we never saw in The Flintstones.

Cool McCool, make room for Secret Squirrel – AND Mickey Mouse, Huck Hound, Tom and Jerry, Road Runner, Tom and Jerry, Jimmy Olsen, The Inferior Five – and, while we’re at it Magilla Gorilla (“Magilla Mix-Up”) and Punkin’ Puss & Mushmouse (“The Mouse from S.O.M.P.”). Even GILLIGAN’S ISLAND: “Gilligan vs. Gilligan” (09/19/1966).

Gosh, there sure were a LOT of them, weren’t there? Keep ‘em coming, folks!

And, YEAH… Where IS the Secret Squirrel DVD? I’m talking to YOU, Warner Archive Collection – that I write so much about at this Blog!

One final note on Gold Key’s THE FLINTSTONES # 36, “The Man Called Flintstone” adaptation: Back in August, 1966, that issue went on sale on the SAME DAY as PHANTOM BLOT # 7, the (regrettably, and unknown at the time) final issue of that series! Picked ‘em both up together! That was a good day to be out of school and alive!

You won’t get information like THAT, anywhere else folks!

joecab said...

Oh I'm sure the Groo/Conan miniseries will be rescheduled once Sergio gets better.

No Secret Squirrel yet on DVD? Sheesh!

Oh, Joe, what didja think of the modern update they did on 2 Stupid Dogs? it was different, that's more sure. I liked it, especially when they got creative with stuff like the "Chameleon" episode in the art museum. I knew that series was pushing the boundaries of what we normally expected from H-B cartoons when I saw a villain named Heckhound with a pentagram on his chest and a King Kong-like bad guy who had a pierced nipple (!)

Joe Torcivia said...

I liked the Secret Squirrel update much more than I liked 2 Stupid Dogs. I didn’t see very many of them, because I really didn’t care for the “main show”, but what I saw I liked.

There are STILL too many things that are not (officially) on DVD that should be. (See my Tex Avery post.) Secret Squirrel is but one of them.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it is not hard to believe that even a fan of 1960s pop culture does not have Inferior Five #1 (or any other issues, for that matter). Somehow, that series never caught on. In 1966, with the Batman/camp comedy/pop art fads sweeping the country, the time must have seemed right for a parody super-hero comic (DC also launched a tongue-in-cheek Plastic Man comic at about the same time). But the pre-teen kids (then the majority of comics fans) wanted their super heroes played straight. And the adults who watched campy action-adventure TV shows (Batman, Wild Wild West, Man from U.N.C.L.E.) did not read comics.

Joe Torcivia said...

All very valid, Anon! In fact, one reason I continue to enjoy the entertainment products of the sixties so much is BECAUSE there was such a high degree of camp and “tongue-in-cheekiness” to things.

In my case, back in the actual day, it was tough enough to be certain to find Uncle Scrooge, The Flintstones, Batman, Brave and the Bold, and the rest of the things I looked for regularly on the sporadically populated comic racks of neighborhood stores, that I scarcely paid attention to many of the “other, worthy” titles.

Though, in my adult back issue collecting days, a silver age DC fan like me really should have picked that up. Too busy rounding up SA runs of the major titles first, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Just remembered: Inferior Five #1 also featured H.U.R.R.I.C.A.N.E., a parody of Tower Comics' T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. And Marvel's Not Brand Ecch #2 included the B.L.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and "Knock Furious, Agent of S.H.E.E.S.H." I also seem to vaguely recall a regular half-hour Flintstones episode where Fred and Barney got kidnapped by spies and involved with a stereotypical femme fatale named Madame Yes. Or maybe my memory is playing tricks and I'm thinking of the "man Called Flintstone" feature film. And I did see "Where the Spies Are" on TV many years ago. I remember the climax being more violent than I expected. Since David Niven was the star, I probably expected it to be more of a comedy (like the 1967 version of "Casino Royale").

Joe Torcivia said...

“Oh, no! Madame Yes!”

You’re right about that half-hour FLINTSTONES.

Anonymous said...

And then there were two Gold Key comics in 1966: a Three Stooges issue with them as agents for N.E.P.H.E.W. involved in "Operation Cold Fingers," and a 64-page Tom & Jerry issue with its lead story, "The Mouse from T.R.A.P." -TC