Monday, September 23, 2013

Comic Book Review: DAFFY DUCK # 36 (February, 1964).



Comic Book Review:  DAFFY DUCK # 36 (February, 1964).

As we used to say in the old APA and Fanzine days… 

THE ISSUE AT HAND IS:  DAFFY DUCK # 36.  (Cover Date: February, 1964)
Published by Gold Key Comics. 

 Summary:  Daffy Duck, Michael Maltese, Phil DeLara, and an All Star Cast!  

Though actually released in November, 1963, DAFFY DUCK # 36 is still considered to be at the very start of the amazing “Prime Period” for Gold Key Comics, which ran from 1964 thru 1966.  More about that – and Gold Key Comics as a whole – can be found in THIS POST. 


 The DAFFY DUCK comic book series, from both Dell Comics as well as Gold Key, was most often written by the great Warner Bros. (and later Hanna-Barbera) cartoon writer Michael Maltese and drawn by Warner Bros. animator Phil DeLara. 


 
Too "late" for the "early" Daffy!
The comic book Daffy Duck came along a bit too late to reflect the truly “daffy” (lower case “d”) duck of the early Tex Avery and Bob Clampett cartoons, yet never adopted the transition to the “egotistical greedy coward” of the later Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng years.   Nor was he the fast-talking huckster of Robert McKimson’s shorts.   
I may be a "fast-talking huckster", but I'm a GREEEEDY "fast-talking huckster"!

 Instead, the comics Daffy remained squarely within the middle ground between zany and villainous, serving more as a pesky moocher and irritant, or all-purpose quarry, than anything else. 
Not too HOT, not too COLD... but JUUUST RIGHT!  Woo-Woo!
 
The formula was successful, insofar as he (and we readers) enjoyed many mooching misadventures with Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam and, for a while, was pursued by an unnamed fox (reflecting the Arthur Davis directed cartoon “What Makes Daffy Duck”, 1948) and later by the Tasmanian Devil. 

Say... What DOES make Daffy "duck"? 

...Perhaps, Arthur Davis knows! 
...Me not know!
Unlike most Dell and Gold Key comics, DAFFY DUCK did not begin with a long “adventure lead” story, as did similar comics like THIS ISSUE of PORKY PIG, and also THIS ONE.  Shorter gag stories made up the book for the entirety of the Dell and Gold Key runs. 


If you're lookin' for SHORT GAGS, you GOT 'EM, Fat-stuff!
 And, one thing I failed to mention in my lengthy Gold Key Comics post was that the DAFFY DUCK title – and ONLY the DAFFY DUCK title – exhibited a particular stylistic quirk:  Gaggy titles (presumably courtesy of writer Maltese) in large lettering, that would take up THREE FOURTHS of the left side of the opening splash panel of each story! 


No other Gold Key title did this, making DAFFY DUCK a most distinctive title, among an entire line of high-quality titles!   This practice began with the first Gold Key issue of the DAFFY DUCK title (# 31, 1962) and ran thru # 40 (released in December, 1964). 
DAFFY DUCK # 31

DAFFY DUCK # 40

After that, DAFFY DUCK ran mostly Dell reprints until issue # 72, cover dated November, 1971, when new stories would resume (more or less) until the end of the Gold Key / Whitman Comics period in 1984.  
Dell DAFFY (no "DUCK"?) # 14

Gold Key Reprint: DAFFY DUCK # 41.

New stories resume in DAFFY DUCK # 72...
...Until "The Bitter End" DAFFY DUCK # 145.

DAFFY DUCK # 34, cover dated September, 1963, highlighted this unusual graphic design aspect like no other issue.  It pictured Daffy posting billboards that were, in actuality, the splash pages of each Daffy Duck story in the issue!  Meta times five, I’d say! 

Click to enlarge for greater detail! 
DAFFY DUCK # 34.

But, there’s one additional facet to DAFFY DUCK # 36 in particular that makes it perhaps my most favorite issue of the run.  It’s that each of the five comic stories contained herein features one or more GUEST STARS from other Warner Bros. cartoons.  


So many GUEST STARS, it's like watching a DVD box set!

In the order presented, we have Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, the Tasmanian Devil (not yet popularly known as “Taz), Yosemite Sam, and Foghorn Leghorn!  Tweety and Sylvester starred in a four-page “guest” story of their own, making this comic a singular Warner Bros. Bonanza! 
No, not THIS!
More like THIS!

I’ll never know if this star-studded line-up was assembled by editorial design or if the stories just happened to fall that way by chance, but such was not the norm for the DAFFY DUCK title. 
Elmer (especially) and Sam were fixtures of the title since the 1950s, and the Tasmanian Devil staked-out a regular corner of the book, once his popularly took off as a result of his appearances on the ABC prime-time BUGS BUNNY SHOW (1960-1962). 
On with the show, This is it!
…And Taz did appear in one classic-era cartoon with Daffy: “Ducking the Devil” (1957, directed by Robert McKimson) setting the precedent for his string of early-to-mid-sixties appearances in DAFFY DUCK. 

I'm "ducking - OUT!"
 But, despite being one of the best comedy duos in perhaps the history of animation (…and, if not all-time, CERTAINLY during the 1950s), Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck rarely, if ever, appeared together in the Dell and Gold Key comic books. 
And, anything made after the classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies notwithstanding, Daffy and Foghorn Leghorn shared the screen only once in “The High and the Flighty”(1955, also directed by Robert McKimson). 
There's that "fast-talking huckster" again!  "Pipe Full of Fun Kit # 7" is on special today!



 But, the gang’s all here and ready for action in DAFFY DUCK # 36!  

As is our custom in these reviews, we’ll break things into CONS and PROS -- and some other aspects. 

The CONS:

Can’t think of a single one!   It’s from Gold Key’s Prime Period, after all!  ...Be proud, Daffy!  be proud! 

The PROS:

 Michael Maltese and Phil DeLara:  You can’t have a more authentic “Warner Bros. Pedigree” than that, save editorial input by Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, or Robert McKimson! 
Not even if Leon Schlesinger was publisher!

 32 Pages, All Comics:  No interior advertising!  You couldn’t ask more for your TWELVE CENTS!  The interior and back covers had ads, but why quibble over that.  Pay special attention to the inside front cover ad, illustrated later in this post. 

The Unusual Array of Guest Stars:  Almost all the Big WB names you could ask for! 
This 2003 vintage comic was great...

...but THIS 1963 comic did it first!
Ironically, given their incessant pair-ups to come at the end of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Meoldies era, Speedy Gonzales is absent from the book. 
So, tell me again why someone thought it was a good idea for you two to team up?
 So are the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, but they visited Daffy’s book very often during the seventies.   Even Merlin the Magic Mouse had his comic book debut in the DAFFY DUCK title, starting in 1968. 
DAFFY DUCK # 73 (Meep-Meep!) 

Just what Daffy needs after Speedy - more mice!

If memory serves, Pepe LePew may have had only one “guest story” in DAFFY DUCK over the years.  I suppose it’s a good thing that Elmer Fudd never shot Daffy’s beak off, while some incredible confluence of events resulted in a WHITE STRIPE being painted down Daffy’s back, setting up the typical “Pepe pursuit”! 
Um, don't look now, but that MIGHT be Daffy!

 Seriously, and on the other hand, for all the times they paired-up on screen, Porky Pig rarely found himself in the DAFFY DUCK title.  Yet, he was a fixture in BUGS BUNNY and, of course, his own title.  Go fig…   
"I'm a f-f-fixture here!"

"...And h-h-here!"

The Unusual Graphic Style of This Title:  As someone who loved creating my own titles for the Disney comic book stories I scripted (“Now Museum, Now You Don’t”, “Uncle Scrooge Meets the Synthezoid from the Deepest Void”, etc.), I really enjoyed what this book tended to do with story titles.  
Not only was each one a gag of its own, but highlighted as NO other comic book ever did!   I’d sure like to see a title of MINE, such as A Game of One-Cupmanship, given such a treatment! 
Imagine it BIG and down the side!



...Like THIS!


And, the ultimate “PRO” for any comic book…

The Stories:  All are Daffy Duck by Michael Maltese and Phil DeLara, unless otherwise specified.

Click on any of the comic page scans to enlarge.



“The Day Daffy and Bugs Bugged Elmer” (8 pg.):  Daffy and Bugs hold a “mooching contest” to see who can best “get the best” of Elmer Fudd.  Daffy falls behind early, filching some food, as Bugs makes off with the entire fridge!  The Duck cons Elmer out of his car, only to find that his Rabbit rival has already conned him out of his garage, etc.  The contest proceeds apace, until someone takes that proverbial “one-step-too-far”, resulting in disaster for all involved!  


 Oddly, Maltese appears to have written a similar contest tale for Yogi Bear and Snagglepuss (the latter being a character he wrote exclusively in animation) in Gold Key’s YOGI BEAR # 18.  The ending was different and both were great takes on all the characters involved. 
(…Though Hokey Wolf was many times the moocher Snagglepuss was, and would have been a natural for such a story, I’ll assume Maltese merely felt a greater preference for Ol’ Snag.)

Pardon me... I'm looking for the contest between the Rabbit and the Duck!


What's the big idea?  You don't look like Elmer Fudd... Or, do you?
You mean a Rabbit and a Duck did it first?   Guess it's back to H-B, for me!  Hey-hey-hee!


GOOD BIT:  Daffy challenges Bugs to their “mooching duel” by soundly slapping Bugs across the face with a glove – with his HAND still INSIDE!   “WHAP!”

BUGS: “Oww!  You’re supposed to take the glove OFF when you start a duel!

DAFFY:  Well, I can’t remember ALL the fine points!  I duel so seldom these days! 


“The Duck Who Came to Dinner” (5 pg.):  The Tasmanian Devil breaks zoo captivity and pursues Daffy.  For me, “Taz-Boy’s” appearances were always a true highlight of the DAFFY DUCK title!


GOOD BIT:  Taz grabs Daffy by one leg, as the duck takes to the air, in an attempt to escape.  They rise this way a fair distance off the ground. 

DAFFY:  Let go!  Let go!  (pauses, until next panel)  Simon says, ‘Let go’!

TAZ (Complies):  Grrrr!  That better!  Urk!  (Falls to the ground with a THUD!) 

DAFFY (Amazed that worked):  I guess they play that game in Tasmania, too! 

“A Duck Out of Water Can Get Dry” (7 pg.):  Unable to pay his “dock charges”, because the pirating business has been slow “…ever since they started hauling gold in TRAINS!”, Yosemite Sam is forced to move his pirate ship to Daffy’s home-swamp.  Don’t expect Daffy to take this lying down… or might that be “floating-face-down”? 


 GOOD BIT:  Daffy and Sam …er, “discuss” the matter. 

DAFFY:  This is MY SWAMP, and you CAN’T DOCK HERE!

SAM:  I’m STAYING!

DAFFY:  You and WHO ELSE says so?”

SAM (Draws his cutlass):  Me and MY FRIEND, here!

DAFFY (Retreating):  He’s got some PRETTY CONVINCING friends! 

 Tweety and Sylvester:  “A Bird Can Fly, but Can a Fly Bird?” (4 pg.):  Sylvester abandons bird-chasing to become a motorcycle hobbyist!   However, Tweety, feeling ignored (!), gets the notion in his “widdle head” to do some “cycle sabotage”. 

“An Alarm Clock is a Rooster’s Best Friend” (6 pg.):  Daffy covets Foghorn Leghorn’s “cushy” job as a barnyard rooster – and schemes to get the position for himself.  This is as close as the Dell and Gold Key Comics Daffy comes to the “greedy underhanded persona” of his later animated cartoons. 
Oh, Daffy, you greedy and underhanded rascal!

GOOD BIT:  Daffy encounters some unexpected first-day difficulties on the “roostering” job.

CAPTION: “But Daffy doesn’t do so well with the hens…”

HENS (Crying):  Boo Hoo!  We miss Foghorn!”

DAFFY (Awkward, yet simultaneously smarmy):  Why?  I’m much nicer!  Just ASK ME! 
 
A one page “text story” story of Little Pancho Vanilla (adding one more WB animated character – albeit an esoteric one – to the mix) and a one page Daffy and Elmer “hunting gag” round out the issue. 

OTHER: 

 The Inside Front Cover Ad:  Check out the “Special Gold Key Comics Christmas Offer”!  Wow!  Even if I didn’t celebrate Christmas, I’d want most, if not all, of these!  Click to Enlarge!


OVERALL:  DAFFY DUCK # 36 is a special issue – even among a run of special issues! 


The creators, barely removed from the legendary “Termite Terrace” animation factory, and the guest stars that sprang from said factory, come together to assemble one of the very best Warner Bros. comic books – if not of all time, certainly of the Silver Age and beyond! 


 When actual Warner Bros. animation talent is involved, a closer adherence to the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies we love is expected – and delivered!    
Duck Season!  Rabbit Season!  ...No, it's COMIC BOOK SEASON!

You can’t go wrong with DAFFY DUCK # 36.  It’s one of those rare comic books about which I can say:  If you read only ONE ISSUE of this title, THIS is the one to read!” 
I can only do my daredevil act "ONCE", by you can read this comic LOTSA times!


…Or, when you have a copy of DAFFY DUCK # 36, it’s ALWAYS “Duck Season” – without that “You’re despicable – beak shooting-off” part, that is! 

20 comments:

Chris Barat said...

Joe,

I'm wondering whether the lack of comics teamups between Bugs and Daffy might have had something to do with the notorious "postal regulations" that, among other things, gave Gyro Gearloose his backup slot in UNCLE $CROOGE. Bugs and Daffy would probably both have been regarded as "starring characters" that should not be allowed to mix in the same title. The problem with this theory is that Porky Pig, who I assume was ALSO considered to be a "star" at the time, WAS allowed to cross over.

I notice that the Christmas subscription offer did NOT include WDC&S. Granted, it was a monthly title, whereas the titles being offered were bimonthlies and quarterlies, but, if you were willing to purchase subs to $CROOGE, DONALD DUCK, and MICKEY MOUSE, wouldn't you want to purchase a WDC&S sub at the same time -- to "sweep the board," as it were?

Chris

Joe Torcivia said...

Chris:

I can state with near-absolute certainty that the arcane Postal Regs were not behind the lack of Bugs and Daffy team-ups, because the situation dated back as far as the FOUR COLOR days – before mail subscriptions were available for either BUGS BUNNY or DAFFY DUCK. Besides, Donald Duck appeared in UNCLE SCROOGE, and Uncle Scrooge appeared in DONALD DUCK all the time.

There just needed to be “one story featuring characters that didn’t appear in the OTHER stories in the magazine” – hence, the “Goofy in DD” and “Gyro Gearloose in US” 4-page guest stories, and the Tweety and Sylvester stories in DAFFY DUCK and BUGS BUNNY. And one page of TEXT in every book! (Don’t ask ME to explain it!)

Bugs and Daffy also maintained “separate-but-not-equal” features in the LOONEY TUNES AND MERRIE MELODIES comic title, without teaming-up (Not unlike Donald Duck and Scamp might have been viewed in WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES!) And, there IS the case you cite, concerning Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny crossing-over all the time – and in each other’s titles.

The only reason I say “…with near-absolute certainty” is that one can never truly fathom the now lost-to-history workings of Western Publishing. In any event, Daffy was generally “late to the party”, as far as getting his own regular spot in LOONEY TUNES AND MERRIE MELODIES, his own FOUR COLOR title, and his own eponymous regular title. Bugs and Porky had all of them first – and by a considerable margin in time.

That’s one reason why (frequency being another) DAFFY DUCK ended with an Issue Number of 145 (with two issue numbers actually SKIPPED near the very end – Way to go, Whitman!), and BUGS BUNNY ended with # 245.

Why? I sure DON’T KNOW, since Daffy (as a character) actually preceded Bugs!

As for the Subscription Ad, you’d THINK that a 12 issue (monthly frequency) sub to WDC&S would make it all the easier for the mathematically-challenged tykes of 1963 to work out a “24-Issue configuration”, but I THINK (…and this is another one of those things no longer clear from a 21st Century perspective) that WDC&S may have been administered by an entity affiliated with – but not actually belonging to – Western Publishing, called “K.K. Publications”… named for Kay Kamen, another of those elusive figures of Western’s early days.

If so, it might have been excluded from the ad, for another such arcane reason.

Note also that certain Gold Key titles could not be delivered to Great Britain or Australia. In such cases, I’d guess there was a domestic English-language licensee that prohibited the importation of Western’s product.

The more we research about Western Publishing, the more there is to learn!

Joe Torcivia said...

Actually, upon further review, responses to the ad are to be SENT to “K.K. Publications”, and not Western Publishing Company… so I haven’t the slightest idea why WDC&S would be excluded from the offer. …Anyone out there know?

Perhaps it was STILL their best-selling title, and didn't need the "help"?

Anonymous said...

After looking it up on Wiki and the GCD, I'm more vague about it than ever. Apparently, K.K. Publications was a subsidiary of Western, and had some sort of separate licensing deal with Disney, but that still does not explain why WDC&S was not included, when the other Disney titles were. Maybe there was a different subscription ad for the monthly comics. -TC

Anonymous said...

Even when I was five or six, Daffy Duck #36 seemed special. I had never seen so many different "stars" in one issue of a regular-sized, 12-cent comic. (Although maybe the 80-page Huckleberry Hound issues and Gold Key's later 160-page digests had a comparable variety.) And I think I may have liked the comic books because Daffy and Sylvester were not always portrayed as losers. (Well, Daffy didn't ALWAYS lose in the animated cartoons, but I can't recall one where he won a competition against Bugs.) There was another DD issue where Granny rented a beach house, and Sylvester took up surfing. As in the motor bike story in #36, Tweety tried to sabotage the cat's new hobby, but his efforts backfired on him. Maybe Looney Tunes purists will complain that it was out of character, but I found it a nice change of pace. I never saw Wile E. Coyote win one, though, in any medium. But I suppose he couldn't catch the Road Runner without ending the series. -TC

Joe Torcivia said...

TC (Comment 1):

In order to help unravel the “K.K. Kontroversey”, I pulled what would be the concurrent issue of WDC&S to DAFFY DUCK # 36 (# 281) and compared some of the differences in their indicia. These are things you’d never think to even glance at when reading the comics but, as I’m so fond of saying… “At TIAH Blog, you’ll find stuff you won’t find anywhere else!”

And, to granular-ize things still further, I also examined contemporary issues MICKEY MOUSE # 92 (to compare a Non-WDC&S Disney comic) and HUCKLEBERRY HOUND # 23 (to introduce a Hanna-Barbera comic into the mix).

WDC&S # 281 reads:

“Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories Vol. 24, No. 5 (That was the ONLY book that billed itself that way, and had the ‘actual issue number’ in small print somewhere in a panel on Page One). Published monthly by arrangement with Walt Disney Productions.”

The name of “K.K. Publications, Inc., Poughkeepsie, New York, U.S.A.” is prominently featured below in noticeably larger font type than the rest of the indicia. It is not so, for the other books.

There was also an odd passage that seemed designed to keep me from becoming a freelance writer for them: “K.K. Publications, Inc., assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts. Owners submitting manuscripts assume all risk for their loss or damage.”

DAMN! Because of that clause, my professional Disney comic book debut would have to wait until 2006! …But, back to (pardon) the issue at hand.

DAFFY DUCK # 36, HUCKLEBERRY HOUND # 23, and another Disney title MICKEY MOUSE # 92 all read as follows:

“DAFFY DUCK # 36 [HUCKLEBERRY HOUND # 23 / MICKEY MOUSE # 92] (list cover date). Published quarterly [bi-monthly] by K.K. Publications, Inc., Poughkeepsie, New York, in cooperation with Golden Press, Inc.!

Ah-HA! We’re ON TO SOMETHING. I don’t know WHAT, but we’re on to something! Notice the difference between WDC&S, and three titles, from different creator-studios, but that are commonly listed in that subscription ad? The ad may have been for “Golden Press” titles only!

K.K. Publications and Golden Press were probably two arms of the same publishing entity, but may have functioned separately and differently behind the scenes. That “separate licensing deal with Disney” that you cite.

I think we’ve ALL taken a step toward unraveling this mystery together! Too bad we’ve run smack into another, while doing so! …Only HERE, at TIAH Blog, folks!

Joe Torcivia said...

TC (Comment 2):

The presence of so many guest stars is exactly why DAFFY DUCK # 36 is special to me – and why it became the subject of this review. Giant comics and digests don’t count in quite the same way. It’s expected of them! As a “regular issue”, however, this one is very special!

Oddly, Daffy won as decisively over Bugs as he is EVER likely to in an early sixties animated TANG advertisement, which may have been on one of the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTIONS – and also appeared on this wonderful DVD collection:

http://tiahblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/dvd-review-cartoon-commercials-volume.html

I believe that the introduction of a “new element (motorcycles, surfing, etc.) that upsets the existing character dynamic, for the duration of a story” is a legitimate (and welcome) “playing with the formula” that works well for long-established characters. Tom and Jerry did it all the time in animation, so why not Tweety and Sylvester in comics.

And, Wile E. DID catch the Road Runner in bizarre fashion in the 1980 TV special component that eventually was edited into a short titled “Soup or Sonic”. For some reason, that ending really tickled me!

Dana Gabbard said...

WOW! This post is indeed proof expertise is if anything more needed in this era of Net White Noise. I have hopes eventually to work up a Kay Kamen Wikipedia entry. He evidently was a marketing savant who signed an exclusive contract with Walt Disney where he got a cut of the sales from his efforts. He masterminded the merchandising that helped pay the bills at Disney during the classic era. How his name ended up on a Western subsidiary is a mystery to me. Maybe Mike Barrier's book will shed light on this when it finally appears. From hints on his website he seems to have been engaged in some in depth research on Western and its workings.

Old guys rule!

Anonymous said...

Apparently, Kay Kamen (after whom K K Publications was named) was in charge of licensing and merchandising at Disney. Golden Press seems to have begun as a partnership between Western and Pocket books, then became a wholly owned Western subsidiary after they bought out Pocket. The sources (again, GCD and Wiki) seem to indicate that Golden's main thing was hardback children's books, but maybe they were involved with printing some of the comics as well. And maybe some of the subdivisions may have had different distribution systems? (Similarly, weren't there some Western comics in the 1950's that were free giveaways and were not distributed by Dell?) As you say, it seems that the more research you do about it, the more there is to learn.

Anonymous said...

And, yes, I probably liked the comic books because of the introduction of new elements and playing with the formula. I loved the cartoons on TV, but the comic books actually had more variations, and told real STORIES, as opposed to simply depicting a series of gags while one character chased another. Just as Carl Barks put the Ducks in exotic adventures, instead of always doing some variation on Donald and his nephews playing pranks on each other. -TC

Joe Torcivia said...

Dana:

Who’s “OLD”? We’re… “Experienced”!

And look what has sprung, from my posting the image of that one subscription ad! If I wasn’t so …“Experienced”, I’d say “Golly!”

If what you say is true, then Barrier can’t get his book out fast enough for me!

Joe Torcivia said...

Anon/ TC:

I’ve always known that the Golden Books and comics distributed with the “Dell” imprint – and later Gold Key – came from the same publishing entity. Even as a kid, I was somehow able to “guess” that, on some level, given the overall similarities in form, art, and general content. Though the Golden Books were aimed at a younger audience, and the comics at an older (Check that: “Experienced”) one, and I moved effortlessly from one to the other. That was probably their plan, too… Hook ‘em young, and keep ‘em “in the family” for years!

But, beyond (and beneath) that, there would seem to be layers upon layers of bygone business deals ‘n’ doings worthy of some serious archeology!

BTW, if we keep this up, Daffy will begin to resent Kay Kamen more than he does Bugs – for becoming a bigger name in this post! Over the course of this thread, Kamen has very likely achieved “Duck-Despicable” status by now!

You write: “…but the comic books actually had more variations, and told real STORIES, as opposed to simply depicting a series of gags while one character chased another.”

That is precisely why I hold the Dell and Gold Key comics in such high regard, despite their catastrophic come-down of the seventies and eighties! And it is also the difference between these older (Check that: “Experienced”) comics and the LOONEY TUNES comic from DC. I’ve enjoyed and respect the latter for its extremely close adherence to what we see on screen, but I’ll always prefer the comics from Western Publishing overall!

scarecrow33 said...

One reason why Bugs and Daffy were so rarely teamed in the Western era was that they essentially filled the same role in their respective stories--namely, as antagonist to Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam--or whoever else. In fact, Elmer was almost more of a presence in the Daffy stories than in the Bugs stories. It's almost as though Daffy's antics in his own comics freed up Bugs to have longer adventure stories, while the Daffy stories could concentrate on comedy and one-upmanship. In some ways, they are almost the same character--in Western's depiction of them--except that, as in the movies, Daffy was more prone to be the "loser" than Bugs--although Bugs came out on the bottom a few times, himself. This idea of the two of them as interchangeable is evidenced in the later Gold Key Yosemite Sam title, which mainly consisted of Dell reprints of Bugs and Daffy stories retitled as Yosemite Sam stories. As I recall, both Bugs and Daffy were regular visitors in that title, and their roles were very similar when up against Sam. Thus, in their own respective titles there was really not much need to have two pranksters in one story.

Porky and Bugs worked very well together as sidekicks--a concept which might have prolonged Porky's career, if it had ever translated to the screen. But Porky and Daffy, as was mentioned, didn't team up that much in the comics. I do remember one story, "The Misfit Mounties," which is a delightful exception to that rule, in which Porky and Daffy work together and actually come out ahead.

This looks like a remarkable issue of Daffy Duck. Thanks for posting on it--it's got me going through my comics collection with renewed excitement.

Joe Torcivia said...

Anytime I can renew someone’s excitement over their comics collection, Scarecrow, I feel I’ve done my job! :-)

In fact, I’m feeling that way myself these days, and that’s why I’m presently putting together another “Comics Review” – albeit from a different publisher and from an entirely different era, just for some variety. But, I’ll also be returning to Silver Age Gold Key (still my all-time favorite) before long!

That’s one right-on analysis of the Dell and Gold Key comic book Bugs and Daffy! And, those very similarities are what make the concept of “The Day Daffy and Bugs Bugged Elmer” such a stroke of genius. Then again, “genius” was nothing new for Michael Maltese!

Still, as was seen all too seldom, such as in “It’s Free If You Can Afford It” (BUGS BUNNY # 90 – as mentioned in the comments of our previous post), there WAS a unique dynamic between Bugs and Daffy that could (and SHOULD) have been employed more often.

And, yes, “The Misfit Mounties” was certainly a good example of how Daffy could be used in an adventure story – sort of like Sylvester in “Phantom of the Plains”. (Wasn’t that reprinted in the same issue of PORKY PIG that featured the new for 1967 story “Secret Agent Puddy Tat”?) Shame on me for overlooking that one!

Abraham Lincoln said...

You're making me want to read these now. Great post, I would say more if I wasn't busy.

Joe Torcivia said...

You’d like to “…read these now”, Abe?

Let’s turn it over to Bugs and Daffy:

BUGS: Ya got me, Doc. Would ya like to read these now, or wait ‘till ya get home!

DAFFY: “Read these NOW! Read these NOW!”

BUGS: You keep outta dis! Abe doesn’t HAVE to read these NOW!

DAFFY: “Well *I* say he DOES have to read these NOW! So, READ THESE NOW!”

Problem solved! …Wasn’t that easy?

Dana Gabbard said...

Pat McGreal at one point did a story that teamed up Mickey and Donald for Egmont which Gladstone reprinted. And I remember in an issue of Walt Disney Comics Digest new material to celebrate the Disney World opening had Mickey and Donald together. Covers of Dell Giants, seasonal specials and WDC&S had Donald and Mickey interacting but generally inside they had separate stories. But didn't those unusual "Walt Disney Theater" leads in WDC&S #300-311 have weird cross-overs? Ditto the annual Disney X-Mas comic strips? Sort of muddled as to when universes crossed.

Where is David Gerstein and his vast knowledge when you need it?

Joe Torcivia said...

Dana:

Those “Walt Disney Theater” stories of the mid-sixties crossed over lots of disparate characters. Using Mickey and Goofy mostly as its base, you’d find characters like the Seven Dwarfs and Brer Rabbit commonly appearing as well.

Oddly, to bring it back to Daffy Duck, you could say that a cartoon like Chuck Jones’ “The Scarlet Pumpernickel” (1950) which, even though it was Daffy’s own frenetic description of a screenplay starring himself, and featuring various Looney Tunes characters in supporting roles – was not unlike “The Walt Disney Theater” stories!

But, again, the reason DAFFY DUCK # 36 was so special was that each “regular” story of this “regular” issue offered WB guest starts – some of which were never seen in the title before. So, in being “regular”, it was actually “special”!

…Now, isn’t that “special”?

Adel Khan said...

Joe when you review a comic book, your selection is always excellent! I recently acquired it for my collection and it was extremely fun reading it. I guess that the Mike Maltese's inspiration for the "gaggy" tittles may have been Rudyard Kipling's "Just So Stories" The title of the story running down the page makes it for a unique touch. It's interesting when I had a conversation about the diverse personality of Daffy through the years. We designated the term "Moocher Daffy" phase ("The Cracked Quack")

In the first story I felt sympathetic for Daffy when Bugs usurped his position for the number one moocher. "My woo-hoo has turned to woe woe" It was enjoyable seeing Bugs and Daffy outdoing each other in competing for who was the biggest pest to Elmer. The final gag of Daffy out-toping Bugs was refreshing.

Among the best lines in "A Duck Out Of Water Can Get Dry" were when Daffy was jumping into the pond for a beauty bath only to land on Sam's ship: "A few beauty baths like this and a guy could look pretty ugly!"
Sam has changed his mind after Daffy showed him the profit he made so he could move back to slip 13, "I never made this much money pirating! Besides, I like telling fibs... er My adventures to people."

Mike Maltese ended the last story on a pun to end all puns out on where we see him receiving his just desserts.

Phil DeLara's artwork was great. His style of designing the minor characters is always a treat for the eyes. His artwork no matter what the character is (Daffy, Top Cat, The Flintstones) have a flurry of energy, the character's look extremely expressive.
The one-pager at the end is a good example, as I like how cunning Daffy appears in the bush while Elmer is on the lookout for him. It is hard to say a lot of good compliments about the art without being repetitive. All I can say is I just LOOOVE it.

One more connection to the W-B and Western would be Tom McKimson (Robert McKimson's brother) who was the art director at Western Publishing. It's nice to see the overlapping of talents between the studio and Western Publishing in being faithful to the cartoons.

Joe Torcivia said...

Adel:

I am VERY glad that my review caused you to buy this great comic! Of the entire run of Dell and Gold Key's DAFFY DUCK, this was my favorite issue, and I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

I wish I had time to do more posts like this, because there are many other wonderful comics I'd like to similarly highlight.