Friday, January 30, 2015

Vacuums of the Future: Past and Present!

This is the cover of Gold Key Comics’ THE JETSONS # 21, from 1966. 

This is the cover of DC Comics’ SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 8, from 2015.  

When I received my mail subscription copy of THE JETSONS # 21, back in 1966, the year 2015 alone was inconceivable – much less that there would still be a comic book featuring The Jetsons.  Especially one that would essentially repeat the same cover gag, but with (future-creation) Scooby-Doo rousted by Rosey rather than “Rrorge”… I mean “George”!    
Just call me "Rrorge!" 

If we were to examine the two covers side-by-side (...or, as this Blog is formatted, "over and under") my view is that the 1966 JETSONS cover is superior in execution to the 2015 SCOOBY-DOO cover, for one important reason...

The JETSONS cover conveys its gag in silence, while the SCOOBY-DOO cover offers-up a needless dialogue balloon.  

Now, I may be second-to-none in my appreciation of a good pun, but this insertion adds nothing to the cover gag, and seems reminiscent of the very many misguided, unnecessarily-dialogued cover gags employed by Harvey Comics in its later years.  

Compare this with the same gag done by Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge.  
UNCLE SCROOGE # 20 (How coincidental!)

All that needs to be done is to change Shaggy's expression to one of amusement, not unlike Jane and Elroy on the 1966 cover, and the gag works wordlessly. 

Just for kicks, here's the published cover again, followed by an "ad image" without the balloon.  

Which do you prefer?  Me?  I'll take the latter.  

As a bonus, here are two versions of the same BUGS BUNNY cover gag.  The original silent version, and the reprint with a dialogue balloon -- a virtually UNHEARD-OF practice for Gold Key!  
BUGS BUNNY # 74 (Dell) 
BUGS BUNNY # 137 (Gold Key) 

We'll be back soon with out actual Comic Book Review of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 8 - where, needless to say, the dialogue INSIDE far surpasses the dialogue on the cover!  


TC said...

I don't know if the "dumbing down" (which includes adding unnecessary dialog and captions) is a general trend across the board, or if it's certain writers and publishers talking down to their audience, while others do not.

You can see the same thing in children's TV shows, especially in the 1970's and '80's. Some would have an afterword with Isis or He-Man explaining the moral of the episode ("Today, we saw how telling lies causes trouble"), while others (like Duck Tales) would let you figure it out for yourself.

And comic books have gotten to the point where a scene of Batman or Spider-Man climbing up a wall is accompanied by a caption explaining that he's climbing a wall, and a thought balloon saying, "I'm climbing a wall."

It's as if the editors and publishers think that kids now (and even in the 1970's) must be less intelligent than those in the 1960's and earlier, so they need a caption or word balloon to make it clear that Rosie is vacuuming the floor, or that Bugs is talking on the phone.

rodineisilveira said...

It seems that this crossover involving Scooby-Doo and the Jetsons was drawn by Scott Jeralds.

Joe Torcivia said...


What I find most annoying about the dialogue balloon in question, is that the SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP title is ANYTHING BUT “dumbed-down”. In fact, on this Blog, I’ve reveled in its “All-Ages-Awesomeness” for nearly a year now!

But, the parallel to the Harvey cover, which actually *is* obnoxiously “dumbed-down”, is way too close for comfort! And, it’s just so… so… unnecessary! That’s the best word for it!

You never saw anything like that from Gladstone, Gemstone, and the like – and, from what very little I’ve seen thus far, you won’t see it in IDW’s new Disney line.

Another reason I drew the parallel to the Harvey cover is that I’ve always had a sense (…and, I’ve never heard anyone actually say this, but I just “have a sense”) that there are some people who actually feel this IS the way “comics-like-these” should be done. The way Harvey did it in the seventies thru nineties! UGH!

Were those Harvey comics really worth emulating? I certainly don’t think so! Yet, you do see flashes of it at DC (…where you’d at least expect the “parent-folks” of Warner Bros. to think differently) in their animated character titles over the years. Perhaps there’s also an “Archie” influence at work here too.

For my money, no one did it better than ‘40s Dell thru ‘60s Gold Key – and the meager handful of subsequent publishers that kept the spirit of those values alive to the present day.

Regrettably, in the ‘70s and ‘80s there was a vast “dumbing-down” of animated product that began to reverse itself with DUCKTALES, reaching its height with the Warner shows of the ‘90s! By now, the reversal has reversed itself.

And, of course we’ll never know, but maybe that BUGS BUNNY cover dialogue balloon, was just added for the sake of overall composition. There WAS a fair amount of empty space in that “upper-middle-right-side”. But, merely saying “Hey, Doc!”, as inappropriate as it was for Gold Key, did not leave me with a feeling of “dumbing-down”. It just left me wondering WHY they did it there, and never anywhere else!

Joe Torcivia said...


Scott Jeralds is great, and I certainly don’t hold HIM responsible for the dialogue balloon. Indeed, I even posted an illustration WITHOUT IT, just to show the difference.

scarecrow33 said...

Shaggy's remark makes no sense in the context of the cover scene. They are not "in space" in any sense of the word--the Jetsons live in the Sky Pad Apartments, which although up in the sky are located on earth and not in outer space.

George actually looks more poised to make a comment than Shaggy. Shaggy's expression seems more reactive (as usual). If there HAD to be a clever quip on the cover--and I totally agree with you, Joe, that such an addition is totally unnecessary--it SHOULD have come out of George's mouth, not Shaggy's, as Shaggy looks perhaps a little too stunned to speak. And in either case, the quip that is used is not only unnecessary but completely irrelevant.

Did you notice--I'm sure you did--that the image of Rosey vaccuuming is pretty much identical on BOTH covers? This must indicate that the current creators of these comics have some access to the archives from the Dell and Gold Key days? Either that or they know where to look on the Internet to find archival images.

I'm actually very excited about this reproduction of the image from a vintage Jetsons comic onto a present-day one--maybe future issues of the Jetsons (of course, ANY issue of the Jetsons would be a "future" issue!!) could also include reprints of some of the earlier stories(--and naturally, I mean any Gold Key stories, not the Charlton ones featuring Elroy's Martian friend Sum Toi and some gross misinterpretations of the characters both visually and verbally!)

Can't wait to learn what you thought of the contents of the story in this new Scooby team-up.

Joe Torcivia said...


You’re absolutely right that, IF a comment need be made at all, per the art, it should be GEORGE and not Shaggy, who should be making it.

It is George who is posed in relaxed, conversational style, and his hand gesture or positioning indicates that it ought to be HE making whatever remark is called for (…or, as I see it, NOT called for) to Shaggy!

The Rosey vacuuming image is EXACTLY the same, and is even positioned exactly the same within the cover-space! That is why I drew the parallel in the first place. Those wonderful Gold Key Comics of the sixties don’t get nearly the credit – or outright praise – that they ought to and, when one is so obviously tributed here, I regard it as my “duty” to point that out.

I know little or nothing about Scott Jeralds, beyond that he is a great contemporary Hanna-Barbera character artist, so I would not presume to state that he drew the cover to SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 8 with the Gold Key JETSONS cover in mind… but it sure does look that way to me. And, if so, more power to Mr. Jeralds – and long may he continue to grace these pages with his fine work.

I hope to put some thoughts together on the rest of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 8 soon.

Adel Khan said...

It's interesting that I came up to the same conclusion, of the reused image of "Rosey". I find a speech bubble in a comic book cover odd, as the comic book cover should "speak" for itself.

Oddly, when DC comics started their "Looney Tunes", "Cartoon Network Presents", and "The Jetsons/ Flinstones" titles all their covers featured dialogue boxes.

I am not sure what the situation that prevents the "Hanna Barbera" CLASSIC comics from being reprinted in an anthology. Maybe it's the lack photostats? It would be a great treat. You could have Mark Evanier, Scott Shaw!, and Jerry Eisenberg (son of Harvey) provide a foreward. There are no "music" clearance issues preventing these from being released.

Ooba-dooba! Looking forward to your review.

Joe Torcivia said...


Needless to say, I completely agree with you that such a cover should “speak for itself”.

And, again… No one did it better than ‘40s Dell thru ‘60s Gold Key. Why more publishers don’t emulate that approach is beyond me – especially when they are working with the SAME characters that appeared in those older comics. The various Disney publishers have done so. Why not others?

A “Western Publishing Hanna-Barbera Archives” would be a WONDERFUL idea! Especially if it included the involvement of the persons you mention! Add Scott Jeralds to the list. Heck, maybe SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP’s writer Scholly Fisch! *I’d* even take a spot, if they offered it to me! ...I *do* know “just a bit” about those comics, you know! …Um, anyone?

Those comics have not seen print since 1970! A few years later for SCOOBY-DOO. Yeah, have Mark Evanier write something on those great SCOOBY-DOO comics he did with Dan Spiegle.

It is soooo regrettable that, when Hanna-Barbera comics WERE reprinted in the ‘90s, it was those wretched Charltons.

Adel Khan said...

I thought Shaggy's comment about the "Vacum of Space" fell flat.

It is interesting how foreign distributors didn't want to reprint the Charlton material, as the quality was inferior.

Scott Jerald's artwork did make pine for a "Jetsons" bi-monthly title. You could have back-up feature of Huck, Yogi, T.C. etc. It is unfortunate how since WB acquired "Hanna-Barbera" the classic characters are seldomly promoted.
Maybe with the upcoming "Jetsons" feature film, that could be a possibility...

rodineisilveira said...

When I saw George Jetson mentioned Alpha Centauri, the name Alpha Centauri made me reminding of the Lost in Space series (Irwin Allen Productions/20th Century Fox, 1965-68).

Joe Torcivia said...


As LOST IN SPACE is a very frequent topic around here, you know I thought something similar.

Oh, do I ever hope those initial rumors of a “Complete Series Blu-Ray Set” for the 50th anniversary of the series are true!

Joe Torcivia said...


I’m not sure ANY spoken comment would have improved – or with worked with – that cover illustration, but I can’t help wondering that if the illustration were left the same and Shaggy were to say the following…

“George! Stop that CRAZY THING!”

…would it have been just the slightest bit funnier than “vacuum of space”?

You’re all free to comment, and do let loose on this – or provide an alternate balloon of your own.

Consider that European funny-animal comic book readers were used to the likes of Daan Jippes, Marco Rota, Vicar, Daniel Branca, Romano Scarpa, and the like – and imagine how they would have reacted to that horrid Charlton art?

I’d love a classic H-B title from DC, but I just don’t see it happening because those characters are unjustly undervalued by their parent company – alas!

Consider all the TOM AND JERRY Direct to Video productions and endless re-compilation DVDs Warner puts out, but there’s never been a TOM AND JERRY comic book from DC! I KNOW they’re producing some good stories in Europe (I even contributed ONE gag line to one), but we aren’t seeing them here.

Could classic H-B and TOM AND JERRY be another job for… IDW? I’d certainly be there!

rodineisilveira said...

Hoovering around with the Jetsons in the past and the present.
If our friends from Hoover (one of the world's greatest electric appliances manufacturers) saw these situations involving the Jetsons and the vacuums (a.k.a. Hoovers) of the future...

Joe Torcivia said...


In The Jetsons’ case, they could probably “hover” AND “Hoover” at the same time!