Friday, May 19, 2017

Fun With Comics: Dis-Armed and Dangerous!



We all know how violent Tom and Jerry cartoons can be – at least the GOOD Tom and Jerry cartoons!


But, for all of Tom’s suffering…


…has an act of violence this shocking ever come his way? 

Consider the cover of 1955’s TOM AND JERRY # 133.


Now, examine the reprint of that cover for 1966’s TOM AND JERRY # 231. 


GASP!  

We may never know the gory details, but it appears that Tom has LOST HIS LEFT ARM!  Shudder! 

…And those callous little mice just go on swimming as if nothing has happened! 

Ah, but fear not, folks… some skillful surgery, perhaps on the part of Doctor Droopy, restored Tom’s arm for the next reprinting of this cover for 1978’s TOM AND JERRY # 308.   


"Shhh... Don't tell him how I did it, folks!"

So, all’s well that ends well!  


Then again, we only see Tom's RIGHT ARM, don't we?!

22 comments:

Elaine said...

OK, now you've got me playing "Spot the Differences" with the three covers. I note that on the 1955 cover, the colorist enlarged Tom's pupils with green around the black dots. That improves his expression significantly, in my opinion.

Joe Torcivia said...

Elaine:

Welcome back to what I hope is more regular posting and commenting!

While you’ll find NO bigger booster of the Gold Key product circa 1964-1966 than yours truly, there were many things Dell simply did better – and your discovery is just one of those countless little touches that most people (including missing arm-obsessed me) wouldn’t ordinarily notice. But, yes, Tom’s expression is certainly improved by the use of this tiny detail.

I’d also say that Dell’s Tom and Jerry LOGO was better than those that followed… oddly, however, one might argue that the 1955 logo LOOKED “fifties” (…and don’t you just LOVE the word “Comics” added to the logo), while the 1966 logo looked more “sixties”, and the 1978 logo looked “seventies” – with each logo somehow representative of the steady decline of animation and design of ALL studios over those decades!

…Gosh, it’s fun to be discussing comic book minutiae to this extent again!

Another thing that joining in your game of "Spot the Differences" caused me to notice is that the 1978 issue has a Warner Bros. copyright on it. Now, I have the 1955 and 1966 issues in my own collection – but not the 1978 issue, which I just noticed and tacked-on for a somewhat “happy ending” while preparing the illustrations for this post.

I’m not exactly certain when Warner acquired the rights to Tom and Jerry, but I didn’t think it was as early as 1978! Hanna-Barbera (for better or worse by that time) was still Hanna-Barbera – and it would be some years before I heard of Turner Broadcasting. That was a period where I was out of general fandom, so I cannot say. …Anyone know?

scarecrow33 said...

Maybe Tom had an itchy back...

Joe Torcivia said...

Well, Scarecrow, when you look at it like that, and if you view the three covers in rapid succession, you can create your own animation!

Not any old animation, mind you, but animation done just like the earliest Hanna-Barbera cartoons that we love – like Yogi Bear’s “Pie Pirates”! Tom’s arm is there. Then it’s not, as he scratches his itchy back (…though, as Bill Hanna would have wanted it, the motion of the scratching is unseen, save for maybe a camera shake and a sandpaper sound effect). Then the arm is there again!

...And the background color keeps changing abruptly, just like in Filmation cartoons! Brilliant!

Though, given the nature of Tom and Jerry cartoons (again, at least the GOOD ones), Tom is more likely removing an ARROW or some similar pain-causing object from his back!

…Yes, it’s good to be back!

Debbie Anne said...

I have only read a small handful of Tom and Jerry comics over the years between Whitman and Harvey Comics' later books. While the three pack comic bags had lots of Tweety and Sylvester comics, Tom and Jerrys were a bit rarer (at least in the bags my brother, cousin and I got). But at least we got to read a few Carl Barks, Tony Strobl and Paul Murry Disney stories, so that made up for the shortage of Tom and Jerry books.
Oh and in reference to your Filmation comment, the cat and mouse (and Droopy, and Barney Bear) put in their time at Filmation's studio, which must have been a slap in the face to Hanna and Barbera, to have their biggest rival end up with their first successful characters over their own studio.

Joe Torcivia said...

Deb:

The Harvey Eisenberg Tom and Jerry ten-pagers, in their own way, rival the Carl Barks ten-pagers for Donald Duck.

Both were the product of a superior artist who wrung expressive life out of the characters. Both were funny, often with clever twists – though, unlike Barks, I still have no idea who WROTE the Eisenberg Tom and Jerrys. Eisenberg, to the best of my knowledge was strictly an artist. And both anchored monthly licensed Dell publications for their respective studios. Barks for WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES and Eisenberg for TOM AND JERRY COMICS – the latter, after a 10 page Eisenberg Tom and Jerry lead, was made up of other, lesser MGM characters (Does anyone know where Wuff the Prairie Dog originated?), in a format similar to its companion titles WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES, LOONEY TUNES AND MERRIE MELODIES, and WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES.

Once Gold Key assumed the title in 1962, and after a few giant issues, Tom and Jerry finally became the primary characters in their own eponymous title, accompanied only by the four-page “guest” story that was requisite for all titles of the period. Eisenberg and Phil DeLara drew these T&J stories until 1965, when Eisenberg reprints (at least TWO per issue – in contrast with Dell’s original ONE per issue) dominated the title until the early seventies.

I can’t get too upset over Tom and Jerry ending up at Filmation, after what Hanna-Barbera themselves did to the characters in the seventies with things like bow-tied Jerry and sticking them with the Great Grape Ape.

Besides, I liked some of Filmation’s early stuff, such as The New Adventures of Superman, Aquaman, the 1968 series of Batman (the less said about the seventies series the better), the first season of Archie (also 1968) which was primarily written by the vastly underappreciated Bob Ogle, who wrote animation for UPA, MGM and for Gold Key Comics. Oh, yes… and Star Trek Animated. After that, you can keep ‘em.

ramapith said...

I'm pretty sure the Warner copyright on a 1970s Western Tom and Jerry comic was a plain and simple screw-up. Look inside the book, and I'm pretty sure you'll see a Loew's Inc. copyright.

Western were sloppy in more than just their cover color choices, after all. When putting the name "Porky Pig" in a story's title panel involved applying one sticker with the word "Porky" and another with the word "Pig," you'd think they'd be careful enough not to get them in the wrong order. But PIG PORKY did make at least one ill-fated appearance...

Joe Torcivia said...

David:

I don’t have that issue of TOM AND JERRY, and don’t have any released after early 1973. But, checking issue # 270 (the latest one I have), the copyright reads © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., on both the front cover and the first page indicia.

Oddly, a Harvey Eisenberg reprint from 1957 (nestled among contemporary stories that are copyrighted 1973 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.), has a 1957 copyright attributed to Loew’s Incorporated. Both copyrights were, at different times, attributed to Tom and Jerry. Maybe, sometime I’ll check as to when the changeover occurred. Another one-page gag also reprinted in the issue is copyrighted 1960 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. – so it must have happened between 1957 and 1960.

Oh, is there no end to the minutiae we fans concern ourselves with? I love it!

So, yes… the Warner copyright on 1978’s TOM AND JERRY # 308 *would* seem to be a “screw-up”… or *maybe* it was a remarkably accurate prediction of future media conglomerate takeover events! …Bow before the gods of Western Publishing!

I have the infamous “PIG PORKY” issue but, for the life of me, cannot recall which one it was. Just another thing I’ll have to check on.

ramapith said...

Some online indexes show that the PIG PORKY story is "The Terrified Trainer" as reprinted in Whitman Porky #103 (1981). Its first printing was earlier in Dell Porky #76 (1961), though I'm not sure if the glitch was there in the original, or ineptly added in the reprint...

Joe Torcivia said...

David:

I checked my copies of both Whitman’s PORKY PIG # 103 and Dell’s PORKY PIG # 76.

1981’s PORKY PIG # 103 is indeed where I first saw “Pig Porky”. It was, as you note, a reprint of 1961’s “Terrified Trainer” from Dell’s PORKY PIG # 76. It was the FINAL story in the book, otherwise made up of new / contemporary stories. (…None of which, I might add, were logo-ed as “Pig Porky”, though, oddly, the SAME logo/lettering for Porky’s name was used in the issue’s eighties stories as in its sixties reprint!)

However, upon examining Dell’s PORKY PIG # 76, “Pig Porky” was there in the original printing – and was very likely just carried over as-is for the Whitman issue twenty years later. Indeed, given how things so dramatically declined during the Whitman years, I’d have been surprised if someone actually noticed and fixed it.

Oh, and to add insult to injury “Terrified Trainer” was the LEAD story in Dell’s PORKY PIG # 76. So, the unfortunate reversal of the title character’s name appeared on the FIRST PAGE – and, assuming most readers ignored the AD on the inside front cover, “Pig Porky” might very well have been the FIRST THING they saw upon opening the book!

…And, maybe it’s just me but, such an error seems far more glaring on PAGE ONE, than when it is buried in the back of the book. Hard to believe that the very competent editors and production staff of 1961, unlike those beyond the early seventies – and especially by the eighties, would let something like that get through!

Comicbookrehab said...

I'm not sure why DC Comics hasn't revived the Tom and Jerry comic book, since DVD crossover movies are still being produced - the next one has them meeting Willie Wonka, possibly followed by a crossover with the WWE wrestlers.

I don't necessarily equate a "good" Tom & Jerry with having the cruelest violent gags or even the ones that won Oscars, but when Bill and Joe did a violent gag, it was executed better than it deserved to be, certainly better than their imitators ever did.

Debbie Anne said...

If the most violent gags made the best cartoons, Herman and Katnip would be more popular while Tom and Jerry langushed in obscurity.

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

When I say that the “good” Tom and Jerry cartoons are the violent ones, that’s meant to exclude such things as the aforementioned “bow-tied Jerry and sticking them with the Great Grape Ape”.

Gene Deitch and Chuck Jones did their OWN types of violence, and I liked ALL the theatrical T&Js very much. On the other hand, I can’t say I’m much enthused over crossovers with Willy Wonka and (especially) the WWE.

There’s no figuring out DC Comics these days. Though, on the plus side, they have promoted SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP from bi-monthly to monthly, so at least there’s SOME recognition of quality!

You’d think that, with the endless stream of Tom and Jerry direct-to-video product, and the equally endless regurgitation of previously released T&J cartoons on smaller and cheaper DVD packages – while the great chronological Blu-ray sets stopped after the first release – that there would be SOME room for a Tom and Jerry comic book at DC. But, no…

I daresay, IDW would be the ideal publisher for such a project, as they would likely combine classic Harvey Eisenberg reprints with never-before seen European Tom and Jerry stories.

…And I just happen to know a few guys with experience translating European stories for IDW, who would LOVE the opportunity to do so! :-)

Joe Torcivia said...

Deb:

Oddly, as I received your comment, I was preparing my response to Comicbookrehab (above), in which I hope I’ve helped clarify the distinction.

Then again, Herman and Katnip are popular – at least with me. I like lots of unusual things, as this Blog bears out!

Yet, if it were all about violence, why do I also love Pixie, Dixie, and Mister Jinks? Though, the Daws Butler and Don Messick voices carry those cartoons a long way! So much so that I sometimes involuntarily “hear” those voices when I read the Tom and Jerry comic books – though Tuffy “speaks” more like Butler’s early Augie Doggie voice.

Comicbookrehab said...

It's fair to assume we'll see an issue of Scooby-Doo Team-up where the Scooby Gang helps Batman solve the mystery of that familiar-looking smiley face button he found in the Batcave...

Re: the Tom and Jerry DVD movies, my favorites are the ones where they "Meet..." Sherlock Holmes and the "Spy Quest" adventure. That last had me assuming we were going to get more installments like that, where they meet The Jetsons and The Flintstones or even Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks, but they seem to have gone back to the familiar well.

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

Tom and Jerry meeting Pixie, Dixie, and Mister Jinks, would certainly be something *I* would want to see! It has the potential of rivaling the best issues of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP!

But, it would need to be done in short form, not the “hour and fifteen minutes – or so” of a typical Warner direct-to-video product. For instance, would the Johnny Bravo meets Scooby-Doo short cartoon “Bravo Dooby-Doo” have been as good in a padded long form? I think not. Its brilliance was in its brevity and all the conventions and tropes they crammed into that short running time. …Say, it was just LIKE an issue of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP! Jinkies!

For Tom and Jerry meets Pixie, Dixie, and Mister Jinks, the gags would need to stem from the immediate reveal of their similarities and differences – and would not necessarily be best served by contriving to send them all on an adventure.

Oh, and Tuffy would need to be there for the balance of two mice for each cat!

Comicbookrehab said...

I could take a feature-length "Bravo Dooby Doo", on the grounds that I like Johnny Bravo and he has more charisma than the WWE wrestlers, frankly.

If they can do 3 feature-length movies starring Top Cat (2 of which were produced to premiere in Mexico),..

Chris said...

Off subject: Do you know if IDW is going to stop production of any of the Disney core 4 such as Donald Duck, and comics and stories? Looking at the previews for August I only see Uncle Scrooge, and Donald and Mickey Quarterly number 1. It seems as if a title or 2 were missing from the July previews too.

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

Unquestionably, do I prefer Scooby-Doo meeting Johnny Bravo over WWE wrestlers! The former was a brilliant and outright funny crossover (the type of which was really not often done to that point – The New Scooby-Doo Movies, notwithstanding), while the latter is a cheap promotional stunt the likes of which Warner is, alas, repeatedly exploiting with classic characters like The Flintstones and The Jetsons – characters that deserve much better. Needless to say, such travesties get no support from me!

That said, I stick by my claim of brevity often being brilliance. Just consider a Three Stooges short vs. a full length Three Stooges feature as an example of what I mean. (…And, yes… I’ll concede that the Stooges were hardly in their prime when the features were made, but I’m aiming more at plot-padding.)

Joe Torcivia said...

Chris:

No worries on being “off subject”, especially if that subject is IDW – a topic I plan to once again cover, now that this Blog appears to be fully functioning once again!

As I’ve often said in the past, I do not speak for IDW, but you seem to know what I know at the moment. UNCLE SCROOGE will remain the monthly that it is. WDC&S will be a large-sized quarterly, as will the new DONALD AND MICKEY. There may be something else. I don’t really know.

What I DO know is that, what I’ve always considered the ideal situation of the Core Four titles (DONALD DUCK, MICKEY MOUSE, UNCLE SCROOGE, and WDC&S) is, unfortunately, changing. But, that’s probably only “bad news” for traditionalists like myself who prefer this particular configuration, dating back to the Dell and Gold Key days, over any other.

The good news is that the CONTENT (as overseen by David Gerstein and translated/ scripted by Jonathan Gray, Thad Komorowski, and yours truly) remains the same. It’s only distributed differently. I happen to know that Jonathan and Thad each have their share of upcoming stories, and I have five stories in the hopper as well.

So, as I say, it’s not the best situation for fans of the classic configuration of the “Core Four” (a phrase I borrowed from the New York Yankees, and applied to the Disney comic books I love) but, overall, the good things will go on!

Elaine said...

Chris: One place to keep up on the latest regarding the IDW Disney titles is on the current Disney comics-in-English fan forum, featherysociety.proboards.com . David Gerstein updated us on the changes recently. As Joe says, we'll continue to have Uncle $crooge as a monthly, same length. There will be two quarterly titles: Walt Disney's Comics & Stories and Donald & Mickey, both longer. On the third month of every quarter, there may sometimes be a seasonal special. So, this October is WDC 740, November is Donald & Mickey 2, December is Christmas Parade. The new comic starting is one that will have recent Italian stories (no title yet). So the U$ stories will be more Egmont etc. On Feathery Society, David's rundown is on page 3 of the thread "IDW Classic Disney comic solicitations July 2017".

Joe Torcivia said...

Though it’s not exactly my cup of tea in terms of the tenor of many of the discussions found therein (an issue I have with many such boards, not just this one), I second Elaine’s recommendation of featherysociety.proboards.com as a source of news and general data on the comics we love. I sometimes lurk about gleaning information, even if I choose not to participate in the discourse.

And, allow *me* to be momentarily off-topic… 22 comments on this thread? Six on the next post? Yes, I DO believe this Blog is BACK!