Saturday, November 18, 2017

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Andy’s in the Shadows! Woody’s in the Red!



We're going to officially designate a new Sub-Feature here at TIAH Blog called "Adventures in Comic-Boxing"! 

As I spend more time going through my comic boxes - closely examining the the many wonders inside, diving around in them like a porpoise, burrowing through them like a gopher, tossing them up and letting them hit me on the head - I often find oddities that I'd like to share with you.  



Thus, "Adventures in Comic-Boxing"!

Some recent posts have fallen into this category, like THIS ONE and THIS ONE, which will now fall under our new "Adventures in Comic-Boxing" label.  

Now, our "Adventure in Comic-Boxing" for today...

There are certain animated characters that are SO iconic in their design that they are recognizable while pictured completely in silhouette.   
My ORIGINAL COPY from 1981, without the additional text to obscure the illustrations!
Surely you can tell who's pictured above, for instance.  

But, is Andy Panda a character with the sort of cachet that would allow him to pull this off?  



Evidently the artist, writer, and editor (or any combination thereof) of WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES # 164 (1950) must have thought so, as indicated by this one-page, Black and White Andy Panda gag on the issue's inside front cover.  

Click to enlarge the whole page, or either of the two segments included below!  



I know that pandas are known for their Black and White coloring, but this takes it to a whole new level.  



And, for no reason other than to set up a Blog-Post-Closing gag, I also include this "Red and White" Woody Woodpecker Halloween gag from the inside back cover of the very next issue - WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES # 165...







Consider this pair of gags together, and you will have the answer to the ages-old riddle: "What's Black and White, and Red [Read] All Over?"   



Why Andy and Woody, of course!  

Oh, and what's a NEWSPAPER?  


14 comments:

Pelayo Flecha said...

“Why Andy and Woody, of course!

Oh, and what's a NEWSPAPER?”

Ha ha, good one!

As to the question you lead this post with, though, the silhouette Andy Panda gag is titled “Andy.” And, of course, it’s in a Walter Lantz comic. So there’s never any doubt as to who this silhouetted character is.

On the other hand, Andy Panda does not have the caché to be silhouetted without a name in a non-Walter Lantz universe context. So, he wouldn’t have worked on the cover of “Of Mice and Magic.”

That said, with respect to that cover, I’m not immediately recognizing some of the characters in the back rows. Who’s that between Betty Boop and the Road Runner? And who are the two characters flanking Leonard Maltin’s name? The characters underneath his name I can’t even make out, let alone identify. But then, I’m not an expert on cartoons — just a big fan. I suspect most of the target audience of “Of Mice and Magic” would recognize all the characters — at least the ones not obscured by text.

Great idea for a sub-feature, Joe. I love searching through old stuff and finding unexpected things. I’m looking forward to more of your adventures in comic-boxing.

Joe Torcivia said...

Pelayo:

Of course, as you note, “there’s never any doubt as to who this silhouetted character is” given that he is prominently featured on the issue’s cover, clipping Woody like a hedge, and that the gag begins with the “Andy” title.

But, I find myself wondering about the artistic choice of executing this one-page gag COMPLETELY in silhouette! (…Yes, I think about a lot of useless stuff, but that’s why you all keep coming back here, I hope!)

Doing so neither enhances, nor detracts from, the gag itself. It could just as easily have been executed in complete pen-and-ink detail, OR done as it was, and it would make no difference – save that it’s provided me with an oddball thing to post about, after some weeks away from Blogging.

Needless to say, this was NOT a common practice of WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES, or of Dell Comics as in general, making it all the more odd than if it were some sort of recurring house style.

As for the silhouetted characters on the cover of “Of Mice and Magic” (A book I received as a Christmas gift in 1981 – and STILL USE as a primary reference work!), from Left to Right:

FIRST ROW (looking toward the screen): Goofy, Popeye, Mickey Mouse, Woody Woodpecker, Bugs Bunny.

MIDDLE ROW: Daffy Duck, Pink Panther, Wyle E. Coyote, Betty Boop, Deputy Dawg, Road Runner.

LAST ROW (closest to the viewer): Mister Magoo, Porky Pig, Tweety, Donald Duck, Felix the Cat.

I just scanned MY OWN ORIGINAL COPY of “Of Mice and Magic”, to give everyone a better look at the characters “strongly hinted at” (for presumed copyright reasons) on the cover. It’s now up alongside the image culled from the Internet.

I’m glad you enjoy the notion of “Adventures in Comic-Boxing”, because I can promise there will be more! Much more, in fact!

Indeed, you had a few recent such posts at your own Blog – which everyone can check out HERE and HERE!

Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, and SHAME ON ME for not thinking of this sooner, but might we call this Andy Panda page in silhouette… (ready for it?) a BLACKOUT GAG?

Comicbookrehab said...

Well...Andy's ears are drawn in perspective, whereas both of Mickey's ears were always visible on the side of his head. I think that's inspired by the brief period when Mickey's ears were drawn in perspective in the cartoons.

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

That could certainly be so, as just about every studio was watching and/or emulating Disney back then, to one degree or another.

And, while Mickey Mouse certainly had his “evolution”, from “Steamboat Willie” model to modern comics by Casty, Andy Panda had EVEN MORE of an evolution!

There was actually a cartoon about Andy’s BIRTH ("Life Begins for Andy Panda", 1939), which then lead to a series of shorts with Andy as a CHILD having misadventures with his Pop (one of which introduced a wacky woodpecker who became “Woody”), and finally he assumed the ADULT appearance we see in later shorts and in these comics!

How many animated characters can claim an evolution like THAT?

Pelayo Flecha said...

Oh, Deputy Dawg! I never would have guessed that in a million years, even though I've seen a number of Deputy Dawg cartoons.

Deputy Dawg is one strange choice for a character to feature on the front cover. Though he was apparently fairly popular during the 1960s, he hasn't exactly stood the test of time. (Which is too bad, because I love Deputy Dawg cartoons). I could be wrong, but I wouldn't think Deputy Dawg was a sensation or at all notable by 1980, when "Of Mice and Magic" was first published. Certainly not a character one would place alongside Bugs Bunny, the Pink Panther, Mickey Mouse, etc. in the pantheon of cartoon greats. Even as far as Terrytoons characters go, Deputy Dawg has nothing like the cachet of Mighty Mouse or Heckle and Jeckle. As much as I like Deputy Dawg, it boggles my mind that Deputy Dawg made the cover of this great book (a large chunk of which I read in college, as part of research for a comparative analysis of Tom and Jerry and Road Runner shorts I wrote for one of my Spanish classes), while more notable Terrytoons characters were passed over!

Now that you mention Mr. Magoo, I can see him clearly. For some reason, I just couldn't think of him as a possibility before you mentioned him. Like Deputy Dawg, Quincy Magoo is (sadly) a very marginal character these days. Unlike the southern hound, though, Magoo is the most famous character to hail from the drawing boards of UPA, which is an extremely historically significant studio. So Magoo's presence on the cover makes perfect sense to me. The same is true of Felix the Cat.

Thanks for posting the cover of your own book. It's much easier to see the characters on that edition than on the newer edition. The newer edition's design reminds me of discussions this blog has featured about European comic book publishers' tendency to litter great comic book covers with too many letters, ads, etc.

And thanks for linking to my own "adventures in comic-boxing" posts. I look forward to doing more blog posts like that at some point, though I'm not sure when I'll get around to it. Comic book posts take more time for me to prepare than non-comic book posts, in no small part because of the need to take pictures... They're fun, though. I just need to get some time on my hands.

Finally, let me just say that Andy Panda's evolution is remarkable. He may be the only cartoon character to have that kind of evolution. "Babyfications" of already-established adult characters (e.g. Baby Looney Tunes, the Flintstones Kids, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Muppet Babies, etc.) don't count.

Achille Talon said...

> How many animated characters can claim an evolution like THAT?

Indeed, very interesting! The closest I can think of is Max Goof's arc — from a kid in the 50's Goofy cartoon, to a preteen/teen in Goof Troop, to a high-school-age teenager in the two Goofy Movies, and finally a young man (old enough to serve as a waiter) in House of Mouse. But that's not nearly as complete as Andy.

Incidentally, how are things with the Achille Talon comic?

scarecrow33 said...

Quoted from above: "There was actually a cartoon about Andy’s BIRTH ("Life Begins for Andy Panda", 1939), which then lead to a series of shorts with Andy as a CHILD having misadventures with his Pop (one of which introduced a wacky woodpecker who became “Woody”), and finally he assumed the ADULT appearance we see in later shorts and in these comics!

How many animated characters can claim an evolution like THAT?"

Now me: You know where I'm going to go, Joe, don't you?

Of course! Pebbles...and later Bamm-Bamm. They first came on the scene as babies, one the result of a multi-episode pregnancy and the other the result of a single-episode adoption. Later, we saw them as teenagers, later still as slightly younger teenagers, back to toddlers again for a while, and eventually we saw them get married as young adults and have children of their own!

But we don't have to stray that far from the Lantz Studio to find another remarkable cartoon character evolution. What about...yep! Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, first created by none other than Walt Disney himself (although it may have been Iwerks who originally designed the character, I'm not sure). After a few silent shorts, Oswald starred in talking cartoons produced by Mintz and eventually was inherited by Walter Lantz, where he became or continued as a headliner during the 30's, eventually getting a re-design from a black rabbit to a white rabbit, and later still to a grey rabbit with a large white spot on his chest area. He also evolved into a parent figure, with the adoption of Floyd and Lloyd, and for many years was one of the "big three" flagship characters on the covers of "New Funnies" (50's edition), sharing the spotlight with Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda. Currently, of course, he has reverted back to his 20's/30's design and has left the Lantz stable to re-join the Disney stable. A studio-hopper, on top of everything else! You've got to admit that Oswald at least rivals Andy for a noteworthy evolution!

Joe Torcivia said...

It always happens – and I’m always so happy for it…

I take a few days to catch up on chores, obligations, and IDW work, and the great comments keep rolling in.

Let’s get to them…

Joe Torcivia said...

Pelayo:

Deputy Dawg’s inclusion on the cover of “Of Mice and Magic” always seemed a trifle odd to me.

To my knowledge at the time, Deputy Dawg was a TV CARTOON, and not a theatrical short subject. But, there might have been some blurring of the lines by the time we reached the 1960s – so, who knows.

But, even so, and as you note, Mighty Mouse or Heckle and Jeckle would have been more “representative” of Terrytoons’ theatrical output by far!

And, if anyone were concerned with “Mighty Mouse in silhouette” possibly being confused with Mickey Mouse (not likely, but someone could *perhaps* feel that way), Heckle and Jeckle would have made for perfectly distinctive and recognizable silhouetted characters.

One reason I was as accepting as I was of Deputy Dawg in that grouping is that (way back at the time) I also thought MISTER MAGOO was strictly a made-for-television cartoon! That’s because the theatrical Magoos had not been run on TV to that point (have they yet?), certainly in the New York market – and the Magoos UPA had produced for TV – which I STILL LIKE – were regular mainstays of early-mid 1960s afternoon TV programming.

In fact Mister Magoo and Deputy Dawg were both run on the same New York TV station (WNEW – now FOX-5) – and, perhaps even on the same “afternoon kiddie shows”! In contrast, I don’t believe I’d ever seen a theatrical Magoo until the age of DVD.

Joe Torcivia said...

Achille:

Andy Panda’s evolution is definitely unique. There’s only one other instance that I *might* compare to it – but our friend Scarecrow33 has already beaten me to that punch, in his comment above.

The thing that separates Andy Panda from both Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm and Max would be a technicality of (for lack of a better word) “characterization”? Or “classification”? …Or just the way my mind plain old organizes things.

To me, Max’s evolutions occurred over MANY DIFFERENT INCARNATIONS OF DISNEY! (No elaboration would seem necessary there!) And Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm ‘s occurred over TWO VERY DIFFERENT INCARNATIONS OF HANNA-BARBERA! Meaning that the H-B studio that produced the pioneering landmark series like Huckleberry Hound and The Flintstones was NOT the same studio that ground out lesser product for Saturday Morning Network Television in the 1970s and ’80s – until it quietly died, and its remains were absorbed by the vast Time Warner empire.

However, I consider the Walter Lantz Studio that produced animated short subjects over the period of Andy’s unprecedented evolution to be of the same continuum! Producing for the same studio (Universal), and with the same individual in charge (Mr. Lantz).

Others may differ but, to me, that makes a heck of a lot of difference!

No sooner than life returned to normal, did I order the “Achille Talon” (known in English as “Walter Mellon”) graphic novel, and should have it very shortly! I expect to enjoy it very much. My first impression is that it is a bumbling-funny character who has adventures, and initially appears to share traits with the comic-book Donald Duck and J. Wellington Wimpy! You know I’m gonna love that!

It’s very likely that, as time permits, I will do a Blog post on it! Thank you for putting me on to it!

Joe Torcivia said...

Scarecrow:

You know… I was actually waiting for you to cite Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm. I just had that feeling that you would.

The analogy is a good one – even though I offered my views on “continuity-of studio” above. I still think Andy is the record holder, as his journey took place through the same series of cartoons!

Yes, Oswald had quite a journey himself – ultimately appearing in an IDW Disney comic as well – let alone his evolution that occurred strictly within the pages of WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES, as you cite.

Achille Talon said...

Again, I agree that Andy is the most complete case, but I'd argue Max only partially falls on the wrong side of your "continuity-of-studio" idea. While the "George Geef" cartoons were something else entirely, Goof Troop, the Goofy Movies and House of Mouse were all more or less the work of the same studio, Disney Television Animation, over a relatively short timespan.

Joe Torcivia said...

Achille:

I see your point on Max… but (at least to me) it is those very "George Geef" cartoons, produced by a studio headed-up by Mr. Disney, that goes against my “Continuity of Studio” assertion.

While it is undeniable that, as you say, “Goof Troop, the Goofy Movies and House of Mouse were all more or less the work of the same studio”, the actual *creation* of the character whose evolution we are tracking occurred under a completely different entity.

I’ll also award it to Andy because we actually saw him evolve from birth, to child, to full adulthood, while I figure the “House of Mouse” Max was “working his way through college” – because he couldn’t get multiple full-scholarships like Gilbert! :-)