Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas - June, 1943!

Um, did I just say JUNE?  

Here's a Christmas comic book cover you truly will not see anywhere else!  

This is MY COPY of NEW FUNNIES # 76 (Dell Comics, Cover Date: June, 1943), and I think I'm safe in assuming that it's the only one like it in the world!  

You see, someone - presumably back in 1943, bless their hearts with boughs of holly - apparently adhesively-affixed a precisely cropped SANTA CLAUS HEAD to the front cover of this particular issue of NEW FUNNIES # 76... and did it so deftly that it LOOKS as if it WERE part of the cover!  

Look how nicely the contour of Santa's hat and beard meshes with that of Andy Panda's ear!  And how the top of Santa's hat peeks over the demarcation of the "blue and yellow"!  This was no "slap-on paste job"!  

Okay, maybe a stray Santa-whisker ever-so-slightly impinges on the largest wing of the moth, but you must admit that the "head-cropped-Claus" is placed almost perfectly between Andy and the moth.  This was performed with great precision!  

Consider also that this festive faux-feature is FIXED SO TIGHTLY to the cover that IT SHOWS NO SIGNS OF LOOSENING OR PEELING-OFF - since (I presume) the early-mid 1940s!  
...Man! That is one amazing adhesive!   

Oh, and if Santa is "...checking them TWICE to see which ones are NAUGHTY OR NICE"...

...I'm betting ANDY will get a good present, and the MOTHS... not so much!  

Finally, here is the ACTUAL (Sans-Santa) COVER of NEW FUNNIES # 76, followed by one final look at Andy Panda's unexpected Christmas in June!  

Merry (not "Mothy") Christmas! 


Debbie Anne said...

Mothy, er, Merry Christmas to you and yours, Joe! I hope that the jolly old elf himself is good to your granddaughter this Yuletide season!

Joe Torcivia said...

The same to you, Deb… without the moths, of course!

Thank you… I have no doubt that everyone, including Old St. Nick, will make this a great Christmas for Averi! It’s her second, but she was only one month old for her first – so this is the first one she’ll really have fun!

Achille Talon said...

More "boggling at the meeting of characters I didn't even know were owned by the same people". Oswald, Raggedy Andy and Felix the Cat on the same cover?!

Marc Whinston said...

If all Santa's are as creepy as that one, I'll try my luck with Mr. Hankey.

Joe Torcivia said...


Well, I wouldn’t want EITHER ONE of them looking over MY shoulder… if I were in the midst of changing into my bathing suit – in public – with a kid present – even if he’s looking the other way on his diving board!

…You could really get away with a lot of crazy stuff, if you were a cute, fuzzy cartoon panda!

Joe Torcivia said...


Such a “meeting of characters” was kinda “what Dell WAS” in its earliest days as a comic book publisher!

Unlike Disney and Warner Bros., each of which had an army of its own characters to offer, space in those giant comics needed to be filled – and Walter Lantz apparently did not have enough characters at the time to fill the space. That’s why you see only Andy Panda, Oswald the Rabbit (not long ago ported over from Disney) and the seldom seen (even in the theatrical cartoons) Li’l Eight Ball.

That’s also why, at this time, the book’s title was not yet WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES, as it would later become – when Andy and Oswald, would be joined by Woody Woodpecker, Charlie Chicken, Homer Pigeon, Chilly Willy, Windy and Breezy, and others!

Woody DID exist at the time but, not unlike Daffy Duck in the earlier issues of Dell’s LOONEY TUNES AND MERRIE MELODIES title, was not yet a featured character! Since DAFFY predated Bugs Bunny, that omission was all the more egregious – and could be the untold story behind the Daffy and Bugs rivalry!

This particular issue of (Not yet Walter Lantz) NEW FUNNIES presented the non-Lantz Features Raggedy Ann and Andy, The Brownies, Felix the Cat, Billy and Bonnie Bee, and Mr. Twee Deedle – see THIS LINK! It was also the issue to which Carl Barks contributed his only Andy Panda story. As you can see, the non-Lantz properties actually outnumbered the Lantz properties.

I should also mention that the less-funny and more fantasy-oriented stories in these issues were beautifully drawn, with a classic craftsmanship that you wouldn’t even see in the later 1950s – much less today!

Also, the inclusion of features not originating with the animation studio of the primary characters was not unique to NEW FUNNIES. Dell’s OUR GANG – later TOM AND JERRY – regularly ran the non-MGM feature Flip ‘n’ Dip (boy and girl mischievous monkeys, their wise mom, and hapless pop) for many years, and even the earliest issues of Dell’s LOONEY TUNES AND MERRIE MELODIES (despite the aforementioned “existing army” of Warner Bros. characters) might have non-WB features like “Kandi the Cave Kid”, or “Pat, Patsy, and Pete”.

All that would eventually come to an end, with Flip ‘n’ Dip lasting the longest by far – but it sure is interesting to look back on stuff like this, isn’t it?

I’ve made a study of the often unfathomable workings of Western Publishing’s Dell, Gold Key, and Whitman comics for decades – and STILL I continue to learn new things the deeper I dive and the closer I look!

In fact, one of the primary reasons for the series of “Adventures in Comic-Boxing” and “Separated at Mirth” series of posts is to SHARE WITH YOU the oddities I continue to unearth – from Western, DC, Charlton, and all over the wonderful world of comic books!

I'm never gonna write a book on all this stuff (...not that anyone ASKED, mind you), so I might as well put it out piecemeal! I hope you enjoy reading these nuggets even a fraction as much as I enjoy posting them!

Achille Talon said...

Hm, very interesting! It seems that early New Funnies was as close as U.S. comics ever got to the French books which were traditionally anthologies of a bunch of comics (of different styles too) drawn and owned by various people. Even the Journal de Mickey, despite its majority of Disney characters, has always conformed to this norm; until the 1960's, it even printed other American comics, such as The Captain and the Kids, Mandrake the Magician, or even Flash Gordon… And it's not uncommon for these books to have 'crossover covers' as well, actually.

But I do wonder, did all those cross-owned characters ever meet in actual stories?

Joe Torcivia said...


And a “Hm, very interesting!” right back at’cha… because the non-Disney characters you mention as having appeared in “Le Journal de Mickey” were/are controlled by King Features, the newspaper syndicate that also distributed Floyd Gottfredson’s “Mickey Mouse”, Al Taliaferro’s “Donald Duck”, and the other Disney newspaper comic strips!

…Could there have been a connection there, I wonder?

The Walter Lantz and non-Lantz characters did not interact in the interior stories, at least as far as the number of issues I’ve read, or otherwise perused, but they DID do so on certain covers!

You can see this HERE!

The actual “interaction” ended with Issue # 85, but at least Raggedy Ann continued as a “cover sidebar” character for some time after that.

The creation of Charlie Chicken and the later inclusion of Woody Woodpecker into the comic (as seen in the linked cover gallery) gave Andy Panda other Lantz characters to interact with for cover gags – eventually paving the way for the magazine to “go-full-on-Lantz” and become WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES!

george greg said...

Merry Christmas to you, Esther, and Averi, Joe!

Joe Torcivia said...

And the same to you, George!