Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Happy 4th Birthday to Averi... Oh, Yes... and Happy Thanksgiving 2021, Too!

 Today is Averi's 4th birthday!  

Happy birthday to "My Little Everything"!

Just so you know, Esther is "My Everything", Averi is "My Little Everything", and Cici is "My Littlest Everything"!  ...That's a lotta "Everythings"!

Shortly after she was born, I commemorated Avi's birthday in UNCLE SCROOGE (IDW) #40, the last Uncle Scrooge I did for IDW, as a car's license plate!

 I hope she'll find that amusing someday!  

One thing that *I* found VERY amusing was when she was spending last weekend with us... 

I had promised to take Averi to the park playground as we do every visit, weather permitting, but only after we had lunch, and I was finished with my coffee.  

Naturally, she kept wanting me to hurry up all through the meal!  The reminders came fast and furious, but in the cutest sort of way.  

Finally, it was time to go. She was warmly dressed, but I was not - and, having gotten a taste of the cooler air, turned back from the end of the front walk to grab a more suitable jacket.  But, Avi would brook no further delay...

"Yeh-Yeh, I thought we were going!"

"We are, Avi... I just had to get a different jacket!"

"Come on, Yeh-Yeh, let's go!" 

"We're going now... Tell me something, when you're older and you get married, are you going to do this to your husband?" 

"No!"

"Why not?"

"Because it's rude!"

"Really?  If it's so rude, why would you do it to me?" 

"Because I know you love me!"  

She's got me there!  There are no words... Just NO WORDS to reply to THAT!  Only laughter!  


Oh, yeah... There's that Thanksgiving 2021 thing too!  Care to guess what I'M MOST THANKFUL FOR?


Be thankful for ALL the nice people and things in your lives!  HAPPY THANKSGIVING 2021! 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Junior Woodchucks or "More Fantastic(s) from Fantagraphics!"

Wanna win a Junior Woodchucks Merit Badge the easy way?  Just get yourself a copy of THE COMPLETE CARL BARKS DISNEY LIBRARY Volume 25 "Donald Duck Balloonatics" from the great folks at Fantagraphics - on sale November 16, 2021!  


In it, not only do we have many of Carl Barks' Donald Duck Ten-Pagers from the latter days of Dell Comics' WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES and some of the Barks-drawn Grandma Duck FOUR COLOR stories, but... 


...Specially included are some of the earliest Barks-written stories for Gold Key's HUEY, DEWEY, AND LOUIE JUNIOR WOODCHUCKS title circa 1970-1971, but the versions drawn by Daan Jippes in that "Late Dell Period Carl Barks Style" - perfectly fitting in with the rest of the contents of the book.  Five stories in all! 

Some of Barks' original pencil-rough layouts for these stories are also included!  

This volume marks my writing debut for this particular series of books, and I chose the Woodchuck stories as my initial topic because, having read those stories hot off the newsstand (and having purchased the first one on the very first Earth Day in 1970), these stories are very special to me, and I hope I've done them proud!  

It's a bit more difficult to write about Carl Barks than it is to write about Floyd Gottfredson or Paul Murry, as I've previously done for Fantagraphics, because so much has ALREADY been written about Barks that I don't wish to duplicate, or inadvertently appropriate, the observations of others.  

However, when it comes to these special stories from HUEY, DEWEY, AND LOUIE JUNIOR WOODCHUCKS #6-8, I feel I've hit a satisfactory number of original beats.  


Finally, for anyone interested, to end my Woodchuck observations, I created a new "exclusive to Fantagraphics" Junior Woodchuck rank acronym... because I just LOVE to do those!  

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: A First... From 1951?

No sooner than I received it, did I open and read the WHEATIES GIVEAWAY MINI COMIC: DONALD DUCK AND THE INCA IDOL (1951)...

...With cover by Carl Buettner and interior story art and lettering by Paul Murry!  

3/4 of the way through, I discovered something that would stop-the-heart of any true red-blooded collector, who also believes that comics should be READ - not merely hoarded in plastic cases!  


But, before I tell you exactly what that was, please READ THIS POST for a tiny bit of build up!  

Okay, let's go...


While reading it, and turning a page more than halfway through, I encountered some very slight resistance... as if some "sticky remnant from ages past" were holding the pages together at the upper-right corner.   

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon with older comics for which you are not the "original owner".  So, I applied a normal amount of non-damaging pressure to the page-turning, and it opened as expected.  ...And with no "sticky remnant residue" to be seen!  YAY!  

However, it was on the very next page-turn that the heart-stoppage would occur!  

The pages wouldn't turn open - not because of some "sticky remnant from ages past" - but because they had not been "machine-cut" to form separate pages as part of the printing process!!!

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? 

It means that NO ONE has ever read this issue before - because FOUR PAGES were rendered unviewable for not having been cut apart! 

While you're applying jumper-cables to your chest, I'll repeat it again...

NO ONE HAS EVER READ THIS ISSUE BEFORE - BECAUSE FOUR PAGES WERE RENDERED UNVIEWABLE FOR NOT HAVING BEEN CUT APART! 

Further, it means that between 1951 and 2021... I AM THE ONLY ONE TO HAVE EVER READ THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE!


WOW! 

Of course, in order to be the first and only one to have ever read this artifact from 1951, I had to perform the cuts that were not made in the production process of 70 (!) years ago!  ...And, by my not-so-steady-hand, this comic will henceforth never receive a grade of Near-Mint to Mint... (Note the more jagged cuts at the top of the images, to see where the pages were never cut in 1951!)



 ...But it was worth it to be the first person ever to see these pages!  

Any true fan and collector (who also values the READING of comic books) will understand the thrill! 

One has to wonder exactly how this book remained in such a virgin state given its publication so many years before price-guides and high-grade condition began to be worshiped!  And, if I find the notion of the many "ghosts" in my collection (and yours) to be fascinating, just imagine how I feel about this!   

Two final, unrelated notes before we go...

Paul Murry seems to have made a mistake in his lettering in the first (but not the second) panel of this page.  But, we can forgive him for "Uncle Donald" because it was 1951 - and he wasn't the "Donald Duck Guy" anyway!  


We can likewise forgive Donald for holding what might be a "Legendary Super-Pickax" on this issue's cover because that particular phrase wouldn't become an object of derision and ridicule for another few decades! 
Don't worry, lads... As long as he's not saying THIS! 

Friday, October 29, 2021

Happy Halloween - 2021!

Averi and a special friend are here to wish you all a Happy Halloween 2021!


Not to be outdone, Avi's little sister, Cici, gets into the act with me in a "very convincing old man costume"!  


But, if you think my "old man costume" is convincing check me out as Averi's friend the scarecrow!


On my knees, with my legs painfully folded behind me and hidden from the camera... I'd say that's one of my best disguises yet!  

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Separated at Mirth: To Each His Hitchhiking-Own: Gold Key AND Dell Style!

When I was a car-less teenager, all the kids used to hitchhike to get to the mall, beach, movies, etc.  

Even I went along with it once or twice, reluctantly - as a sort of "Boo Boo to a Yogi-like friend"!

"I know, Boo Boo, we'll go HITCHHIKING!" 
 

But that was long before I began to fight for better bus service in my county, and things were like this...

Versus the far better system we have now.  

Hicksville-bound busses... then and now!

We lived more dangerously back in the early 1970s, and I'm glad to see that the practice has all but vanished in the decades since.  

But hitchhiking was in full force among Long Island's youth when BUGS BUNNY #125 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: September, 1969) was released!


And, in December, 1967, long before I ever imagined indulging in such a potentially dangerous method of travel (reluctantly, of course, because I was one of the "good kids"), there was also UNCLE SCROOGE # 73 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: February, 1968), hitchhiking with his own preferred mode of transportation!  


Despite each character displaying his own particular fetishism (be it carrots or money), what we have here - you guessed it - is a hitchhiking SEPARATION AT MIRTH!  

Similar layouts with the main character "large, close, and at left" and the approaching vehicle further back and at right.  

Of course, these were both 1960s Gold Key reprint covers so that means there were Dell antecedents for each... and here they are!  

BUGS BUNNY #36 (Dell Comics, Cover Date: April-May, 1954)  


UNCLE SCROOGE #32 (Dell Comics, Cover Date: December, 1960 - February, 1961)


Bugs Bunny covers are by Ralph Heimdahl.  Uncle Scrooge covers are by Carl Barks.  

As we hope our beloved characters reach their intended destination safely - and that each gets what he wants from their respective approaching vehicles -  we give a great big "Thumbs-Up" (...or should that be THUMBS-OUT") to another installment of Separated At Mirth!  


EXTRA HITCHHIKING BEAGLE-BONUS!

Here are the covers of BEAGLE BOYS #11 and #17, each with an appropriate hitchhiking gag!


And even another Separated at Mirth!


Beagle Boys covers are by Pete Alvarado.  

Gotta love the gag-symmetry: Hitchhiker - Armored Car - Armored Car - Hitchhikers! 

Monday, October 18, 2021

What Did I Do This Weekend?

Gee, this is the second consecutive post that I've titled with a question!  I've really gotta get back into my old groove of "Comic Box Adventuring" and "Mirth Separation"!  

But, to answer that "second consecutive titular question", I must remind you just how much I enjoy reserving Saturday afternoons for reading comic books - and THIS POST will do that nicely!

I don't get to do that as much as I'd like to this days... That old "Horrifically Busy" thing, you know. 

But this weekend (Yes, Saturday AND a bonus Sunday - almost wall to wall) reviewing, researching... and, most important of all - READING many Carl Barks stories of early 1960s vintage in order to prepare story notes for a future Fantagraphics volume.  ...Talk about combining "business with pleasure"! 


Buy these things, folks!  You'll never see a better presentation of these stories, complete with Story Notes and other detailed extra features!  They've certainly made a believer of me! 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Where Have I Been?

 That's a good question... Where HAVE I been?  

Here, there, perhaps nowhere... eating honey with a bear...


Scarfing bagels strewn with lox, hanging with a Crow and Fox...


Reading comics, some like these...


Reading others that feature cheese...


Or kicking back with DVDs! 






...Many DVDs!  

Go ask LOBO... He might know...


...But here's one place... I DIDN'T GO!  


Not in '20... or '21...
...Since COVID had me... on the RUN! 

Okay, everyone... we all know why I didn't go in 2020... because there was NO con!

I didn't expect to one to happen in 2021 either - but somehow it is doing exactly that as I write this!  And, as much as I LOVE New York Comic Con, in this time of Delta and likely heretofore unknown additional variants, I just can't see myself confined to any indoor space that could possibly look like THIS! 


I'm sad about it, to be sure... but better safe (at home) than sorry!  

I'd be wearing a mask, was double-vaccinated in 2020 - and, within the last thirty days, have received a COVID vaccine booster.  But, I'm still not ready to face this... or even a scaled-down version of anything like it. 


So, for the first time in I-Forget-How-Many-Years, there will be a New York Comic Con without me!  Maybe next year...

Oh, but WHERE HAVE I BEEN?  

Does the answer "Horrifically Busy" count as a "where"?  

Lately, I've been deeper "underwater" than THESE GUYS! 


The Blog and my personal communications, in particular, have gone to hell, and, I'm sorry about that!

But, now as I begin to surface once again, and life begins working its way back to normalcy, I hope to begin regular posting very soon!  ...I also hope you all find your way back, because it's all of you that make this thing fun!  


...And what good is anything without FUN!