Friday, December 28, 2018

From All of Us (Secret Society Members), To All of You - at this Special Time of Year!

There's a LOT that we have to thank Andrea ("Casty") Castellan, "Today's Master of the Mouse", for...

...And that's merely a SAMPLING from my archived scanned images!  

But, one thing in particular, would be those pesky "Secret Societies" that keep cropping up in his stories - like "The Horde of the Violet Hare"!  

Aided and abetted, at this very Blog, by our great friend Debbie Anne Perry and her pets "Fluffy and Mervin", Secret Societies have become as thick as flies!  

...Or would that be "The Fraternity of Fearsome Flies"?  

To make an already long and rambling illustrated introduction just a tad shorter these Secret Societies tend to focus their efforts on Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Eurasia Toft...

...But what if these clandestine clubs were to turn their attentions toward Scrooge McDuck, assaulting him as random strangers so often do?  

Our very talented friend "Achille Talon" answers that nagging question in a story of his own making, titled "Hare-Brained Hooligans"!  Click HERE, and enjoy!  

And, while you're enjoying, just try to count all of the wonderful and familiar (especially to readers of THIS BLOG) things he packs into the story - starting with the Classic Carl Barks / Dell UNCLE SCROOGE logo - and my favorite sixties Gold Key style lettering for the title!  

To avoid spoilers, we'll discuss the rest in the comments section!  ...In fact, I'll even go first!  See you there! 

This guy's "got a future" in this (or some other related) business, folks!  ...Poor soul!   

...Get out!  Get out NOW!  While you still can!  Those Forum Folks can be dangerous when riled!  

That's more like it!

UPDATE: This just in... We may have cracked the case  on at least ONE of those Secret Societies!  Our intrepid reporter Debbie Anne Perry has the details below...

Deb's transmission is a little garbled, but we can see that the great detective Mickey Mouse has discovered that A CAT AND A MOUSE, armed only with a CELL PHONE, appear to have been behind an elaborate hoax involving "Chartreuse Tortoises" ...or would that be "Chartreuse Tortoii"?   Mickey declined to comment, as he is presently working without his preferred group of translators!  He HAS, however, passed us a handwritten NOTE that says nothing more than: "Fer gosh sakes!" and "Great Squeak!"  That is ALL! (folks) 

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! 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Merry (and Tootsie) Christmas - 1954!

What did Christmas look like in 1954?  

Well, according to the good folks at Tootsie Roll and Tootsie Pops - as seen in THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE # 31 (DC Comics, Cover Date: February/March, 1955), it was kinda like this!

Click to Enlarge!

Such a wonderful example of the type of advertising you just don't see anymore!  

Simple, effective, and very nicely designed!  

Monday, December 17, 2018

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Popeye - "I interrupts thisk story fer an important announcemink!"

When Popeye the Sailor Man has an important message for the kids in his audience, he can be very hard to ignore!  

Witness this moment from POPEYE # 110 (Charlton Comics, Cover Date: October, 1971) - first seen in its entire original page composition, followed by individual panels for great ease of reading! 

It seems that mad inventor O.G. Wotasnozzle has invented a hair restoring formula...

...And Li'l Swee'pea, not knowing what it is, goes for a taste!  

So concerned is Popeye that he INTERRUPTS the story flow (as if he were doing a "cut-away" gag from FAMILY GUY) to give us his warning!

Next panel, the story resumes...

For what it's worth, I actually LIKE that!  

It says something important (VERY IMPORTANT) - but, because it's said in THE UNIQUE WAY THAT POPEYE WOULD SAY IT, it doesn't feel like the heavy-handed... um, "guidance" that would come to dominate the cartoons of the '70s and '80s!  

It's just POPEYE, giving his readers this warning "as himself" and, because it's so brilliantly confined within a single panel, it doesn't even take you out of the story!  

I'm not always very kind in my writings about Charlton Comics at this Blog and, unfortunately, those low opinions are  (far more often than not) well deserved!  But, in this case, they really pulled-off something great, and must be commended for such originality and deftness of execution!

POPEYE # 110

Then again, POPEYE may have been the best-handled of any of the titles once published under the Dell and Gold Key banners that eventually found its way to Charlton!    

On an odd but related note, POPEYE 110 also contained a "Non-Popeye" one-page gag that not only involved the ingestion of strange physically-altering substances, but echoes the ultra-classic Tex Avery cartoon "King Size Canary" as well!  

Here it is!  Click to enlarge!  But, you can get the gist, even at this size! 

Tch! Tch!  Perhaps Popeye should have interrupted THIS story too!  

Let's all sing:

"When yer take sumpthin' unknown...

You'll retch, groan, an' moan...

Sez Popeye th' Sailor Man!

Toot! Toot! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Christmas Morning... With Extra Birthday Bonus!

What to my wondering eyes should appear?   But a box full o' great stuff, like all o' this here...

It may only be December 11, but it was Christmas Morning to me, when I woke to find this package waiting outside my front door!  

For me, this was the very definition of "bittersweet"...

Two wonderful books from IDW, just the way we liked 'em best - but also the two volumes that officially end my tenure with IDW.  

And if that tenure must end, it could not have ended better... Two collaborations with Casty!  

CHRISTMAS PARADE offers "Mickey Mouse and the Coat of Christmas Magic" 27 pages of TRUE "Christmas Magic" written and drawn by Casty, with Translation and Dialogue by yours truly! 

And, in the Mickey Mouse 90th Anniversary Collection, it is my honor to again provide American English dialogue for Casty's work in "The Eye of Topoltec", drawn by Vitale Mangiatordi!

With The Phantom Blot, no less!  Again, if it HAD to end, could it have possibly have ended better?  ...I DON'T THINK SO!  

As if that weren't thrills enough for one morning, MICKEY MOUSE THE 90th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION also reprints Paul Murry's "The Return of The Phantom Blot" from 1964!  

This is the story that got me hooked on Disney comic books for life, as discussed HERE! 

You'll find enough great work by my colleagues Jonathan Gray and Thad Komorowski, throughout both volumes, to bring tears of nostalgia to your eyes!  

My most sincere thanks to IDW for producing these two special volumes... and more importantly, for allowing me to be a part of their line of Disney comic books!  

I've enjoyed that time more than any words can express, and hope that someday it can happen again!  

Meanwhile... run out and get both these wonderful books from IDW!  

It'll feel like Christmas... Or your birthday... Or just like a GREAT DAY OF COMICS!  

...And what could be better than that?  

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

On Sale October 31, 2018: Green Lantern / Huckleberry Hound Special.

It's been a VERY long time since I bought a comic with the name of Huckleberry Hound on the cover!

I'd like to tell you that it was this one... The very last Gold Key Issue (1970)...

But, it was actually one of (Ugh!) these (1971)...

Where Huck looked like THIS (Ugh, again!)...

Instead of THIS (Ooooh!)...

It's also been a while, though a MUCH SHORTER WHILE, since I bought an issue of GREEN LANTERN...

...When they looked like THIS...

...Or THIS...

...But, not something unrecognizable like THIS!

Nevertheless, lapsed involuntarily as with Huck, or voluntarily as with GL, I was ripe 'n' ready - as opposed to RUFF AND REDDY...

...For a comic like this!

After all, Green Lantern was one of my most favorite "superhero franchises" before the changes of the early 2000s morphed it into (...all together now) something unrecognizable - and Huckleberry Hound is one of my all-time favorite animated characters and, in my view, perhaps the very best made-for-TV cartoon in terms of its enjoyment factor and groundbreaking historical status!

And, despite some of what I'm about to say, I really did enjoy the issue very much.  But, for reasons that will soon become clear, I'd thought I would have enjoyed it quite a bit more!

Later in its original run, GREEN LANTERN was one of the first comics to get "socially relevant"! See two of the most famous such images above!

It was also unique for introducing ALTERNATE "human Green Lanterns", such as Guy Gardner...

...And John Stewart!

And the story found in GREEN LANTERN / HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SPECIAL happens to be a very good "John Stewart story" - set smack-dab in the center of one of the most turbulent periods in modern US history: 1968-1972!

Stewart's story is a powerful one, both as a civilian (above), and a member of the planet-protecting Green Lantern Corps (below)!

The problem, especially for someone like me, is that Huckleberry Hound is not in any way a significant part of what is otherwise a very good story!

He's just some guy in a bar, with whom John Stewart trades "hard life stories"!

What's Huck been up to?  Walll, now... It seems that he dabbled in some li'l ole types o' "political humor" during the Vietnam War in 1968 - and, as The Smothers Brothers would eventually be - was taken off TV!  Shuckins! 

From the "On Purpose, or Happy Accident?" Department I: The original run of THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW came to an end during 1968!  I distinctly recall it still being on at the start of the 1967-1968 television season - but not by the end. 

As unusual as Huck's story might be - especially for those of us who are accustomed to seeing him like this...

...There are at least two downsides to it.

ONE: The "Has-Been TV Cartoon Celebrity Bit" was already explored in DC's RUFF AND REDDY SHOW mini-series earlier this year!

TWO: Huck's tail, tale does not contribute anything to the plot, beyond "period-based atmosphere"!  Such as watching Walter Cronkite report on Watergate!

From the "On Purpose, or Happy Accident?" Department II: In many markets (including mine) the original run of THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW was on opposite THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH WALTER CRONKITE!

...And we all knew that "The Most Trusted Man in America" outlasted "That Oh So Merry Chuckleberry" by a number of years!

Huck DOES get to be present at the climax, but his presence in the story is ultimately inconsequential.  This could just as easily have been a John Stewart Green Lantern story, without the hound!

But, take heart, Huck fans... there's one small good thing... and one great big wonderful thing to be found in GREEN LANTERN / HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SPECIAL!

SMALL BUT GOOD: The HUCKLEBERRY HOUND logo used on the cover is the original "Title Card Logo" for the Huckleberry Hound cartoons!

THE ONE GREAT BIG WONDERFUL THING: Oh, and did I mention awesome and amazing?  

Among the things Huck is forced to do, to eke-out a living during his has-been days, was to "do signings" at comic book conventions!


DELL FOUR COLOR # 990 (1959) - The first HUCKLEBERRY HOUND comic book!

And Gold Key's HUCKLEBERRY HOUND # 41 (1970)!

Yes, really!  How wonderful, awesome, and amazing is THAT?!  Especially for a Dell and Gold Key Kid like me, who had both of those comics as they were originally released!  ...Though my Grandma Millie had to buy me the Dell issue, as I couldn't quite "count my change" for the 10-cent cover price back then!  

Check out the little GOLD KEY LOGO on the HUCKLEBERRY HOUND # 41!  

BONUS HISTORICAL CONTEXT ADDITION: Here's a AD for HUCKLEBERRY HOUND # 41, with the cover illustration, that appeared in Gold Key Comics released in December, 1969!  

The trailing ad for VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA is there to show just how all-encompassing a publisher Gold Key was - and because I like it!  :-) 

It's a pity that this series of DC / Hanna-Barbera crossover titles did not feature a humorous "cartoony-styled" backup, as did the DC / Looney Tunes series - as THIS ONE DID! 

Instead, they opted for four chapters of Secret Squirrel, as seen in the SCOOBY APOCALYPSE title!


I feel the issue could have been completely redeemed of its Huck-centric shortcomings if there HAD been a cartoon-like Huckleberry Hound backup!  

Can't you see Huck as a Green Lantern Trainee?  Why not?  He's been just about everything else!  

I'd call it "Blue Dog - Green Intern"!  Do a bunch of "training gags" as in the cartoon "Knight School", where Huck reluctantly trains to be a knight, and have Killowog as his trainer!  

Then have him go up against Lobo as his first assignment - a la Powerful Pierre or Dinky Dalton!  

"Ya know whut?  That there Lobo-feller's got a right KEEN sense o' humor!" 

I've even got the ending worked out, where "Green Intern Huck" drives-off Lobo with the help of an unexpected "guest star"!  But, since no one's paying me to write it, it'll just have to stay in my head! 

That said, I really did enjoy GREEN LANTERN / HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SPECIAL (DC Comics: Cover Date: December, 2018)!  Again, it was "very good"!  

However, for one that is ACTUALLY GREAT, we must turn to the unlikely pairing of DEATHSTROKE and YOGI BEAR!  

Yes, really! 

You'd THINK it would be far easier to integrate an all-purpose character like Huckleberry Hound into the world of the Green Lantern Corps and its intrepid members - but, quite brilliantly, the corresponding DEATHSTROKE / YOGI BEAR SPECIAL brings the "more ruthless then the average mercenary" together with the "smarter than the average bear" far more effortlessly than in GREEN LANTERN / HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SPECIAL!  

I hope to review DEATHSTROKE / YOGI BEAR SPECIAL soon!  

Meanwhile, get 'em both!  Ya won't find very much else like 'em out there!  ...For Hound, or Bear!  Hey-hey-hey!