Sunday, March 31, 2019

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Cricket Concerto!

Here's a nice little cover from DELL FOUR COLOR # 795 JIMINY CRICKET (1957).  

I have but a single question... What would one call the conclusion of Jiminy's recital?  
"A Comb Over"!  

After dropping such a pun on you, perhaps Jiminy should serve as MY conscience!  

But, before he does, let me further state that this might be the ONLY performance where, at concert's end, "the sound of crickets" is an acceptable accolade!   

Yep!  He's comin' ta get me for THAT ONE!  

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Spending a Sunny but Blustery Saturday Afternoon - in the Way I Like It Best!

For just about all of my life, Saturday has always been my favorite day of the week!  

Clearly, this began once I started school, and Saturday was the first day of the week I could stay home!     

And was made all the more sweet by the proliferation of Saturday morning cartoons!  (...Back when they were GOOD!)

In more "adult" years, school was replaced by work, and all the once-great Saturday morning cartoons had died a long and painfully prolonged sanitized death (those great few years of "Kids WB" excepted)...

But Saturday remained my favorite day of the week!  Sunday was for chores.  Still is!  Also, as Sunday afternoon gave way to evening, a sinking feeling of... not exactly "depression" but perhaps something in that vicinity took over in dread anticipation of the new work week to come!  

Funny thing is, now that I've been retired (from my original career of 35 years - not comics writing... just yet!) for almost two years (!) - and neither school nor work impinges upon my life - Saturday is STILL my favorite day of the week!  

Looking at it logically, there is no reason for this feeling to persist... but it does!  

Perhaps... as with so many things... it has to do with... comic books!  

In the early days, when the Saturday cartoons were over for the week, what did I turn to in the afternoon?  Comic books!  The cartoons were done, but I could (and DID) enjoy comic books all Saturday afternoon long!  

No, that's not ME!  Yes, I WOULD be reading DONALD DUCK ( least until the latter part of 2018, when such standard format comics became "too simplified" for even this kid), but I would never have allowed myself to be posed and photographed with all those STAR WARS comics!  

During my working years, to celebrate the weekend (since I am not in the habit of getting drunk), what did I turn to?  Comic Books!

And, since I WAS working so much and so long during the week, Saturday was the time for my weekly comic shop visit - and be home in the early to mid afternoon to enjoy my purchases!  

So, Saturday afternoons have always been, for me, associated with (...all together now) comic books!  As I detailed HERE, while still in my (over)-working years!  

Fast forward to TODAY (as I write this) Saturday March 23, 2019... A pleasant, sunny (but not hot) afternoon, just a tad too blustery to enjoy being outside... I had to return my neighbor's trash can from having blown onto my lawn TWICE today, to give you an example!  

What do I turn to on a Saturday afternoon like this?  Do I really need to say... COMIC BOOKS!  

  Get 'em by the BOX, folks!  

And so, in a quiet room upstairs, I turned a chair toward the sun-facing west window and from about 4 PM to about 6:30, when the natural light had faded too deeply into darkness, I spent one of those "Great-Old-Saturday-Afternoons" reading the following comic books from cover to glorious cover!  

MUTT AND JEFF # 144 (Harvey Comics, Cover Date: March, 1965).  MUTT AND JEFF bounced around several publishers before that practice was as commonplace as it would be from the 1970s - onward.  DC Comics 1939-1958...  Dell Comics 1958-1959... and ending at Harvey Comics 1960-1965.  

It was with Harvey that I first discovered Mutt and Jeff, with this issue in 1960 (Yes, as mentioned elsewhere, I was reading comic books before I started school!)...


...And, not long after, discovered their daily and Sunday comic strip (from which nearly ALL their comic book material was reprinted) in a local newspaper!  

Alas, the MUTT AND JEFF comic book would end four issues after this one...

...In late 1965!  But, I remain a fan because I'm such a sucker for old corny humor!   This particular comic was chosen for its "snow gag" cover and interior content, as a way of saying good-bye to Winter 2018-2019!  

Since Mutt and Jeff always leave me wanting more, I followed that up with MUTT AND JEFF # 77 (DC Comics, Cover Date: March 1955), ten years before MUTT AND JEFF # 144)...

...Because there's no such thing as too much Mutt and Jeff!  And, in keeping with our "Winter turning to Spring" motif, notice that the SNOW of Issue # 144 has become the RAIN of Issue # 77!   

While in the midst of reading MUTT AND JEFF # 77, the rest of my Saturday afternoon reading was set by a fortuitous visit by our letter carrier delivering a package from Lone Star Comics, containing the following two issues... 

NEW FUNNIES # 102 (Dell Comics, Cover Date: August, 1945) inadvertently made for the perfect transition from "Mutt and Jeff's Winter and Spring" to "Andy Panda and Charlie Chicken's Summer"!  

Given this, I *had* to read it next!   A great issue, as they all were during this period, the highlight of which was the very early version of Woody Woodpecker as a park-cleaner/trash-man pursuing a windblown piece of paper litter all over town - for six silent pages - written and drawn by John Stanley, no less!   

Sharing that "goodie-box" from Lone Star was REAL SCREEN COMICS # 41 (DC Comics, Cover Date: August, 1951).

Highlights here are the Fox acquiring a BIRD DOG to sniff-out the thieving Crow, with great dialogue between Crow and Dog, presaging the verbal slights-of-hand (of tongue?) that would be the hallmark of the later "The Hounds and the Hare" feature that would appear regularly in THE FOX AND THE CROW comic title)... and the great favorite of mine "Flippity and Flop" (canary and cat, and the dog "Sam") running away from home rather than work hard for "the mistress" all summer!  

...Oh, yes, there was also THIS on the back cover!  

(Sigh!)  Ya know, the kids back in 1951 had some REALLY GREAT COMICS, but not a whole lot else!  Having to entertain myself with something like this might have turned EVEN ME to juvenile delinquency!  

Finally, while not newly-delivered today, but in keeping with the REAL SCREEN COMICS groove - and offering just one more good-bye to winter, I ended my wonderful day of comics reading with REAL SCREEN COMICS # 5 (DC Comics, Cover Date: April-May, 1956).

The sun had already begun "sinking slowly in the west" and I knew that, while my sun-facing window would *continue facing west*, it would soon quit facing the now-setting-sun (nature's reading lamp).  I would not likely finish reading REAL SCREEN COMICS # 5 before darkness descended.  

I was right, and resumed after breaking for dinner!  But so went a perfect day, in which I took a break from all the things that normally make me (...all together now) "horrifically busy"... and relished that which I enjoy most in the world (that is EXCEPT FOR ESTHER AND AVERI)...


I'll end by asking all of you a question...

What is your favorite time / place / circumstance, etc.  for comics reading?  Now, or at any other time of life.  

Your "Saturday Afternoon", so to speak... and why?   Let's have some interesting contributions!  I look forward to them!  

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: "Boo Boo Runs Wild - The Prequels" and "Woodsman, WHERE'S that Tree?"

"Boo Boo Runs Wild" was a... (Ahem!) rather unforgettable cartoon produced by noted cartoon creator John Kricfalusi for (what was once) Cartoon Network in 1999!

In it, Yogi Bear's kind and gentle sidekick, Boo Boo Bear, snaps and commits one bizarre atrocity after another! 

But, did you know that dear sweet Boo Boo showed unusually sadistic and anti-social tendencies many years before? 

"Uh, shouldn't that be a book on Abnormal Psycho-cology, Boo Boo?" 

Perhaps it was justified after years of stuff like this...

But, kind and even-keeled Boo Boo never let it get any more out-of-control than occasional mild pranks!

After all, more often than not, Yogi was quite benevolent to his bitty-bear-buddy! 

At least until 1970, when Charlton Comics began publishing their own "alternate universe" version of YOGI BEAR! 

 Yeah, my reaction was not unlike Yogi's above! 

Perhaps it was the strain of appearing in these spectacularly bad comics that pushed Boo Boo over the edge for the first time... If so, who could blame him?! 

But, check out these two examples of Charlton's interpretation of Boo Boo Bear, and decide for yourselves...  As always, Click to Enlarge! 

Really, Boo Boo?  Yogi should have taken your warning, but "being right" hardly justifies this!  

In this case, at least, he was passive... Inappropriately morbid, but passive!  ...But, then there was this!

If your heart hasn't stopped yet, we can dolly-in for a closer view of Boob's wanton cruelty!  ...Some "thrill", eh? 

Just look the expression of JOY as harm befalls his "bestest-bear-buddy"And that's the END of the gag!!! 

SHOCKING!  But, perhaps "not shocking" for Charlton!  Oh, sooo often, they just really didn't get it!  

Even John Kricfalusi "got it" more than Charlton... and he produced THIS!  

And made the characters look like THIS...

But, at least he never made 'em look like THIS!  ...Eeesh!  


The GAG is "nothing to write home about" and neither is the ART, though instead of "home", it DID make me consider "writing my congressman"!  

But, look at the first four panels of Yogi and Boo Boo... Then, check out the FIFTH PANEL where a TREE just seems to appear out of nowhere to help "pull-off" the tepid gag!  ...If you ask me, our old friend artist Ray Dirgo should have been "pulled-off" these comics!  (...But, given an equivalent assignment that was more in line with his unique artistic stylings!  ...We never call for people's jobs around here!)  Remember, even creators you may not care for are PEOPLE too!  

That said, a more skilled artist would have at least "set up" the tree in any of those previous panels!  

But, there is NOTHING overhead, or even behind, Yogi and Boo Boo until the tree materializes to punctuate a gag that needed "punch" far more than "punctuation"! 

Forget "A Change of Mind", what we needed was a CHANGE of ARTIST, and a change of WRITER... or dare I say a change of PUBLISHER!  Yes, I dare! (...While simultaneously not calling for anyone's jobs, because, unlike certain Internet trolls, we just don't do that 'round here!)

But, to give the (deservedly) underappreciated Mr. Dirgo some due... 

I doubt even the great Harvey Eisenberg...

...Would have had the audacity to try an unorthodox angle like THIS!  

And, precisely because of such wonderfully painful things like this, Charlton will always hold a special place in the annals of "Comic-Box Adventuring"!