Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: And I Would Have Gotten Away With It, Too… If Not For Those Meddling… Um, uh… Magpies?

Go on... Say it with me... "And I Would Have Gotten Away With It, Too…  

...If Not For Those Meddling Kids!" 

Yes, for over FIFTY YEARS (!)...

...Those kids and their dog have been "meddling" their way into our hearts!

But, two decades prior to Scooby's 1969 debut, who was doing the "meddling" as we made our way into the postwar age?  

Why Heckle and Jeckle, of course!  

From TERRY-TOONS COMICS # 76 (St. John, Cover Date: November, 1949)...

...With zany art by cult-favorite animator Jim Tyer!  

Check out Tyer's squad of hard-charging cops, one of whom has even sprouted angel-wings!

And FIVE PADLOCKS on the prisoner!  

So, as we waited for Scooby and the gang to eventually advance the phrase "Meddling Kids" to iconic status (as they surely have done)...

...It's nice to know that Heckle and Jeckle The Talking Magpies had the "meddling" well in hand until then! 

Bonus GCD link by yours truly for TERRY-TOONS COMICS # 76  HERE! 

FYI: Any title in a GCD index found within brackets is an "unofficial title"... and it is in creating these that I "keep the comics-writing motor warmed" during this time of writing dormancy.  Enjoy.  


Mob of the Maroon Magpie said...

Well, well - what d'you know? It turns out that we Magpies are the original crew of mystery-solving masterminds! Just wait until the Mob of the Mystery-Solving Mutts hears about this - they'll be greener with envy than the Gang of the Green Gorilla! Although we'll admit that seeing a magpie apprehend a crook is a bit unexpected- after all, we're usually known for stealing things ourselves!

Joe Torcivia said...


Ya know… It wasn’t my original intent when preparing it but, as soon as I got the post online, I had a feeling I’d hear from you guys. …Thanks for not letting me down!

The two mystery-solving, crook-catching magpies in the post have stolen their share of things too, in both comics and animation – so your overall species-reputation remains intact!

Oh, and I ran into a friend of yours recently… She says hello! It was a short conversation, though, as she was on the run and I was practicing my “social distancing”!

…Hey! My watch is missing! (…Or is it merely “social distancing”, too?)

Comicbookrehab said...

I guess Chuck Jones was wrong about Heckle & Jeckle when he called them "unmotivated bullies" in his memoir. Clearly those magpies are on the side of angels and have the capacity for acts of goodness...given motivation.

Achille Talon said...

Don't blame the Magpie with the Strange Hairdo (hmm… sounds like a movie title, or a song) too much, Joe. Stolen watches, they're a bit of an inescapable fact of life, aren't they? 'cause you can't keep a close watch on them. Keeping any kind of watch on a watch would be altogether too redundant.

Anyway, gotta love how they slap five padlocks on the prisoner, too, but — no chains whatsoever! They appear to have just glued the damn padlocks to thewolf's dapper green suit. There's a definite energy, a sparkling bounciness to this artstyle (angel wings indeed! I'd love to know what the artist was even thinking), but it's also a little haphazard, isn't it?

Sérgio Gonçalves said...

Love the angel wings on that cop! Well, technically, if you expand the tent to define meddling kids as any kids who meddle in crime, regardless of whether the term is actually ever used by their adversaries, I'd say the original middling kid par excellence in comics is Tintin! (You knew I'd mention him, didn't you?)

We can also include Mickey Mouse on the list of the meddlers. "Meddling Mouse" sounds pretty good, in fact. Which makes me wonder, as someone who's only just beginning to dive into classic comics, which funny animals have solved mysteries, at least on occasion? I'd suspect many.

Being an indexer on GCD sounds like fun. I think I'll try it, too!

Joe Torcivia said...


As much as I love the work of Chuck Jones, to my mind one of the greatest figures in animation history, he seemed to have a degree of disdain for anything not his own – especially as he began to increasingly “intellectualize things” in the later years.

You know… calling Hanna-Barbera’s early (and best) product “illustrated radio” and such. Never mind that they pretty much saved the animated cartoon from going the way of the newsreel and the two-reel comedy short, provided employment for many victims of the studios shutting down their animation departments, virtually “creating” television animation as a viable industry – and giving us lots of great fun, enjoyment, and memorable characters in the process.

He also seems to forget that Bugs Bunny (in my opinion THE greatest character in animation – thanks, in large part, *to* Mr. Jones) was once himself an "unmotivated bully" before becoming more of a dry wit.

Perhaps the “comic book Heckle and Jeckle” were a wee bit more multi-faceted than their animated counterparts – not unlike the “comic book Donald Duck”! Though, for the most part, they were your basic pranksters looking to get rich quick. Even here, they were strictly motivated by the big reward – which the comic book gods manage to deprive them of in the end.

Joe Torcivia said...


You write: “Keeping any kind of watch on a watch would be altogether too redundant.”

So do you suggest I get a “watchman for my watch”?

But, if so… “who watches the watchman for my watch”?

And “who watches the watcher of the watchman for my watch”?

And.. and.. and…

This could become VERY complicated, and I’m probably better off just having it stolen!

Jim Tyer was an amazing artist for comics – and it’s too bad he didn’t have a longer career doing them. Then again, it’s exactly that flair which has made him a cult-figure in animation.

Though, as opposed to animation, it would be in COMICS where his uniquely individual style would best manifest itself, in direct contrast with the more established and classic styles of Connie Rasinski and Art Bartsch with whom he shared the St. John Terrytoons comics.

At first glance, his stuff just looks simple, sketchy, sloppy and out of all proportion (…and that’s probably what he WANTED you to think) but, on closer inspection, in EVERY panel there's something funny or wonderfully odd! Often multiple “somethings”!

He was anything but a “bad artist” like Kay Wright, Bob Gregory, Lee Holley, John Langton, etc. who were “simple, sketchy, and sloppy” without the bizarre humor that Tyer packed into his panels. What Tyer did, he did ON PURPOSE, and did to great effect!

Not only Rasinski and Bartsch, but even Carl Barks and Harvey Eisenberg (two of the very best who ever lived) could not have pulled off the panels you see in this post to similarly humorous effect!

I’ve been giving Tyer a number of credits at GCD of late. He deserves them!

Joe Torcivia said...


When you come right down to it, is there ANY comics character worth his, her, or its salt who has NOT solved a mystery?

…Or traveled in time, visited outer space… or “saved Christmas”?

On that last one, I figure that, if I live long enough, even *I* will get a shot at “saving Christmas”! And, at this stage, I “solve a mystery” every day when I wake up and realize what day of the week it is!

I hereby officially encourage you to join GCD as an indexer, as Alberto Becattini encouraged me! You’d be a valuable addition, bringing many things to the table that may not be covered as completely and extensively as you’d like them to be!

I’ve also found it to be great fun, though there are a couple of cranks there, just as anywhere on the internet. Avoid them, as I did once learning who they are, and you may even make a few new friends.

Please do apply, and let me know how it goes.