Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Adventures in "Just Boxing": A Tale of Two Boxes!

One fine spring day, I woke to find two boxes had been delivered to my front door (...no, not really, but go with the bit, okay?), and decided to keep one and give the other to my cat!  

...Um, I have a CAT?  Anyway...   


Eenie, meenie, miney, mat... One box for me... one for my cat!

I picked-out mine... and left the other... to be opened by... my feline brother!  

Tension followed... o'er what I chose... when my cat's box bopped him... on the nose!

My fears turned to... unbridled glee... when from MY box... popped A-ver-i!   

Should you have... a similar choice... please listen to... this rhyming voice! 

And try to pick... the one that "pops"... and steer clear of... the one that "bops"!  

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Worst Product Spokesperson Ever!

The honor of being the "Worst Product Spokesperson Ever" doesn't come easy, but I'd have to say that at (or very near) the top of the contender list would be... The Joker - seen here in one of those ubiquitous 1970s Hostess Fruit Pies ad from SUPERMAN # 301 (DC Comics, Cover Date: July, 1976) and other titles of the period.  

The Joker tries to distract the police with Hostess Fruit pies, in order to escape. 

But, tasty as those fruit pies are, the law still prevails!  

But what is it that makes The Joker the "Worst Product Spokesperson Ever" ?   

...Try THIS!  

There were many, many (...and did I say many?) of these Hostess ads throughout the '70s and into the early '80s but, in what must be THE GREATEST ONE OF THEM ALL, The Joker says "[He doesn't] like them!" !!!

I'm guessing Hostess "stopped the check" after that remark! 

...And the cop's final line just makes it all the more... um, "sweet"!  

Friday, May 14, 2021

Fantagraphics Disney Masters Volume 16: Luciano Bottaro - Joyously Jumpin' with Jupiter!

Lotsa jumpin' for joy goin' on 'round here today, an' here's why...

Yes, I finally got my copy today and all I can do is envy those of you who have had the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful book even sooner!  

In fact, I did something I have never done with any previous volume of Fantagraphics Disney Masters... I read it through COMPLETELY IN ONE SITTING!  ...Yes, really!  Me? Mister Horrifically Busy!  ...So, maybe I skipped a little housecleaning... and a meal... maybe a doctor's appointment... what of it?  

And, believe me, this volume has had some VERY strong competition... 

But, other than THE PHANTOM BLOT (...aaaand one future volume still in the works), there is none I anticipated more eagerly than this sequel to the previous volume dedicated to Italian Disney Master Luciano Bottaro (1931-2006)!

  Why?  Just one word... REBO! 

REBO: the ruler, the warlord, the imperious, impatient, and impetuous, and most importantly... the S.L.U.G. of  the planet Saturn!  (S.L.U.G. = Supreme Leader and Unquestioned General)  ...An acronym I created for the character with sheer delight!  

With his two obsequious generals in tow, this volume finds Rebo taking the battles (perhaps not nearly as hard-fought as he would have wanted) away from Saturn and his "target" Jupiter, and bringing them to Earth.  

We lead off with "Fear the Wrath of Rebo"... a title I admittedly cobbled together from two other genre favorites - "Fear the Walking Dead" and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn".  

Having miraculously cheated death (as all the best villains tend to do), Rebo and his generals stow away on a Jovian SNARK ("Space Navigational Ark" seen above) bound for Earth and "The Great Hero of Jupiter"... Donald Duck (...?)

Rebo vows revenge on Donald for the humiliating defeats of the earlier Disney Masters volume, and the fun takes-over with the "pink and rubbery havoc" Rebo wreaks upon Duckburg, Rebo taking-over all the television sets in the city to deliver an ultimatum as if he were The Joker, and Daisy's uproariously indignant reaction to the S.L.U.G. of  Saturn by thinking it's all part of one of Donald's strange lodge initiations. 

A VERY worthy sequel by Mr. Bottaro, especially at it comes decades after the original "Uncle Scrooge's Money Rocket"!  

 Things To Look For:  

You'll find everything you've come to expect in my translation and dialogue efforts: puns and wordplay, "Bertram", "Goat-Ham City", Super Goof (...as a TV cartoon "Super Goof the Animated Series", anyone?) references.  Dog-face surrogates for Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, and not just one but two Lost in Space references - one obvious, and one very oblique (A "Tip of the TIAH Topper" to anyone who... "unearths" that second one!) 

Beyond that, Rebo is more over-the-top than ever, and his two generals all the more obsequious... though one of them is just a liiiittle more "obsequious-er" than the other!

Oh, yes... there's also a reference to the Carl Barks "Donald ducking-out on Daisy's spring cleaning" story from WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #213 (Dell Comics, Cover Date: June, 1958) - where, as noted in our last post, Donald beats a rug! 
...And hey... this book was released in spring! 

We continue IMMEDIATELY where we left off (...literally, the same scene that closes the first story opens the next) with the book-titular "Jumpin Jupiter!", translation and dialogue by "Jonathan H. Gray with David Gerstein".  

Now, I don't know "who-did-what", but these stories are so nicely cross-edited - carrying over some of my characterizations and bits into this story, just as I followed Jon's lead in the "Ice Sword" stories... 

...that I figure at least some of this continuity-carryover might be attributed to David.  He is the best possible editor for this stuff (You'll see other reasons why, later in this post!), because NO ONE goes that extra mile quite like he does!  

Anyway, Rebo meets, and joins forces with Dr. Zantaf, another Luciano Bottaro creation whom you might remember from DONALD DUCK #9 (IDW, Cover Date: January, 2016).

They meet!

But, these things never end well. 

So, how did they go from "comrades-in-arms" to "arm-powered-combat"?  You'll just have to read (and enjoy) the story!  After all, this is a Blog, not a library!  

As if to cleanse the palate after all that Rebo-ranting and Zantaf... er, Zantaf... um, "whatever-he-does", we have a hilarious Bottaro Goofy story co-starring Witch Hazel...

...She of the epic confrontation with Donald Duck that spanned both animation and comic books!  

"Goofy and the Washed-Up Witch", with translation and dialogue by Thad Komorowski (and a better dialogue creator for Witch Hazel... and Magica DeSpell... and Gladstone Gander and other "characters of a certain type and attitude", you'll never find in this modern era).

In short, Hazel goes to extraordinary and absurd lengths to convince a dead-skeptical Goofy that witches exist - and that she is one!  

But, Goofy maddingly counters with the same solid and implacable denial that he once applied to the existence of Eega Beeva  - leading one to believe that Bottaro was directly influenced by Bill Walsh and Floyd Gottfredson's "The Man of Tomorrow" (1947).  

Another one of "those editing things" that I so love is the use of the "Paul Murry Goofy Logo"... 

...And the title, "Goofy and the Washed-Up Witch" done up in a "Paul Murry Lettering Font"!  

We end on another wonderfully weird sci-fi effort by Bottaro... alas, one published posthumously in 2007, after his death in 2006!  ...A story given one delightful surprise of an American English title, for a story about Scrooge and Gyro exploring the Black Holes of the universe - "Voyage to the Bottom of the Hole"!   

And, despite the English language reference to one Irwin Allen '60s sci-fi series in its new title, Luciano Bottaro visually recalls another Allen series with his unique artistic stylings... The Time Tunnel!  

I'm not so sure I can even recap this one, so best we let Luciano Bottaro, aided and English-abetted by David Gerstein (translation and dialogue), tell you himself!  ...And tell it he (and David) will in grand style! 

One more HUGE thing on "Voyage to the Bottom of the Hole"... not only was it named after my all time favorite TV series, but check out the title font...


DAVID, YOU ARE THE BEST!!!  What a surprise!  ...You had me at the "Paul Murry Goofy Logo and title font", but THIS?  WOW!  

It's enough to make a guy forget about REBO! 

 Just don't tell him, okay?  

The book is rounded-out by a biography of Luciano Bottaro, by Armando Botto.  

After all that, I can say no more beyond... GET THIS BOOK!  

Oh, wait... "REBO SAYS... GET THIS BOOK!"

Um... Better?  

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Separated at Mirth: Can You Beat That (Rug)?

Today, we present an International Separated at Mirth, extending our hands (and rug-beaters) across the water to the now de-facto home of Disney comics, sunny Italy!   

...And, if the "Don't call me Sonny!" gag worked anywhere near as well in writing, as it would verbally, I would have done it here... but I didn't... or did I?  

Anyway, our... er, "dual deflowering" comes to you from DONALD DUCK #74 (Dell Comics, Cover Date: November-December, 1960 - cover by Pete Alvarado, or possibly Jack Bradbury)...

...And ALMANACCO TOPOLINO #275 (Mondadori, Cover Date: November, 1979 - (cover by the great Marco Rota).

Consider the un-likelihood of this being mere coincidence...

Donald Duck AND Daisy Duck being the subjects of the gag. 

The fallen-flowers are both from the lower left portion of the rug. 

SIX flowers have fled from each rug.  

And, though 19 years apart, Donald and Daisy use the exact same style or model of rug beater!  

I'll leave it to each of you to decide which expression is better... 

I like 'em both - Donald quizzically pondering the state of the rug, and Daisy looking perplexed at the reader - but I'll give the slight edge to Daisy.  

 Special Bear Beating Rug Extra! 

In response to Elaine's comment, I cited some "rug-beating" examples seen in young childhood.  Here's one I just saw for the first time last week...

From PAUL TERRY'S COMICS # 100 (St. John Comics, Cover Date: April, 1953), we have The Terry Bears in "Papa Beats It"!  

Not only does it tie-in with Donald trying to...  er, "duck" this type of chore... 

(Seen here in black-and-white from that Whitman hardcover book!) 

...But its indirect anti-smoking message also ties-in with the Flintstones ad linked-to in the comments!  
...Smoking may also result in "seeing-comic-book-colors-slightly-out-of-register"!