Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gerald McBoing Boing!

This story is one of kids’ comics perfectly cut gems, flawless and pure. This tale of the misfit boy, struggling to fit into a world that seems both harsh and unprepared for him, will be a favorite as long as . . . well, as long a there are children struggling to fit into a world that seems both harsh and unprepared for them.

I have been two of the characters in this eternal tale: the boy that is uncertain of his place and, much later, the father who is too busy to give his son proper attention. Maybe all adults who read the story experience the same eternal circle. Maybe that is what makes this 12-page comic story a masterpiece and so deeply moving.

The writing is by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Suess), and the art, quite typical of UPA’s animation style and very revolutionary, is by P.D. Eastman. This is from Gerald McBoing Boing and the Nearsighted Mr. Magoo No. 1, August-October, 1952. All scans are from my own comic. Just click the image for the big picture.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Billy Goat in "Post No Bills"

So much great comic art and so many stories remain un-credited and will soon be forgotten as the cheap paper they are printed on returns to dust. Take this story, for example. I was reviewing this comic, which had been in a bag since forever, for a good story when the pages started to disintegrate in my hands. Quick, to the scanner before all is lost! As you can tell by the cover, I barely got it against the glass in time!

Despite my best efforts, I cannot discover the artist. Any help would be appreciated. The story is an excellent example of how to tell a 6 page comic book story. The plotting and pace are pitch perfect, the comedy is sharp, and in the end our hero, Billy Goat, remains undaunted and learns the art of poster hanging. This is from Fawcett’s Funny Animals No. 73, October, 1951. I’m very happy to share it. Just click the image for the big picture.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Brownies in "The Ooglies and the Cuckoo Clock"

Like so many cartoonists from the 30s, Walt Kelly worked for Disney (the great studio seemed to devour trainloads of animators whole). He didn’t like animation much and eventually left Disney for cartoon work. His work at Dell is absolutely spectacular and remarkably enjoyable. Walt Kelly never drew a single panel that wasn’t a gaze-worthy, and he never drew a dull one, either.

The same delicate humor that turned Kelly's most famous creation, Pogo, into a beloved icon infuses this small tale of war between the Brownies and the Oogglies. The more I see of vintage Kelly the more I like him. Scratch that . . . Love him. The following is all Kelly, including the cover and the short strip running along the bottom of the pages.

This is from Four Color (The Brownies) No. 192, June, 1948. All scans are from my own comic. Just click on the image for the big picture.

This is Kelly's back inside cover from the same issue. Was there ever a more prefect page for kids and their parents to share? I love Kelly's drawing and his simple, elegant page design.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hot Stuff in "The Weird Bullfighter"

Here’s a wonderful example of a typical outing for Hot Stuff, the Little Devil. What’s really cool about this is that the un-named bullfighter, while lacking nearly every, single asset important to the trade; simply declares himself a matador! Also, I love the way Hot Stuff, despite his wicked nature, gets himself involved in the plight of this marginal soul, seeing things through to the happy conclusion.

This story is a fine sampling of the charm of Harvey comics. It is also a good example of the elastic line work of the brilliant Howie Post, who did the art. Jeez, Post was fun to look at. There was always something in a Post drawing that made the chuckles come.

This is from Hot Stuff, The Little Devil, No. 86, October, 1968. The scans are from my own comic. Just click on the image for the big picture!

Just for fun, here’s an ad from the same issue. Man, I was so jealous of this kid with his own GRIT business. I never knew a single kid that ever sold GRIT newspapers, and I have never met anyone that ever read it. Still, that smiling kid always seemed like such a go-getter. If you have sold GRIT, or read it, please email me. I'd love to hear of your experience.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Hepcats in "The Wienie Bake"

The Hepcats had so much to teach us squares; like the official definition of words like “groovey” and “hassel.” I didn’t know those words were for the cool set in 1949, did you? You know what else is cool? Nearly all of the meat butchers in this brilliantly simple story are pigs. That’s just extra extra cool - and a bit unsettling if you think about it too long.

The art here is by kid comic giant, Jack Bradbury. His drawing and line work is the stuff legends are made of – fluid yet precise and always infused with a contagious sense of joy. His panels are compact and brimming with good stuff. Bradbury was a Disney man during the 30s; and during the 40s his stuff often appeared in Coo Coo Comics, Giggle Comics, and Ha Ha comics. His work is timeless, beautiful and iconic. This is from Ha Ha Comics, No. 67, August, 1949. The scans are from my own (rather over-read) comic.

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