Sunday, November 29, 2009

Andy Panda in "The Mighty Mites"

In the post war Four Color books, Andy Panda and his friend, Charlie Chicken, were featured in some of the most surreal adventures ever staple-stitched between comic covers. This darkly-tinged, rollicking tale of an insane inventor intent on world domination is top of the class. The art here is all Dan Gormley, and no one drew the Panda any better. Gormley did this beauty of a cover, too.

What’s cool about Andy (besides Walter Lantz' design) is his heroic optimism; his very aggressive positivism. With the Panda, if you can't get on board the positive express, you'd best get off the tracks! Notice how he glares and balls up his balloon fists whenever Charlie’s attitude flags. This is from Four Color No. 198, September 1948. Scans are from my own comic.

PostScript: I have learned from my good friend, Gabriel (Joyville), that this great story is by John Stanley, which makes perfect sense. For a wonderful essay on this story, please visit Frank M. Young's blog: Stanley Stories.

More Gormley from the inside front cover. I love the hatcheck girl. Then as now, good help is hard to find.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chip -n- Dale in "Out West"

The stories of Chip ‘n’ Dale are all about friendship, loyalty, and the sheer power of a teamwork based in personal sacrifice. In addition to these sterling qualities, the pair of chipmunks accomplished things through a near-psychic communication (despite a mutual inability to pronounce linking verbs).

Harvey Eisenberg was the finest artist for the pair. The legendary cartoonist had the secret of Funny Animal cartooning: Cute but not cloying. I best love his work with Hanna-Barbara Studios (which we will get to before long), but his perfect panel composition is more than evident here. He did the cover as well.

This is from Chip ‘n’ Dale No. 10, June 1957. All scans are from my own comic.

More Eisenberg from front and back inside covers. Cute, you bet; but no saccharine here. Ah, such beautiful work – each panel with just exactly enough.

This from the same issue. This eye-catcher is typical for Schwinn from the era. Is it any wonder a Schwinn was the only choice for cool kids? The Mark II Jaguar sported 3-speed Sturmey-Archer gearshift, a streamlined tank, and a deluxe two-toned saddle. Dang!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fox and the Crow in
"Trip to the Moon" and "Dream Girl"

Here are two very typical Fox and the Crow stories. Fauntleroy Fox as a well-to-do dandy in red bow tie – a true innocent in the ways of the world. His next door neighbor, Crawford Crow, was a cigar-chomping, street-wise conman who lived to bilk trusting Fauntleroy out of his money.

Artist Jim Davis was primarily an animator who had worked for the top studios (Warner’s and Disney) and moonlighted in Funny Animal comics. Fox and the Crow has become his legacy work. Perhaps it was his animation training, but I love how Davis can infuse a panel with motion effortlessly. Least we forget, Fox and the Crow owed much to writer Hubie Karp, who was the story man behind these samples. This is from Real Screen Comics No. 38, May, 1951. All scans are from my own comic. Just click the image for the big picture.

This from the same issue. If you stare at the dolls and faces too long, sleep may not be easy to find.

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