Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spooky in " Bat Pulls a Fast One,"
"No Sale," & "Soivice With a Smile"

Here are three happy outings for Spooky, courtesy of Harvey’s loosey-goosey cartoonist extraordinaire, Howie Post. Whenever I forget how comical a drawing can be, I count on Post to remind me. Panel after panel, Spooky is just funny to look at. Check out his sly finger dip into the icing in the last story, Soivice With A Smile (Page 5, Panel 2).

In Bat Pulls a Fast One, the character design for Bat Belfry is simple and great. Again – funny on sight. Not that the script isn’t laughable as well. Only Post would have Spooky checking out the "Big Cheese convention at Lantic City."

These short pleasures are from Spooky No. 26, December 1958. All scans are from my own comic.

This ad is from the same issue. I love this complex, pitch-perfect sales pitch for a bicycle tire. Imagine - a full page ad with beautiful illustrations and well written text to sell a tire for a boy’s bicycle. My fellow countrymen, where did we go wrong?


  1. Mykal,
    You hit it out of the park again with these three Spooky stories. I never, ever read a Spooky comic book until today! What a delight. The cover is whimsical too, spinning on a Spooky-sized Saturn.
    Bat Belfry is cute (he reminds me of someone in the tv cartoons? Maybe Savoirfaire? some mouse) but I love the Fox Salesman in story two even better; heck, I'd give him his own strip.
    Did you notice how the Dumb Cat Gee-Nee in the third story "breaks the fourth wall" and looks out at us in the audience? (page 4, panel 6) Love it.
    Any guy who can wear a Doiby like Spooky, gets my respect.

  2. R/e: Wow, I did NOT see that about the Gee Nee looking straight at the reader. I have looked at that comic countless times over the years, and never really noticed that. One of those Post moments that you see without really seeing. Thanks for pointing it out.

    It's a safe bet the cover was done by the great Warren Kremer. -- Mykal

  3. Thanks for posting this! Ah, the nightmarish world of Harvey Comics. sigh... They were always around during the happiest times of my childhood. Spooky was one of the coolest they had too. I like those big fat brush lines they used. There's always a good one around the back of his head.

  4. and another thing, was Spooky a ghost of a dog? His nose confuses me. I never questioned it as a kid.

  5. Hey, Keith: Yeah, I think Harvey was for guys anywhere near my age what Four Color comics were for the generation before us. I loved Post's brush or inkwork as well. Big and fat. The nose? Hmm. Never questioned it as a kid? So why get curious now? ;-) -- Mykal

  6. You make my day, Mykal!
    Lately I've been reading a few Howie Post's stories for Athlantic/Dc. That's good stuff really, but nothin' doing compared to this you've posted. One can feel here Post loved this character and enjoyed working on it.
    What a great character's design both salesfox and Bat Belfry are!
    Regarding the last one, it migthy reminds me Sheldon Mayer's Amster The Hamster. Quite similar indeed, don't you think?
    Boo-tiful way to start the day, Master! Thanx--

  7. The "death" of Harvey Comics was a real tragedy. Reprints notwithstanding, having those gems available in a monthly comic book format these days would be much more preferable to endless crossover super-slugfests.

    Plus, Harvey books didn't feel the need to rape, maim, torture or repeatedly murder their own characters (and yes boys, I do know that a number of Harvey's characters were "ghosts').

    I'm just saying!

  8. Gabriel: I know what you mean – Post always seems to be having a good time. And, yes, Post does remind me of Mayer! Here is the line I cut from the post, deciding at the last minute it was too wordy: “Like Sheldon Mayer, Post had the gift for making his characters funny to look at, regardless of what they had to say.”

    Good going, Gabriel! I always find your insights dead on!

    Chuck: I. Could. Not. Agree. With. You. More!!!!

    God bless you, you have triggered my Harvey rant, which I have stifled until now. It goes like this: Harvey is the most maligned, neglected, overlooked, under-represented, and under-valued franchise in the history of comics. Want proof? Have a look at the otherwise excellent recent collection of kid-oriented comics, The Toon Treasury of Children’s Comics, edited by Art Spiegelman and Franchoise Mouly. Not one single entry from Harvey to be found. Not one.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why Harvey is so continually overlooked, but my pet theory is this: I think Harvey remained committed to wholesome comics – further, bragged about its wholesomeness – into the era when the comic-buying public had completely bought into Stan Lee’s anti-hero-superhero revolution. Yep, comics weren't just for kids anymore. In fact – they were no longer for kids at all. Harvey became fossilized in the era's need for angst and social awareness. In short, Harvey became the point-to franchise for what comics used to be like, but had grown up beyond. For this transgression, they have never, ever been forgiven. I love Stan Lee and Marvel from the 60's and 70's as much as the next guy, but his was a revolution that simply crushed much that was worthy.

    In the case of Harvey, the baby that thrown out with the bathwater was some of the greatest artists that have ever worked in comics, some of the most enduring and lovable comic characters, and some of the greatest comic book writing that has ever been. All in all a horrible price to pay so that Peter Parker could have dating problems and Frank Miller could pretend he was a tough guy. – Mykal

  9. Harvey Comics are the best! Cute SPOOKY stuff, Mykal and a great blog. I love your title header, too!

  10. John: I agree! The banner was done by Jim Engel - a great cartoonist! Thanks for the kind words.

  11. Cool Comics! That genie is too funny(They ain't never had a friend like him...but then again, they might not want to! LOL! :D)


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