The holidays are here and that means reliving cherished childhood memories. One of my fondest Christmas memories is driving to Little Falls, NJ (not far from the place of my birth) to see the Christmas lights. These weren’t just ordinary holiday decorations, they were really something special. You know that one house in the neighborhood that is completed covered in decorations? The people that run lights around the doors and windows, along the rain gutters, in all the trees, in order to prove to the neighbors that they’re the most devout believers on the block? We made it an annual pilgrimage to drive by this one house and see what new decorations had been added. A waving Santa on the roof, live reindeer in the garage, singing snowmen and snow-women? Nothing was too much.
Traffic was always tied up, horns were honking, and the neighbors found even more reasons to dislike this Christmas eyesore. But my favorite was the Nativity Scene. There were Joseph and Mary gathered around the Christ child. Animals were lowing. The Three Wise Men were approaching bearing gifts. Along with Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Pixie & Dixie and Mr. Jinks. Yes, overwhelmed by religious fervor, anxious to out-do everyone else on the street, they included crude plywood cut-outs of popular Hanna-Barbera characters along with the Three Wise Men – changing the Christmas story slightly. Improved? You decide.
I always enjoyed the sheer sacrilege of it all, especially since that was the opposite of their intention.
To commemorate this annual atrocity we have a song about Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks.
The cartoon cut-outs didn’t look quite this good.
Click the link below and make a new Christmas memory!
Some of you probably saw the headline above and thought, “Gee, D.J. David B. is late with his Thanksgiving post. How could he forget Thanksgiving?” To you I say, “Wrong, punkin’ puss!” I’m actually early with next year’s Thanksgiving. Not one to leave things to the last minute I thought I’d start now celebrating Thanksgiving 2015. You’re welcome.
Naturally, it isn’t Thanksgiving without Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. So gather the family ‘round the table about 11 months from now and enjoy this holiday classic along with your traditional meal.
Next week, It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. I’m getting a jump on next Halloween.
I have previously dealt with a number of comics featuring perhaps my favorite Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Huckleberry Hound, the blue hound dog voiced by Daws Butler. I’ve even already covered the UK’s Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear Weekly more than once, so why cover this particular issue of that title from 1967? Two words; Space Ghost! Or, is that Space Ghosts? Please to check out the cover:
Now, check out the covers to the following two issues:
See it yet? How about now?
That’s right, for some reason on the cover the comic refers to the property in the plural, Space Ghosts. Now, being a man of a certain age I grew up watching the show and am just enough of a know-it-all that I like to think I know everything about it. But is it possible that at some point in its development was it called Space Ghosts (the cover art seems like it was taken from early promotional material) because Jan and Jace were also known as Space Ghosts? Was it called Space Ghosts in other English speaking characters for some reason? Or was it some kind of very mistake? I’m working on a mystery without any clues over here so if any of you have any idea what’s behind this you know how reach me.
As with previous issues of this title this one is a mix of what appears to be US produced material, which is good to great, and British material which is shaky to substandard.
One point of interest about the above ‘eh’ Jonny Quest strip?
Jonny’s packing heat! He couldn’t have gotten away with that in the cartoon series, even back then.
As much as I love British comics I must concede that on average their licensed comics are pretty awful and that does double when the material is more or less straight adventure. Take this double page spread of a Space Ghost installment featuring not so much Space Ghost, but someone who dresses up like him for kid’s parties fighting a guy in a dress.
Another example of the ‘meh’ quality of British licensed comic is The Impossibles strip, which is pretty painful for someone like me with fond memories of the slow. I’m just glad that Frankenstein Jr. was spared this sort of spectacularly lackadaisical, slapdash, off model treatment.
With all this talk about Gotham, The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (not to mention Arrow, which I haven’t mentioned yet) I’m ready for a change of pace. Are you?
Let’s get away from the spies, violence and meta-humans (not to mention arrows) and let our minds drift back to a simpler time of fairy tales and kettle drums, fractured by Jay Ward, as only he can fracture them.
Note: This song sounds like a lullaby. Please do not listen while driving. Remember, friends don’t let friends drive while asleep.
As previously established I am more of a mere rank, yank enthusiast than an actual expert on British comics so slack must be cut for me. For instance, I’ve frequently said that the British comic industry was pretty much dead and done by the 1980′s and that’s not entirely true. Both of the major of publishers, Fleetway and DC Thomson, made some valiant efforts to try to turn things around during this period by making their comics more contemporary and more violent. I speak specifically of the notorious ‘comic nasty’ Action but you could lump Warlord, Bullet as well as the revival of Eagle and the launch of 2000AD. A much milder attempt at doing a new story paper for slightly younger boys was DC Thomson’s Buddy.
It ran from 1980 to 1983 and was aimed at “boys who like action, adventure and sport” and serving as a combination mascot and host was generic regular kid named Buddy. As is often the case the first issue included a free gift in this case a “Pop Pistol with Two Free Bullets”. And is often the case it wasn’t canceled, but ‘merged’ with Victor, another DC Thomson comic.
To my admittedly American eyes DC Thomson comics of this era were drawn in a rougher, darker style (which could have been an honest attempt to connect to contemporary kids or just cheaper to produce, one or the other) and each strip featured a striking, eye catching logo.
First up is Limp-Along Leslie (which was originally a text feature in the comic Wizard from 1922 to 1963). It featured the adventures of an orphan kid who walked with a limp due to a car accident, making him an early example of a comic featuring a differentially abled protagonist.
Another strip that began like as a text feature was The Wolf of Kabul, about a British agent named Bill Sampson who was disguised as a native, Lawrence of Arabia style.
Deep-Sea Danny’s Iron Fish was another long-running feature that began life as a text feature about a kid named (naturally) Danny and his one-boy super submarine that was shaped like a fish. Originally it was boyed by a Danny Gray but in the Buddy version it was (for some reaosn) Danny Boyle.
Tuffy, A Boy All Alone, about a homeless kid and his faithful dog.
Each issue featured a biography of a current sports hero or TV personality. I have to take them at their word that this was and is an actual person.
There’s the nicely drawn, highly detailed historical strip Hammer.
Buddy was short on humor features but it did have the brilliant Jonah by the great Ken Reid.
I had no idea there was an 80′s revival of one of my all time favorite British characters, Billy the Cat.
And finally there was the nightmarish Boy On The Run. Sure, it was a standard ‘kid in trouble on his own’ strip but rarely has the word ‘nightmarish’ been more accurate. By keeping the details maddeningly vague as to who the kid actually is and who’s pursuing him makes things seriously shuddersome.
According to the internet future issues included adventures of such classic characters as General Jumbo and Q-Bikes so I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series.
I’ve been away from these pages for awhile, and I won’t bore any of you with why.
I’m back today, because I just last week traded roughly half of my San Francisco Illustrated Wasp issues to Richard Samuel West (who wrote the definitive book on The Wasp, which you can find and purchase by clicking here. I highly recommend it.) Before I traded those issues away, I snapped lots of pictures of them, which I’d like to do something useful with. Such as sharing them here.
San Francisco’s Wasp was the West Coast equivalent to New York City’s Puck, both beginning publication within months of each other. The latter 1870′s was the period of the western Indian Wars, during which the U.S. Government conquered and locked onto reservations, the final free Native American tribes. I previously showed a sampling of cartoons on this subject, published by East Coast publications (click here to see those). November being Native American Heritage Month, I present here a few pictures on the subject, as seen by California residents, via The Wasp.
Keep in mind, that these are pictures drawn by whites, for a white audience. They are historically accurate only so far as being a record of how whites back then viewed the topic. All images are by the Wasp’s primary cartoonist & founder, George Frederick Keller. Let’s get to it.
At top, from the front cover of the July 28th, 1877 issue (number 52), we have “A New Method of Fighting the Indians”, making fun of U.S. General Oliver Howard.
The prime target of Howard’s western campaign, was the Nez Perces. Beneath, the left center page from issue 57, September 1st, 1877, “The Nez Perces Campaign Idaho”.
Above, the right center page from July 28th, 1877; below, whites’ ultimate goal for natives (from the rear cover of issue 49, July 7th, 1877).
As a long-time record collector I know all too well that not all songs are created equal. There are songs and there are songs, if you know what I mean. And this is one of them. It’s a real GFR (Great Fantastic Record). And it ties in nicely with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the TV show that has me mystified. But more on that later.
As you listen to this record notice the neat S.H.I.E.L.D. reference, as well as a Mopar mention, plus nifty nod to Chuck Berry at the end. This song has it all!
T. Rex, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Back to S.H.I.E.L.D. I’ve seen something about how the show is better than ever. I’m not sure about that. But it sure has changed. It seems whenever I like something they either change it or stop making it all together. It doesn’t matter if it’s a kind of cookies I like or my favorite toothpaste. Once the word gets out, somebody at the top gets a memo, “D.J. David B. likes our product. Do something fast!” And then it’s yanked off the shelves quicker than you can say “Pure and Natural bath soap.”
It seems like a couple of my favorite shows came back different this season, including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not necessarily improved, but there’s been a change in tone and in theme. We don’t see super-powered beings on the show anymore and there’s a greater focus on spies, double agents and triple agents. Eh. It kind of leaves me cold. I liked it better the way it was. Next time I like something I’m going to keep my mouth shut!
Now let’s listen and enjoy this early S.H.I.E.L.D. song and forget our troubles.
One of my favorite features from both Crackajack and Popular Comics was Pete and Pudgie by Win Smith. He was an animator and cartoonist who worked on comic strips featuring such animated stars as Flip the Frog, Bosco and even Mickey Mouse himself and as you can see for yourself, he was tremendously talented. It’s a lively, lovely feature with appealing characters but for me the attraction is largely in part to the extremely odd premise. That being the adventures of an at liberty boy scout and his penguin pal, the only talking animal in an otherwise human filled bigfoot cartoon world, was just so odd. I’m also a huge fan of the 1939 World’s Fair so naturally seeing Pete and Pudgie wandering around it aimlessly and getting into scrapes is endlessly appealing to me.
Due diligence compels me to reveal these strips were gathered and compiled into a Public Domain Comics Archie by Boutje Fedankt. If you love old comic books and strips (which given that you’re reading these words is pretty much a gimme) you should go to the Comics From the Golden Age website (http://publicdomaincomics.wordpress.com). It specializes in these kinds of compilations and believe me, this won’t be the last time I’ll be using them as a “resource” (i.e.; usurping their hard work).
It’s been busy lately, here at I.T.C.H. H.Q. What with all the comics-oriented TV shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Gotham and The Flash (not to mention Arrow, which I haven’t even mentioned yet) we’re not lacking for comics tunes to write about. We’re living in a new Golden Age, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Sixties – when Batman, Green Hornet, The Addams Family, and Dennis the Menace could all be seen on television. Comics are back to being pop culture!
So, apropos of nothing, I’d like to present a song that dates back to an earlier time. Recorded by one of the Fab Four (that’s The Beatles to you youngsters) it has no less than three comics characters in it. At the moment, there’s no Titanium Man TV show and he hasn’t been in the Iron Man films. Neither has the Crimson Dynamo, for that matter, although we’ve seen plenty of Magneto. By now you’ve figured out which song it is so let’s jump to the appropriate cover gallery, shall we?
Click the link below and listen to a classic song about metals and magnets.
As previously established I know precious little about Australian comic books but the more I learn the more I want to learn about them. Case in point, courtesy of the Comic Book Plus website Silver Starr, a full color (!) Australian comic book written by Frank Ashley and illustrated by the great Stanley Pitt.