Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Separated at Mirth: The Cagey Way to Quiet!

"Separated at Mirth" is our name for the situation when two or more comic book covers or interiors execute the SAME GAG, only with different characters and separated by years or even decades!

Today's example is MUTT AND JEFF # 31 (December 1947 - January 1948) and WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES # 101 (February 1949).  

So, what's a guy to do when all he wants is some peace and quiet to get some reading done?  

Well, if you're Augustus Mutt or Donald Duck, and you have a caged pet parrot, the answer is simple!  

...Though, I'm not exactly certain what it could be that keeps Jeff and Huey, Dewey, and Louie so QUIET!  It's a BIRD CAGE, after all, not a "Cone of Silence"!  

Things to Note:

Even though the Nephews are bunched-up "three-to-the cage", it's Jeff who looks more uncomfortably restricted! 

Donald's parrot is quite PLEASED with this turn of events, while Mutt's parrot is decidedly not!  Oddly, Mutt is NOT getting the complete quiet he desires - though his parrot's squawking is likely easier to shut-out than Jeff's antics!  

CICERO'S CAT looks rather nervous, perhaps wondering if a stray "Meow!" might soon have her joining Jeff!  

The CAGES and EASY CHAIRS (and their occupants) are "flipped" in their respective compositions - though both PARROTS occupy the same "vertical line of space"!  

The covers are drawn by Sheldon Mayer and Walt Kelly, respectively.  Both were well-known artists famous for other properties ("Sugar and Spike" and "Pogo" - also respectively).  But, at the time, both were regular COVER ARTISTS for MUTT AND JEFF and WDC&S - respectively yet a third time!

These issues of MUTT AND JEFF and WDC&S would have appeared little more than one year apart!

The backgrounds of the two covers are both YELLOW, though MUTT AND JEFF's has a nice "wallpaper motif" to it!

There you have MUTT AND JEFF # 31 and WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES # 101 - Separated at Mirth! 

...Oh, and I really gotta get myself a FEZ! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

On Sale February 28, 2018: SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 35 from DC Comics.

Have your own special PIC-A-NIC with a copy of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 35 from DC Comics, released February 28, 2018!  

This is a comic I've been waiting for most of my life, considering that I've been a fan of Yogi Bear since the earliest days of THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW, and a fan of Scooby and the Gang since watching the very first broadcast of SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU in 1969!

My grandmother bought me the first YOGI BEAR comic book in 1959 (Art by the great Harvey Eisenberg)...

...And I bought myself the second SCOOBY-DOO comic book in 1970.  (Art by Jack Manning)

I picked up the first one over ten years later!  (Jack Manning again! He worked on the animated series, too!) 

Okay, so you get it!  I love 'em both, and since first discovering the SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP title, I had hoped to see team-ups with other classic Hanna-Barbera characters.  And, we GOT 'EM, like THIS ONE and many more! 

This pairing seemed a natural, given both Yogi and Scooby's status as iconic creations of the Hanna-Barbera studios.  I might enjoy seeing Scooby Doo meet Lippy the Lion or Yippee, Yappee, and Yahooey - but I don't think that's ever gonna happen!

Besides, it's not as if Scooby and Yogi haven't crossed paths before, as in the '70s with LAFF-A-LYMPICS...

...And Yogi even made a very brief but eyebrow-raising cameo on SCOOBY-DOO MYSTERY INCORPORATED, in the 2000's.  Now, THAT'S an ACTOR for ya!

But, at long last, here's Yogi in his pic-a-nic basket swiping glory, with Scooby in his mystery-solving glory!  Aw, heck... There's just "glory" EVERYWHERE!

And, no greater is said "glory" than in the case of RANGER SMITH! 

Ranger Smith had MANY different looks...

Um, did we say "MANY"? 

So many that John Kricfalusi superbly satirized the situation in one of his '90s cartoons!

But, eventually "Mister Ranger" settled into what I feel was his best look about 1960-61.

Then, there was a movie called "Hey There, It's Yogi Bear" in 1964, for which Ranger Smith was redesigned - and, in my opinion, not for the better!

He was somehow "less funny" with this particular look! 

See what I mean?  

Alas, it "stuck" in comics and all future animation...

...Until this glorious comic...

...And this glorious sequence therein! 


And, because this IS a Scooby-Doo comic, there's a GHOST!  ...And wouldn't you be disappointed if there wasn't!  

You just gotta love the LITTLE YOGI HAT on the title lettering!  

Beyond the "Ranger Resurgence" and the "Guest Ghost", the hallmark of the SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP title, and its superb writer Sholly Fisch - who's written every issue to date, are the wonderful little character bits that each story is brimming with.  

For instance, this reference to the opening theme sequence of THE YOGI BEAR SHOW!  

Or, how about this reference to POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK, where Yogi AND Scooby's original comic books were printed and shipped?

As a kid, I actually COULD spell "Poughkeepsie", but only because I wrote away for so many Gold Key Comics subscriptions, for issues like these!  

It really says "Poughkeepsie, New York"... Click to Enlarge!

...And later, of course, I saw "The French Connection"!  

How do you not love this exchange between Ranger Smith and Daphne, and the parallels it draws between Yogi and Shaggy!  

Lest I neglect my solemn responsibilities as a "Comic-Book Dialogue Creator", I must regretfully cite one instance of character dialogue that could have been handled better!  

A zoo-bound Yogi is in the crate below... 

Boo-Boo should have added THREE MORE WORDS to his objection:  "You can't ship Yogi off to the Poughkeepsie Zoo - JUST LIKE THAT!"

Because it would FLOW MORE SMOOTHLY with Ranger Smith's dialogue below!

Sorry!  Sometimes, I just can't help it!  

Now, we've reached the point at which I always bow-out, rather than SPOIL THE PLOT, and just tell you to go and buy the issue!  

But, for once, would any of you mind if I were to REVEAL SOMETHING ABOUT THE MYSTERY?  

If you DO mind, please take this opportunity to exit the Blog Post - and remember my urging you to buy the issue.  In fact, buy EVERY issue of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP!  They're ALL GREAT!  Read them multiple times, and share them with your family and friends! You'll make yourself a better person and the world a better place!  Go forth!  

After all, it IS Scooby-Doo, so you know SOMEBODY'S DRESSED UP IN A GHOST COSTUME, right?  In fact, it is SO MUCH a Scooby-trope that SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP itself regularly references it in suitably jocular fashion.  

And *I* even did so in IDW's UNCLE SCROOGE # 7 (2015)!  

Okay, I've filled enough space so that no one will inadvertently see a SPOILER that they do not wish to see... So here goes!  

Surprise, surprise!  It's two crooks hiding out in Yogi's cave under a bed-sheet!  

Yogi's line above is exactly what separates SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP from a common, ordinary, garden va-ri-a-tee "kids' comic"!  

Nothing wrong with those crooks.  They look reasonably "Hanna-Barbera-ish" enough for me.  

But, from a comic that has made SO MANY wonderful and often unexpected character references before - like this incredible reference to the only-once-seen eloquently-speaking Dino...

...The many different versions of Robin the Boy Wonder, and that, at one time, Casey Kasem voiced BOTH Shaggy and Robin, ...

...Or the "Really Rottens" of LAFF-A-LYMPICS...

...I'm actually surprised that our story DIDN'T reference "Jack and Mack", two crooks who (all together now) HID OUT IN YOGI'S CAVE in the cartoon "Big Brave Bear" (1958)!

Perhaps they're BROTHERS of "Jack and Mack", or NEPHEWS, or COUSINS five-or-six-times-removed.  Seven-or-eight-times, even! 

Another funny thing... These two crooks must be SO TOUGH that, unarmed, they can spook two bears, a fully-grown Great Dane, four meddling kids, and a Ranger of the United States Forest Service... just by extending their non-fisted hands! 

"Jack and Mack", on the other hand, did it the OLD FASHIONED WAY! 

I hope DC's comics aren't becoming as gun-shy as some others have become in recent years!

NAAAHH!  Those guys are just MORE INTIMIDATING than "Jack and Mack"... probably because their NAMES DON'T RHYME!  

Nevertheless, don't YOU be intimidated by these non-rhyming-guys!  Go to your local comic book shop and get a copy of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 35!  

It's just one great big PIC-A-NIC!