COVER STORIES for 10/23/2005
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #24
Welcome to this 24th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!
Since Halloween is this week, I figured why not celebrate with some Halloween-themed covers?
Here's the first issue of Bugs Bunny's Halloween Parade... and dig that carrot Jack-o-Lantern!
And here you thought Dell only did holiday specials with the Disney characters... for shame!
Well, I suppose it can be understood... after all, there's not a lot of info on this comic! None of the stories within it are titled, apparently, and no creator info is available on the GCD. I can tell you that the Halloween-themed stories in this issue featured tales with Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Mary Jane & Sniffles, Elmer Fudd & Daffy Duck, Daffy Duck, Tweety & Sylvester, Little Pancho Vanilla, and Petunia pig.
The Mary Jane & Sniffles feature was one created by Dell... or rather the people who created the package for Dell. Sniffles did appear in a few Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodie cartoons (he was the mouse with allergies who sneezed a lot), but Mary Jane was a new addition!
Basically, this feature had Mary Jane chanting a rhyme that allowed her to shrink so she was as tall as Sniffles, and they'd have little adventures. Her rhyme varied, but more often than not, it was "First I shut my eyes real tight, then I wish with all my might! Magic words of poof, poof, piffles, make me just as small as Sniffles!" You can read more about her and Sniffles at Don Markstein's wonderful Toonopedia at http://www.toonopedia.com/maryjane.htm.
Little Pancho Vanilla is a character who, believe it or not, actually appeared in a WB cartoon, although I don't recall ever seeing it. Given that the Dell WB comics needed a number of features, I can only imagine the packaging company just latched onto him. I only recall seeing him in one-page text stories, but perhaps he was in some regular comics stories, too!
OK, now we go to a cover that's a bit more the norm for this column... and Wonder Woman is on it, too! You may recall the truism I've mentioned before (which we came up with on the DC History list on Yahoo Groups - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dchistory if you want to sign up for it) that for nearly any comic book cover theme, you'll probably be able to find a cover with Wonder Woman on it that fits the theme? Well, if I included a WW cover for all of the themes I've done so far, I'd soon end up using all of them... and I suspect some of you would be bored after a while, eh? So I'm using 'em sparingly (but don't worry... I'll be revisiting some of these themes from time to time, and sooner or later, I'll get to those WW covers!).
Anyway... here's Comic Cavalcade, and that's an anthology title that's very handy when looking for comics that fit a theme, especially seasonal ones! Since I'm not fortunate enough to own any Golden Age comics, I can't say for certain, but I suspect that none of the features in this issue had anything to do with Halloween. E.E. Hibbard is credited with this fun cover (and you know, while I'm blathering on a bit... I think DC should really consider doing some kind of calendar, the kind where you tear off each page after that day has passed, with a different comics cover each day - and naturally, it should fit with that particular day whenever possible - perhaps it could be a book that was released that day, or something else... but as Peter David says, I digress).
Wonder Woman leads off this issue with "Revolt on Paradise Island," with a script by Joyce Murchison and art by Harry G. Peter, in which Dalma leads a revolt of the Amazons. That's followed by three pages of Mutt and Jeff reprints, by Al Smith credited as M&J creator Bud Fisher. After that is Green Lantern in "A Race Against Time" with script by SF writer Alfred Bester, and art by Jon Chester Kozlak (hey, cool, someone who works in comics who spells his first name the same way I do!). Then we come to Hop Harrigan in "Adventure of the Million Dollar Parcel" by Jon L. Blummer (hey, another h-less Jon!), and Johnny Everyman (a character I don't recall hearing anything about) in "Meet Charley Wing," with art by John Daly. The issue is finished off with Red, White and Blue in "Whitey in Germany" by John Wentworth and Dennis Neville, and the Flash in "Painting the Town" by Gardner Fox and Martin Naydel, a tale which also featured the Three Dimwits!
All right... time to take a break from super-heroes again, and feature another Dell comic!
I'll have to try to fit in more Dell/Gold Key cartoon comics covers in future columns, because they're just about all a lot of fun... although the Disney stuff is a lot more on-model than the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies books were!
This book in particular is a great one, an all-Carl Barks issue! Barks, for the uninitiated, is regarded as the preeminent Donald Duck artist, and was the creator of Uncle Scrooge. I've only had the privilege of reading a few Barks duck stories, and they are some of the most fun and imaginative comics I've ever read!
As I said, this book was all Barks... and you can find it reprinted in Gladstone Comics Album 23, as well as The Carl Barks Library 2-463 (and nope, I don't understand what that number means, either). And unlike many of the covers I've posted today, this one definitely has a story based on the cover! The first story is a one-page gag strip titled "A Prank Above," and that's followed by "Trick Or Treat," which features the first appearance of Witch Hazel! This story was also reprinted in Walt Disney Comics Digest 16, Donald Duck Adventures 47, Comic Book Library - Donald Duck 21, and Walt Disney's Comics 3... this story was adapted from the 1952 cartoon o the same name. You may want to check this story out in the Gladstone reprints, as they apparently have 9 page that were cut from this first printing!
This story is followed by "Hobblin' Goblins," which also features Gyro Gearloose (another Barks creation, unless I'm mistaken), and this story was reprinted in Donald Duck 160, Donald Duck 249, Gladstone Comics Album 23, CBL-Donald Duck 21, and Walt Disney Comics 3!
Then we have "Frightful Face," and that was also on Gladstone Comics Album 23, as well as CBL Donald Duck 25. The back cover features a Donald Duck mask to cut out!
And finally, the last of my treats for this week... Sugar and Spike 43, a special Halloween issue! Sheldon Mayer's wonderful creation is one that definitely deserves reprinting, and I'm far from the only person saying so!
You'll be seeing more of these covers with other holiday columns, trust me! Most of this issue was written and drawn by Shelly Mayer. The first story is titled "Get Up in the World," and was reprinted in Best of DC Digest #68. This was followed by the PSA filler "Nature's Prize Pupil!" by Jack Schiff an Bob Brown. Then, "Another Adventure with Don't-Touch-Stuff," "Look at all the Letters from Our Readers," "Pint-Size Pin-Ups," "Space Sprout Returns" (also reprinted in Best of DC Digest #68), "Write Your Own Comics Page," and "Uncle Charley's Talking Pumpkin," which was also reprinted in that digest!
So, I hope you enjoy your Halloween, and don't eat too much candy! Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at http://waffyjon.blogspot.com for other musings and ramblings by me, or email me with comments about this column at !