COVER STORIES for 12/25/2005
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #33
Welcome to this 33rd edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!
Assuming I've read my calendar correctly, this installment will be appearing during that magical time of year, when many people get into the spirit of giving, and people come together in celebration, whether for religious purposes or otherwise. For most of you reading this, it's Christmas time (although I don't want to alienate those of you who may be celebrating Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or whatever other seasonal holiday you may observe, by any means)! So in observance of this holiday, here's a quartet of covers from Christmas Past!
Here's a cheery seasonal cover from Action Comics 93, courtesy of penciler Jack Burnley (better known for drawing the original Starman) and inker Stan Kaye. And believe or not, in a departure from the usual golden age anthology comic, this cover actually features the lead story, "Christmas 'Round the World," a big 16-pager written by Don Cameron, penciled by Ira Yarbrough and inked by Stan Kaye. Unfortunately, I don't have any other information about this story (wouldn't it be nice of DC produced a trade paperback reprinting this story, along with other Christmas-themed stories, perhaps as an expanded version of their previous Christmas TPB?).
Also featured in this issue were Hayfoot Henry in "An Old Fashioned Girl" by Al Schwartz and Stan Kaye, Daffy and Doodle by Lit Win, the text story "Desert Cunning" by V.V. Dredaine, the Vigilante in "Way Down East" by Mort Meskin (as Mort Morton Jr.), Jasper in a half-page filler by Lit Win, a Shorty half-page filler by Henry Boltinoff, and finally, Zatara in "Magic of Music" by W.F. White.
So, if you've been reading this column for a few months, or at least checked out the archives, you may recall I featured a Bugs Bunny Halloween comic book cover... well, here's one for Christmas, and we see that Bugs must've been very good, judging from the number of good-size carrots Santa placed in his stocking (there's no explaining Bugs' yellow gloves, however)!
There were nine issues of this annual (this was issue 3)... featuring stories that weren't titled, but presumably were all Christmas-themed. Unfortunately, I don't have any writer or artist credits, either. Characters featured in stories in this comic were Bugs Bunny (of course), Porky Pig, Mary Jane & Sniffles (whom I discussed in that Halloween column, I believe), Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, Henery Hawk, Tweety & Sylvester, Little Pancho Vanilla, The Three Bears, and there was even a text feature with Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Petunia, Sniffles, and Little Blabbermouse titled... "The Secret Six!"
Yes, that's right, decades before the Secret Six of Villains United, or even the original DC Secret Six of the late Silver Age (or the revived group from Action Comics Weekly), the real original Secret Six were Warner Bros. Characters! And, well, I guess that the following Secret Sixes are also Warner Bros. Characters too, aren't they?
Continuing with the Golden Age stuff... it's time for a "token" Wonder Woman cover that fits the theme! Comic Cavalcade (this issue is number 5) is one of those great titles when it comes to finding holiday covers, and assuming this column continues, you'll see many others.
I have to say, this is simply the hugest Santa I can recall ever seeing... I mean, his head is bigger than Flash's, Green Lantern's, or Wonder Woman's body! His mouth is so big, it looks like he could bite their heads off! But I digress.
The cover for this issue was penciled and inked by Frank Harry, whose work I'm not familiar with. Inside, Wonder Woman leads off the book in "Mystery of the Crimson Flame," by William Marston and Harry G. Peter. This is followed by six pages of Mutt and Jeff newspaper reprints by Al Smith (as Bud Fisher), then a real life story about Sgt. George Phillip Corl, by Jon L. Blummer. Hop Harrigan is next in "Combined Operations," also by Blummer, and then Green Lantern is featured in "Hold On To Your Hat," by noted SF author Alfred Bester, with Paul Reinman pencils and Sam Burlockoff inks. Then, there's Sargon the Sorcerer in "Curious Case of the Missing Magic" by John Wentworth and Howard Purcell, detective O'Malley in "The Pickpockets' Dilemma" by Irwin Hasen, Red, White and Blue in "Reel Life to Real Life" by Ted Udall and Joe Gallagher, and finally, Flash in "The Plant That Challenged The World" by Gardner Fox with art by Martin Naydel (whom I've always associated more with the Golden Age Green Lantern than Flash). The Three Dimwits appear in the Flash story, too!
And what would a Christmas column be without some Disney characters? Here's Dell Giant #39, and given the expressions on Huey, Dewey and Louie's faces, it's obvious whose stocking is the gigantic one - I just have to wonder where Donald found it! I suppose somewhere in Duckburg, there exists a store that sells oversized stockings... or perhaps Donald made a trip to Gotham City and got the stocking from one of those places that builds the gigantic (yet working) props in the classic Batman comics?
So, on to the details of this issue, which we have much more of than the Bugs Bunny book! The cover is credited in the Grand Comics Database (to whom I'm indebted for providing so much useful credit information) as being by Carl Barks (script), Tony Strobl (Pencils) and Norm McGary (inks). I'll leave it for others to wonder about that!
Inside, Donald leads off the issue in "Trick-Type Trip" by Carl Fallberg, Pete Alvarardo, and Steve Steere. Mickey Mouse stars in the second story, "On With The Snow," by Jack Bradbury. Mickey's nephews Morty and Ferdie guest with their uncle in that tale. Then Scamp (the son of Lady and the Tramp) stars in "The Double Rescue" by Al Hubbard, followed by Gyro Gearloose (Duckberg's eccentric inventor) in "Plans Aplenty" by Jack Bradbury. Then, we have "The Bewitched Dolls," featuring April, May and June (no, I have no idea who they are, either... but Dumbo and Pinocchio also appear in this story) by Phil De Lara. Brer Rabbit appears next in "Tree Trickery" by Paul Murry, followed by Minnie Mouse in "Despondent Correspondents" (guest-starring Clarabelle Cow) by Bradbury again, and finally, Chip 'n' Dale in "Too Few Clues" by Al Hubbard (which also features the Seven Dwarfs and the Witch from Snow White - hey, in the Disneyverse, all characters co-exist, no matter their original time period, right?).
Whew! Dell certainly gave its customers their money's worth, didn't they?
So with that, let me wish all my regular readers (and even my irregular ones) a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or happy whatever you and yours may be celebrating around this time of year! And if you have the chance, try making someone happy this time of year that you might not normally make an effort towards, whether you do it in person, or anonymously, such as donating to "Toys for Tots" or some other organization to help the less fortunate!
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 !