COVER STORIES for 02/26/2006
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #42
Welcome to this 42nd edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!
Well, not this time... because every fourth column or so... it'll be time for...
As you may recall from about four weeks back, when you see that additional heading, we're delving into comics that don't exist in our world, so don't look for them in your copy of Overstreet, don't even think about searching for 'em on eBay! They don't exist!
But I'll talk about them as if they do! So strap yourselves in as I set the Kurtzberg Alternative Reality Device, and let's take a look a pair of rock and roll comics that were never published on our earth!
This Dell comic was an attempt to make up for losing the Beatles license, and as you'll see, there was good reason why there was only one issue ever published!
The Beach Boys, as presented in this one-shot comic, were Al Jardine, Mike Love, Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, and Bruce Johnston. Apparently, the writer of the group had no idea of what the individual personalities were like, so each of the Beach Boys was kind of given a basic personality trait for this comic...
For example, Brian Wilson was the "intellectual," Al Jardine was the "jock," who always carried a surf board with him everywhere he went. Mike Love was the "Romantic guy," Carl Wilson was the funny guy, Dennis Wilson was a scaredy-cat, and Bruce Johnston was his opposite, not afraid of anything.
Apparently, the fans just wouldn't buy these one-note (and wildly inaccurate) characterizations, and in fact, the Beach Boys themselves had a court order to have Dell collect every issue they could find and destroy it, making it a much-sought-after collector's item, even if it's not really worth the search.
The story in this issue comes right out of a 1960s Beach Party movie, without Frankie and Annette. The Beach Boys' favorite beach is being terrorized by a "monster", and nobody feels it's safe to surf while this monster is on the loose. Naturally, the monster has to first break up a few parties first, and scare off a motorcycle gang!
Yep, pre-dating Scooby Doo, the Beach Boys decide to investigate this mystery so they wouldn't lose their favorite surf spot, and find out that the monster is a fake (naturally), created by some crank whose beach business went out of business thanks to the popularity of surfing (he used to sell more standard swimming stuff -- like inflatable toys and the like. I told you it's not really worth the search!).
The last few pages of the comic feature lyrics to a few Beach Boys songs, although the accuracy is laughable at best (apparently, the editors didn't even get printed lyrics, I can only imagine some mid-40s editor type listening to the songs and trying to figure out the lyrics on his own... witness the line "And she'll have fun, fun, fun till her daddy took the T.V. away" instead of "T-Bird!" This no doubt helped cause the order to pulp the run.
Can you imagine a more generic-looking cover for any comic book?
Well, this comic (intended as a series, but I've never come across any other issues) was probably the first comic based on a rock and roll star... or at least the first one Dell produced!
In this comic, Elvis is on a mission to go around the country and bring the joy of rock and roll to the people... and if he gets an opportunity to help someone in need, he won't fail to do that!
And that, basically, summarizes the plot in a nutshell... the whole story is a series of viginettes with Elvis going from one concert to the next, finding someone having some kind of trouble, and helping them. And these are not exactly "Route 66" or "The Fugitive" level stories, either!
The first person in need is a pretty young thing who has a flat tire... which Elvis helps her replace.
The second person he helps is the owner of a small diner, who doesn't know how to cook! So the food is terrible, and the diner's not getting any customers. By the sheerest coincidence, the girl Elvis helped earlier is an incredible cook, and so Elvis puts the two of them together, and then goes around town announcing the new cook at the diner!
Then he helps a little boy find his lost dog. He helps a man who's lost his car in a supermarket parking lot find his car. He helps a little old lady cross the street!
I mean, this is probably the most boring concept for an Elvis comic book ever! I kept hoping I'd turn the page and he'd come across a mystery to be solved, or ANYTHING more exciting! This comic makes even the worst of Elvis' movies look like great entertainment!
Now, let's hit the "reset" switch on the Kurtzberg Alternative Reality Device, and return back to our home reality again as I wrap up this week's column
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 !