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for Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Candy 58

CANDY #58 [December, 1955] came out near the end of our teen queen's 64-issue run. I've been running covers from earlier in her career, but I picked up this issue on eBay and wanted to share it with you. After all, despite my deeming Candy TOT's official pin-up teen, the stories in this issue are the first Candy stories I've read. In the name of friendship and legitimate business expense, I have to share them with you.


In the world of 1950s teen girls' comics, Candy defied the norm. Whereas most of the characters starring in these comics (such as Marvel's Patsy Walker) were gentle and generous, Candy O'Connor was brash, sassy, and used to getting her way. Moreover, her boyfriend, Ted Dawson, had more in common with Archie than with the Best Man on Campus types so prized in teen romance comics. Only her rival, Cornelia Clyde, played true to type: a spoiled rich girl who tried to spoil Candy's life through guile and the expenditure of her oversized allowance.

Candy is like Archie's Betty Cooper in that she comes from a typical middle-class family. She's like Veronica Lodge in that she is determined to get what she wants when she wants it and without regard for poor Ted.

Roadside Club

In the issue's first story, Candy and Trish expect boyfriends Ted and Orville to take them to a formal dance. The lads get jobs as parking attendants at a swanky club so they can afford tuxedos and to show their gals a swell time. They have it all figured out; the dance is scheduled for a night when the club is closed. Much to their surprise and dismay, Candy books the club for the dance. The boys now have to work that night. Though they try to do their jobs *and* show proper attention to their dates, their duel roles are exposed. Their embarrassed dates dump them.

Closing Panel

That's pretty much how it goes with Candy. In another story, she dumps Ted for a star athlete.

Mister Muscles

However, trying to keep up with her new boyfriend wears Candy out. By story's end, she's thrilled to be back with Ted and going to a nice relaxing movie.

Big Handsome Hero

In a third tale, jealous of Cornelia dating the captain of the football team, Candy insists Ted try out for a team. This does not go well; Ted is hopeless at sports, suffering various injuries in his plucky attempts to impress Candy.

Ted does finally make a team. In fact, he's elected captain of the team. The Chess Team!

However, through no good deeds of her own, Candy does triumph over her rival:

Closing Panel

Candy appears in a fourth comics story and in the issue's text story. In the former, she badgers her dad into lending her and Ted his car with a promise to have it back in time for him to pick up an important visitor, a state representative who could help their town build a youth center. Candy and Ted get the car back in time, but, through a series of mishaps, it's covered in mud and painted with signs like: WELCOME TO HARTWICK, PAL!

Things work out for the town. The state rep figures any town with such juvenile delinquents desperately needs a youth center to help keep them on the straight and narrow.

Candy's dad is a bit less forgiving when it comes to letting Candy and Ted use his car again:

Closing Panel

Surprisingly, the Candy who appears in the issue's text story ("The Snob") is more Betty than Veronica. She mistakenly believes a new girl in town is a snob, but, when she learns the girl spends all her free time helping to take care of her family, Candy steps up to make sure her new friend will get to go to the school's big formal dance. If you've been keeping track, that makes four school dances in one issue, three of them formal affairs.

Will Bragg

Besides the Candy stories, CANDY #58 also featured the amazing "Will Bragg, Master of Bluster." Though Will seems an odd fit for a teen humor comic, he's a genuine hoot-and-a-half with his never-ending boasting. He claims to be the world's greatest chef in this four-page story, but manages to talk his way out of the resultant kitchen catastrophe.

Closing Panel

Rounding out the issue are one-page gag strips starring sailor Salty Waters and young romantic Dickie. All told, CANDY #58 has amusing stories and lovely art. If I were reviewing it, it would get a solid three Tonys. But I'm not reviewing it on account of I left my Tony heads in my other pants.

It will likely be a while before I score another CANDY issue, but you can expect more CANDY covers in future TOTs. There's just something about the girl.

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with a full-sized column.

Tony Isabella

<< 03/13/2006 | 03/14/2006 | 03/15/2006 >>

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

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