Sunday, May 21, 2017

It's getting soupy in Riverdale!

Once upon a time, there was a TV show host whose brand of humor was really popular with the kids! Pictured above, his name was Soupy Sales. I suppose he could be best described as a 60s predecessor to Pee-Wee Herman minus the influence of hallucinogens.  Soupy's show was probably more along the lines of his contemporaries like Captain Kangaroo and Shari Lewis.

Sometime during the mid-60s, someone got the idea that Soupy would translate well to the comic book page.  Not so unusual, really; many TV and movie properties of the time were adapted sequentially (yes, even the Beverly Hillbillies!).  Dell and Gold Key were the primary comics publishers to scoop up publishing rights.  So did these comic book giants have their sights set on the man called Soupy?  Maybe, but, believe it or not, John Goldwater and the gang at Archie Comics published a one-shot comic in 1965 based on the adventures of Mr. Sales.

I vaguely remember seeing Soupy on TV when I was a child.  It was probably during the late 70s when his career was fading.  Some of you probably don't know who I'm talking about.  You can search him on Youtube for clips from his shows.  Or if you have nothing else to do, you can scroll through this post if you're curious as to how Archie portrayed this icon of kiddie shows!  Let's do it!

Yes, our pal Soupy is credited with inventing a dance step called "The Mouse."  I'm not sure if it was popular enough to surpass The Twist, The Mashed Potato, or even The Funky Chicken, but I'd be embarrassed to attempt this, even if I was alive back then.  But Archie and his gal pals are eating it up!  Wanna see Soupy in action?  Here you go:

Now doesn't that make you want to move the coffee table out of the way and get your Mouse on?  Yeah, me neither!

First page, we see Soupy (or at least Archie's version) singing and dancing his signature moves but is interrupted by a knock at the door.  Must be a small child or a dwarf, judging the way Soupy is stooping.

Another thing I noticed at the bottom is that the comic is "published bi-monthly." Plans must have been made to have this train wreck continue as a series, but sales figures must have been below par.  Poor marketing probably doomed this comic from the start or perhaps millions of Soupy fans just weren't interested in a comic book version.  Sorry, Soups!

So we don't actually see this real mouse! The powers at Archie likely didn't want letters from Disney's lawyers. 

Oh, ha, ha, ha!  The mouse is so small it could only hit Soupy's shins!  That's hilarious!

Hey, at least Soupy didn't get a beatdown like this (NOTE:  Not Safe For Work!):

Ouch!  Poor Joe!

Knock-knock jokes and pies in the face!  Oh, please, stop!  This is just too much!  I'm just ROTFLMAO!!!

A marble cake?  I think a better punchline would be something like "Grandma's Christmas fruitcake"! Not only are those things hard, they last for years and are hard to digest!

And the hilarity continues with flying boxing gloves to the face!  This would have been funnier if the radio was lowered about two feet!

Apparently the writer has run out of gags featuring Soupy, so he has to resort to featuring a couple of young Soupy fans!  Really reaching here!

So the young lad can't differentiate between the cards and the gum!  Not the sharpest tool in the shed, is he?  Sure, that bubble gum is stiff like the cards, but other than that...

If I were Soupy, I'd file a complaint with the PD's internal affairs department (after he gets checked out for a possible concussion).  I'm pretty sure it's against department policy to use civilians as battering rams!

Is the sign misleading?  Yes!  Is it false advertising?  I don't think so, unless Soupy can produce a larger plate from somewhere else in town, then he might have a case!

Can't you just picture teenagers in the mid-60s standing on street corners bragging about their Soupy fandom?  And I thought Trekkies were bad!

Some fan! Even after Soupy showers the kid with gifts, he's going to trade all those cards for a Mickey Mantle baseball card! On the other hand, it's probably the shrewdest trade he could make!  That Mickey Mantle card is probably worth thousands!

Just a thread from a sweater?  Why not the whole sweater?  The writer would have us believe that Soupy gets mauled by pretty girls as if he were one of the Beatles.

Whoever this girl is (Veronica with a bob haircut?), she obviously doesn't have a problem with destroying theater property to show her devotion to Soupy.

I hope that's a cardboard cutout he's got in that sack!  If not, he's going to learn really fast the penalty for kidnapping!  And girlie, you might want to apologize profusely to Soupy; it might prevent your being charged as an accessory!

Jughead has the right idea! Better to enjoy some brie than engage in this silly fad!

Did Goldwater outsource this story to a writer from the UK?  "Telly"?  Or maybe the Lodges have been faking their American accents for years but let their guard down for a moment.

OK, nevermind.  Mr. Lodge is about to disappoint his daughter and her friends by hogging the TV.  So what is his favorite program?  "Perry Mason"? "Burke's Law"? "Gunsmoke"?  "I Dream Of Jeannie"?  Are YOU in for a surprise?

The gang is relieved that Lodge is a Soupy fan, too!  An Archie fan...not so much!  Nothing new though; Archie has been a thorn in Mr. Lodge's side for decades!

OK, Archie, maybe it's time for you to seek therapy. You're taking your Soupy obsession to an unhealthy level.

And where did Lodge get that pie all of a sudden?  Just wondering...

And we conclude with the back page of the first, last, and only issue of the Soupy Sales comic with Archie dancing the Mouse one last time (as if you didn't get enough from the pages within).  And now Reggie gets his turn to hurl a pie at his red-headed frenemy.  We don't get to see a pie-covered Archie this time but we do see that Pop Tate's has a well-stocked comics rack (stocked with Archie titles, of course!).  Gotta have that product placement to hopefully turn on the Soupy fans to Archie and the gang, right? I'm thinking this book didn't help much.  After all, this comic lasted only ONE issue!

As for Soupy, he continued to be a pop culture influence throughout the 60s and into the 70s to an extent.  Yes, I did rip on him some in this post, but it's obvious he was loved by many.  He and his puppet pals entertained millions for years, so he obviously did something right.  Many of those same fans fondly remember him to this day and were surely heartbroken when he passed away in 2009,  RIP, Soupy!


So that wraps this post on Funny Book Funnies!  Join us in about a week or two when Mayda Munny launches yet another scheme to lure Richie Rich away from girlfriend Gloria. What's the plan this time?  Would you believe...a makeover?  That's right!  Check out the jaw-dropping post next time!



Friday, April 28, 2017

It's enough to drive anyone dotty!

In this installment of Funny Book Funnies, we look in once again on that sphere-obsessed moppet, Dot Polka.  Whose idea was this, anyway?  Was there some brainstorming meeting within the offices of Harvey Comics sometime in the early 50s?  I'd really like to know who thought it would be a great idea to feature a little girl devoted to all things dotted and spotted in her own comic book (not to mention several other eventual titles with the "Little Dot" moniker).  Was Dot based on an actual real-life child?  If anyone can provide some insight, please feel free to comment below.

In the meantime, here's Little Dot in "Dot's Dandy" (already starting with the bad puns out of the gate!).

I'm not sure what's bugging Mr. Polka more; his daughter bringing up the subject of dots yet again or the fact that Dot is putting Swiss cheese on her pie!  Quiche I can understand, but PIE???  Yechhh!!!

And who has pie for breakfast?  Again, quiche would probably be more suitable to break one's fast.  At least it's not cold pizza with anchovies!  Double Yechhh!!!

Mr. Polka's tantrum seems to be a staple of most adult Harvey characters; grown men stamping their feet and flailing their arms when upset about something.  It's sorta comical, I guess.

I don't think your scheme to cure Dot of her obsession is going to work, Polka.  If anyone's going to be sick of dots, it's going to be you and the missus.  More sick than you are now, that is!  But Mrs. Polka is all in; just look at that expression on her face!

Oh, yes, please, Mrs. Polka; don't let the important task of baking a cake get in the way of curing your daughter's obsession.  It's the only way you can win money for a new hat.  Apparently hubbykins didn't get that raise, then you wouldn't have to try and win baking contests to have nice things!

Or maybe Daddy has a mistress he's keeping in an apartment he's renting for her in town.  No wonder he can't afford to buy his wife a new hat!

And Mom starts the plan off with a pun "Dot's" not very funny, lady!

Now what are her parents REALLY up to?  Looks like her mother is using Dot's enthusiasm for dots to get some cheap labor out of her!

So first we have pie for breakfast and now eggs for lunch! I suppose it's faster and cheaper than calling for pizza delivery!

Yeah, Dot, hurry up! You've got only a few more hours of daylight to be exploited some more!

If you look really, really hard, you can see dots in just about everything! Eventually you'll see them before your eyes without even trying!

So how are you going to refer to your daughter, Mrs. Polka? I suppose "Dorothy" is not out of the question (it is, after all, her given name).

Probably not a good idea, Dot; the cake will taste funny seeing as you put fully-baked cookies into a bowl of raw cake dough. Then there's the concern over salmonella...

Is it really your mom's cake, Dot?  You did most of the work!  Anyway, good luck!

So Dot had to come up with a name of the cake on the spot!  Not bad!  You don't even have to give your mom credit for the cake, unless there's some kind of age restriction!

Mr. Polka has returned from the "office" and is greeted by new decor.  Looks like Dot is going to have a switch taken to her backside!  OR WILL SHE???

Hey, Polka, guess what?  Your plan backfired and now your daughter has managed to convert your wife/her mother to the cult of Dotism!  Yes, Dot Polka will likely go on to have found a new religion called Dotism!  

Wow, that's some baking contest! First prize is 500 bucks???  Looks like Mrs. Polka was able to afford a new hat AND a new wardrobe as well!

So Mr. Polka has quite the dilemma!  Both his wife and daughter have an obsession with dots. Maybe it's time to move in with his mistress or start to amass a stack of therapy bills both female members of his family will generate!

Wouldn't want to be in your shoes, Polka, ol' boy!


OK, that's it for this installment!  See you soon!



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Is vodka still around in the 25th century?

No, I'm not breaking out a bottle of Stoli; I'm just looking at the selection for today's post and wondering how communist Russia managed to survive over 500 years.

But you're puzzled, I'm sure!  There is no more Soviet Union.  It didn't even last a hundred, much less 500 years, much to the chagrin of Berkeley commies and BAMN (again, I refer you to Google).  But Marvel writer J.M. DeMatteis just happened to be moonlighting at Gold Key/Whitman in the early 80s and cranked out this Buck Rogers story where Soviet Russia has been transplanted onto a planet some light years away.  Why?  I don't know!  Perhaps world politics at the time this was written had something to do with the mood of this story.  J.M. probably figured, hey if an episode of Star Trek can feature a planet of Nazis, why not give this a shot?  And I can't imagine an editor at Whitman doing nothing more than rubber-stamping most things that come across the desk, so this Buck Rogers tale made its way into plastic-bag-sealed 3-packs (yeah, remember those?) and shipped to department stores all across North America.

So now I give you this strangely crafted Buck Rogers story, part of a series published when Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, starring Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, and Mel Blanc as the voice of Twikkistruggled to gain an audience over 2 seasons, much like Glen A. Larson's other series, Battlestar Galactica.

Actually, this is a good likeness of Erin Gray as Colonel Wilma Deering.  But all we see is her detached head floating in space.  What about the rest of her torso?  And can anyone hear her shout "Buck!" in space?  Especially with a lack of a word balloon?

So the Cossack dance is alive and well in the 25th century!  Good to know some traditions never die even among the ruins of a nuclear-decimated USSR.  But has the guy on stage really been doing the dance for fourteen hours???  Ouch!!!

Wilma might be regretting her decision to intervene at this point.  OK, you're welcome!  Let it go already!!!

Yes, Ersta is this deceptively peaceful looking world that looks like a giant eyeball.  Yes, the planet and its inhabitants look peaceful....but do or say the wrong thing and heads are gonna roll....literally!

See what I mean?  That's Arabs for ya, man; that's how they roll!

Ten feet tall?  Wow, what are they feeding these Amazons?  Whatever it is, an obvious side effect is lack of hair growth!  One can only imagine how she's going to torture this "craven dog."

Or rats! Could've been rats!

Sounds like Buck majored in Russian history at the Air Force Academy!  Or maybe he's a card-carrying commie bastard!

Milkniz?  Is that anything like a parsec?  

"But, sir, that's one of OUR ships!" 

Again, gotta watch what you say around these hypersensitive nutjobs!  You're lucky he slaps like a girl and even luckier he doesn't call the giant bald chick to rough you up!

Yeah, bet they're glad to be so blessed to die for this crazy asshole!  And I have a feeling he's going to regret turning Veesar's siblings into space dust.  He's all cavalier about it now, but...someday...

Hey, Twiki, Flavor Flav called; he wants his clock necklace back!

Well, she's right!  You Corens can't even handle the quarter rides outside of a K-Mart.

And just like that, the Corens are going to take flying lessons from Wilma and Buck!  Hope those fighters are insured, but probably not.

No, Buck, he's not overbearing; just your garden variety perv!

Hey, HEY!!!  Let's focus on the mission, people!  There'll be plenty of time for the Dating Game later...if you come back, that is!

So it WAS a rat; a big fat one with a table cloth on his head!

Gee, Veesar, you're just now figuring this out?  Mitos is a special kind of crazy, that's for sure!

See?  This is what a lack of focus can result in!  Now the book is going to be cancelled because the star just got blown up...oh,wait....that's probably the BEST thing that could happen.  RIP, Buck...

Wow, what a twist!  Mitos is a damn robot!!!  Wonder if his insides are filled with Milk of Magnesia like Ash from "Alien"?


Funny, though, how easily accessible it is!

Now this is what I call "space opera!" Sonya sacrifices herself for her beloved Rodian.  Hard to say if Rodian is either upset or angry as he shouts her name!  Maybe kinda like Kirk screaming "KHAAAAANNNN!!!"

Oh, only now do we realize Rodian was in love with Sonya.  And after he spent the majority of the story hitting on Wilma.  

And, staying true to the comic book story convention that if you don't see a body then the character isn't dead, Buck nonchalantly comes strolling in without so much as a scratch.  So, Wilma, is that part of you still dead or did it somehow come back to life?

Well, that's a wrap!  But before signing off, something completely different!  Enjoy:

Wow, check out this cool ad on the back cover!  Might want to Xerox the order form so as not to diminish the potential value of this awesome comic!  Thinking about putting John Travolta up on your bedroom wall?  Let's hope the postal service will deliver it with the utmost care!

Don't care for the Saturday Night Fever/Grease heartthrob?  Plenty more to choose from!  How about Garfield knockoff Heathcliff?  Or those dreamboats from the hit ABC family drama Eight Is Enough?  Swoon!!!

Wanna piss off your mom?  Put one of these beauties on your wall!  Your mom will drag you to confession faster than you can say a "Hail Mary."  No kid of hers is going to have pictures of devil-worshiping freaks in the house!  A member of the KISS army, too?  She'll see to it that you're discharged!

Hey, your mom might approve of these guys instead!  Scottish pretty boys The Bay City Rollers!  She'll even buy you a tartan if you pick one of these over Gene Simmons!

Flaming Vader?  REALLY???  Who knew he was that way?


That concludes this post!  So keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!  Till next time....