So there I was, going through my collection of early-to-mid-1970s teen celebrity magazines, like I like to do, when I came across something interesting and perhaps funnybook-related in the December 1973 issue of 16 Magazine.
One of the things teen mags of the time (and maybe still do, I have no idea) would feature in their mags is fictional and sometimes serialized stories of teen celebrities having adventures and/or romantic interludes or what have you. I think one mag I’ve come across involved the DeFranco Family investigating a murder mystery, of all things. So, yeah, it was basically celebrity fan fiction.
In this issue of 16 Magazine is chapter 13 of Cindi, starring a young reader-identification heroine in this ongoing serial who engages in numerous activities of the dangerous and/or romantic sort with, in this case, Donny Osmond. A brief passage, if you’d like:
“In spite of the total darkness, Donny seemed to know in which direction to swim. Cindi held onto Donny from behind, with one hand under his arm and the other across his bare shoulders. As he propelled them forward through the murky depths, Cindi could feel the movement of Donny’s muscles working under his skin, and his soft, thick hair brushing her face. With her left leg alongside his right, Cindi was able to pick up and imitate the rhythm of Donny’s kicking, so that the two of them, intertwined and struggling forward, became as one.”
That doesn’t really have anything to do what I wanted to talk about, but come on, that’s some powerful writing right there.
Anyway, here’s the image that accompanied the story:
Yes, that’s supposed to be Donny Osmond. Dreamy, wonderful Donny Osmond. That looked an awful lot like the work of veteran comics illustrator Ernie Colon to me, but there are no art credits anywhere in this mag. Colon was active at this time, and he apparently did a (very nicely drawn!) strip for a 16 Magazine spin-off, as seen at the Stupid Comics page. So I suppose it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
Speaking of IDing artists, I spotted this tampon ad in another celebrity teen mag from the same (ahem) period, and at first glance, it looks a bit like the work of Mad Magazine stalwart Angelo Torres:
I’m not 100% certain, and Googling “angelo torres tampon ad” didn’t result in anything other than some confused folks looking at their referral stats in the next day or so. It seems fellow Madman Jack Davis did an ad for the same tampon brand, which totally didn’t look like how I pictured a Jack Davis-drawn tampon ad would. But if Davis did one, perhaps other Mad artists did as well. But on second glance, maybe this is Davis in the ad, too. The more I keep trying to ID it, the more I keep second-guessing myself. Maybe someone out there who is a connoisseur of Mad artists, of old tampon ads, or maybe even of both, can clear things up.