REMINDER: the Ultimate Powers Jam continues, in which Pal Andrew rolls up a character using the Marvel Super-Heroes role playing game system, and other folks step in to flesh out the character. Probably better than whatever comic you’re reading right now. Unless that comic is All-Star Batman, and nothing is better than that.
AND NOW, A MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR: please buy some stuff from our shop’s eBay store. Dig some of these shirts, man. This Jar Jar shirt is made from real Gungan skin. Help me clear some of this stuff out…I need to make room! Thank you.
I haven’t linked to swell chap Tony Isabella in a while, so here’s today’s post of comics reviews. I haven’t really gone out of my way to seek out other people’s opinions of the current Superman books. I’ve been enjoying them, thinking they’re an improvement on what’s been going on with the character since the New 52 hoohar began, so I was interested to see Mr. Isabella’s somewhat-opposed take.
It was pointed out in the comments that the Sluggo doll from this post was probably just some other doll repurposed into a Sluggo doll, and yeah, that’s probably what happened. It was still apparently marketed as a Sluggo doll (along with a Nancy doll) in the 1950s as a Post Grape-Nuts cereal promotion. Here’s a shot of them in their box. …Phew, Nancy didn’t make out so great, either. Assuming that is supposed to be Nancy and not some generic “Girl Friend” as the box would have it.
So pal Andres points out this eBay auction to me on the Twitters, and I think “I really shouldn’t try to bid on that, I need to save money,” and “I really shouldn’t try to bid on that, I’ve got enough junk in the house for the creditors to haul out after I’m dead,” and “what’s my eBay password again, I need to go bid on that.”
As it turned out, the auction got too rich for my blood…well, actually, I put in one bid and I was busy working when the auction ended and thus couldn’t enter that last second bidding war which is always so much fun on the eBay. Ah, well, at least I have these images liberated from said eBay auction to remind me of that ship which passed me in the night:
Yes, that’s right, only the Nancy and Sluggo Game dares to bring you an “infinity cover” on its lid. (Not to mention the omnipresent “three rocks.”) This game is produced by Milton Bradley, and has a 1944 copyright notice. The cover appears to be genuine Ernie Bushmiller (there’s his signature, though that doesn’t always mean anything), while the images on the board inside:
…appear to be just slightly off-model, as if traced from original panels, or simply done from scratch by artists at the game company. It’s hard to say without having the actual board right in front of me. As for the game proper, it’s all pretty basic, rolling the die and moving the pieces around the board, gaining advantages or penalties based on what’s in the square you land on, in case you were wondering what a “board game” was like. It’s just that there’s nothing specifically Nancy or Sluggo-ish about the game itself, beyond the imagery. It’s not like you’re moving a Sluggo piece around the board, and lose a turn every time you land on a square containing a hammock or a harmonica…though that‘s within spitting distance of a Nancy and Sluggo role playing game, and I’m not sure the world is quite that ready for such a wonderful thing to exist. (If you’re wondering…yes, the Nancy and Sluggo role playing game would have Gelatinous Cubes in it.)
Speaking of the game pieces, here’s a shot of them from that auction, along with what I’m presuming to be the original die:
Man, they’re just round wood thingies. They don’t even have pictures of the Nancy cast or anything: “HA HA you have to be Pee Wee!” “Dash it all!” Okay, I know it was wartime, and Nancy and Sluggo face decals had to be conserved for the war effort, but still, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
Just a short post to share with you a gift, sent to me by reader Eric – the Listen, Laugh & Learn record from 1982:
“It’s learning, the way you always hoped it would be, filled with songs and laughter.”
“It’s Nancy and Sluggo in their very first record album. They’re here to help your child explore new horizons in learning … with a few giggles along the way. Each story and song is designed to open up young minds to their endless possibilities as they Listen, Laugh & Learn with Nancy and Sluggo.”
Listen, Laugh & Learn • Video Brain • Figure It Out • Anything You Want • Perspecive • Listen, Laugh & Learn (reprise) • When the Levee Breaks”
Okay, maybe not that last one.
I have had a busy weekend, so I haven’t yet had time to give this “vinyl record album” a “spin” on my “record playing turntable” (kids, ask your grandparents what these things mean), so I have no idea if Sluggo was given the deep and rich baritone that he obviously should have. I’ll report when I can.
Also, I shudder to think at what lessons Sluggo has to impart, unleashing his terrible knowledge upon impressionable minds.
Reader Garrett points me in the direction of this tableau of horror, featuring Nancy and Sluggo by Jon Vermilyea. Possibly not safe for work, certainly not safe for restful sleep.
In response to Mr. Spurgeon’s comment about the Classic Popeye book I wrote about on Wednesday…yes, that is really the actual cover of this reprint, the exact cover the original #1 had back in 1948, plus the “Classic Comics” banner, of course. I hope this series achieves its stated goal of reprinting all the Bud Sagendorf comics, but it’s, what, a hundred comics? That seems like quite the challenge, but even if they don’t get all the way to the end, I’ll certainly enjoy what I get.
By the way, I had a person in the comments lament the fact that his retailer doesn’t carry this sort of book. Well, I checked on Diamond’s website Thursday evening, and Classic Popeye #1 is still available for reorder, so march on in to your shop, tell ‘em “I want one copy of Classic Popeye #1, Diamond order number JUN120397, please” and all it takes is a phone call, email, or visit to the reorders section on the Diamond retailer site, and they should be able to get it for you. While supplies last, of course.
And if your retailer can’t or won’t get it for you, I will. …Again, while supplies last, so act fast!
Bully the Little Stuffed Bull’s pal John has been doing movie reviews for the past week over at Unseen Films, and this little linkie-thing here should take you right to them. It should also bring up older reviews of his on that site, which you should probably read also. You’d better…I’ll be quizzing you later.
So perhaps you gathered that I was a tad excited about Nancy Is Happy, Fantagraphics’ collection of Ernie Bushmiller Nancy dailies from 1943-5. I’m only a couple of dozen pages in so far, which may surprise you, but Nancy is a pleasure to be appreciated at a leisurely pace, and not gulped down like a cheap soda.
Having read and reread and rereread the previous Nancy strip collections and nearly committing all their contents to memory, having some new (relatively speaking) material to enjoy really is a treat. Plus, getting to see some of the more explicitly propagandistic wartime material (Sluggo throwing a firecracker at a globe, which blows off the country of Japan, for example), as well as some of the more politically-incorrect gags (a couple of punchlines which play off the stereotypically-slanted eyes of Nancy’s Chinese friend), is certainly interesting from a historical perspective.
I also like the red lettering for the years and page numbers on each page…really gives the book a unique look. And there’s plenty of Sluggo in this volume. Mike, like Nancy, Is Happy.
The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984 – holy cow, we’re purt’near the home stretch on the Peanuts reprint books…we’re what, eight, nine books away from the end? It hardly seems possible.
The appeal of the series is of course the “complete” aspect, where we get to see strips that eluded the previous paperback reprintings and are finally seeing the light of day for the first time since originally popping up in the funny pages. I’ve noted before that my prime Peanuts reading was when I was but a young Mikester in the late ’70s/early ’80s, where I read just about every Peanuts book I could get my hands on, thus making the reprint-debut of strips in the Complete Peanuts volumes presenting years prior to about that time of particular interest to me. I missed most of the ’80s Peanuts strips, except possibly for having read them once in the newspaper way back when, which makes these more recent Complete volumes almost all new to me.
A number of years ago, just prior to Peanuts ending, I got back into collecting the paperback reprints of the later strips, which, at that point, seemed to be collecting full dailies for each year, or at least close to it. Thus, once we move into the ’90s volumes for the Complete Peanuts, I’ll likely have read most of those strips…but I’ll keep getting these new collections anyway, because I’m a sad old fanboy who has to have the full set, that’s why.
Unlike the two books above, which I’ve at least started reading, I haven’t had a chance yet to crack open the latest Smurf book from Papercutz, The Smurf Olympics. At the very least, however, I wanted to mention that I’m glad this particular reprint effort survived the movie promotional push that presumably helped bring it about, even if the “Soon to be a movie / See the movie in theaters now!” blurbs on the front have now morphed into “See the DVD!” A small price to pay to finally get these volumes of classic cartooning back on the shelves.
Oh, okay, not really. Actually, this is a drawing by one of my favorite cartoonists, Scott Saavedra, who was good enough to send the original art my way many years ago. Turns out I never posted it on my site in all this time, and the image doesn’t appear to be up on Scott’s site anymore, so…here you go. Pretty awesome, I think. (It says “Swamp Gas Gun” on the swamp gas gun he’s holding there, in case you can’t make it out.)