More about Warner Brothers comics.

§ November 6th, 2007 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on More about Warner Brothers comics.

So you may have noticed some quirky behavior on my site over the last day or so. Well, Blogger has had some kind of odd glitch where I’d publish a new post, it’ll be on this site for a while, and somehow Blogger will, unbeknownst to me, somehow yank that post back off the site when I’m not looking. And I know the post was up for at least a small amount of time, because user comments will accrue before the post goes AWOL.

This happened with both my Monday posts, so I’m taking some measures to prevent this kind of behavior from happening again. But if it does happen…well, hopefully this post will have been up long enough for folks to read the explanation.

Anyway, in response to my occasionally-there Monday post about Warner Brothers comics, the late Tim O’Neil makes the good point that one of the reasons there’s so little collectors’ aftermarket on the Warner Bros. books is the lack of notable name talent generating memorable runs on the titles. Like I said in my reply to him, I had considered that in my early draft of that post, that there was no “Good Rabbit Artist” attracting the fans like Carl Barks as Disney’s “Good Duck Artist.” I left that comment out because 1) I wasn’t sure there wasn’t, and 2) I wanted to go to bed sometime before 2 AM, so I didn’t feel like doing the research.

But now, here I am, paging through my Overstreet Price Guide, trying to see if any artists are noted in the various Warner Bros. titles. I see Pogo creator Walt Kelly credited on some early Looney Tunes, but not on any of the “biggie” characters. And Carl Barks drew one of the Four Color Porky Pig comics. And that’s pretty much it. That’ll attract the Kelly and Barks collectors, but that’s not the kind of long artist/character association that created the amazing legacy of, say, Barks on the Disney duck books.

So basically these comics have to sell on the virtue of 1) the characters, and 2) the fact that they’re old comics. And like I said, the characters they want are the Tasmanian Devil and Marvin the Martian, not any of the bigger characters like Daffy Duck, etc.

I never thought the comics themselves were all that bad…sure, the characters’ visuals were occasionally off-model, but the stories themselves were amusing if slight, with the occasional Barksian adventurous aside. Not great, but passable, disposable entertainment…not the kind of thing that attracts a rabid following.

But where else but the comics would you learn of the evil treachery of Cicero Pig? Where, I ask you?

When I was going through that large Dell/Gold Key collection over the weekend, something came to mind about the characters I was looking at. Do kids today know who any of these characters are? I’m not talking about now-obscurities like “Snooper and Blabber Detectives” — I’m talking about characters that, when I was a kid, were nearly unavoidable. For example, Woody Woodpecker…is Woody still being rerun anywhere? Rerun enough, and in a good time slot, that kids might have a chance of discovering him?

How about Popeye? Or Felix the Cat?

I don’t mean this to come across as “old guy complaining about how kids don’t appreciate the classics.” Because, really, for one, I don’t like Woody Woodpecker. And two, it’s just the way things go. Cartoons like Heckle ‘n’ Jeckle and Beany & Cecil were slowly being phased out when I was a kid, so if stuff like Woody and Felix are falling into the next generation’s memory hole, it’s not without precedent. But they seemed so ubiquitous when I was young, it’s sad to think they’re forgotten relics now.

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