Unless you all were already familiar with her and were just holding out on me.

§ March 11th, 2016 § Filed under cartoons § 7 Comments

So the other day I acquired a number of mid-1960s Gold Key comics, including a couple issues of the long-running Bugs Bunny series. Now, for years, it seems as if the Bugs Bunny comics, and the other Warner Bros. animated family of comics from Dell and Gold Key, have been forgotten by God and man and been shown no love in the back issue marketplace. I think, in the nearly three decades I’ve been at this, I’ve had requests for Warner Bros. back issues only a handful of times.

(Wait, I should add a caveat here…there were lots of requests specifically for Marvin the Martian, more often than not for tattoo ideas, and even that went away with the advent of Google Images. But aside from that, very few requests for Warner Bros. comics that could actually be realistically fulfilled, since Marvin 1) never had his own title, and 2) hardly, if ever, appeared in other Dell/GK books as far as I could tell.)

Part of the problem is, unlike the Disney books which had Carl Barks and a few other “name” artists, I don’t believe the Warner Bros. comics ever had their own “Good Rabbit Artist” spurring on collectors to acquire their titles (though it should be noted Barks did draw a Porky Pig story that includes Bugs). As such, I remember having at the previous place of employment issues of Bugs Bunny going back to the ’40s for as cheap as four or five bucks, or even less. I’d often use them as an example as “no, just because a comic book is old doesn’t mean it’s expensive.”

“Then why would you even buy any Bugs Bunny comics for your shop?” you may be wondering. Well, frankly, they were more or less thrown in with the other comics…as I was totaling up the books, I noted to the buyer I wasn’t going to pay much of anything for the BBs as I would likely never sell them, and as he was just looking to unload the whole lot, he was fine with that.

Thus, that is how I ended up with issue #108 from November 1966, featuring the premiere appearance of Honey Bunny:

“Who?” you ask? Well, “Who?” I also asked, and I figured it was just a one-shot character that was never seen again. Here’s another shot of her from inside the book:

I went to that inerrant font of all human knowledge, Wikipedia, and sure enough, there’s an entry on her which has informed me that she actually stuck around in one form or another until the ’90s. Not starring in cartoons (aside from perhaps a cameo here and there), but primarily in the comics and some merchandising, only to be replaced with the arrival of Lola Bunny in the film Space Jam.

And that’s how I found out about an obscure outlier in the Warner Bros. cartoon family, one that had actually seen a bit of use over the course of a few decades without ever significantly crossing over into wider animated visibility and into the general public’s consciousness. I mean, even Gabby Goat only made it into a couple old cartoons, and we all remember Gabby Goat, right?

7 Responses to “Unless you all were already familiar with her and were just holding out on me.”

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Not a big fan of the Gold Keys, myself. I’ve picked up a handful of the Dell Uncle Scrooges over the years, but I don’t have any interest of moving forward in time into the Gold Keys. They just seem so much more cheaply made, and there’s something about the covers that I find really unappealing.

    I guess you were talking about Warner Bros. versus Disney, rather than Dell vs. Gold Key. Still, my eye just skips over Gold Key anything when I see it in the back-issue bins.

    As for the first appearance of Honey Bunny, you’re just one Warner Bros. reboot away from that being a hot item!

  • Touch-and-go Bullethead says:

    The most interesting created-for-the-comics never-appeared-in-the-cartoons Looney Tunes character is Mary Jane. She was teamed with Sniffles, a mouse. Sniffles was featured in a dozen cartoons, of interest mainly for the opportunity they provide to watch Chuck Jones develop from slavish Disney imitator to his own man (at which point he presumably realized he did not need this character any longer). As a character, Sniffles had a range from extremely bland to extremely annoying; presumably, then, someone realized that something more needed to be added to the mix if a comic book series was to work. So, he became the guide and companion to Mary Jane, a little girl who had the power to shrink to mouse size. The series, which had a 20-year run (as opposed to the six-year run of the cartoons) was really quite charming. I would gladly buy a collection of it.

    Trivia: The spell that Mary Jane uses to transform (“Oh magic words of poof poof piffles/Make me just as small as Sniffles”) occur in John Bellairs’ fantasy novel THE FACE IN THE FROST. This is despite the fact that the novel is set in the Middle Ages (the words are spoken by a time-traveling spirit).

  • Touch-and-go Bullethead says:

    “…my eye just skips over Gold Key anything when I see it in the back-issue bins.”

    Do you mean you have been denying yourself those amazing four-page filler strips, such as “Professor Harbinger,” “Jet Dream and Her Stunt Girl Counterspies,” “Brothers of the Spear,” and the truly wonderful “Captain Johner and the Aliens”?

    And the Otto Binder/Frank Thorne run of “Mighty Samson”? And “Judge Colt”?

    To say nothing of the groundbreaking “The Owl,” in which Jerry Siegel invented gangsta rap? (No, really.)

    For shame, sir.

  • Bryan says:

    I was at a comic show once, and one of the dealers noticed the coupon on the back cover of one of his 1960s Bugs Bunny comics had been cut out (the comic was otherwise flawless), and he handed it to me and said I could have it for free. He then loudly boasted about his generosity to the other dealers.

  • D says:

    No lie、I LOVE Gabby Goat!

  • Brad says:

    I noted Honey Bunny from her debut. You want obscure? Try Cousin Clovis. A cat version of Stan Laurel, with Sylvester in the Oliver Hardy role. And that reminds me that Honey Bunny had a father: Horatio Q. Bun, who bore a strange resemblence to Claude William Dunkenfeld. One suspects these old movie references were courtesy of Mark Evanier, who wrote boatloads of TV comedy as well as comic books.

  • Gabby Goat was AWESOME! Seriously, he was constantly pissed off, always overreacting and complaining, Gabby always made me laugh.