Plus they had to make sure those two words were in big, bold red letters.

§ May 17th, 2024 § Filed under archie, giant-size man-thing, misfit toys, obituary § 17 Comments

Some very unexpected news this week came via a press release email I received the other day, announcing that Archie Comics was going to enter the facsimile game. You know, the exact reprints, usually ads an’ all, of classic comics at, ahem, current prices. Usually printed on better paper, which is nice, and sometimes they come with a foil cover variant (which I personally may be collecting all of for Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars and Crisis on Infinite Earths, because apparently I’m a magpie).

To be fair, Archie doing facsimile editions isn’t that much of a surprise, given 1) facsimiles actually sell pretty well, at least for me, sometimes better than the current comics featuring the same characters/concepts; and 2) Archie is nothing if not a giant reprint engine, recycling their giant back catalog of comics endlessly through paperbacks and digests.

What is a surprise is the comic they’re using to kick off this new project…the infamous Betty and Me #16 from 1968:

It’s all your fault, anyway, reading this perfectly innocent cover and making it dirty in your filthy minds. I know what you people are like.

Now whether or not this was an intentional dirty gag that the creators of the image (artist: the legendary Dan DeCarlo) tried to sneak by the editors for their own amusement, I’ll let others argue. I’m still recovering from the whole “boner” thing. But this cover has amused for prurient reasons almost from the get-go…I remember seeing in the pre-internet days a photocopy of the cover that had been…artistically altered to more accurately portray the perceived after-the-fact gag. (Kids, ask your grandparents about how visual humor was traded around socially in Ye Olden Tymes thanks to the company’s Xerox machine.)

So…there you go, a fresh new edition of Betty and Me #16 for you to inflict on the unwary, you sickos. Am I going to get one myself? Of course I am, I’m no dummy. And Archie Comics ain’t no dummy, either…this is going to grab some eyeballs, in store and online, and will probably bring more attention to this new endeavor than just, say, reprinting whichever comic that was with Archie, Betty and Veronica sipping straws out of the same drink. (Which I’m sure they’ll do eventually, don’t worry.)

And speaking of other potential facsimiles, I’d like them to do Jughead’s Folly #1 from 1957, possibly the first mention of Elvis Presley in comics:

…and the later Jughead’s Fantasy three issue series would be nice too. But I’m sure we’ll get “first appearance of Cheryl Blossom” and “first appearance of Jughead’s cousin Souphead” before that happens. One can still dream.

• • •

So the last time we met I lamented the fact that we’d probably never get Atari Force action figures. Well, maybe no official figures exist, but esteemed blogging comrade Johanna informed me that she had an Atari Force figure made for her some time ago…specifically “Dart,” seen in this picture flanked by custom figures of DC Comics’ Cinnamon and Scott McCloud’s Zot!:

Here’s a better look at Dart:

Nicely done, and Johanna’s lucky to have these. Now all I need is someone to build a Babe for me, I’ll be set.

• • •

I should note the passing of comics artist Don Perlin, who passed away this week at the age of 94. He was a dependable draftsman, supplying solid work on titles like Defenders and Ghost Rider.

In fact, not too long ago I was rereading the second run of Man-Thing that began in ’79, of which Perlin drew several issues. It’d been a while since I read it, and my memory of Perlin’s work was that it wasn’t suited to the title. However, upon reconsideration the artwork was fine…a little “superhero-y” for what was nominally a horror book, but he did a better job than I recalled. I think part of the problem was the bright coloring, which didn’t help with the mood much. Ah well.

So long, Don, and my condolences to his family and friends.

17 Responses to “Plus they had to make sure those two words were in big, bold red letters.”

  • Andrew Davison says:

    Will someone please post a link to the “artistically altered” version, although I suspect it won’t match the image our keen imaginations have conjured.

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    The funny thing is that the clean version of the gag isn’t that funny, even by Archie standards. Betty’s in danger of drowning, so Archie knocks around (uncharacteristically, no?) three other guys before he can get to her? Maybe on Riverdale or in that one Criminal mini-series, but it still doesn’t play out as humorous in my mind. Which seems to argue more strongly in favor of the dirty gag being the secretly-intended one.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Ah, the Byrne run of Man-Thing. I recall a Dr. Strange crossover that put the Man-Thing in the Himalayas, which seemed a singularly inappropriate location for the character. Interesting ending to the series, though, making Byrne part of the MU. (Which later on maybe he would be because of his appearances in the She-Hulk comics, as well?)

  • Chris V says:

    It was Chris Claremont who was revealed to be part of the Marvel Universe, not Byrne. Claremont was copying what Gerber had already done in the final issue of the best Man-Thing series.

    Funny that there’s a mention of Man-Thing in this same posting about that Archie comic cover. I’d like to see Archie rescue Betty by beating off a Man-Thing next.

  • Andy Wheeler says:

    Is it just me, or does the text box on the Jughead issue read like it’s translated from Yiddish?

    “Oy, such a nudnik, this Jughead! What for is he acting like Elvis, already?”

    (I think it’s the “This you must read to believe,” mostly.)

  • Thom H. says:

    I loved Don Perlin on New Defenders. He was the perfect artist for when Peter Gillis took the series in a more monster/horror direction. Not too gross, but not too slick. I’m glad he got to live to 94.

    Imagine how much longer it would have taken Archie to get to Betty if he’d done the other thing. She’d have drowned for sure.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    That’s great that Archie Comics will be printing facsimile editions … I hope they also reprint some of their 1940s and ’50s Archie Comics with classic GGA covers, and Archie’s first appearance in Pep Comics. It would be cool if they reprinted some classic MLJ Comics as well—Pep, Zip, Blue Ribbon– with first appearances of their main Golden Age superhero characters, and also Adventures of The Fly no. 1, The Double Life of Private Strong no.1, and Adventures of
    The Jaguar no. 1 from the Silver Age. Also, Sabrina no. 1.

  • Peter says:

    Speaking of covers famous for unintentional innuendo, if you’re wondering if they’ll ever reprint ALF #48…they already did. Apparently it was for a deluxe version of the DVD set. I guess they asked people which issue and….what’d they think would happen?
    Note the “Lionsgate Entertainment” logo instead of “Marvel”

    The thing is, ALF #48 on its own doesn’t really make sense, because the inside story is Part 2 of the four-part finale, so you’re just dropped into the middle of something with no resolution at the end.

  • Chris V says:

    There’s no way that one was unintentional. What else is that cover supposed to be showing? The TV show revolved around the alien who wants to eat cats. It’s just common-sense to expect he’d do something like that with a different animal.

    They needed to reprint that issue because back-issues go for $300 (the first issue is valued around $10). Who knew that bestiality in a comic was so collectible?

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Probably having various writers and artists be part of the Marvel–or Timely–Universe dates all the way back to the 1949s. Definitely Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were written and drawn into the wedding of Sue Storm and Reed Richards back in the Silver Age (I think they are actually refused entrance to the reception) and probably popped up in some other stories. Then, in the early Bronze Age, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, and Archie Goodwin pop up in several stories…I believe they have to do with the Rutland Halloween Parade, which was a real-life comic book nerds cosplay event before cosplay was really a big thing. There’s an issue of Thor, a JLA issue, and a Batman issue that features this theme. And Roy Thomas also appears in Marvel Feature no. 2 –and early Defenders story.

    Then there are also appearances by Wally Wood, Gil Kane, and a few other artists in some of the early Bronze Age Horror Comics that Marvel published, wherein the artists are actually the hosts introducing the stories.

    And there’s a Bronze Age Fantastic Four story from the late ’70s featuring the Impossible Man that has cameos by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and George Perez.

    And Dave Cockrum drew himself and his wife Paty, as well as Chris Claremont, into at least one X-Men story –but I don’t think they are named or have dialogue…they are just in the crowd. I think Frank Brunner did a similar thing at the end of a Dr. Strange story.

    Over at DC at least a few examples come to mind…when the Doom Patrol was killed off in the Silver Age, artist Bruno Premiani and editor Murray Boltinoff appear at the end of the story asking readers if the Doom Patrol should be saved or not–writer Arnold Drake had already baled over to Marvel to write Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, etc. Jim Aparo drew himself in at least one Brave and the Bold story. And Cary Bates, Elliot S. Maggin!, and Julius Schwartz are drawn in a JLA/JSA
    two-part story…so they were part of the DC Universe before COIE. And Wolfman and Perez are among the guests at the wedding of Donna Troy and Terry Long.
    And all of this is just scratching the surface.

  • Chris V says:

    The Gerber Man-Thing story (and then Claremont taking the idea from Gerber’s final issue) is a bit more meta than just an appearance in the comic though in that Gerber writes himself into the story as the writer of the Man-Thing series we have just been reading. Gerber writes in the story that a wizard (Dakimh) appeared to him and told him to record the adventures of the Man-Thing as he regales Gerber with the details. Gerber is then sucked into the events of the current Man-Thing story he is writing through a magical box and meets the Man-Thing. The issue ends with Gerber writing his resignation notice to his editor.

    It wouldn’t be until Animal Man meets his Creator, Grant Morrison, that a comic story would end up being meta on that level again. Then, John Ostrander wrote a Suicide Squad issue where Morrison is killed.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Dave Wood and Carmine Infantino are Animal Man’s actual creators, but Morrison wrote 26 entertaining issues of Animal Man–although I wasn’t big on his self-insertion into the comic. It always rubs me the wrong way in the modern comics industry where there is this conceit that hired talent working on a company’s preexisting characters are labeled as “creators”–unless they actually created the character(s), they aren’t really the “creators;” creative artists and/or writers, sure, but not the “creators.” But demiurgers are gonna demiurge…

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  • Snark Shark says:

    “be cool if they reprinted some classic MLJ Comics as well—”

    I wouldn’t mind that. I’ve never read ANY of the Golden-Age era MLJ superheros.

    ” Then, John Ostrander wrote a Suicide Squad issue where Morrison is killed.”

    Wish fulfilment?

  • Snark Shark says:

    Don Perlin”.

    Dammit. 94 though, that’s a good, long run.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Snark Shark

    I’ve probably mentioned this in the past but there’s a guy reprinting public domain comics in graphic novel-type format. Google Gwandanaland comics. He’s packaging all of the MLJ Comics stories, Quality Comics stories, Fox Publications stories,etc. So if you want the complete Ray by Lou Fine, or the complete Phantom Lady by Matt Baker, you can read them all sequentially. Re: MLJ Comics–I picked up the complete Comet by Jack Cole, the Complete Web, the complete Fox, and several other complete GA stories of various MLJ characters…all very fun stuff. Or, you could also read many of these stories for free online at the Digital Comics Museum if you go to its subcategories for Pep Comics, Blue Ribbon Comics, Zip Comics, Hangman Comics, Black Hood Comics, and Top-Notch Comics. Enjoy!

  • Snark Shark says:

    Yes, I still need to check that stuff out, sometime!

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