Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bugs Bunny's Vacation Funnies # 8 (Dell, 1958): "Cuckoo Switcheroo"

By 1958, the once-crazy Daffy Duck had become a greedy, antagonistic character in the cartoons. In comics, he remained a screwball mischief-maker. Similarly, Yosemite Sam had filled every cartoon role from cowboy to pirate to German soldier to Southern colonel to British knight, and many roles in between...but in comics, he nearly always appeared as a pirate. While Daffy and Sam rarely encountered one another in the cartoons, they sparred regularly in comic book stories such as this one from "Bugs Bunny's Vacation Funnies" (Dell, 1958). Notice the appearance of Yosemite Sam's rich uncle in the end...he looks exactly like Sam, except that he makes his wealth a fashion statement.

Welcome to Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics!

Ever since the Warner Bros. "Looney Tunes" series began in 1930, the characters have had a side career in comics, both newspaper strips and comic books. This blog is dedicated to the comic books, which began in 1941 under the banner "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics", licensed by producer Leon Schlesinger to Western Publishing for the Dell Comics line. Western would continue to publish comic books based on the Warner cartoon stars for over 40 years. Western would publish the characters' adventures under various titles ("Looney Tunes", "Bugs Bunny", "Porky Pig", Tweety and Sylvester, etc.) and comic lines (Dell, Gold Key, Whitman) until eventually ceasing publication in the 1980's. D.C. Comics picked up the baton in the 1990's, publishing a few Bugs Bunny specials before beginning a long-running series of "Looney Tunes" comics in 1994 that continues today.

On this blog, we will take a look at stories from these comics, the good, the bad, the ugly and the just plain bizarre. Some are brilliant, some are insipid. Some boast gorgeous artwork, some are painfully off-model. You are about to see a Looney Tunes universe that is often very different from the animated cartoons.

The writers and artists for the comics of the Dell/Gold Key era are uncredited, and the records of who created what are believed to be lost. Thankfully, the modern D.C. comics include credits. Known or anonymous, these writers and artists deserve to be recognized, at the very least, by the work they created with some of the most timeless cartoon characters of all time. This blog is dedicated to them.

Enjoy! Stories will be posted often!
Stay "tooned"...
-Matthew Hunter

Looney Tunes (DC) #29, May 1997: "Stupider Dozen"

This 1997 Bugs Bunny/Wile E. Coyote story, written by Terry Collins, is a clever take on Chuck Jones' cartoons starring Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote (super genius!) Wile E. wakes Bugs up in the middle of the night to borrow a screwdriver...and, as it turns out, the coyote's latest plan to catch the Road Runner involves cloning.

"Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies" (Dell) #36: October 1944

In this opening story from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies # 36 (October, 1944), Porky Pig's imagination runs away with him as he pretends to be a bomber in World War II, dropping bombs on Tokyo. The story that follows is all about imagination, particularly Bugs Bunny's use of it for mischief. The author and artist are unknown, but the designs of the characters are reminiscent of the Robert McKimson model sheets from the cartoons of the same era.