Monday, June 4, 2012

Daffy Duck # 59 (Gold Key) September 1969: Merlin the Magic Mouse in: "Low Caliber Partner"

In the early 1960's, Western Publishing changed the name of their comics line from Dell Comics to Gold Key Comics. They would remain under that moniker for well over a decade. Eventually, the Gold Key comics began reprinting material from much earlier comic books, mixing it in with the occasional new story. Such is the case with the 1969 issue of "Daffy Duck" this story originates from. Reprints of earlier Daffy stories are accompanied by this story featuring then-current Looney Tunes star Merlin the Magic Mouse. Merlin's cartoon career didn't last long, and Warner Bros. completely stopped producing cartoons after the year this story was published. But the comics continued, and Merlin continued to appear in them on occasion. Much like the cartoons, the Hanna-Barbera influence is clear.

For reference, here's a Merlin cartoon from the same year.

And now, the story.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how many folks saw Merlin (and Cool Cat) in comic books first. I know I did, in late 1968. Those cartoons came to TV a short time later as fillers on some primarily live action Sat AM show. Maybe it was “Lancelot Link”, or maybe it was something else.

    Either way, I was surprised to see these (original, so I thought) characters from the Gold Key comics in cartoons that (as you note) did not look much like Warner Bros. cartoons.

    Though all were uncredited, the artist on this was Pete Alavardo (whom your readers will know from his many WB animation credits), the writer was Vic Lockman, and the letterer was Larry Mayer.

    Note also, the Six-Page length. In titles that went primarily reprint during the mid-sixties to early-seventies period for Gold Key, new stories were (for reasons still unknown, though I suspect “budgetary”) generally limited to six pages. Both the BUGS BUNNY and DAFFY DUCK titles went primarily reprint from about late 1964 – early 1965 through about 1971-72. Then, many new stories began to appear again.

    This example was far from the best of the Gold Key material, but still worthy of note. Thanks for highlighting it.