Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies"(Dell) #41, March 1945: "George Washington Bunny"

In this classic Bugs Bunny story from 1945, Bugs explains to Porky and Petunia Pig that his real name is George Washington Bunny. He tells of his childhood inability to tell a lie, which got him into more trouble than you'd expect! Bugs' plight seems to have followed him into adulthood, hence the reason he prefers to go by "Bugs"! The artwork, as you can see, is fantastic. I'm going to guess Tom McKimson, but I'm sure some of you readers can confirm that.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Looney Tunes" (Dell) #208, February 1959: "Daffy and Sam"

In some cases, the classic-era Looney Tunes comics had ideas that would have worked beautifully in cartoons, but for some reason were never attempted. Daffy Duck and Yosemite Sam only encountered one another a couple of times in the cartoons, and while they were funny, the characters' potential chemistry was largely wasted. Take, for instance, "Along Came Daffy" (Friz Freleng, 1947) in which Daffy encounters Sam and his nameless twin brother. Both of the Brothers Yosemite are mostly silent.

The two sparred more often in Mel Blanc's Capitol kiddie records, and here's a great example from 1950 with Blanc's memorable voice work on both characters:

Also this classic by Blanc as Sam, with a reference to Daffy: "I like to hunt fer big black ducks a-way up in the sky..."

Now, visualize how Blanc's vocals and the Daffy/Sam chemistry of the first record could have been combined with this comic story and expanded into a memorable cartoon, or series of them! From 1959, here's a story in which Daffy annoys the hell out of Yosemite Sam for the umpteenth time in comic book form.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies" (Dell) #26, December 1943: "Messenger Porky"

In early comics, like this one from 1943,Bugs Bunny was a bit more mischievous than he would be later. He behaves more like the Bugs of the Bob Clampett cartoons being produced at the same time. Porky Pig's stutter was also played up a little more, and in this story he delivers a singing inspired gag! Bugs attempts to sabotage Porky's job as a messenger in order to score the job for himself, but his plans backfire. Once again, Bugs ends up as the fall guy. The comics give us something the cartoons rarely did: Bugs and Porky interacting.

* UPDATE: The astute readers of this blog have identified the artist here as Ed Volke.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Bugs Bunny's Album" (Dell) 1953: "Honey Bunny"

Throughout the Western Publishing run, there was always the flagship "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies" title (later just "Looney Tunes").But there were also sub-series and one-off "specials". One such special was "Bugs Bunny's Album" from 1953. It's a collection of three stories tied together by the device of Bugs showing his family album to Porky and Petunia Pig. The final story is of interest because it introduces Honey Bunny, a character who never appeared in animated form. She is best known as Bugs Bunny's girlfriend in later comics and merchandise, but here she is introduced as Bugs' COUSIN. Bugs tags along with her to the circus, where a wisecrack about capturing elephants lands them in the African jungle doing just that, financed by the circusmaster. The old cartoon gag about elephants being scared of mice shows up here. It's not just a myth either...elephants actually are startled by mice. Not only does Honey get her elephant, she offers to catch another, provided the circus sends her another mouse!

*update: Artwork possibly by Fred Abranz.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Looney Tunes" (DC) # 53, June 1999: "The Postman Always Brings Mice"

Here's one of my favorite Looney Tunes comic stories of all time. It boasts some of the best looking drawings of Sylvester and Tweety you'll ever see, by the inimitable David Alvarez. The story by Sean Carolan and Jennifer Moore is well-timed, cleverly plotted and loaded with funny slapstick. What a boffo idea: a mouse of the month club! I understand the Western stories of old are the stuff most of you readers want to see most, but DC stories like this one are the reason I feel the need to include them as well.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Beep Beep the Roadrunner"(Gold Key) #20, October 1970: "Feather or Not"

This Roadrunner story from 1970 (possibly earlier, as the "Beep Beep" comic featured a lot of reprints at the time) has a twist. Instead of just Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Roadrunner and his rhyming sons, this time a goofy Indian named Sleepy Wolf wants them for their feathers. If he doesn't get new feathers for his bedraggled headdress, his tribe will kick him out. It adds a little more spice to the story by giving Wile E. someone else to play off of (the Indians) and lets the Road Runners do something Chuck Jones would never have allowed in a cartoon.

*Update: Art by Phil De Lara.