Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Word From the Author

I started this blog in hopes that someone out there will wake up and put some serious effort into collecting, preserving and anthologizing this material. Anthologies of classic comics are more popular than ever now, and “funny” comic books are making a comeback. So much love and devotion has been put into preserving and glorifying classic superhero comics, and it seems like that stuff is all comic book fans have talked about for decades.

Not so anymore. There is an explosion of great books collecting the Disney comic strips and books. There’s a series of collections featuring Popeye, Barney Bear, Richie Rich, Casper the Ghost, Baby Huey and dozens of others. So why can’t someone get their ass in gear and do some collections of Looney Tunes comics?

NOW is the time.

A few people have recently called me a pirate, and accused me of somehow depriving the artists of royalty profits. Actually, my intent is exactly the opposite. I bought the comics (Or in some cases, they were given to me) and decided to post selected stories from them that I liked. I’m no more of a “pirate” than people who resell these comics in comic shops and online for 3 times what they were originally worth. If there were any officially licensed way to see this stuff, it would be different.

As for royalty profits, most of the artists who worked on the classic Western Publishing stories are dead, and probably had no royalty deal in the first place. They got paid peanuts to do what they did, and I actually want to give them something far more valuable than any money they SHOULD have gotten: a legacy. Warner Bros., this is your wake-up call. There are literally THOUSANDS of comic book stories featuring the universally beloved and revered Looney Tunes characters, many of them written and drawn by the brilliant artists who helped create the classic cartoons themselves. The characters have had a life in print for over 70 years, and for about 50 of those years, the artists responsible went uncredited. It was a crime then and it’s a crime today, one that will remain unsolved until a serious effort is put into finding, restoring and re-releasing their work.

As I write this, there are STILL Looney Tunes comics being released under the D.C. banner, and while largely reprints from the 90's these days, new stories are being made, and the artists, thankfully, are credited. But these works of art, too, are largely unsung. They’re not promoted, the comic book stores don’t have posters and statues and newsletters recognizing their existence. But they’re out there. As a cartoonist myself, I know how hard it is to get ones work noticed, and I know that when someone shares my own work with others, it gives me far more gratification than any money I could get for it.

For many years, I have collected these comics. I buy the new ones, and I’ve bought all the old ones I’ve been able to afford.

I know there are people out there who have larger collections, and know infinitely more about this material. These are the people I want to reach, and the people I want to comment on this blog. Many of them already have. We need to convince the powers that be to preserve and save these wonderful comics, before the acres of musty, yellowed newsprint they were printed on turns to dust and fades into the ether forever…and an entire chapter in the history of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester, Tweety, Road Runner, and others fades from history.

Until that happens, I’ve got the internet, 2 boxes of classic comics, and a scanner.


-Matthew Hunter


  1. Right on! I'd love to see Looney Tunes comics get the royal treatment they gave Milt Gross in that big book Craig Yoe put together.

  2. You are performing a noble public service for all us classic comic fans! I just know it's a labor of love on your part. Keep up the excellent work!

  3. Matthew:

    I guess I’m one of “those people you’re trying to reach”, who have commented on – and enjoy – this Blog.

    I certainly don’t think you’re a pirate! Though, honestly, I once disagreed with the practice of posting complete comic book stories, or entire issues, online (maybe still do) – unless done with extensive personal commentary on the part of the Blogger, and with only those illustrations needed to make the point. That tends to make it more of a “review” or “analysis” than an unauthorized presentation.

    And, perhaps in the case of still-viable, presently published comic books, I continue to disagree with such postings – putting the DC material in somewhat of a “grey area”. DC *IS* presently selling this material, and it should have every right to its exclusivity. But, there’s no way this could apply to the Western Publishing material.

    Pete Alavardo, Phil De Lara, Tony Strobl, Tom McKimson and the others whose work you post are dead. They are not, in any way, harmed by your actions. They and their families received no reprint royalties. Indeed, it is quite the opposite, as your postings might create in new fans an appreciation for their work that long-timers like myself have always had. Western Publishing probably no longer exists as an entity. Certainly not one you could harm with scans of classic comics.

    Even in the case of DC, one could make the case that you are creating more publicity for the present-day title, than DC itself has ever done. Though, here, I do understand any opposing view.

    I seriously doubt the classic WB comics will ever be collected. Recently, at my own Blog, I posted a 50th Anniversary salute to Gold Key Comics. I provide a link, not to plug my own work, but because some of the commenters offer great insight as to the probable fate of some of this material. Alas, this is why I’m pessimistic about any great Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies reprint collection projects. I’d sure like to be wrong on this. Here’s the link:

    Lastly, some personal opinion from a fellow Blogger. I’m glad to see more of your own thoughts expressed in this post. I’ll almost always respond to comments made to my Blog posts – not because I like to have the last word – but because I’m so grateful that someone took the time to add to the discussion of my chosen topic, and I enjoy continuing that discussion. You have a great appreciation for these comics – and I enjoy that as nearly as much as the comics themselves. Show more of that… more analysis… more of your own thoughts in response to readers’ comments… and you’ll lessen the unfair opinion that you’re doing little more than scanning the works of others.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. It isn't piracy if no one is currently making money off of it.

  5. I know that DC is usually much more consistent and generous in paying royalties on reprints even to estates of deceased creators and on stories that were created decades before reprint collections or even treating creators particularly well were ever thought of. But they apparently don't pay royalties on licensed properties like Doc Savage, so I don't know for sure where properties owned by their sibling company (WB) would fall.

  6. I don't consider you a pirate. Sharing / copying is not theft ;-)

    I know re-releasing old comics can be quite expensive business but Warner Bros. or DC could re-release them in different forms - limited printed editions and unlimited digitized versions. I live in Poland, I'd like to buy and read these printed comic books, however, I can't because shipping anything from US is just too expensive for me. I'd even pay for PDF's, online access, etc. Why Warner Bros. doesn't think about making their old comics available this way?

    Sorr for any mistakes, though I learn English for many years still my English isn't perfect... :)