Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Looney Tunes" (DC) # 74, March 2001: "A Doctor in the Mouse"

One artist from the DC Looney Tunes series worth pointing out is Neal Sternecky. Sternecky's unique style is easy to pick out, and you won't be surprised to learn that he is an animator. Sternecky's name has appeared in the credits for series like "Tiny Toons", "Animaniacs", "Tom and Jerry Tales", "House of Mouse", "Johnny Bravo" and several others. His style is somewhat reminiscent of comic strip great Walt Kelly's, to the point that he was chosen to do a revival of Kelly's "Pogo" in 1989.

In this story, Sternecky draws Hubie and Bertie doing what they do best: warping Claude Cat's mind.

"Looney Tunes"(DC) # 60, January 2000: "Tweety Temps"

I recently talked to David Alvarez on Facebook, and it was a pleasure to geek out with him over his work. I mentioned that the DC Looney Tunes comics have been very dull lately. Alvarez explained that a new editor was brought in three years ago, and the editor told him he "didn't know how to draw the Looney Tunes characters". This editor must not have known that he'd been doing it for over ten years. It's eerily similar to something clueless producer Edward Selzer was quoted as saying to his artists: "What the hell has all this laughter got to do with making animated cartoons?!" The DC editor may have been cut from the same cloth as Selzer, but Alvarez clearly has the same gift as the artists who created these characters in the first place. He continues to work with the Warner troupe as a storyboard artist for "The Looney Tunes Show". Here's Alvarez at work in 2000.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies" (Dell) #21, July 1943: "Elmer Rabbit"

This bit of mistaken identity fun from 1943 is not only funny, but politically incorrect as well. A hypnotist tries to convince Elmer Fudd he's a rabbit, but only causes him to sleepwalk...right into a costume shop. When he comes to (wearing a rabbit costume), he thinks he really HAS been turned into a rabbit, much to the amusement of Bugs Bunny! The politically incorrect bit involves the black rabbit hunter from Tex Avery's "All This and Rabbit Stew" (1941). The hunter character appeared on occasion in these early comics, and I have seen an image from one of them in which he is named "Sambo". Racial insensitivity aside, it's hard not to like the image of a hunter chasing both Bugs AND Elmer with a gun and an appetite for rabbit stew!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Bugs Bunny" (Whitman) # 213, October 1979: "A Helping Hand"

The 1970's and early 1980's Looney Tunes comics were largely terrible, and that's my assessment of them that doesn't include profanity. Actually, "assessment" includes the word "ass", so that's not entirely true. This story from 1979 is pretty lousy, but I think it's interesting for one reason: it has Beaky Buzzard in it. Somehow, despite disappearing from cartoons by the mid 1950's, Bob Clampett's ultimate simpleton managed to stay alive in merchandise and comics for *that* long. That alone makes this story worth a look.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies" (Dell) # 114, April 1951: "Aunt Minnie's Money"

Elmer Fudd twied (err, TRIED) on a few occasions to impress wealthy relatives in order to inherit money from them. Perhaps the best-remembered of these debacles is the cartoon "The Wabbit Who Came to Supper" (Friz Freleng, 1942) in which his Uncle Louie promises him 3 million dollars as long as he doesn't harm any animals, (especially rabbits!)

But this comic story from 1951 (a reader request!) is a bit different. This time, the relative is Elmer's rich aunt Minnie, and not only is she present in the story (unlike the unseen Louie), she is impressed by neatness and hates cats and unintelligent people. Considering the story opens with Elmer Fudd falling behind on his house cleaning with Sylvester hanging around, he's doomed from the start.

Will Elmer get his money? Yeah, you can probably guess that answer. What will Aunt Minnie do with the money? That one might surprise you a bit!