Wayback Wednesday for 3/28/2018
“Doc,” they said. “why don’t you put all those years of comic reading to good use. Start up some new feature like a ‘flashback friday’ where you review and dig deep into the world of comics.”
I hate it when someone upsets my usual routine with a good idea. When they are dumb ideas, I can ignore them and nobody can blame me. Having been reviewing comics for several years, every now and then (especially on a week where I couldn’t find anything to like) I’d review an old favorite and really give it special treatment.
The irony is that instead of delving into the archieves and pulling out a claasic from the 1940’s or the 1960’s, I found something in this week’s line up that proved yet again that when DC Comics lets it happen, the classics can come back to us. Case in point, Scooby Doo! Team Up #36.
While I am tickled pink to see the return of two of my favorite 1960’s characters Angel O’Day and Sam Simeon (aka Angel and the Ape) The two were created by E. Nelson Bridwell and first appeared in 1968 in Showcase #77 then graduated to their own title, with art by comic artist Bob Oksner, most often inked by Wally Wood. The title lasted for seven issues, changing its name to Meet Angel for its final appearance. Angel and Sam have been rebooted several times over the years. Cute (some could say sexy), funny, and riddled with satire. (It is rumored that the character of Sam’s boss is based on Stan Lee.) But what’s more is that this issue is chalk full of comic references. Let over analyze this puppy!
Right off the bat we are greeted with a reference to Lando, Man of Magic who appeared for 7 issues of World’s Finest Comics early in the title’s history. Then me immediately get re-introduced to not only Angel and the Ape but The Inferior 5 as well. Both sets of characters had their beginnings in Showcase Comics and then graduated into their own books. With references to both the relationship between Angel and Inferior 5 member Dumb Bunny and famed comic artist Bob Oksner! And the telethon’s host turns out to be the uncle of Stanley of Stanley & his Monster fame. Stanley and his cast of ghosts, goblins, and friendly monsters took over DC’s Fox and the Crow title at the end of it’s run.
Also, check out the phone operators as I’m pretty sure that I recognize Debbie of Date with Debbie and Debbie’s Dates titles, Scooter from Swing with Scooter, and Windy and Willy (which was reused stories from DC’s old Dobie Gillis title.) Flip ahead a page or two and get introduced to comedian Rob Pope (who is justly changed to avoid copyright issues) a version of comic legend Bob Hope who held onto his own DC title until the late 60’s. And, of course, who’s telethon is all the action taking place at. You guessed it Louie Jervis (read Jerry Lewis) who took over the title he shared with Dean Martin until the late 60’s.
Stanley’s pet monster Spot finally shows up and the whole gang chase the villains right through a performance by Showcase’s cover band the Maniaks!
Finally, the ghost is revealed as (as if you didn’t know) DC’s own baby stars Sugar and Spike! Who not only give us some of their famous baby talk subtitles but have their parents show up as well! Sholly Fisch’s story blends all of these characters incredibly and takes me back to a time when all of these now rare titles were center stage on the news racks next to Superman and Detective Comics. And with Dario Brizuela’s impressive take on these odd balls, I couldn’t have asked for better flashback book.
While hard to find (trust me, I’ve been scooping up these titles for years when I come across them) I can’t help but recommend them to readers as they represent a time and a place in the history of comics that have an innocence and sense of fun that is sorely lacking today.