« on: October 18, 2017, 01:08:21 pm »
Look What I completed (?) a wraparound your pal Archie chocklit shoppe variant cover
What comics have you been reading? by rusty
[October 14, 2018, 10:45:16 pm]
Riverdale Reviewed by Tuxedo Mark
[October 13, 2018, 08:38:41 pm]
What are you currently watching? by DeCarlo Rules
[October 13, 2018, 10:33:56 am]
Days we look foward to as Archie Fans. by BettyReggie
[October 09, 2018, 04:32:37 pm]
New York Comic Con 2018 by BettyReggie
[October 08, 2018, 05:37:04 am]
Anachronism Patrol by DeCarlo Rules
[October 06, 2018, 11:59:27 pm]
Latest Hauls, what did you buy? by Archiecomicxfan215
[October 05, 2018, 10:56:07 pm]
The " Carrie " Riverdale Episode by ASS-P
[October 03, 2018, 09:37:25 pm]
ARCHIE COMICS FOR NOVEMBER 2017 by Servicejlv
[October 03, 2018, 06:37:45 pm]
Library Books That You All Read by BettyReggie
[October 03, 2018, 03:41:45 pm]
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Messages - Ronny G
« on: October 18, 2017, 01:08:21 pm »
Look What I completed (?) a wraparound your pal Archie chocklit shoppe variant cover
That reminds me of a Little Archie story I read the other day in World of Archie #53. In the story, a frustrated department store Santa Claus takes off his red hat and puts it on Veronica's head, but then the color of the hat changes to green!
It's some kind of magical mind-control thing. Pretty sure that's how he enslaves his "helpers" to his will. Didn't you ever notice all the helpers seem to wear green hats? What's up with that?
I thought maybe they changed the bikini to a one-piece so they wouldn't offend mothers who may buy it for their children, but you're right, do they actually read what it says?
I had the same initial thought. Then again, as I remarked here when I read it last month, the most recent B&V FRIENDS (#255) didn't have Josie (or Cheryl) reprints in it, as it usually had up to this point -- and in fact, Josie reprints had been a regular feature of B&V FRIENDS going all the way back to when the title was changed from BETTY AND VERONICA DIGEST back in 2011 with issue #209. The next issue of B&V FRIENDS (JUMBO COMICS), #256, the Halloween-themed issue, is scheduled to ship in 2 weeks (09/27), so maybe we'll see if it has Josie (or Cheryl) reprints in it again.
It does seem a little odd that they're trying to squeeze both Josie and Cheryl reprints into the regular BETTY AND VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST, which has always carried Sabrina reprints (in this issue, revisionist-logo'ed as HILDA and ZELDA stories). I laughed because while it's fair to say that Hilda was the focus of the first Sabrina story, she's also the focus of the second story, despite the fact that it's Zelda who appears most prominently in the 1st panel of the story. I don't think there really are any Sabrina stories revolving mostly around Zelda until we get to Sabrina's series from the 1990s. There's more proof that they didn't actually READ the story... just looked at Zelda prominently featured in the 1st panel, and decided to slap a ZELDA logo on the story.
Further proof that the production department colorists don't read what it says on the page occurs in the story where B&V participate as contestants on the TV game show "Race Around the World". In a panel introducing the other pairs of competing players, we're introduced to Lisa and Lana, who are described (in a caption appearing right above their figures in the panel) as twin sisters -- yet the colorist chose these particular incidental characters as an opportunity to "diversify" the cast of a reprinted story, and Lisa and Lana not only have different hairstyles and different-colored hair (explainable), but one twin is Caucasian, and the other twin African-American! Talk about embarassing...!! And then, it seems as though the colorist has realized his goof (but not corrected it), as Lisa and Lana both appear in the rest of the story with the same hair and (Caucasian) skin coloring.
Now, in the instance of the cover gag featuring the "umbrella girl" on the beach, I've no doubt that if I were to try finding the original appearance of that Dan DeCarlo gag, the umbrella girl, as she originally appeared, would have been Caucasian. I didn't bring it up in my prior post about the colorists altering the cover for that gag because it's completely irrelevant to the joke. The only points relevant would be that the girl on the beach under the umbrella is pretty and shapely, and that she's wearing a bikini (which might be considered the most salient point of the joke, since Veronica considers that worthy of mentioning). Her ethnicity doesn't matter to the nature of the joke -- it's exactly as relevant as whether her bikini is white with blue polka-dots, or purple with yellow polka-dots.
I have no problem at all with the idea of the production department diversifying the cast of incidental characters by choosing some of them as representatives of people of color, because I agree with the intent in principle. These digest reprints are aimed at audience of contemporary pre-teens, and I applaud ACP for wanting to make those stories more inclusive and accessible to kids of all ethnicities. All I ask is that they actually read the stories first, and apply those changes judiciously, so that the end results don't stick out like a sore thumb as obvious alterations of the original story that don't fit -- the alteration of the umbrella girl to a person of color is a good example (and the alteration of her bathing suit a poor one), while the alteration of Lisa and Lana is a bad example (in fact, one of the worst, counterproductive to the intent of including people of color). Kids are not stupid, and it's an embarassment and makes the whole company look bad when they screw it up.
In the case of archival-type reprints that are aimed at an audience of collectors, many if not most of them adults, the source material should be adhered to as originally published, for reasons of historical accuracy. A blanket disclaimer somewhere in the front of the book advising that "These stories were originally created during a time... yadda-yadda-yadda" is sufficient explanation.
For the same reason, it's dismaying when I see a reprint like "Off to a Good Start" (from JOSIE #45, Dec. 1969) in the recent BEST OF JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS trade paperback, but it's been reprinted from a later digest reprint altered by the production department so that the original text of Alexandra's dialogue balloon was re-lettered to change it -- instead of referring to her magic powers, Alexandra makes reference to having studied hypnosis on a website.
At any rate, those reprints of other girl humor features ARE the "friends" of the title B&V FRIENDS, so without them, it's just Betty and Veronica stories. I do hope they keep reprinting them, regardless of the eventual fate of B&V FRIENDS, but I'd hate to see only one B&V digest title being published.
Also, is it just me, or did they recently change the paper they're being printed on? The paper seems whiter and the colors "pop" more. I took a break from the digests for a few months, so this is the first one I received in a while so I don't know.
Can't say that I noticed any difference in the paper quality or printing in recent months.
My own analysis of the history of Archie Comics indicates that attempting to slice the company's history into decades doesn't present the best approach to understanding the evolution of change in its publishing history. All the natural landmarks along the road point to an approach by which a better understanding of the company can be had by looking at it in chunks beginning in the middle of one decade, and ending in the middle of the following one.
1939-1945: Pre-war and WWII - In this period, the company was not yet defined by Archie as the dominant character and force behind its publishing. Archie appears first as an anthology feature in the otherwise superhero-dominated titles Pep and Jackpot and receives his own title in 1943, but the majority of the company's output is still dominated by adventure features. Also in 1943, the company branches out with media adaptations of two of its most popular characters, with the radio series The Adventures of Archie Andrews, and The Black Hood. The former is a success and will continue running on one network or another for a decade, while the latter is a failure and lasts a single season. A pulp fiction magazine based on the Black Hood is also published to coincide with the radio series, but it too is a failure, lasting for only three issues. The success of Archie in his own self-titled comic book and as a radio series will decide the future direction of the company, with the shift from superheroes to comedy features in the anthology titles beginning almost as soon as the Black Hood's failure in other media becomes apparent, and will be largely complete by the end of the war. In actuality, the shift had begun even earlier, with the conversion of Top-Notch Comics (in which The Black Hood was the lead feature) to Top-Notch Laugh Comics (which continued to retain The Black Hood, but as a subordinate feature to other comedy features), beginning with issue #28, dated July 1942. Top-Notch Laugh Comics will end with issue #45 in May of 1945. Black Hood (the company's most successful superhero, along with The Shield) will outlive Top-Notch Laugh Comics in his own title, but only until issue #19 (June 1946).
1946-1955: Postwar Period - Superheroes are out of favor following the end of WWII, and comedy features (with ARCHIE as the flagship title) dominate the publisher's philosophy. "MLJ Magazines" is accordingly rechristened as "Archie Comic Publications" at the beginning of this period, and the Archie newspaper strip, launched early in 1946 under the sole creative control of Bob Montana, is the standard to which the comic book writers and artists look for their cues. In a very short time, the strip will be carried in hundreds of papers, exposing the character to audiences of millions not otherwise familiar with Archie in the comic books. This 10-year span also coincides with a boom period for the entire industry, with total industry sales peaking in the last couple of years prior to the institution of the Comics Code Authority seal on all comics distributed in 1955, indicating a sea-change for the entire industry. New titles spinning off from Archie begin proliferating at the end of the 1940s: Archie's Pal Jughead, Archie's Rival Reggie, Archie's Girls Betty and Veronica, and Archie's Pals 'n' Gals. Apart from the model established by Montana in the newspaper strip, no particular writers or artists on the Archie-related titles dominate the style or direction of the characters. By the end of this period, the erosion of sales will be heavily felt due to the rise of television as the dominant form of entertainment.
1956-1965: The Boomer Decade - Harry Lucey emerges as the major definer of Archie and his friends in the comic books, largely superseding Montana's conception as presented in the newspaper strip. Samm Schwartz does likewise in becoming the major artist defining Jughead as the star of his own series. At the beginning of the decade, Dan DeCarlo joins the company, at first moonlighting from his major employment at Atlas/Marvel, but by late in 1958 becoming a full-time freelancer at ACP. After that time, his importance in defining Betty and Veronica in their own title and as separate characters from Archie, gradually gains dominance over the Lucey conception of B&V at the beginning of this period. The importance of DeCarlo increases with the launch of Josie in 1963. Little Archie is conceived, written and drawn by Bob Bolling from 1956-1965, but is turned over to Dexter Taylor in 1965 in order to remake the low-selling title into something more closely resembling the main Archie title. Additional titles like Archie Giant Series, Archie's Madhouse, Archie's Joke Book, Jughead's Jokes, Life With Archie, and Archie and Me are launched and thrive. An attempted revival of Reggie in his own title is not successful, nor are other short-lived titles like Jughead's Fantasy. Samm Schwartz leaves Jughead and the company in 1965 to work for Harry Shorten at Tower Comics.
1966-1975: Everything's Archie - Beginning slightly earlier in 1965, there is a great deal of experimentation in response to the impact of cultural awareness of "camp" and "pop art", particularly resulting in the remaking of Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Reggie into superheroes as Pureheart, Captain Hero, Superteen, and Evilheart. The success of Silver Age superheroes at DC, and especially at Marvel, had resulted in revamping The Adventures of the Fly (running since 1959) as Fly-Man, and the revival of several of the company's Golden Age superheroes, resulting in the spinoff title The Mighty Crusaders. "Camp" abounded in these titles and on Archie's covers for most of 1966. The rise in popularity of DC and Marvel superhero comics in the early 1960s will affect not only competing comic book publishers, but also the content of Saturday morning animated programming in the 1966-1967 seasons. History will repeat itself, in a way, just as the crime and horror comics of the early 1950s inspired a parental backlash, a small vocal minority of concerned mothers will begin a movement against action/adventure-dominated children's fare on television, resulting in Filmation animation producer Lou Scheimer turning to Archie Comics in his search for a source of program content of a more innocuous and inoffensive nature. Archie Comics benefited from an unexpected windfall as the brief sales boom in superhero comics subsided in 1968, and ACP's new direction would take its cues from the successful Saturday morning animated shows The Archie Show, followed by Sabrina the Teenage Witch and then Josie and the Pussycats. Dan DeCarlo is given the responsibility of cover artist for the entire Archie lineup at the end of the decade, signaling the domination of his style as "the" Archie style. New titles will again proliferate beginning in the late 1960s: Archie's TV Laugh-Out, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, That Wilkin Boy, and the conversion of Archie's Madhouse into The Madhouse Glads, and Josie into Josie and the Pussycats. The animated shows bring an influx of new readers to Archie Comics, and titles like Everything's Archie are added to capitalize on the pop chart success of The Archies. As the superhero craze on television dies down by 1968, sales on superhero comics dwindle after a brief boomlet, and Archie Comics experiences a new sales boom of its own in teen humor titles during this period, with Archie outselling even Superman and The Amazing Spider-Man, and character merchandising at an all-time high. Archie's success as a publisher will even inspire the creation of teen humor titles at rival publishers DC and Marvel, along with other publishers. The animated adaptations continue to morph into different variations from season to season, but remain ubiquitous on television in various combinations of new episodes and reruns, from 1968-1975. It is during this period, as the main protagonist of Betty and Me for ten years, that Betty Cooper gradually gains acknowledgment from Archie that he sees her as more than a friend and "back-up date" and that he actually harbors romantic feelings for her. While she still remains the underdog in her rivalry with Veronica, the "Triangle" has been truly established by the close of the period. Late in this period, the company will briefly experiment with horror comics (Madhouse, Chilling Tales of Sorcery) under the Red Circle imprint, after the Comics Code is revised in 1972 (they are not successful). In 1975, Bob Montana dies, and ACP turns responsibility for the important newspaper strip over to Dan DeCarlo.
1976-1986: Changing Times - Newsstand sales begin to shrink in this period, but the worst is yet to come in the next period. As the latter half of the 1970s draws to a close, the animated adaptations are producing far fewer new episodes and reruns move from the major networks to syndication on local UHF stations. The boom of the previous period has ended, and the early 1980s sees the cancellations of many long-running titles that began in the previous period: Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats, That Wilkin Boy, Reggie and Me. By the end of the period that will include all of the legacy titles: Pep, Laugh, Madhouse, Archie's TV Laugh-Out, Betty and Me. The first series of Betty and Veronica and Jughead will come to an end, to be replaced by new #1 issues beginning in 1987 (Betty and Me will be replaced by Betty #1), with only Archie carrying on the legacy numbering. Digest comics will become the major success for ACP by the end of this period, and by the next period they will dominate over sales of standard-format comic books, with the number of digest titles proliferating. At the end of the previous period, newsstand sales were still the dominant method of distribution for comic books, but by the end of this period, the balance will have shifted to specialized comic book stores catering mainly to hardcore comic book fans. The resultant loss of mass distribution in regular retail establishments across the country will profoundly affect ACP, as comic book shops cater to a much smaller audience of older consumer-collectors whose main interest is in the superhero genre.
« on: September 07, 2017, 08:44:40 pm »
Thanks for the info! I thought she started out in other comics first--sorta like Sabrina started out in the pages of Archie's Mad House. Thanks for clearing that up.
Katy Keene reprints have occasionally shown up in B & V Friends Double Digest. There was one in the latest issue, but it's from the Andrew Pepoy series of shorts which ran in ARCHIE & FRIENDS, and I suspect you're referring to the earlier ones. (I actually rather liked Pepoy's 21st century update of the character, all of which have been reprinted in a trade paperback collection, Katy Keene: Model Behavior from 2008.) There hasn't really been a digest title which had Katy reprints as a regular feature, but a few of them showed up in 2009-2012 in Betty and Veronica Double Digest #168, 169, 175, 178, 179, 185, 196, 197, and 199. Some of those issues (and others in-between) had Ginger reprints, too. Katy may possibly have been in other issues around that time, but I don't have a complete listing of contents of all the issues.
One thing I'm curious about is that whenever I do see Katy Keene reprints, they're never reprints of the 1980s series (another which I liked, of the few I've actually had a chance to read). The 1980s series of Katy Keene comics might still be found relatively more easily than her original series that ran from 1949 to 1961, so here's a list of them:
KATY KEENE SPECIAL #1 - 6 (September 1983 - October 1984)
KATY KEENE (Vol. 2) #7 - 33 (December 1984 - January 1990)
KATY KEENE COMICS DIGEST MAGAZINE #1 - 10 (1987 - 1990)
It seems to me that if you're looking for the most Katy stories you can get in one place, finding copies of those 10 digests would be your best bet. Unfortunately I don't own them myself, and the contents aren't indexed at the Grand Comics Database, so I can't tell you what the stories are, but it was a regular-size (96-page) digest, issued 4 times annually. Hope that helps.
Here's a typical issue's cover:
« on: September 06, 2017, 04:25:12 am »
But getting back now to the listings of contents of the various JOSIE collections, the next one to be released (in Dec. 2014) was the largest so far at 308 pages: BEST OF JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS: GREATEST HITS! In many ways this is sort of a prototype for the BEST OF print collection just released in August 2017, but there would be many changes in contents between the 2014 digital exclusive collection and the 2017 trade paperback collection. This digital exclusive collection would also be re-released later with an altered cover design, as PEP DIGITAL #123.
Stories listed above in RED don't appear in any other collections. Apart from stories which appear in both this collection and the Aug. 2017 BEST OF JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS trade paperback collection, this collection has fewer stories repeated from the remainder of the collections. The main negative point of this collection compared to the 2017 BEST OF collection would be that the stories in this collection aren't presented in chronological order of their original publication. Bottom line: If you're buying digital, get this collection rather than the digital version of the 2017 BEST OF collection. It has fewer pages, but more stories that are unique to this collection. If you're a print comics only person, then this digital exclusive collection isn't even an option for you.
« on: September 05, 2017, 07:27:15 pm »
I surprised that Mr. Goldberg also drew for Chili. I am familiar with the comic book but I always felt it was a poor imitation of Betty and Veronica.
Millie and Chili weren't particularly imitative of Betty & Veronica. Millicent Collins and Chili Storm (whose first appearance was in Millie the Model #5 in 1947) were both professional models who worked for the Hanover Modeling Agency, and as such, they naturally competed for work assignments and attention (especially with their handsome boss, Mr. Hanover). Chili often displayed jealousy of Millie (a small-town girl only recently arrived at the agency) and was vain and egotistical (what -- a professional model vain and egotistical!? How unrealistic...!). In terms of her personality, how she related to the star of the series, and how her character functioned within the plots of the stories, her closest analog at Archie Comics would probably be Alexandra Cabot.
Marvel didn't really have a book in which the two characters were both equals, and also best friends who had an ongoing rivalry, but the closest comparison would probably be with the title Patsy and Hedy. Both characters were high school girls, with Patsy the red-headed and virtuous "girl next door" type, and Hedy her dark-haired jealous rival, scheming to steal attention (and dates) away from Patsy, but Patsy was always the obvious hero and good-girl character, and Hedy the 'villain', who nearly always gets her comeuppance at the end of the story.
There was at least one title that Marvel did, that could be charged as a "clone" of Archie Comics, and that was KATHY "The Teen-Age Tornado!". It ran for 27 issues, from 1959-1964, and came uncomfortably close to B&V, as drawn by Stan Goldberg in a style as close as possible to Dan DeCarlo's (but once again, Kathy was the star, and her brunette frenemy Liz, merely a supporting character -- ironically, before BETTY ever got her own title at Archie Comics). Marvel was perhaps stinging from the then very recent loss of DeCarlo during Goodman's moratorium on purchasing new stories while he scrambled to cut his former line of 50+ titles down to a mere 16 bi-monthlies, and once Archie Comics had gotten their hooks into him, it seemed unlikely they were ever going to let DeCarlo NOT have enough art assignments to keep him busy. (Still, he managed to sneak in those gag pin-ups for Goodman's mens' magazines for the next 4 years, but the money involved must have been too good to pass up.)
« on: September 03, 2017, 03:36:13 pm »
Okay, I gave some more thought to Stan Goldberg's situation, and I'll be honest with you. I'm not an expert on Stan's career, or Dan DeCarlo's either. I've read very few details about their life histories, or whatever personal situations, family situations, health situations, and the like they may have had to deal with. But I do have a fair grasp of the history of the comic book industry, so I can think of a few pertinent things that might help shed some light on a few things or give a little perspective. Mind you, apart from some confirmable facts I'm going to tell you, how it applied to Goldberg or how it affected how he felt about the work -- that's all just speculation on my part.
Dan DeCarlo, Al Hartley, and Stan Goldberg were all roughly of the same generation of comic book artists. All of them began their careers in the late 1940s or early 1950s, and by the mid-1950s each of them had settled at Martin Goodman's company, known now as Marvel, but at the time we're talking about, the 1950s, that's what's called "the Atlas era". Atlas because sometime in the early 1950s, Goodman decided he could make even more money if he self-distributed his own comic books and magazines. He had all kinds of magazines, movie fan magazines, puzzle books, whatever seemed to be popular at the time, and one of those things was "men's magazines", or "the sweat mags" as they were called. Just all very macho stuff, and as risque and sexy as they could be without risking being banned. Racy cartoon digest/joke books, with (non-nude) "girlie pin-up" photos, stuff like that.
So Goodman distributed as well as sold his own magazines and comics under the "Atlas Distribution" banner, and put a little globe with the word "Atlas" on the covers -- thus, collectors now refer to those as Atlas comics. Pre-Marvel, the big genres for Goodman were war, horror/mystery, westerns, romance, and humor. They were HUGE in the humor genre, and tried to put out enough different titles to crowd everyone else's off the newsstand, including Archie Comics, so when they got DeCarlo, Goldberg, and Hartley... that was their thing. "Girl humor" comics featuring Millie the Model, Patsy Walker, and dozens of others now mostly forgotten -- but Atlas was as big, or possibly bigger, than Archie Comics was at it, and UNlike Archie, it wasn't the ONLY genre they were doing. John Goldwater took notice of DeCarlo's work right away, and tried and tried to wheedle as much freelance work as he could out of him. Atlas had tons of titles, and all those artists had to do was walk into the office to drop off a completed story, and they'd be handed a new script (or several, depending on the number of pages) and then pick up their check for the story they just delivered on the way out the door. Then came the whole big scare with the nation putting horror and crime comics on trial, so those genres were dying on the vine -- but if you were a cartoony/humor guy, despite falling sales on everything else, it seemed like the one safe genre to be in. Everyone was a little nervous about the whole industry as sales continued to drop from all-time highs in the early 1950s, but if that's the work you were committed to, humor seemed to be the safest place to be. Not everyone could just switch back and forth from straight-adventure style art to funny stuff and back again, but Stan Goldberg (and to a lesser extent Al Hartley) could do that, so they seemed to be safe.
Dan DeCarlo didn't really like doing the straight stuff. He was the best at humor, and everyone knew it, including John Goldwater, who had been trying to win him away from Stan Lee at Atlas for years. But Stan Lee and Dan DeCarlo had a pretty good working relationship, and Dan must have figured why mess with a good thing -- besides, Atlas paid better page rates than Goldwater did, so DeCarlo confined his Archie work to "moonlighting" jobs for Goldwater. He also didn't like being told to draw it in a "house style" imitative of Bob Montana's work on Archie. It seemed like more work for him to have to imitate someone else, rather that just follow his natural style. But something happened in 1958 that changed everything for DeCarlo, and that's when Goodman decided that he could actually get wider distribution through a deal with American News, the #1 distributor at the time. It was less hassle if he didn't need to run his own distribution operation, and the profits he made off that should easily be made up for by his titles' greater distribution reach and Goodman cutting his own overhead costs, so he decided to close down Atlas Distribution. Bad mistake. Shortly after scuttling his own company and making the deal with American, the big distributor came under federal investigation for alleged ties to organized crime, and a couple of months later, the government forced the distributor to disband. Goodman was in danger of watching his entire company go down the tubes, with no way to get his comics and magazine to the retailers. He was forced to crawl on bended knee to fellow publisher Jack Liebowitz of National (later DC Comics), to make a deal with him because National owned Independent News, who distributed both Nationals' comics and other publications. Liebowicz threw Goodman a bone, and said he was willing to help him out, at the usual percentage of the cover price for distribution... he told Goodman he'd be willing to handle as many as... oh, EIGHT comic titles per month of his. Yeah, one problem with that... under Atlas, Goodman had been publishing and distributing over FIFTY comics per month. Obviously he was going to have to tighten his belt to survive, so the next day he called Stan Lee into his office to tell him that whenever any of their freelancers showed up to deliver their last assignment, Lee would have to tell them that that was it. No new assignments for as long as it took for Lee to use up the inventory they'd already bought, and then 6 or 8 months later it would be just enough work left to keep 16 bi-monthly titles going. When DeCarlo heard, he knew what was what, and figured it was finally time to take up John Goldwater's offer. By 1958 the humor titles' sales had slipped a LOT from the highs of the mid-50s, and Atlas' few remaining humor titles were slowly shifted over to a more serious soap-opera romance style (this was the good thing about having all GIRL humor titles, because it wouldn't have worked for any outright Archie imitation that Goodman might have published). So Millie the Model and Patsy Walker and a couple of others survived as bi-monthly soap opera romances, because Stan Goldberg and Al Hartley were able to adjust their styles to go that route, even though they were just as capable as humor artists. What work Dan DeCarlo could still get at Atlas was with those "men's humor" mags, drawing sexy one-page gag panels (besides, it paid better than a regular comics page rate).
So Stan Goldberg lived through all that, but stayed loyal to Lee and Goodman (he had a job in the production department as the company's main colorist, so freelance work was all like overtime pay for him). Al Hartley continued to hang in there, drawing Patsy Walker (and Patsy and Hedy) until 1965, when Patsy and Hedy was finally cancelled. Millie the Model (once Dan DeCarlo's baby, back in the 1950s when it was still a humor title) was being done by Stan Goldberg. After Hartley went to work on Goodman's sexy men's magazine cartoons, he eventually had enough of it by 1968, decided he was a born-again Christian, and quit to go work for Archie Comics. Stan Goldberg hung in there at Marvel, getting freelance work on the side from ArchieCo (AND DC Comics) beginning around the same time as Hartley split, but kept drawing both Millie the Model and Millie's Rival Chili on the side while keeping his day job in the production department as a colorist. In fact, he hung right in there until the bitter end, when the last of the humor titles (converted back from soap opera romances around 1968 in an imitative response to Archie Comics' booming sales (as a result of an animation deal with Filmation), but too late for Al Hartley to take advantage of it. Stan G. continued to take on freelance jobs at Archie and DC, but finally, Stan Goldberg moved over to Archie full-time in the mid-1970s, after the production department at Marvel was reorganized in the wake of production manager Sol Brodsky's death.
So Stan G has been through some sh*t, and seen some sh*t, and knows how the industry works. He'd always been a loyal company man, which is why he was the very last of the humor artists to abandon Marvel. And when he went to Archie, he had to adapt. Dan DeCarlo had already been there full-time for a decade before Hartley and Goldberg even started getting work from Archie here and there. They sort of had to worm their way in by that time, because there were few humor comic books (except for the Gold Key and Harvey kiddie titles, and animated character books) being published by anyone by that time, and only a few at DC and Marvel, and you can bet that the guys who settled at Archie before Hartley and Goldberg came over from Marvel wanted to keep those assignments for themselves if they could. But they were lucky in a way, because Harry Shorten had just left to start his own company, Tower Comics, and he lured Samm Schwartz away from Archie with him. Plus, the TV adaptations were booming in the late 1960s, so Archie was starting new titles, and it looked like there were going to be plenty of freelance jobs for Al and Stan, despite them being late joiners.
Only thing was, by now Dan DeCarlo was like the #1 main man at Archie, and (sorry Harry Lucey) he got to draw all the covers (because Richard Goldwater said so), and because covers sold comic books, and oh, by the way, Stan... could you and Al try to draw the characters the same way Dan draws them on the covers? So ironically, Stan and Al faced the same problem that Dan first had with Archie Comics when he started freelancing a few jobs in the early '50s... could you draw it the Bob Montana way, Dan? Eventually, both artists learned to adapt, at least enough. Stan was more successful at looking like Dan's work.
Now, let's skip ahead to the end of the 1990s. Stan's an old hand now, and other than Dan DeCarlo, he's the last of the big-time old-timers (and I guess Bob Bolling, but Bob was Bob, and he couldn't be anything or anybody else, and I don't think he wanted to try either). BUT now all of a sudden a bunch of characters that Dan DeCarlo co-created with Frank Doyle are getting made into a "Major Motion Picture" (the quotation marks are for irony) and Dan the company man is thinking maybe he goofed, that instead of trying to stay loyal and crank out the most pages every week, he should have provided his family with some kind of legacy that would outlast whatever paycheck he was getting from Archie Comics every week, even if it was pretty good money compared to other freelancers that worked for ACP. I'll let you look into the outcome of that little confrontation, but I'll just say this. You can bet that Stan Goldberg was paying attention to everything that went on in that little legal dust-up, and what the fallout of it was and what happened to Dan DeCarlo as a result.
And -- it occurs to me that even while Stan was maybe shortcutting a little in order to be able to increase his piecework count -- and maybe he HAD to, because he wasn't getting a page rate equal to what guys 30 or 40 years younger than him were making at DC or Marvel, his work seemed to suffer artistically maybe... after Jack Kirby's death in the early 1990s, which ended (for Jack) years of protracted legal wranglings with Marvel? Stan Goldberg had known Jack personally in the 1960s when he worked for Marvel. And then this business around 2000 or so between Dan DeCarlo and Archie Comics, was a similar situation in some ways... But I'm sure Stan Goldberg was observant of a lot of things about the comic book industry, and what happened to a lot of older guys on the downward parabola of their careers, and he certainly had plenty of connections with people from the old days, especially all the people who passed through Marvel Comics in the 25 years or so that Stan worked there.
So if he took a few shortcuts so that he could get more pages done, put away some funds for retirement or health care insurance, or pay off some mortgages, or whatever... I can't lay any blame on the man.
« on: September 03, 2017, 01:18:32 pm »
No, I know exactly what you mean. There's like a world of difference between the start of the 1990s and the end of the 1990s, and by the end of the decade, it seemed like he was drawing roughly 50% of the pages of new stories Archie Comics published.
I don't know what to tell you. Maybe he foresaw the way it was all going eventually and figured it was too late to reinvent himself somewhere else, so all he could do was focus on getting more and more pages out faster and faster, in the hopes that he could stash away a nest egg for when he wasn't going to have any work offered, or be even capable of doing it any more. It seems like it must be something like that. Slowly over the course of the last 20 years or so of his career it seemed like he stopped caring at all and was just operating on cruise control. In the 1970s, 1980s, and even into the early 1990s his work just seemed more alive, but something must have happened that seemed to grind him down. Maybe it was the "dumbing down" of the sexiness of the girls. Sometime in the 1990s they all started wearing loose, baggy clothes so as not to be offensive to the mothers buying the digests for their daughters, I guess -- or maybe because that was easier for him to draw faster. DeCarlo seemed to resist that trend almost to the end, and they probably couldn't tell him he was wrong, because he was too valuable to the company. But somehow, Goldberg seemed capable of turning out the pages faster and faster, if with less feeling. Some pages he seemed to draw almost in his sleep, and perspective is skewed, eyelines are off-center, and all kinds of things, because you can tell he was trying to get it finished as fast as possible. But yeah, everything became round, round, round... because it's easier to draw a circular or oval line quickly -- wham, bam, on to the next page.
Don't get me wrong. I have total sympathy with him for whatever his motivations were. Comics is not an industry that is kind to most of its elder statesmen. You are a freelancer without a retirement pension, company-paid health plan, all the things most people take for granted, so I'm sure he had his reasons, and knew he wasn't going to be able to continue forever, so he had to make as much as he could before it wasn't an option any more.
« on: September 03, 2017, 06:19:47 am »
The next JOSIE collection released was the first to be a digital exclusive (it was later re-released with a altered cover design as PEP DIGITAL No. 69). It contained stories from five complete issues of She's Josie (1963), only one issue of which (She's Josie #1) was later completely reprinted in any of the later Josie collections. Unfortunately, the collection didn't reprint ALL of She's Josie chronologically from the beginning -- after issue #1, it skipped to reprinting the stories from issues #8, 9, 10 and 13. Subsequently, all of the stories from Josie #2 and 3 were included as reprints in Archie's Big Book: Magic, Music, & Mischief (the complete contents of which will be detailed in an upcoming post).
this is fantastic research, DCR. Thanks so much!
« on: September 03, 2017, 12:28:47 am »
You said there are 8 Josie collections?!!? I have the 3 books you reviewed already, plus the one that just came out. I can't imagine what the other 4 are.
Here is a list of the Josie collections to date:
1. 1993-94 - Josie and the Pussycats (Vol. 2) #1 & 2 (48-page giant comics)
2. Jun. 2001 - Best of Josie and the Pussycats TP
3. Dec. 2013 - She's Josie: Before the Pussycats (digital exclusive collection)
4. Dec. 2014 - Best of Josie and the Pussycats: Greatest Hits (digital exclusive collection)
5. Oct. 2015 - Josie and the Scaredy Cats (digital exclusive collection)
6. Mar. 2016 - Archie 75 Series #12: Josie and the Pussycats (digital exclusive collection)
7. Aug. 2017 - Archie's Big Book: Magic, Music & Mischief TP
8. Aug. 2017 - Best of Josie and the Pussycats TP (The Best of Archie Comics series)
In addition to the above-listed, there were Josie and the Pussycats: The Complete Manga!, originally released in Nov. 2013 (digital exclusive collection, and later re-released as Pep Digital No. 170), collecting the complete backup series (67 pages) by Tania Del Rio and Chris Lie from Sabrina the Teenage Witch (2003) #68 & 72 and Archie & Friends #96-104; and Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1 TP (2017) collecting the first 6 issues of the rebooted 2016 comic book by Marguerite Bennett, Cameron Diordio and Audrey Mok. Since those stories stand apart from the traditional version of Josie and there's little crossover in content with other collections, I didn't include them, but here are the covers of those collections, anyway.
« on: September 02, 2017, 04:00:23 pm »
Continuing our review of various Josie collections (post #2 of 8*), both print and digital, we come to the first TRUE Josie trade paperback collection, from June of 2001. Once again, it took a media tie-in (in the form of a live-action movie) to motivate ACP to reprint a bunch of old Josie stories. Ah... it's ever the way with them. This happens to coincide with Josie & the Pussycats being promoted from a backup feature to taking the lead spot (and cover) of ARCHIE & FRIENDS, beginning with issue #47 (itself a reprint), but with #48-49, they got a 4-chapter, 22-page story by Dan Parent (w) and Rex Lindsey (a), broken into 2 chapters per issue ("Music For the Masses"). In the following issue, Holly Golightly stepped in to contribute the artwork, and she'd soon be writing the stories as well, for this too-short, but much-beloved (by me!) run of A&F. Suddenly Josie and her friends had a brief moment in the spotlight and a higher profile at Archie Comics than they'd had in almost two decades. This trade kicked off the celebration, with Rex Lindsey contributing a very nice cover (presumably Holly G was drafted as an afterthought, to replace Lindsey for some reason, but Rex had almost been drawing more covers for ACP at this point than even the prolific Stan Goldberg, so it's obvious that the editor was pretty happy with his work for the company. Perhaps his utility as a cover artist (not to mention as a Jughead artist) was just too valuable for him to be able to do a regular ongoing Josie strip as well.
*(I couldn't believe there were that many!! AND I'm even leaving out Tania Del Rio's Josie the Manga digital collection, and the recent New Riverdale J&tP trade!)
NOTES: There's good and bad to be said about this collection. In contrast to my previous post, in this instance the listings in RED indicate a story which hasn't yet been included in any of the subsequent collections (print OR digital), and that's a fair number of stories, so this collection is far from obsolete, despite having many collections come afterwards. BUT it does also contain the superior and unusual "Cat at the Crossroads" by Kathleen Webb, where Josie experiences a life crisis about where she's heading with her future career.
It opens with a 2-page introduction by Paul Castiglia, "Whoever Heard of Girls With Guitars? ". Unfortunately, the editor here chose to include a number of "highlight" moments from stories, in the form of 1-page excerpts, as opposed to just printing the whole story. I could certainly have skipped the excerpt of Alan M's first appearance, plus the excerpt of the Pussycats as punk rockers, for just ONE of those stories complete (or even a single chapter of a 4-part longer story). The sorest point would be JOSIE #43 (as was standard practice, a booklength storyline comprised of four individual Chapters, or Acts) -- the one that explains how Alexandra discovers her ancestor, Sebastian Cabot (whose name was stolen from a notable television actor, who played "Mr. French" on Family Affair), was in fact suspected of "consorting with witches", and she realizes that his spirit may have been reincarnated in her pet cat Sebastian, who shares the same name -- thus, whenever Alexandra is in contact with her cat, she can perform black magic, and believing absolutely that it is so, she finds a book of sorcerous spells to study (self-fulfilling prophecy?). Thereafter, she will attempt to bedevil Josie with her newfound mystic skills, until someone (usually Melody) unwittingly snaps their fingers and breaks her spell. If this sounds familiar, it's because much later on, Sabrina's pet (familiar) cat Salem will also turn out to be a human trapped in a feline body. It hasn't happened yet, but I really want to see that entire issue (JOSIE #43) reprinted. It seems the Cabots have a family history of malicious, restless spirits who remain bound to the mortal plane and who have the ability to possess the bodies of the living (as both Alex and Alexandra will discover in JOSIE #70's "Vengeance From the Crypt").
Bottom line is, there are still quite a few stories here that are in no other collections, so buy it if you can find it at cover price or less. The 2-page pullout Dan DeCarlo pin-up poster of Josie and Valerie skiing (and Melody wiping out) from JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS (1993) #2 is reduced here to a single page image.
Next post -- the SHE'S JOSIE: BEFORE THE PUSSYCATS Digital Exclusive collection.
« on: September 02, 2017, 11:00:50 am »
I know I said more than a week ago that I'd post the contents of the recent trade paperback, THE BEST OF JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS, but then the more I got into it, the more detailed information I started adding, and going back over the list of contents of all the previous Josie collections to see what had been reprinted in prior collections, and what hadn't.
For print editions, your choices are pretty narrow, so if it's a physical book that you want, then THE BEST OF JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS is a no-brainer, and it'll probably be a long time before some superior, more complete, collection of stories is published.
But let's go back and start at the beginning first. The very first reprint collections came in 1993 (August, most likely... with a cover date of "Fall") and January ("Spring") 1994, in the form most popular at that time, the Archie 48-Page Giant comics. Two issues were released, combining reprinted stories with a couple of new ones. New material is indicated on the contents table below in RED:
NOTES: The first Josie 48-Page Giant comic was published by ACP in the hopes of catching a wave of nostalgia (or younger readers newly discovering the Pussycats for the first time) as a result of Ted Turner's Cartoon Network cable station's acquisition of the Hanna-Barbera library of animated programming, and subsequently airing H-B's Josie and the Pussycats on a daily basis in 1993. There's no mistaking it because it says so right on the cover, and no less than THREE ad banners reminding readers to watch the show ran below the first or last pages of various stories. These are very nice to have, even though the paper is somewhat thin, it is white (not the lower-grade newsprint) and the colors on the reprints look pretty nice, unlike a lot of the older digests. They are worth having for those covers and pull-out posters alone, in addition to the three new stories. "Rock and Roll" is notable for a brief appearance of Alan M. after a long absence, and even more surprising, the return of Alexandra's magical powers of witchcraft, after almost a decade since their last mention. In "Rock and Roll" Mr. De has the Pcats sporting more skimpy, bikini-like costumes on stage. It's hard to believe, but in 1993 it had been years since ACP could spare the MVP talents of original creator, Dan D., to work on Josie, and the short 5- and 6-pagers appearing in TV LAUGH-OUT (and later LAUGH Vol. 2) had at that point been mostly assigned to Gladir and Goldberg for at least a half-dozen years. I don't think "Love & War" and "Maxim Mix-Up" had been reprinted until the recent BEST OF trade collection either.
Next post -- BEST OF JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS TP (2001)
Sorry to hear about some of the digests ending. I noticed my supermarket recently has downsized its rack of Archie digests it carries at the checkout lane at Ralph's supermarket on the West Coast. Used to have at least 2 or 3 different titles to choose from--now lucky if I see one! I've subscribed to 3 different digest titles in recent years. I love the classic stories from the 50s-70s--not too crazy about the recent material from the 90s and up, but it seems the digests are 60% newer stories. The digests started piling up in my house so I stopped renewing, but I recently got an email asking me to renew my subscriptions again for 6 issues for $9.99. I really don't need more digests piling up in the house, but it really is a good deal because one jumbo digest cost like $6.99 retail so I renewed my subscription to Betty and Veronica. Also, they have been kind enough to send me some "grace" issues after my subscriptions expired so I felt a sense of loyalty, cause I don't want to see the digests end. I also ordered the upcoming Best of Josie 400 page book from them so I should get that in the mail soon. They also want me to renew B&V friends, but it doesn't sound like it will be around. What would happen if I renewed i and they ended the title? Would they send me something else in it's place??
Well... they had been pretty good at just replacing a title that didn't sell well with a new title, and it looks like that applies to at least Jughead and Archie being replaced by Archie and Me. It doesn't sound like this is the old "Me" (meaning Mr. Weatherbee) in the title, but what I'm concerned about is where am I going to get to read old Jughead stories?
I'm not sure how long that can hold, though. I can hardly count Riverdale Digest as a real digest title, even if they do throw some classic stories in there to bulk it out (and how long can they continue that, anyway?) Judging by the sale on the newest issues of the floppy comic Riverdale, that won't be around much longer either.
I never could understand how Betty and Veronica could be the best-selling digest, and B & V Friends the worst-selling, at the same time (although I guess Jughead and Archie was really the worst-selling), at least according to what I'd heard. That just makes no logical sense to me whatsoever, if they both feature 80% B&V stories, and are only distinguished by one being the title that regularly reprints Sabrina, and the other being the title that reprints Josie. It's one 15-25 page section, so that couldn't make a difference.
Anyway, hope I turn out to be wrong about that. If they cut back to publishing only one B & V digest, that will really suck. I guess I wouldn't miss Funhouse all that much, as long as it was replaced by something reprinting all classic stories.
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