Friday, January 06, 2012

As Our Story Begins ...

Here's the splash page for Adventures of Bob Hope #89.  Its issue-length story would have been called "a great three-part novel" in one of the Superman titles. 

The splash page does show a girl who looks like the heroine of the story, and it does show Bob in a not-quite contemporary (to 1964) scene, but it's not really a scene that shows "what the story is about" -- which is one of those "madcap" Hopian adventures, which happens to also range across time!

Perhaps because of the (perceived) brief attention span of comics readers, this story is jam-packed with one-liners and ironic asides, much in the style of MAD magazine.  And to THIS incurable smart-aleck, that's a good thing!

On our first page we're introduced to our hero and his dog.  Since this is the only issue of the comic that I own (or remember having read), I do not know the history or provenance of Bob's dog, Harvard Harvard III.  Evidently the relationship between Bob and Harvard is a bit similar to Sherman and Mr Peabody, from the "Peabody's Improbable History" segments of Rocky and Bullwinkle.  The pet is smarter than his master, but also needs his master to get along in two-legged society.

Here we have Harvard giving Bob earphone instructions on winning a chess game.

This scene is also a sideswipe at the stereotype of the studied, serious-genius Soviet Chess Master trope.

By page two of the story we are introduced to our damsel in distress, Tuesday Wednesday, who is a riff on Tuesday Weld.  Compare Tuesday Wednesday to the real deal:
GRRR! ruff-raff! pant-pant!


Miss Wednesday's Golden Gazelle, with its "prize in the box" of a map to treasures untold, is probably a plot device borrowed from The Maltese Falcon, whose epononymous critter supposedly contained Templar jewels.

My eight-year-old mind was also captivated by the "boysenberry-girlsenberry-DOGsenberry" gag.

And look at the "filler" art going on in the background.  This place may be next-door to Spike Jones's "secluded rendezvous" heard in Jones's "Cocktails for Two."

How will Bob help Tuesday Wednesday seek the missing Golden Gazelle?  Tune in next week to find out!

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