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!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Visit the New Year with Bob Hope!

We're going to start out this new year of 2012 by reading through issue #89 of DC's The Adventures of Bob Hope, cover-dated November 1964.  (According to the indicia inside, it is REALLY the Oct-Nov issue, which explains why I found some online sources naming this the OCTOBER issue.)

Just the covers now, and more when I get some sleep, in a few days.

The ol' online sources, including the DC WIKI, are of mixed results concerning the art.  But I tend to agree that the cover artist is probably Mort Drucker, of MAD magazine fame.  I mean, who else would have rendered that Roman guard's schnozzola and moustaches quite THAT way?

And as for the Public Service Announcement inside the front cover, I must agree with its sentiments.  To be more precise, smoking is for Losers That Smell.  Whilst I appreciate the tortures of hell that result with trying to break the addiction, I also hope that such well-intentioned ads as this made it through to at least a few guys in 1964, and perhaps they never started.

It's never too late to quit smoking!  Anything you can do to cut down, even, can help you!

Happy New Year!
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© by Mark Alfred