Timeless humor in comic books

By Caryl Clem:

Sundays were steeped in family traditions, first religious activity, then enjoying a  labor of love feast with the family. My main source of Sunday entertainment was the newspaper’s “funnies “section.  Forty five years later after the New York Evening Journal in 1912 began issuing a full page funny portion boosting sales by the thousands; the technique still “hooked” readers.

Newspapers were the impetus for the creation of the “comic book”. Classic comical figures such as “Popeye”, “Little Orphan Annie”, “Blondie and Dagwood”, “Mutt and Jeff” were presented in cartoons in panel series on a weekly basis.  A publication, The Comic Monthly, reprinted the popular newspaper series in book form with the last page announcing this was a “comic book”. The first original comic book New Fun work appeared in 1935. The ability to create new characters for fans to love increased the thriving market. September 25 is National Comic Book Day.

Heroes you could count on surfaced as the country battled the consequences of the Great Depression.  King Features started Flash Gordon in 1934 introducing a science fiction super hero intergalactic theme.  A Detective Series  #1  composed by Jerry Spiegel Joe Shuster  introducing the forerunner to Superman, Slam Bradley in 1937.  Another figure with super human powers, Batman arrived to fight crime in Detective Series #27 on March 30, 1939. “Dick Tracy” was based on a Chicago policeman fighting gangsters out maneuvering criminals with gadgets invented by “Brilliant”.  Dick’s Radio Wrist Watch has been claimed to be the inspiration for the Apple Smart Watch.  During the 1940’s, surviving World War II introduced another hero, Captain America.   

 The fans clamoring for more laughter and suspense almost lost their comic book “fix”. An author warned the public about the absolute harm reading about fascist ideals, abnormal sexual behavior and fascination with corruption in Seduction of the Innocent by Dr. Wertham.  Congress asked him to testify before a committee concerned about Juvenile Delinquency. Immediately the Comics Code Authority was formed to assure parents that the comic book content was safe. The codes promised good would triumph over evil, females were to be drawn realistically, and no vampires or ghouls. 

Charles Schultz in 1950 featured the lighthearted “Peanuts” with Charlie Brown and Snoopy, “The Flintstones’” stumbled their way into your heart, and heroes resurfaced to save our world. Comic Book characters surged back to life starring in television and movie features.  Recent favorites include   X-Men, Immortal Hulk, Avengers, Daredevil and Doctor Doom.  In 2019 Captain Marvel, Avengers, Endgame, Far From Home, Dark Phoenix, Shazami, and Joker proved comics universal ageless appeal.  If you want to unwind, pick up a comic book or enjoy one of its current expansions.  

 If you are interested in comic history in more detail, check out the following You Tube information.

Archie forever

Archie teenage comics were popular during my pre-teen years and Veronica Lodge instead of Betty Cooper was always my favorite. When I would grab one and read, they would make me day dream about what it would be like when I started high school in 1969. There was a store called Cozy Corner on the south side of Chicago by South Chicago Hospital where we bought penny candy but there was a store across the street who sold the best selection in magazines and comics. That is where my Archie Andrews and Jughead came from; only costing about 12 cents. Comics were not just titled Archie but Jughead was titled along with Betty and Veronica; having their own issues.Though the hospital is still there and has expanded, the stores are gone.

Riverdale is the fictional small town where the characters grew up and attended Riverdale High. I moved to Dolton in 1971 and Riverdale was a suburb next door…still reading Archie and Archies’s rival Reggie in my teenage years.

Though there was no kissing…it was pure fun and jokes.  Archie drove an old fashioned car convertible from the 1920’s and would occasionally make a call from a phone booth. They would do everything together; bowling, going to the beach, shopping for new clothes.They actually went to Als pizzeria and would get two pieces for the price of one. Archie was always in trouble with their old teacher, Ms, Grundy or the principal, Mr. Weatherbee. There were times they would dance, walk close, staring at each other with the printed red hearts floating about; sometimes Archie with Veronica…sometimes with Betty. The publishers would keep you guessing until issues # 600–602. The story features a futuristic look into the life of Archie in the years that follow his college graduation when Archie makes his ultimate decision to marry Veronica instead of Betty Cooper in 2009.

Archie proved to be popular enough to warrant his own self-titled ongoing comic book series which began publication in the winter of 1942 and ran until June 2015. A second series began publication in July 2015, featuring a reboot of the Archie universe with a new character design aesthetic and a more mature story format and scripting, aimed for older, contemporary teenage and young adult readers. The printed comic book format is different from the previous publications.

I miss the wholesome lives of the Riverdale comic characters and wish I had saved at least one copy for times like these.

The most valuable Archie comic book ever known to have been sold went for more than $140,000. Archie made his first appearance in a comic book in 1941, in the issue “Pep No. 2”; that’s the one which made the big money.

Amazon offers an amazing copy from 1966.There are several Ebay copies for purchase as well. Maybe just one….it is a Betty and Veronica from 1968…no longer 12 cents but under $15.00?