As you can tell from the latest ‘Back Issue’ cover, this is a ‘TV Toon Tie-In’. Editor Mike Eury points out that 50 of them have been covered in earlier issues so this does feel like more of a tidy-up for those outstanding which does make sense. It might not be at the top of your list as comicbook fans but the fact they probably sold well to parents who bought them for their sprogs is probably the way they moved into other comicbooks.
Scott Shaw! goes over ‘Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Gang’ that started off in comicbooks and then into animation and how they were changed and seeing the design differences in simplifying the lines.
‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’ never became that popular in the UK, but writer Steven Thompson pointing out how the reader would adopt the character voices while reading makes a valid point in character identification.
When it comes to the Hanna-Barbera products, there is a strong realisation that you’re also getting some history of the animation characters before they become comicbooks and how they move across companies. Mike Eury’s article on their life at Carlton shows them badly served on a low budget and understandable why Hanna-Barbera weren’t happy with their realisations, nor other countries come to that.
I knew some of the history of ‘The Pink Panther’, starting off as the introduction to the 1963 film and as writer Mark Arnold goes over it, the Panther certainly shook up everyone in the opening credits. The original designer for DePatie/Freleng was actually Hawley Pratt. Looking him up and he was significant for a lot of animation characters. Hardly surprising that the Pink Panther got his own cartoon series and then the transition into comicbooks. Absolutely pink.
One character that never came across to the UK was ‘Smokey Bear’. As writer Ed Lute points out, the character was never called ‘Smokey The Bear’ which should hopefully destroy one myth. Considering that his creation was to prevent forest fires, he no doubt was more effective in the USA than elsewhere.
There is an extremely long piece by Robert V. Conte on the Mouse of Tomorrow: Supermouse…actually that name didn’t last long and he became Mighty Mouse and became less of a parody of a certain Kryptonian. It’s hardly surprising that the Terrytoons character, along with Heckle & Jeckle, made the transition into comicbooks. I remember seeing a few ‘Mighty Mouse’ cartoons in the Saturday morning kids cinema when young but he didn’t really catch on in a big way in the UK compared to the USA. As a licenced character, he also appeared under different comicbook companies.
I’m picking out the highlights here. I do wonder if a follow-up with these tie-ins as to whether they did as well in other countries might be worth considering. There certainly is a hint that this was tried with the Hanna-Barbera characters, although failing likenesses had other countries bring their own artists in instead. Seeing how the international appeal worked or didn’t might complete the picture.
Whatever, as always, each issue of ‘Back Issue’ becomes a learning experience and it would be remiss if you couldn’t be able to analyse your own thoughts on the subjects as they are covered.
(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 9.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 9.95 (US))