Sunday, September 06, 2009

Five for Sunday, or Inspiration Often Strikes Late, If At All.

From time to time, I like to participate in Tom Spurgeon's "Five for Friday" series over at the Comics Reporter, which you should all know intimately. If for some strange reason you don't, suffice it to say he calls the tune, and we all dance to it by naming five things which fit the established criteria. I always see the Reader feed on Friday night, usually about 7 or 8 PM CST, and to be frank (or David, or Bob, or...never mind), sometimes I just can't think of anything and am often too tired to make the effort because I am old and feeble.

Anyway, the latest one, which went up today, was themed "Name Your 5 Favorite Funny (And Not-So-Funny) Animals." I was unable to get it up, metaphorically speaking, in time for the deadline of midnight Friday night...but I did think of some and now I will share them with you, including one I've meant to spotlight for a long time.

First of all, a disclaimer- and I realize to some, this may be heresy...but I have never really been a big fan of funny animal comics. Just didn't interest me much as a kid, and that didn't change when I theoretically grew up. I mean sure, I had plenty of funny animal comics- Gold Key Disney Donald Ducks and Mickey Mouses, and liked Pogo and so forth, had a handful of old Howard the Duck comics (although I was not the fan of this character that many were/are) as well as many, many cartoons and films featuring a host of animals, both funny and not-so- but I was never really enticed to buy/watch (or continue to buy/watch on a regular basis) simply because there were anthropomorphic characters. Now, when I came up with this list (and this disclaimer has gone on for a lot longer than I wanted it to), I thought I would name some I didn't see on the others' entries over at Tom' rest assured I appreciate and like, nay, even love in some cases the likes of Hobbes, Omaha the Cat Dancer, Ray Smuckles, and so on, even if I don't especially embrace the genre, if that's what you want to call it.

Shall we begin?

1. Fox and the Crow
I don't know, this may technically count as two, but hey- this is not official, it's on my blog, and I'll dance if I want to. Fox and Crow were a DC funny animal title that began in 1952, and ended sometime in late 1967 or early 1968, taken over and replaced by Stanley and His Monster. I have often (well, not really all THAT often) thought that Kevin Smith's butchery of Stanley was brought on because he was a closet Fox & Crow fan. I remember owning a few of the F&C books, with and without Stanley (although more with) as a kid, and I was amused by them...hence their inclusion.

2. Dirty Duck
By Bobby London. One of the best things about the comics section of the National Lampoon. Kinda overlooked and forgotten these days, and that's a shame- I wonder if there's a collection in the offing someday? Should be.

3. Harvard-Harvard
Bob Hope's talking Dachshund, from the Super-Hip days of his comic that I'm always going on about. Pic courtesy of Magic Carpet Burn.

4. The cast of Puppy Action!

OK, now here's an obscure one for ya. Back in 1990, one issue, and one issue alone, of this black and white indie comic came and went, lost in the shuffle of the thousand and one black-and-white funny animal comics of the day. I myself would have never noticed it if not for one Suzanne Boggs Feinstein, who worked at the Great Escape nee Pac-Rat's at the time, and thought it was very funny- and suggested I might find it so as well. And y'know what? I did. It's a fast-paced and amusing, if a tad dated, satire of corporate business, with the boss dog decked out in a crown, and all the usual office types scheming and cutting up behind his back (and in front of him, sometimes). This sort of thing has been done to death by now, and the last story is a type that's been done even more, a satire of Nerd/Geeks at a comics/SF convention, but it predated Office Space as well as Dorkin's Eltingville Club, so that much is going for it, at least. This comic is so forgotten that it doesn't even have an entry on the Grand Comic Database, nor is there one in the Comic Book Database either. Pearlstein went on to develop the animated Sniz & Fondue, which aired as part of Nickelodeon's Ka-Blam! show later in the 90's. What he's done since is unknown to me, certainly a look at his IMDb profile doesn't yield much. Anyway, so you can get a taste, I've scanned two pages- check 'em out below:

And finally...

5. The Talking Fish from Timespirits

This one's a natural, since the plight of Steve Perry has me thinking a lot about this title. This character was perhaps the closest thing that Cusick and Doot had to an arch enemy; he shows up during two different story arcs and causes trouble in both. Speaking of Perry, I hope you all have considered sending something along to help him out. I haven't been able to just yet, but I'm working on something.

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