Buster Brown is of course one of the earliest comic strip characters ever created. But by the 1950s he was reduced to pitching children's shoes and looking like a nancy boy. Cartoon-wise he was replaced by Andy Devine and his Gang, stars of a popular live-action television show based on a radio show originated by Atlanta native 'Smilin' Ed McConnell. So this is a comic book starring radio and TV personalities designed to sell shoes trademarked after a newspaper strip character. Can we work another media into this, please?
Andy Devine is the gravelly-voiced host of Andy's Gang, a children's show starring a large middle-aged man with greasy hair and three puppets. Of course this being the 1950s, it was regarded as the highlight of entertainment. Well, this and Milton Berle in a dress.
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Isn't he jovial? Sure he is. Anyway, on with our story.
So Froggy, the little talking gremlin in a suit, is magical and the guarantee of never a dull moment. Here with the helpful sound effect "magic" he's turning Midnight the cat into an egg. Bur first this message from our sponsors. Don't go away!
Hey, it's that same picture of Andy, only reversed! He seems even more genial than before, if that's possible. In fact now he's seeming a little creepy. And now back to our story.
Midnight, the only female member of the gang, is turned into an egg. I don't know if you can get any more Freudian than this, kids. Remember, no magic during Easter week, which means we should deny the pagan underpinnings behind this, the most sacred of Christian holy days! Note helpful sound effect: "Dream!" This is to separate the normal talking-magical-gremlin portions of the story from the parts that are REALLY crazy.
Froggy "plucks his magic twanger" and Andy shrinks down to tiny size. Remember when I said I didnt't think we could get any more Freudian? I was wrong.
Psycho-sexual imagery and off-register printing combine to create a veritable whirlwind of disturbing, almost hallucinogenic visuals. How exactly is this supposed to inspire me to purchase shoes?
Froggy seems pleased at evidence of America's nuclear superiority. Squeakie, on the other hand, remembers the tragedy of Hiroshima... and shudders.
MOMMY MOMMY FROGGIE SHRUNK ANDY DOWN TINY AND THEY WENT TO THE CIRCUS IN A PLANE AND THEN THEY CRASHED INTO THE ATOMIC PLANT MOMMY AND THERE WAS A GIANT EXPLOSION MOMMY MOMMY WHAAA!!
Whew! It was all a dream! Except that Andy is still surrounded by talking animals and magical gremlins with eggs. Stay tuned for an important message from our sponsor.
Hey, here's that same photo of Andy, looking positively maniacal! Quick, buy some shoes before he goes completely insane! Shoes that are tested using artifical feet in garish socks, that's how you know they'll fit. Say, whatever happened to Andy Devine, anyway? I wonder what ended his career?
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