At long last, here's our final venture into the by-now fairly tedious world of non-Archie Archies; that is to say, teen comics that were mercilessly crushed under Riverdale's iron boot.
LEAVE IT TO BINKY was DC Comics' earliest teen comics, premiering way back in 1948! By the mid 60s, however, the Shelly Mayer look was beginning to get a little long in the tooth, in spite of the sloppy hippy-hair they forced on Binky.
SWING WITH SCOOTER? No thanks! More inane teen hijinx from DC, this time with faux-Archie look firmly in charge thanks to Stan Goldberg. Is there a company this guy DIDN'T work for? Scooter's pal Sylvester has a little billy-goat beard, which at the time probably was considered "mod" but now is reminiscent of the "crazed hillbilly" look.
This story - from 1970- is about the principal forcing the kids to get haircuts. You'd think this gag had been milked to death, but this is DC we're talking about. Both SCOOTER and BINKY would swing their way into cancellation within a year.
Marvel's teen comics were the girliest of the bunch - because they all starred female lead characters! Here's KATHY, the Teen-Age Tornado, which lasted from '59 all the way to '64, if you can believe it - the Marvel Age of Comics started and all she got was an unsuccessful comic book!
Oh, Kathy is too refined to be impressed by that lout Elvis. Again Stan Goldberg, the hardest working man in comics, brings his cartoony touch to a teen comic. I wonder who his work here reminds me of...?
Oh yeah, DanDeCarlo! Dan The Man refined his slick yet jumpin' style through years of sin-sational gag strips for Martin Goodman's line of men's magazines - as well as years of drawing Millie the Model, My Girl Pearl, Homer The Happy Ghost, and other wacky titles for Atlas, the 1950s version of Marvel.
Trouble is, when the 60s rolled around Millie The Model switched from goofy comedy to overwrought soap-opera, and it was up to Stan Goldberg to shift artistic gears and work in a more realistic style, and it doesn't always work. The nervous, half-assed inks by John Tartaglione don't help things a bit. Plus the stories are freakin' awful! We changed some dialog in this panel. Guess where!
Luckily for Western civilization, Millie switched back to goofy comedy, under the chamelon-like pen of Stan Goldberg and unsung Marvel staffers like Sol Brodsky. The DeCarlo style -it only LOOKS easy. Note: gags about how much women love to shop NEVER go out of style!!
Marvel's REAL teenage star is none other than that red-headed siren of Centerville, Patsy Walker. Patsy first appeared in 1944 (!!) and stole Miss America's comic book away, all the while romancing "Buzz" Baxter and thwarting the schemes of her rival Hedy Wolfe. MAD artist Al Jaffee had a long stretch as the PATSY WALKER artist, but future ARCHIE star Al Hartley stepped in and made the character his own with his breezy clean-line work. Hartley's art really captures the clothing styles and the "look" of the late 50s in a way no other comic matched.
Unfortunately the "drama" bug bit Patsy and Hedy and they were transformed into jet-setting international girl reporters out to get the big scoop and date the hunky guys, some of whom were international spies, and probably gay besides. Note the crappy inking ruining Hartley's pencils, and the crappy writing ruining everything else. PATSY & HEDY would last one more issue and Patsy's own magazine would bite the dust soon afterwards. Al Hartley went over to Archie where his versions of Miss Beazley and Big Ethel would become the yardstick by which all future characterizations are measured, and where his version of Betty would be a preachy, insufferable busybody.
Whatever happened to Patsy Walker? She married "Buzz", found a superhero costume, became the Hellcat, divorced "Buzz", married Damien "Son Of Satan" Hellstrom, went crazy, died, went to Hell, came back, and joined the Avengers and the Defenders and the West Coast Avengers and probably AA. Thank you, Marvel Comics, for ruining yet another fine Golden Age character.
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