Sunday, May 16, 2010

SUNDAY FUNNIES - Double Feature Today

Note - As I said many times, and you keep forgetting, click on each picture to make it larger and better, and you will be able to read the balloons.

Our double feature today features the same subject matter, by the same writer, and by the same artist. However, the plots are different.

The same subject matter is Archie. That is, Archie Andrews, with Betty, Veronica, and Jughead.

Harvey Kurtzman wrote both stores and Will Elder drew them.

However, each was published by a different publication. The first one, STARCHIE was in MAD comicbook. The Second one, GOODMAN GOES PLAYBOY was in HELP! magazine.

There was about an eight years difference. STARCHIE was published in 1954 and GOODMAN GOES PLAYBOY was published in 1962.

When STARCHIE came out in MAD there was hardly a peep from John Goldwater (1916-1999) who was creator and publisher of ARCHIE COMICS.

However, when GOODMAN GOES PLAYBOY came out Goldwater hit the roof and carried them to court. I don’t know about any monetarily punishment but the courts ordered Kurtzman, Elder, and Warran (publisher) to never-ever print that article again.

When comparing the two stories you can see that ARCHIE was treated harsher in STARCHIE then in GOODMAN… In STARCHIE ARCHIE was a ruthless teenager hoodlum or thug. In GOODMAN ARCHIE and his friends had grown up and took up the playboy yuppie life style.

So, why did the second satire make Goldwater’s blood boil and the first one didn’t? I think there is a behind the scenes story that rumbled.

I believe I read that Goldwater’s ARCHIE COMICS office was at 225 Lafayette Street, the same building as publisher William Gaines’ MAD, or EC, Comic’s office was also there. I also heard that Gaines and Goldwater went way back together. Do friends sue friends? Rarely.

Also, Goldwater and ARCHIE COMICS were instrumental in setting up the Comicbook Code Authority… which was sort like having a wolf guard the henhouse. And from the start Harvey Kurtzman was a pain in the Comicbook Code Authority’s ass. And who knows, maybe they had a run-in in the elevator at 225 Lafayette Street.

Maybe as far as Goldwater was concerned, his buddy Bill Gaines was out of the picture - it was pay back time.

Before the STARCHIE story there is the MAD cover, which was being innovative, as usual. And the inside cover was a subscription ad, also drawn by Elder.

Back to GOODMAN BEAVER, the story was actually criticizing the PLAYBOY lifestyle, like selling your soul to the devil. Guess what, Hugh Hefner, publisher of PLAYBOY loved the story! I don’t know if this caused him to decide on ANNIE FANNY or not, but before too long he had Kurtzman and Elder give GOODMAN BEAVER a sex and name change and thus ANNIE FANNY was born and ran for about 30 years in PLAYBOY.

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