Thursday, June 11, 2015


Given that the Bob Montana comic strip collections just ain't comin' out as fast as I'd like, I do have to rely on some other sources to get my classic ARCHIE fare. This IDW collection sure fills the bill because, although it's filled with gags 'n gals galore that were created roughly throughout the late-forties and early-fifties, a good portion of these were drawn by the originator himself! And golly gosh! does THAT surprise me because I thought that when Montana did the comic strip he was totally involved with that 'n nothing else 'cept those finely detailed comic book covers which detailed Betty 'n Veronica's fine mammarian assets to the slightest detail short of making the setting a little chilly, ifyaknowaddamean...

The Montana comics were a blessing to this adolescent retard still stuck in ranch house Ameriga 1971, as was the one featuring Hooky Hogan, the truant who I thought only existed in the ARCHIE comic strip universe! So were a couple starring Hortense, a long-forgotten proto-Big Ethel type with a Jughead nose 'n Dilton specs who's even man-hungrier than her obv. spawn (even though she looks like your average high school gym teacher!). Really, its li'l things that matter more'n any historical current events caga ya hadda memorize back when you were ten as if the date of the Magna Carta would benefit you in any special way.

As for Montana, nobody could deliver a badgag so masterfully as he could, plus to this day he remains the best Betty and Veronica artist of all time the way he drew 'em sans any form of modern day stuck up suburban gal snobbery 'n with all of those modern ideas of what's good looking or not. Too bad Montana didn't stick around for the comic books a whole lot more because he certainly would have been a finer addition to the Archie comics roster'n Harry Lucey, a guy who I know has his fans but veered from the Montana model as oft he could making for some rather eye-irritating stories throughout the years.

Speaking of eye-irritating, I wonder where they got some of the artists who drew a few of these strips, the school for the blind??? There's one guy here who really makes a horrid wreck of things coming off like a cheap Tijuana Bible imitator (maybe that's how he got his job, or better yet that's what he DID in order to get revenge on his employers?), while a good smattering are what'cha'd call passable. Samm Schwartz is pretty hotcha 'specially when he concentrates on his mainstay Jughead (the mini-Jug Soupbone character's one I wish woulda stuck around for a longer time'n he did) while the early Dan DeCarlos are about as trying to get there as he was then---far from the master of the form we knew and dug inna late-sixties but much better'n some of the fanablas who were being hired at the former MLJ.

Gotta few gripes tho, all having to do with some of the repro taken from old comic books and such. A few times balloon dialog is missing while in one strip the entire pic is gone leaving the balloon hanging there for no real purpose. Dunno how such a shipshape organization as IDW let these goofs slip, and if I were a brave soul I'd demand everyone who bought this book receive their money back, a new book, or (better yet!) even both!!!!!

But hey, it's all so engrossing esp. for this time of year when you gotta do something when you're trying not to cut the grass and trim the hedges. Hope there's another one with some more early Montana work out there inna works (also hope they continue reprinting the dailies, esp. those early-fifties ones that somehow got forgotten inna shuffle) because hey sometimes it's either this or the piling stack o' bills, and you know which one's more fun to read, eh?

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