Thursday, March 01, 2018

BOOK REVIEW! EMMY LOU by Marty Links (Scholastic Books, 1971)

Like that one pair of undershorts that you just can't get the skids outta no matter how hard you wash it, this book turns up every so often in my life.

I originally got EMMY LOU through the Scholastic Book Service which I would assume existed if solely to promote serious reading amongst us dolt-like suburban slob kids* back 1971 way. Naturally I bought this 'un if only on the basis of this character's appearance on the then up-and-running (and personal favorite) ARCHIE'S TV FUNNIES Saturday morning cartoon series just about the same nanosecond this book made its appearance into my existence. Those animated vignettes made the Emmy Lou character out to be a nice lovable sorta comic strip miss in a pre-hippoid love 'n games sorta way and like hey, being a comic saturated type at the time what better way for me to spend my depression-era wages than a funny book such as this.

And in a world where the "fairer" (hah!) s-x was doing its best to ugly itself up and alienate themselves from us guys who would be more than GLAD to fulfill their every lovey dovey whims in a few years, let's just say that a comic like EMMY LOU really did appeal to this prepubescent blubberfarm more than anything Trina Robbins woulda put out 'n I mean it!

Howevah when I got the thing a month or so later (they were sold outta the GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW paperback which I also ordered if you can believe that**!) I almost upchucked the greasy fish patty with fine bones innit they served up for lunch in the school cafeteria. This Emmy Lou character most certainly wasn't any flashback to the old timey comic strip fun and jamz that I sure craved in my entertainment, but a modern-kinda hippie gal who at times looked as if she could have been the president of the Melanie fan club with an un-wiped butt aroma to match! The art wasn't solid line fine but "feminine"-looking as well, and not only that but the gags were class-z unfunny in a way that predates the sad state of affairs seen in the funny pages these past thirtysome years.

If anything EMMY LOU was a poor imitation of that comic panel great PONYTAIL only the latter thankfully remained funny even when the dregs of modern suburban peace 'n crap hipsterdom gags expectedly crept in. In no way could I ever see that gal untie her namesake hairdo and don an afghan looking like someone who woulda been kicked outta Woodstock for looking too down to earth.

Needless to say this book was stuck inside my messy desk only to make it out in June when we hadda clean 'em out and skedaddle. From there it went into a box inna basement along with an old CRACKED magazine special (photo fumetti a la HELP! which only goes to show ya they weren't only stealing form MAD) and a buncha old RATS REAGAN, IMPY and FEEBLE FABLES cartoons I drew and immediately forgot about. From there it ended up in a box with other old comics collected in paperback forms which ended up in various parts of the abode for years until...

I happened to dig it out only recently and marveled that the book still looked rather pristine while loads of my MAD and PEANUTS paperbacks from the same pre-teen stratum look like death march survivors. There was a little yellowing on the inside cover which surprises me because hey, it wasn't like this book was seeing much sunlight during these past 45 years but otherwise the thing was in A-OK condition. And of course, for kicks (the same kinda kicks kids got sniffing glue and holding their breath until reaching an oxygen-deprived satori) I decided to look at the thing again and guess what....


Boy was that comic panel a dud. The art still looks so female-derived that it coulda been used for illustrations in SEVENTEEN at least until the sluttier side of gals was being boosted up, while the gags were watered down PONYTAIL boy hungry school hatin' jokes that are only hampered by the flitzy artwork. Overall this 'un seems more aimed at the early-seventies hippie chic wannabe gals you used to see rather'n a Saturday Afternoon Barber Shop kinda kid type that I sorta aspired to. No wonder I was so embarrassed upon receipt of this particular effort. Too bad that GL/GA book wasn't still in stock because hey, those mighta been socially relevant to all heck 'n all but at least they looked a whole lot gutzier'n this feminine flapdoodle!

* Of course the only ones we kids bought were more often than not entertainment-related mind candy---though my cousin did buy Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN because he thought it was gonna be like a cool horror movie---and boy did his cysters ridicule him for that because like this book was definitely about his third grade reading level with words like "corpse" 'n all!

** Recently I've been considering buying the two paperbacks via ebay if only to add "closure" to this sad and sordid affair.

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