Thursday, May 03, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! LI'L TOMBOY #101 (Charlton Comics, October 1958 issue, available via GOLDEN AGE REPRINTS)

I'm sure most of you erstwhile BLOG TO COMM readers have saved your shekels and splurged on your very own copy of LI'L RASCAL TWINS after I gave Golden Age Reprints' slicko edition a neat writeup quite awhile back. Well, being enthralled, entranced and perhaps even other goodie things by this particular comic I decided to see what else was available in Charlton's cheap DENNIS THE MENACE-"inspired" line of kiddie comics, and lo and behold this particular wonder was up and about for my perusal and y'know what? It's a pretty decent kidsploitation funtime comic read as well featuring half of that "twin" team, none other than Li'l Tomboy herself!

Li' Genius, Charlton's toned down Dennis is nowhere to be seen other'n in a PSA promoting the idea of dads getting together with their sons to have fun and stuff together (yeah right---like yer dad after a 12-hour shift at the salt mines is gonna wanna play pal to ya when he'd rather be boozin' it up with the boys!), and that is kinda a shame because the chemistry between Genius and Tomboy in the LI'L RASCAL TWINS comic was pretty tight. But Li'l Tomboy does good on her own in these sagas which capture the fifties kid comic mileau about as good as the material that was being offered by other publishers during those crazy baby boom fun times. Frank Johnson's style fits perfectly with the suburban slob-ness here just as it did in the TWINS title, while the stories (which do accentuate the "tomboy"-ish part of the character's makeup without turning her into LI'L DYKE) do reflect that entire ranch house credo that I just won't eject from my system even though my "betters" have been telling me to do just that for longer than I can remember. Maybe it's time we make Johnson a bonafeed comic artist IDOL in the same manner that Carl Barks, Jack Kirby and many others (some who may even be deserving of their hails and hosannas!) with maybe a fan club or site to help boost his stature amongst the former kiddie comic-clinging fans/current day total comic book SNOB SET!

In these GENIUS-less sagas Tomboy is mostly seen at home interacting with her mother who wishes she was more ladylike and a father who's nonchalant about the whole affair. Again there doesn't seem to be anything particularly "un"-girl-like about her since most gals I grew up with could get into a scrap or play sports with the guys (though they never did cozy up to my "shirts"/"skins" basketball team up suggestions---best outta a thousand). In most of these she just gets into the usual kid-like adventures such as the one where she has to retrieve her uncle's toupee which she originally mistakes for a huge wad of lint, or the time she shows some snobbish old bag photos she took of her folks while they weren't looking, an idea that would have been put to more tasteless use had this been done within the past twenty years.

The sole saga which deals with her mother's concern over her boyishness will actually throw ya for a loop, what with Tomboy acting girlish for once after receiving a doll, making a red dress for it and requesting the use of mom's perfume much to mom's delight, only for her to find out that Tomboy's going tuna fishing and is using the toy for bait! Funny, I always thought that the big-time fishermen used live kittens to get the big ones, but maybe that woulda been too much for even this anarchic kids comic!

LI'L PARDNER also appears here, and no he ain't a compat of any of the othe Li'l's mentioned. This is a cowboy kid comic signed by someone names "Jersey" I believe and it doesn't quite fit into the sort of mood that the rest of the comic delivers. More rural than suburban and geared towards the western sorta kid who lived on a ranch or farm, the story presented is nice but comes off awkward in the company of the rest. Cowpoke comics lover Bill Shute might disagree, but I woulda rather read another LI'L TOMBOY or LI'L GENIUS instead.

If you're still pondering whether to purchase this 'un even after my masterful revelations, just click here for a sample story and make up your own mind for once! Of course if you don't share my crazed comic book values and all you probably won't get it, but then again I have the feeling most of you don't get GILLIGAN'S ISLAND either and like, what else is new?


Bill S. said...

So, Li'l Pardner never had its own book--it was just a "guest" story in other characters' books. Hmmmm, if it's public domain, maybe I can suggest to the fine folks at Gwandanaland that they do an all Li'l Pardner book! And then I can be the only person to actually buy a copy, and I can review it for BTC!

top_cat_james said...

"Tuna fishing"? You're sure this isn't L'IL DYKE?

BTW, Dr. Johnny Fever "borrowed" your shirts/skins idea for a WKRP episode ("Baseball").

Christopher Stigliano said...

Top Cat James---that "shirts/skins" gag had been goin' 'round a whole lot longer than WKRP!