Thursday, October 25, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! TIP TOP COMICS #217 May-July 1959 (Dell Comics)

When I was a comic book collecting fanabla kinda guy, one thing was certain and that is that this is the kinda mag that I would have liked to have possessed in between the superhero fare and the Archie hah-hahs that cluttered up my collection! I mean, what self-respecting suburban slob wouldn't want to read original NANCY, THE CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS and PEANUTS comics that were nowhere to be seen in the actual funny pages anyway??? And hey, as my ten-year-old brain would have calculated, if you liked these comics as they appeared in the papers you were BOUND to like 'em in extended comic book romps, right? Right!!!!!

Unfortunately I never did come across any of these TIP TOP comics during my garage sale and flea market prowls, but given that it's now 2018 and comics like these ain't exactly ringing up the high prices unless you get one of those mintier-than-mint copies all packaged up and graded by the experts, it ain't like you're gonna break the bank trying to get hold of a good readable copy. And thanks to the miracle of ebay I got this very issue, one that I first saw pictured in that comic strip history book (I believe the one Coulton Waugh authored) which first piqued my interest in comic books from up outta nowhere back when most of you readers were still swimmin' around in daddy's gun barrel.

Well, this 'un cost me way more than the ten cents I woulda hadda pay had I been alive and conscious and knew about what to do with a dime during those times, but I sure got enough thrill chills outta it had I been around back then and was torn between purchasing this or a tootsietoy. A tough decision true, but as we all know there are times when we have to make decisions for ourselves and see how our coffers are best put to use, at least before the folk find out you got that dime and make you drop it in the piggy bank.

You get four stories featuring them aforementioned comic strips! There are actually two NANCY stories but one of 'em, for some obscure reason, is attributed to Sluggo even if Nancy is heavily involved in the on-page antics! But no matter what, both are pretty hotcha tales that were done up by the infamous John Stanley of LITTLE LULU, and gosh-honest me must admit that the guy sure did a much better job of capturing the Bushmiller beauty than he did in his other Dell Comics efforts. 

In the first NANCY featuring Rollo the Rich Kid (who is atypically rendered here as a pampered snoot), the kid of no want is given his own Egyptian tomb which was shipped straight from over there for him to personally open himself. Naturally Nancy and Sluggo sneak in first and discover that someone definitely has been in the tomb in the five-thousand years since the death of the Pharaoh! In the other "Sluggo" saga the boys are building their own tree house which the girls (including Nosy Rosie, who was a rather obscure entry in the NANCY canon) one-up with an even better built abode until it is decided that since Rollo's so rich his dad could build a super up-to-date tree house that the gals in no way could compete with! Naturally Nancy does take her revenge which backfires on the girls (yet still does the boys harm) so its like everyone is uppachit creek.

I must admit that I really do enjoy those Dell-era PEANUTS comics that were done up by one of Charles Schulz's assistants (probably Jim Sasseville) even to the point where I wish one of those comic book publisher types would begin collecting them in annotated hard-cover form. They stick pretty close to the whole PEANUTS style right down to the bowed "w"'s and the stories do have that Schulz feel to 'em that goes on for pages and pages instead of just a few panels. This 'un has something to do with Lucy trying to keep a secret yet wanting to blab it so much that she actually chases Charlie Brown around in order to tell it! Of course the whole thing backfires on Charlie Brown when Lucy decides not to tell it after the poor sap's been primed to the point of near-insanity!

Gotta say that the art in THE CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS looks pretty close to the Rudolph Dirks or better yet his son John's version, and the story, while not as anarchic as either that strip or THE KATZENJAMMER KIDS, is still a good tale having to do with der Captain und der Inspector trying to get a little pinochle privacy in a gas-filled balloon while the kids und Mama go after them in a sling-shot propelled rocket of their own design. Hey it's good 'nuff for this kind of book even if I do remember the comic (at least around the thirties) being rather brutal as far as the tricks and violence could get within the realm of the funny pages.

'n to think that at one point in time you coulda bought this with some dime you found on the sidewalk! What better way could a suburban slob think of wiling the afternoon away than with a comic book like this featuring three of the brighter stars of the United Features Syndicate stable! If I come across any more of these late-fifties-era TIP TOPs you can bet that I'm gonna snatch 'em up, hopefully after I talk the price down quite a bit because this review is bound to make their value go way outta sight, y'know?!?!?!


top_cat_james said...

What a coinkydink - "Peanuts Dell Archive HC Volume 1" will be released by Boom! Studios this coming Wednesday the 31st.

Christopher Stigliano said...

Who woulda guessed? Will try to cop a copy soon!