Thursday, October 08, 2020


Even if you have the GOODMAN BEAVER book that Kitchen Sink published 'round '86 way, this reprint of the EXECUTIVE'S COMIC BOOK that MacFadden put out just might suit you olde tymey MAD fans all the more. Sure the series closer "Goodman Gets a Gun" ain't present but the infamous ARCHIE spoof "Goodman Goes Playboy" is, and considering how for years Archie Publications had the original art under lock 'n key with STRICT ORDERS for no one to even dare reprint the thing (before it lapsed into the PD and besides that the old prudish Archie Pubs sure ain't the new libertine one by any stretch of the imagination) this might be an all new one for you.

But any way you toss it, you long-time satire buffs'll love this repro. Sure it leaves out much of the minute artistic detail one can find in the Kitchen Sink edition but the stories are there and they sure reflect not only the high glass stylings of Kurtzman at the typewriter but just how good Elder's art could get at least when Kurtzman was keeping a watchful eye on quality. And for a guy like myself who probably learned more about the fifties and sixties from the likes of Kurtzman and a variety of MAD paperbacks these repros sure do me swell.

In these pages you get to once again (or for the first time for all I know) read about such wild sagas as the one where Goodman tries to convince Superman that there are still some selfless and sacrificing people in this world (failing miserably in the process) or the one where Goodman meets up in an Africa where Tarzan is being outclassed by Soviet interlopers. I didn't exactly think the SEA HUNT spoof was that exciting (even though I used to watch that show as a kiddiegarden aged lout and still have vivid memories of air hoses cut with knives and quivering octopuses) but the ARCHIE 'un, even with the major characters having been rendered slightly different'n the originals due to the fear of that litigation which came anyway, still has me cracking up in its deft spoof of the entire hedonistic neo-Nietzschean PLAYBOY credo which one's gotta say is something that I'm sure woulda bugged Hugh Hefner had he been as thin-skinned as I am. But he wasn't and surprisingly the Goodman Beaver gig, with a sex change here and a scene change there, eventually became Little Annie Fanny for all that was worth!

And the way Elder captures the total pulchritude of the Bob Montana (as opposed to Dan DeCarlo) Betty and Veronica makes this one a real eye-pleaser. The one scene where the Jughead imitation and a slightly-draped Betty are being marched off to get married by her father really does something to me what with those well-shaped suckems of hers as well as an exposed belly button which always sets those torso poses into proper perspective. No wonder John Goldwater flipped his gourd over this particular satire which must have been the last straw after "Starchie" and all those humor mag spoofs that had appeared o'er the years!

No excuse not to own this classic collection anymore. And it's definitely worth the money considering how you can read and re-read Elder's fine-penned work and find new things long after you thought you had these stories down pat! You won't need another comics-related book given how you will be noticing different gags stuck in here and there for ages on end!


top_cat_james said...

What a coinkydink--I purchased this along with the Dennis collection I mentioned a few columns back. Although I feel the ads for other Gwandaland offerings and page duplicates that were both used to pad out the volume were wholly unnecessary, I concur with your review - This is a must purchase. My favorite "throwaway gag" has to be the race-reversed Ruby Bridges and her protesters on p.51 of the "T*rz*n parody.

debs said...

lol archie is okay when you're a kid, but i really saw what comics could be with doonesbury and bloom county. then i discovered lynda barry and robyn jordan. the good stuff.

Alvin Bishop said...

Grand stuff!

I happen to have a "complete" on HELP! magazine. It the 1970s one could find copies in used bookstores, in fine to mint condition, for less than their cover price.