Wednesday, December 09, 2020

BOOK REVIEW! FERD'NAND BY MIK (Rinehart & Company Inc., 1957)

's funny, but throughout years of searching through flea markets and garage sales for a book just like this, I finally get 'un long after the time when such a collection of comics woulda made a GIANT impact on my own personal sense of comictude. Who'm I kiddin'...even in the here and now FERD'NAND means a hegguva lot more to me than any of the modern-day strips I happen upon, once again jetting me back to my turdler times when things like comics and Soakie figurines had way more of an impact on my well being than anything the New York Elite types would consider beneficial to creating well-rounded and perfectly suited to the hipster cause of the week children they've been spawning for ages.

Like in NANCY or HENRY, the artwork of transplanted Dane Mik is beautiful...deceptively simple to the point of ridicule but then again who ever could copy that more suited to the everyworkaday type person's eyeballs style even if they tried hard enough (and you can bet many of them tried). The jokes are simple, ofttimes clever, and would have been considered GENIUS by various Big City snobs had Charlie Chaplin come up with 'em in one of those old moom pitchers only erudite types seem to have watched for the past seventysome years.

But eh. when I read these fifties-era FERD'NANDs all I gotta say is that I'm sure glad the comic strip had continued for years on end (I think it still is goin' on somewhere!) just so's us ranch house kiddies of the sixties and seventies coulda enjoyed 'em just the way our box house lower-class parents and grandparents did a good twenty years earlier. And even the more pink-tinged readers of this blog gotta admit that the suburban situations that Ferd'nand and family get into as they pantomime the panels away sure have more meaning to our very own existences than they do say, most all of those effete stiff upper lipped types I came across during my early fanzining days who seemed to be all superficial pose with little humanity underneath. And despite the protests of the various fans of femme comicdom out there who believe that they're eons evolved from us lowly types on the bottom of the gene pool ladder FERD'NAND is a stark mirror to reality! I mean, who among you couldn't relate to the comic where Ferd'nand gets a major shock from the cheap electric guitar he just bought?!?!

Dunno about you, but I never got a catch you off guard last-panel punchline surprise reading DOONESBURY (still quickie peak at it just to get the ire flowin' in me) of any of the more recent additions to the once-funny pages the way I do with a NANCY, a HENRY or a FERD'NAND. Sometimes I wonder if, for all intent purposes, laughing (especially at things you loathe) has been BANNED once and for all...well, it sure seems that way anymore especially when you do consider what there is out there to laugh at and none of it can match an old NATIONAL LAMPOON special edition. A book like this is a reminder of just how life-reaffirming and meaningful the laff parades were back when well, we were still allowed to laugh at things!


MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Please stop the whining. I know you're upset that your guys lost WWII but get over it. You probably would have been euthanized by the Nazis anyway long before you reached your current AARP-approved age. They didn't like unfit/unproductive youths hanging around.

Maybe you'd be cheered up if you started calling yourself Christ'pher.

top_cat_james said...

Just finished Gwandanaland's A SUPER DUCK TREASURY: VOLUME 1, a collection of random early issues, and just like the volume of the first Dennis the Menace comic books, these pre-Code beauties have to be seen to be believed! For those unfamiliar with the "Cockeyed Wonder", just imagine Donald Duck comics if Carl Barks had been a hard-drinkin' misanthrope, and you start to get the general idea. These are among the most cynical, mean-spirited, gleefully sadistic mainstream humor comics I've ever read, and, yes, that's a compliment.And to think these were brought to us by good ol' squeaky-clean, family-friendly Archie Comics! Artwork - and I assume the scripting, as well - is by Al Fagaly (Get a load of that name--"Al"), and is slightly crude but wonderfully funny and expressive.

The filler material back-up stories (by other artists) range from passable to lackluster, but they're only a few pages each, and are easily skipped. My fave story included here involves "Supe" racing to make a court appearance (he had beaned a passing motorist with a brick, causing a blackout and a totaled car!) and--you guessed it--along the way, plows into the judge and all twelve jurors as if they were participants in a roadway-blocking BLM rally. I love how the elderly cane-using magistrate is impaled in SD's windshield before being angrily ejected from the speeding vehicle.

As you can tell, this collection has my heartiest recommendation. Not only get yourself a copy, they'll also make swell Christmas presents for the young charges in your life--What better way for them to learn how Real Life is going to repeatedly kick them in the cojones when they become so-called "adults".

Christopher Stigliano said...

"How effer did they vin..."