Friday, May 13, 2022

BOOKS REVIEW! THIS COLLECTION NEEDS HELP! VOLUMES ONE AND TWO (Gwandanaland)

Yeh, they coulda printed the entire run in a number of volumes and in chronological order at that, but I guess even a smattering of HELP! is a heap better'n none at all. Still it woulda been grand to read some of the rarities that have slipped through my collection as well as those old classics like John Cleese in "Christopher's Punctured Romance" not forgetting the classic Tom Poston/Sylvia Miles "Baby It's Occult Outside." Well, at least some of the goodies that I seem to go for like the legendary "Goodman Goes Playboy" as well as Jean Shepard in "The Oldest Story" (which perhaps is the oldest considering how the plot had been done by everyone from Charlie Chase to Joe McDoakes) do pop up.  But still, it sure woulda been swell to see such classics as "Buster Have You Ever Stomped a Nigra" (by Terry Gilliam making for an ever stranger American humor/MONTY PYTHON connection than one coulda ever imagined) in print for a generation of stodgy purselips who wouldn't know snarky humor if it came up and bit 'em on their posteriors that always seem to get slammed by the doors they exited no matter how many times we've told 'em to watch 'em on their way out.

So eh, these reprints do skip hop and jump about but at least we got a good gooey portion of pre-pious humor that, as one observer put it, was kinda/sorta like the midway mark between MAD and NATIONAL LAMPOON. Lotsa precedents here as well as holdovers from the fifties style of gut-chuckling (I mean, where do you think the 'pooners got their ideas for alla them "Photo Funnies" anyway?) that should sate whoever out there still has a real sense of offensive humor not seen in ages.

Still, I gotta say that, even with the tons of talent behind the mag it does flounder here and there. Frankly a lotta the fumettis, especially the later ones without the big names to bolster 'em up kinda fall flat while the load of text was something that I not only passed on then, but now. Even the Jack Davis boxing critique as well as Kurtzman's cartoon commentary on REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT lack the bellyshakes that coulda been yanked out had they not tried to be so adult about it. It's when Kurtzman and company stick to their comical roots that HELP! does its best such as in the aforementioned Goodman Beaver story (an ARCHIE satire worthy of anything that the Kurtzman/Bill Elder team coulda whipped up during the fifties)  or in the plethora of movie stills with rather guffawing word balloons added that, although quite humorous in its day, would be considered racist if presented to the current batch of prissies who are nothing more'n those uplifters outta an old DW Griffith Biograph reel updated with plenny o' tattoos and body modifications.

Eh, go get 'em. If you spent your teenbo years pouring through volumes of fifties-era MAD reprints in between your usual comic book scarfing you're bound to squeeze a whole lotta that once-cutting edge but now pretty reactionary style of guffaw inducement outta these volumes. Y'know, that humor that would get more'n its share of self-righteous condemnation from the usual gang of idiots otherwise known as the chattering class (or Antifa, take your pick). But I do tend to repeat myself, so sorry Charlie.

5 comments:

top_cat_james said...

Welcome back! I gotta ask, Chris, how was the quality of these books you received? I ordered the first volume back in November when it came out, and the pages were blurry and murky, making the text pieces especially difficult to read. It looked as if the contents were xeroxed instead of scanned. It was announced last month that replacement copies would be issued to those desiring a trade-in, so I was wondering if you got the upgrades, and if they're legible.

However, this was a rare misstep from Gwandnaland--I'm happy to note that they are continuing the reprints of the Dell "Peanuts" comics that KaBOOM! had begun back in 2018, but never resumed. "Charlie & Friends: The Dell Series: Volume 1" was a welcome sight in my mailbox, and hopefully you'll be reviewing that soon as well.

Christopher Stigliano said...

My copy seems rather clear altho ish #1 was reprinted a tad dark. Trying to keep reign on my bank account so I doubt that I'll be getting the second volume of "Charlie and Friends" any time soon.

Mel Lazarus said...

If'n all ya got is grubby smudgey reprints and not the originals in near-mint to mint condition, all ya got is bupkis, boychik.

top_cat_james said...

Thanks, Mel(l)! Hey, was MISS PEACH the neighborhood nickname of your MOMMA?

Alvin Bishop said...

Complete set, near-mint to mint here, Mel! (Chuckle!)

Chris, how about a serious overview of Trouser Press?

Good to see you back, bwah!

Cheers!