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Tag Archives: Stan Lee

The Saturday Comics: Willie Lumpkin (Ear-Wiggling Repost)

9 Nov

November 9, 2013

About time I reran one of my favorite Saturday Comics installments. This one shows the true newspaper origins of Willie Lumpkin, and a strip you may have never seen.

from July 9, 2011

Anyone who has read Marvel comics for any amount of time has likely run across Willie Lumpkin, senior citizen postal carrier. He has no super-powers (unless you count his ear-wiggling) yet is always in the thick of the action.

I stopped reading Marvel Comics a few years back when Joe Quesada decided to screw the fans by having Peter Parker make a deal with the devil and dissolve decades of continuity. And before you Marvel Zombies start writing me nasty comments, yes, DC is about to do the same thing and I’m dropping them too. Come September I will be following exactly one title, The Boys.

So unless Willie Lumpkin has been retconned out of existence, killed in another silly crossover aimed at the tin foil hat conspiracy brigade, or outfitted with an odd number of cybernetic arms, here are some highlights of Willie Lumpkin’s comic book career. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. You see, Willie Lumpkin has had a long career starring in a newspaper comic strip, looking quite a bit different.

Ah, Willie was so young back then. Not a Doctor Octopus or High Evolutionary in sight. And this was back in the days before “going postal” meant anything other than mailing a letter so all Willie had to put up with were frantic housewives.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night stayed that courier from the swift completion of his appointed rounds

This version of Willie Lumpkin pre-dated his first comic book appearance by three years but only ran a single year, 1960. It was scripted by Stan Lee himself and illustrated by Dan DeCarlo, who is best known for his work on Archie Comics. 

Personally, I prefer this version better. In the comic books he’s comic relief, here he’s the comedian. Maybe I’m just a sucker for nostalgia. DeCarlo’s art gets me every time.

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The Saturday Comics: Pizzazz

29 Jun

June 29, 2013

cropped-sat-com-logo.jpg

I remember this magazine, and especially the comic book ads for this magazine, but I was just a little too young to appreciate it. I saw it on the stands but I am not sure if I ever bought it. A Marvel Comics magazine, it featured articles on comics, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, as well as all kinds of pop culture and music. Pizzazz only ran 16 issues, from October 1977 to January 1979, so I was just 7 or 8 when this hit the stands, a few years too young to really be interested. And too bad, since I would have loved the cover featuring Superman, The Movie. (The caption from Superman on the cover reads: “I consider it the greatest honor of my long career to be on the cover of a Marvel magazine.” DC and Marvel are fierce competitors, then and now.)

Stan Lee never looked this good in his life.

Stan Lee never looked this good in his life.

Here is the Wikipedia entry, which is decidedly short on pizazz:

Recurring features included a comic about Amy Carter’s life as the President’s daughter, a serialized Star Wars comic, and a one-page comic by Harvey Kurtzman (typically a “Hey Look!” piece done for the Marvel predecessor Timely Comics in the 1940s) on the last page. Regular columns included the reader dream-analyzing “Dream Dimensions” and the advice column “Dear Wendy.” Once the magazine was established, a regular feature was a full-page illustration of some crowded scene in which the names of readers who had written letters to the magazine were hidden. The covers showed either photos of popular celebrities, or photo-realistic drawings of celebrities and/or Marvel superheroes. Shaun Cassidy was featured on six covers, The Hulk appeared on five covers, Spider-Man on four, and Peter Frampton on three.

Topics mentioned in the magazine included (but weren’t limited to):

  • The original Star Wars movie
  • Grease
  • Meat Loaf
  • The movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Superman: The Movie

The early installments of the serialized Star Wars comic featured in Pizzazz have the distinction of being the first original (i.e., not directly adapted from the films) Star Wars material to appear in print form, preceding the 1978 novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by several months, as well as the introduction of original stories in Marvel’s own monthly Star Wars title.

Six Shaun Cassidy covers? SWOON! (And one Meat Loaf. One sweaty bloated Meat Loaf cover.)

I now leave you with a gallery of all sixteen covers of a magazine which, had I been a little older, I would have been all over. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

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