Monday, June 11, 2012


Little Max Comics #15 was the third Joe Palooka comic book to hit
the newsstand in my birth month of December 1951.  However, unlike
Humphrey Comics, which would run but one more issue before ending.
Little Max Comics would last as long as Joe Palooka Comics.  From
October 1949 to November 1961, Harvey Comics published 73 issues of
the title.  In a line-up that included or would include such young
stars as Little Lotta, Little Dot, Little Audrey, Casper, Spooky,
Wendy, Hot Stuff, and seven thousand different Richie Rich books,
Max was probably considered a better fit than Humphrey.

Remember how two days ago I told you I didn’t know much about Joe
Palooka?  And how yesterday I told you I knew even less about Joe’s
pal Humphrey?  Continuing that tradition, the only thing I really
know about Little Max is that he was mute.

The Grand Comics Database lists no credits for Little Max Comics.
The Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928-1999 comes up just as
empty, so, until someone tells me otherwise, I’m going to assume
the stories were written by Jane Austen and drawn by Norman
Rockwell.  I’ll also mention that “Little Max” is a brand name for
magic underwear.  With the election season upon us, who’s gonna
notice a few more big fat lies?

I’ll be back tomorrow with some thoughts on Ray Bradbury, followed
by another Rawhide Kid Wednesday.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. I had a coverless copy of Little Max back in the day. I don't remember all that much about it - expect that Little Max never spoke, but he spouted thought balloons up the wazoo, in a "charming" grammar-free patois. ("Oh, dear, I forgotted!" "She's so kindly with the appreciation!")

    There was also a Humphrey story where Humphrey dreamed he was part of the first Thanksgiving -- and got banished for overeating.

  2. Growing up I only recall seeing the Sunday Joe Palooka strip, so it must not have been running in the local paper we had delivered. My parents used to get both the NY Daily News and the Boston Herald-American on the weekend, so it was probably in one of those. I don't have any memories of the strip, but do recall seeing some of the movies pop up on weekend afternoons. Decent enough "B" movies that were probably perfect for filling the double-feature in many theatres.

    Looking at the cover you reproduce I wonder if that small cartoon of an obviously undressed Little Max in the upper left-hand corner was regularly used. It certainly was a different era!

  3. Little Max was drawn by the incredibly talented Warren Kremer! Kremer did almost all of every issue, and the art is sublime. About halfway through the titles run Harvey started "recycling" older material and some stories were repeated three times (or more).

    And by the way, at the tail end of the Joe Palooka run Humphrey nearly took over the title with his name dwarfing Joe's on the cover and contents that had plenty of Humphrey and very little of Joe... so I don't think it's fair to say that Harvey had decided to phase him out when the Humphrey title was cancelled.

  4. Thanks for the info, Ben. It's appreciated. I hope my bloggy thing readers follow the comments as well because you and others add valuable stuff in them.