Thursday, July 11, 2013
AMERICA'S SON OF FUN
birth month of December 1951. The Grand Comics Database does have
this cover, but no other information about the issue. Fortunately,
and here’s something you don’t read often when I write about these
birth month comics, I have a copy of the issue. It’s even in good
shape considering it’s as old as I am.
Bill Vigoda drew and signed the cover of the issue. Our dizzy hero
is with Laurie (the Veronica of the Wilbur Universe) and his best
friend Red. The 52-page comic book is packed to the covers with a
variety of stories and features.
The inside cover has a black-and-white ad for the “Archie Comics
Group” with Archie behind a newsstand selling these titles: Ginger,
Reggie, Archie, Wilbur, Suzie, Laugh, Pep, Super Duck, Betty and
Veronica, Jughead, Katy Keene and Archie Annual. These comics are
“good, clean fun for the whole family!”
Wilbur leads off the issue with “Dollars and Sense,” wherein, cut
off from her allowance, Laurie convinces her dad to bankroll a new
business venture of hers. However, with Laurie treating friends to
all sorts of places to gather information, her “start-up expenses”
costs her dad more than her spending did. He buys her business for
the price of a month’s allowance. Much cheaper for him that way.
The story runs 6.67 pages with a Super Duck ad filling the bottom
third of the final page. The story is signed “Joe Edwards” with the art
definitely his. Since Edwards often wrote his own material, it’s
possible he wrote the story as well.
Wilbur also stars in “The Pearl Divers” (6 pages), also signed by
Edwards. Blonde Laurie shows off new string of pearls to Wilbur
and dark-haired Linda (Betty). Wilbur cautions her against wearing
them before they are insured. The next morning, Wilbur finds the
pearls on the steps of the high school. He decides to tease Laurie
about them and then pull them out of his pocket. When he tries out
that move, the string breaks and the pearls go flying. Hilarious
slapstick ensues as Wilbur and Mr. Dripwaite (Principal Weatherbee)
step on pearls and go flying. Between the two of them, they find
all but one pearl...which Miss Gargle (Miss Grundy) finds, slips on
it and lands on the other pearls, scattering them again. Based on
Wilbur’s past history, the trio decide these can’t possibly be the
real pearls. Linda arrives and informs them that, yes, they were.
As the tale ends, Wilbur and the teachers search for the pearls by
Dave Berg is next up with “Hot Wire,” a one-page gag strip starring
Wilbur and Red. Cold day. Red sits on radiator, plugs in electric
heater. Runs cord over radiator. Insulation on cord melts. Red
gets his behind shocked. Wilbur says: Wires on a radiator can make
you a shock absorber.
In “It’s a Woman’s Whirl” (5 pages), Wilbur busts his ass to earn
enough money to take Laurie to the movies. The date turns out to
be something less than a dream date.
The “Wilbur Fun Page” is only one-third of a page. The rest of the
page is an ad for Jughead.
The “Wilbur Puzzle Page” is only half a page with the rest going to
an ad for Suzie. Fractions are clearly beyond Wilbur.
The lovely Katy Keene appears in a seven-page story by Bill Woggon.
Katy has to brush up on her ballet dancing for a movie role. Rich
boyfriend Randy buys a ballet school and impersonates the teacher
to be close to her. Hilarity and fashion ensue. Which brings me
to a digression...
Why don’t I ever see Katy Keene cosplayers? Has the once legendary
pin-up queen of comics been forgotten?
Katy’s story is followed by the one-page “Katy’s Fashions,” which,
like her story, features designs from readers.
Another “Wilbur Fun Page” and it’s barely half of the page with the
rest filled by a comic-strip ad for Fleer’s Double Bubble Gum with
bigger bubbles, long-lasting extra good flavor, funnies, fortunes
and facts. It’s for sure more fun than Wilbur’s puzzles.
Joe Edwards reunites with Wilbur for “My Dime is Your Dime” (seven
pages). Wilbur is too broke to take Laurie out. Slats, his version
of Reggie Mantle, cons Wilbur out of his last two bucks. However,
in doing so, Slats gives Wilbur a dime said to be worth a thousand
dollars. Wilbur then cons Slats into paying for Wilbur’s expensive
date with Laurie. This is my favorite story in the issue.
“Stuff About Stars” is a two-page text feature filled with gossip
and news about Hollywood stars.
“Don’t Let It Puzzle You!” is a half-pager with two puzzles meant
to challenge readers.
The last story of the issue is “The Live Wire” (4.67 pages) by Joe
Edwards. Wilbur has a bow tie that lights up. When it runs out of
juice, he tries to recharge it. When the principal confiscates it,
the comedy is electrifying.
I have just four more comic books from my birth month to cover in
this bloggy thing of mine. That should take us up to my Comic-Con
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2013 Tony Isabella