Saturday, June 11, 2016


Today’s bloggy thing continues my 136-part series on comic books that hit the newsstands in the month of July 1963. That month was pivotal to my own career because it was the month when Fantastic Four Annual #1 ignited my desire to write comics.

Archie's Jokebook Magazine was launched with an unnumbered issue in 1953 and continued until #288 [November 1982] for a total of 277 issues. That’s not a math mistake. The title skipped issues #4-14. I have no idea why.

Archie's Jokebook Magazine #73 [September 1963] is not indexed on the Grand Comics Database.  Fortunately, I own this issue and can write about it. However, since I’m not very confident in my ability to identify its writers and artists, I won’t be able to put names to those talented creators. What I can do is scan some of the pages in the hope someone out there will be able to fill in the gaps re: our knowledge of this issue.

The cover logo splits “jokebook” into two words, but it’s one word in the indicia. The book is mostly composed of gag strips of either one page or half a page. Only four strips or features run more than a page and none of them runs more than two pages. Unless otherwise noted, Archie is the title star of these strips.

“Do You Need Extra Money?” The inside front cover is a full-page ad from the Cheerful Card Company of White Plains, New York. You could make $75 if you sold a hundred boxes of Christmas cards.

“Fashion Passion” (1 page) has Archie and Reggie digging the lovely chicks on the beach while waiting for Betty and Veronica. When the girls apologize for keeping them waiting, the boys reward them with a couple of ice-cream cones.

Gosh, Ronnie! How can you ever figure boys out?

Archie, Berry, Veronica and Jughead visit an ancient Aztec temple in “Mexican Vacation” (2 pages). Here’s that story:

Jughead stars in “Stage Door Johnny-Come-Lately” (1 page). The boys are shocked to see Jughead wearing a suit and buying flowers. They never knew he was interested in girls. He enters the stage door of a theater advertising “Follies!” and “Girls! Girls! Girls!” Jug is there to give flowers to his Aunt Jenny, the cleaning woman of the theater.

Dilton Doiley stars in “Swell Yell” (1 page). This one is too good not to share with you.

In “Swing It, Man!” (half-page), Archie and Reggie are playing on Leroy’s swing to the amusement of the girls. What the girls don’t know is that, when they swing high enough, they can ogle the sun-bathing beauty in the next yard.

Veronica stars in “Auto Know Better” (half-page). She was driving and got into an accident. Her father isn’t worried about the car, just that she left the scene of the accident. She says she didn’t, pointing to the fence, hat and sign stuck to the front of the car. She brought the accident with her!

“Billy Wins with Bendix” is a full-page comic strip advertising the Bendix automatic gear.

“Archie Wind-Up Dolls” (2 pages) features a selection of said dolls based on Archie characters. If you wind up the Archie doll, it dates the nearest girl doll. Don’t bother to wind up the Jughead doll because it doesn’t do anything.

Next is a page featuring half-page ads for the Task Force war game and the Convoy of Terror naval war game, which have been discussed in previous July 1963 bloggy things.

Veronica stars in “Fulfilling Future” (1 page). She’s using summer to plan her future, which includes going to the beach to meet new boys she can date in the fall and winter.

“Profiles in Courage” (half-page) has Mr. Lodge showing Archie the portraits of the Lodge military hero ancestors. One painting shows a man peeping out from the border. That ancestor was a spy for the Confederate army.

“Figuratively Speaking” has reporter Archie asking Coach Kleats how the team is shaping up. The coach says they can’t field or hit too well and probably won’t win a game all season. The last panel shows the team is a girls team and both Archie and the coach think these girls are shaping up just fine.

Jughead stars in “A Zest for Rest” (1 page). He loves tiddlywinks because it’s the only sport he can play lying down.

Moose stars in “Placement Service” (1 page). Veronica asks Moose to keep an eye on her young cousin Leroy. When Leroy refuses to stay put, Moose sticks him to the beach by putting a beach umbrella pole down the lad’s swimming trunks.

Betty and Veronica star in “Nile Nillies” (1 page). Betty’s friend Alice has a Cleopatra hairdo inspired by the movie. This is a funny and even sexy page:

“Archie’s Scrambled Jokes” (1 page) has five animals and five gag lines. Your job is to match the animal to the correct gag.

There’s a full-page house ad for Archie’s Jokes #22, which is part of the Archie Giant Series Magazine run. For a quarter, Archie will send the issue to you hot off the presses.

“Gumming up the Works” (1 page) has Jughead searching for his gum at a bowling alley.

“Slick Hicks” (1 page) has Archie and Jughead not wanting to look like beginners with the surfing crowd. The life preservers around their waists blows their cover.

“Our Inquiring Photographer Asks: What Do You Think of Television Commercials?” (1 page). The photographer isn’t a regular member of the Archie cast of characters. The page has Jughead, Dilton, Moose, Betty and Reggie.

Reggie stars in “Delightful Eyeful” (1 page). Resting under a tree, Reggie isn’t fazed as a two-headed dog, an outer-space alien, a man so tall you only see half of him and Frankenstein’s monster. What gets his attention is a sexy brunette wearing a beret and a tight little black dress.

Pop Tate stars in “It Pays to Advertise” (1 page). When business is slow, Pop goes to woods full of trees carved with lovers hearts and messages...and carves an ad for his store on one of them. Why must he be so cruel to nature?

U.S. Royal Bike Tires and Popsicle share the next page. I bet it’s been decades since I’ve had a Popsicle.

“Archie Club News” is two pages of stories from kid reporters like Daniel Williams of Clarkston, Michigan. He writes about diamonds and wins $5. Ellen Weinberg of Chicago wins $3 for sharing jokes. Membership in the Archie Club costs fifteen cents and gets you an official club button and a snappy press card.

The Wilson Chemical Company of Tyrone, Pennsylvania wants readers to sell White Cloverine brand salve and earn premiums and/or cash. They have a half-page ad with small print. The rest of the ad page offers 100 Toy Soldiers for a buck and a quarter.

Jughead stars in “Man of Action” (1 page). Sitting in a hammock, he explains why he’s too tired to go swimming. It’s because his heart beat 102,000 times today, his blood traveled 169,000 miles, he took breath 22,000 times, he spoke 4,700 words, he moved 748 muscles and used 7,100,000 brain cells. No wonder he’s exhausted.

“Moose Speaks Up” (2 pages) is one, two or three panel gags about how dumb Moose is. I hope he beat up the writer when he saw them.

Betty and Veronica star in “Feminology” (1 page). Dilton is showing the girls “the smartest electronic machine ever constructed!” The machine fills up an entire wall because, you know, it was 1963 and all. Here’s that page:

Betty and Veronica star in “Repeat Treat” (half-page). When Ronnie tells Betty she shouldn’t repeat gossip, Betty replies:

“Yes, I know! But what else can you do with it?”

Veronica stars in “Operation Rescue” (half-page). She beseeches a lifeguard to save Archie...from Betty!

On the last interior page, Wallace Brown once again seeks to have  boys, girls, men and women sell their Christmas cards.

The inside back cover offers a free lucky piece if the reader joins the Archie Comic Book Club by subscribing to one or more of eight titles: Archie, Pep, Laugh, Jughead, Betty & Veronica, Archie’s Joke Book, Life with Archie and Archie’s Mad House. The cost of a ten-issue subscription is one dollar.

The back cover exclaims “Give Me Just One Evening and I’ll Teach You to Hypnotize Easily!” It’s an ad from Palmer-Jones Publishing. Thankfully, the ad is no longer valid because I have a weird urge to send them $1.98.

That’s it for another JULY 1963 bloggy thing. The next installment in the series will run after I return from Indy Pop Con 2016, but I’ll have something else for you on the morrow. See you then.

© 2016 Tony Isabella


  1. That "Repeat Treat" reminds me of a strip I saw recently that ran, "I never repeat gossip -- so listen closely the first time!"

    This was in a book of strips from the Japan Times newspaper. In between thoughts about mass transit and digital assistants were some leftover Joe Miller jokes, like the one where Tokyo summers are so hot, and then we see a dog chase a cat and they're both walking. (Do you remember Steve Lombard's spin on that chestnut?)

  2. Tony is it ok if I take your info from here and create the story records for this issue in the GCD?

    Mike Nielsen - GCD Editor

  3. Of course. I'm always happy to help the GCD. I could not write half the stuff I write without that most useful of comics history resources!