Welcome to part 3 of our in-depth exploration of the world of teen comics from the 60s and 70s starring people not named Archie, Betty, or Veronica.
In the mid 1960s the Batman TV show brought comics to new popularity, and one of the many publishers that sprang up to capitalize on this fame was Tower Comics. You might remember Tower as the outfit that published T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents, a overrated superhero series with lots of Wally Wood art. But Tower ALSO published TIPPY TEEN, an underrated teen comic with lots of Samm Schwartz (JUGHEAD) artwork. Tippy lasted longer than the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. agents and was even reprinted widely (under the title VICKI) by Atlas/Seaboard in the 70s. Take that, Dynamo!
Tippy is your all-American teenage girl who likes rock and roll music and new clothes, and gets into wacky situations like making two dates with two boys for the same dance! I think Archie only did this like fifty or sixty or a million times.
TIPPY was aimed more towards girls so there were lots of reader-submitted fashions, most of which are pretty garish, even for the 60s.
Tippy's best friend is Go-Go, a folksinger who dates a giant football player named Animal. I don't know if they were actually popular enough to warrant their own book but Tower was more than willing to give it a try! I don't know if those boots Go-Go's wearing get the Joan Baez seal of approval, though.
Go-Go's dad hates Animal and never misses a chance to kick his ass. I think those two have something going on the rest of us don't know about.
TIPPY TEEN also had a spinoff called TEEN-IN where lame Tippy stories were joined by lame teen advice columns and lame teen activites, like this guide for hosting your own "Beatnik" party. Weed and espresso are not mentioned.
TEEN-IN also gives us non-Tippy stories like this totally lush romance strip by the masterful Chic Stone. Lush, I tells ya.
From Myron Fass, the man who gave us the "Split!" Captain Marvel, comes HENRY BREWSTER, another contender for Archie's throne. Drawn on occasion by golden age great Bob Powell, Henry is a wide-awake American teen whose sensible dress and calm demeanor are an inspiration to us all.
Here's our cast: Henry, in tasteful sweater; Weenie, resident brainiac, Animal, the big strong guy who speaks in a quiet voice, Melody, the snobby rich gal, and Debbie, Henry's steady girl. Naturally Melody is out for Henry, who's oblivious to her advances, and Weenie only has eyes for Melody, who can't stand Weenie. Animal doesn't date, apparently. You'll note Myron Fass continues his grand tradition of naming his comic characters after other people's comic characters. What a winner.
By issue 6 the James Bond/U.N.C.L.E./Batman craze had taken hold and the teens were battling supervillians and other assorted nonsense. Alas, by issue 7 Henry Brewster was gone, man. A shame, really, because the sketchy, breezy artwork and the Byzantine dialog put HENRY BREWSTER in a class by itself. A REMEDIAL class!!! (haw haw!)
Next time: Marvel and DC get into the teen comic act! And all hell's gonna break loose!!
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