Kids love comic books, and kids love to color. Why not make coloring books starring those same kids' favorite comic book characters? Why not indeed. And so the pulp paper magnates of America brought forth coloring books starring Superman, Archie, Richie Rich, Spiderman, the Super Friends, Iron Man, Mickey Mouse, the Fantastic Four, Space Ghost, all rendered in giant clumsy brush strokes on paper so rough it would sand your fingers to the bone. But what about comic books that weren't quite so popular? Would the second bananas and also-rans of the comic book field also see tribute in the medium of coloring books? Well, luckily for us, the answer to that question is "yes".
No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. That really is a coloring book starring Tippy Teen, Tower Comics' Teen Queen. It only looks like Archie Comics because it was written and drawn by moonlighting Archie staffers like Samm Schwartz, Harry Lucey, and Doug Crane. As charter members of the Tippy Teen Teen-In Teen Club For Teens we at Mr. Kitty were very excited to find this coloring book tucked away in a corner of an antique mall somewhere in the American South.
So I wonder what this Tippy Teen coloring book looks like? Simple brush illustrations of Tippy and Go-Go and Animal? Or would they just cheap it out with panels reproduced right from the comic book art?
Well, okay, they just cheaped it out with panels reproduced right from the comic book art. Fine with me, but I shudder to think of the poor children commanded to stay within the lines while using those blunt Crayolas. Maybe that's why after 40 years, this book hasn't been colored in at all.
Also right from the pages of "Teen-In" or "Go-Go And Animal", there are handy fad and fashion tips for all the teenagers who will no doubt be coloring in this coloring book.
I dare you to color this page with crayons! Is the whole coloring book going to be photostatted Doug Crane pages covered with dialog balloons and sound effects? Won't somebody think of the children?!
Ah, that's more like it. Nice big clear linework from Harry Lucey, who coincidentally here is inventing the popular comic book pose that allows sexy comic book females to show off their front side AND their backsides at the same time. The comic industry salutes you Mr. Lucey!
So, any other second or third string forgotten comic book "stars" out there percolating in coloring book land? Let's see...
Hey, it's "Hitler's Girlfriend", Little Eva! Part of the St. Johns line of mid 50s kiddy comics that included "Little Joe" whose name got changed to "Little Ike" during the McCarthy era, Little Eva was yet another mischevious little girl character who got into wacky misadventures. Apart from some IW reprints in the late 50s and early 60s, she vanished into the Fuhrerbunker... I mean, the mists of time to be forgotten completely, even by those pop-culture obsessed baby boomers. Would somebody be silly enough to devote an entire coloring book to THIS footnote of a character?
Yes they would! Strangely enough this coloring book dates from 1975 - a good twelve or fifteen years after Little Eva's last appearance on the comic book stands. I'll be honest - the target audience for coloring books can barely spell their own names, let alone give a darn about the provenance of whichever character they are currently coloring Forest Green or Electric Blue. But still, a coloring book based on Little Eva... it just don't make sense.
Luckily the publishers of the Little Eva coloring book didn't follow Tippy Teen's lead, and instead of asking thumb-fingered toddlers to do the work of highly paid professionals, this coloring book features actual coloring book type drawings, simple, clean, with lots of empty space for little hands to fill with crayon.
Actually these illustrations are kind of boring. wow, Taking Dolly For A Walk. Once I color this page I think I'll go out and, um, take Dolly for a walk!
Okay, Little Eva's a circus trick rider! That's a little more interesting.
Okay, Little Eva is queen of the entire world and absolute lord of all she surveys! That's actually providing penetrating insight into Little Eva's personality! Where else is this coloring book taking us?
Whew, back to simple homilies and common sense wisdom. Yes, it is good to eat. Wait a minute, it's good to eat... what? WHAT is good to eat? Don't leave this question hanging over our heads, Little Eva!
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