A few months back we concluded an in-depth exploration of the various teen comics that basked in the shadow of (or shamelessly ripped off) Archie Comics. Now, we do the same for kiddy comics of the 50s and 60s that could not help but be influenced by their more popular and more lucrative brethren.
PIPSQUEAK was an Archie title that lasted for five entire issues back in the twilight of the Eisenhower years. And yeah, if you think it kind of looks like DENNIS THE MENACE, you're supposed to! Hey, what do you want for ten cents? Obviously not this short-lived failure.
HEEEEEYYYY MISTER WILSON
SHRIMPY was another Archie strip, a 4-panel gag strip that never had its own title, because if it ever gained any higher visibility Charles Schulz's lawyers would be all over them like white on rice. Maybe Violet's absence from later PEANUTS strips can be explained here- violating the "no moonlighting" policy has serious consequences.
LIL' GENIUS was a Charlton comic that starred a hyperactive, cowlicked young lad with a nose for trouble and a dog named Ruff and friends named Margaret and Joey and a lucrative Dairy Queen endorsement contract. Well not really. I guess the "genius" in the title referred to whatever legal counsel kept Charlton from being sued. On the other hand, what's the point of suing the lowest of the low-rent comics companies?
If it's brainy kids you want you need look no further than I.W.'s THE BRAIN, one of the few 50s kids comics that hold up splendidly fifty years later. Original scripts, unique concepts, and zippy Dan DeCarlo art make this one a winner. Reprints please, somebody!!
On the other end of the spectrum is the aptly named Awful Oscar, the eponymous star of anonymous Marvel reprints. Stan Lee was probably writing a hundred and fifty of these gags a day, every day, for ten years.
Wacky cartoon cavemen interacting with dinosaurs and behaving anachronistically?? Why it's HUNK, the comic Charlton was forced to publish because they didn't get the rights to do FLINSTONES comics until 1970! Again, Charlton's "DARE YA TO SUE US" attitude pays off. I guess.
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