Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mad #12: "Starchie"

Download MAD #12

After so many heavy stories featuring the horror and sword-and-sorcery genre, I thought some humor in a jugular vein was in order. After all, this blog's name used to be "Tales of Swords and Veeblefetzers." Now, I wasn't even alive when this hilarious parody of Archie Comics was first published, but sometime in the early 1970s, Mad Magazine began to publish reprint comics of their classics and included them stapled inside their main publications. I snapped these up left and right as I thought vintage Mad were the funniest things ever, but don't take my word for it and I challenge everyone over 40 to not laugh at this one. You have been so challenged!

Now in his second century as a teenager, Archie first appeared in publisher MLJ's Pep Comics #22 (May 1941). The magazine was then an enclave of serious-minded heroes such as the Shield and the Hangman, but the intrusive freckled, redheaded Archie would eventually change all that. He was created, with some input from others, by cartoonist Bob Montana. Archie, along with Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and Reggie, has been attending Riverdale High for close to seventy years.

Teenagers were coming into their own in the early 1940s, both as a target for manufacturers and a source of inspiration for entertainment. Henry Aldrich, the well-meaning but bumbling teen who was the prime inspiration for Archie, had first appeared in 1938 in Clifford Goodrich's Broadway play, What a Life. Henry had jumped to radio and then into movies. MLJ decided that a comic-book version of Henry Aldrich and the various other wacky teens who were proliferating in the media would appeal not only to teenage readers but to kids who were eager but had yet to reach their teens. Archie Andrews led the same sort of problem-ridden life as Henry Aldrich, Andy Hardy, and the rest and got entangled with the same sort of pretty girls.

Characters: Starchie Standrews, Bottleneck, Mr. Weathernot, Little Orphan Melvin (cameo), Cookie Bumstead (cameo), Salonica, Biddy, Wedgie Van Smelt, Mr. Standrews, Mrs. Standrews, Dick Tracy (cameo).

Synopsis: Bottleneck frames Starchie so that Starchie goes to prison and Bottleneck can take over the girls and rackets at the high school.


Script: Harvey Kurtzman
Pencils and inks: Will Elder

  • in Mad Reader, The (Ballantine Books, 1954 series) #93.
  • in Mad About the Fifties (Little, Brown & Co., 1997 series) #[nn].
  • in MAD Special [MAD Super Special] (EC, 1970 series) #18.
  • in Tales Calculated to Drive You Mad (EC, 1997 series) #4.


Mykal said...

Archie and Jughead as two high school thugs with 5'oclock shaddows and Veronica and Betty as two pimple-faced hard drinkin' easy girls. It's so easy to forget what a great mag this was back in the day. Thanks for the reminder. -- Mykal

The Old Warrior said...

Biddy and Salonica are my two favorite furshlugginer girls, that is for sure! You're very welcome, my friend, and I thank you for your comments!

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