Thursday, June 1, 2017

Funny Stuff: "Wax Whacks"

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! Remember those days when you could by coverless comics wrapped in cellophane, three for twenty cents or a quarter? Ol' Groove sure does! That's pretty much how my collection grew in my early days of reading/collecting. I didn't understand that the stores who were selling those "comic paks" were "double dipping" by selling those comics they'd claimed they couldn't sell and then getting credit from the distributor in the process. All Young Groove knew was that with the same amount of spare change a single comic-with-a-cover cost, three coverless comics could be had. Yeah, you took your chances with the one in the middle, but you still usually got two comics you really, really wanted. I got several issues of the Kree/Skrull War in the Avengers, as well as some cool Kirby Fourth World mags, and even the earliest Superman Super-Spectacular. Those mags in the middle, though...sometimes they were cool Charlton spooky comics, or maybe a western or war mag. Occasionally you got a romance comic. But the weirdest mag Young Groove ever found hidden between two superhero mags was Harvey's Bunny #19 (June 1971).

Bunny looked like a hybrid of an Archie comic crossed with an ish of Millie the Model...at least at first glance, for neither Archie nor Millie ever (at least as far as my experience goes) ever extolled the virtues of hot pants painting! This was some high-powered, psychedelic "hippie" stuff to a seven year old boy! By the time I got to the end of the mag, though, my mind was truly, totally blown. (Well, again, for a seven year old kid.) The finale of this rather unique mag was a feature called Fruitman. I was too young to question the wisdom of giving a super-hero such a moniker--a chubby, pun-loving green grocer who could transform himself into pieces of fruit in order to fight crime was plenty strange enough, thank you very much!

According to Michael Eury's must-have tome, Hero-A-Go-Go, Fruitman was a regular feature in Bunny and was the creation of either Harvey publisher Alfred Harvey or his nephew Warren, with early adventures illoed by Hy Rosen (!). "Wax Whacks" was most likely written by Lennie Herman and illustrated by Ernie Colon. (A quick check of Grand Comics Database just turns up question marks, btw.) Whoever did it warped a special part of Young Groove's brain! Thanks, Harvey Comics!

Cover art by Hy Eisman








4 comments:

  1. I remember those bags very well, in the middle I almost always got a Gold Key comic like Boris Karloff, or Twilight Zone or Dark Shadows which I LOVED and still think are highly underrated. Another thing about the comics in bags, I used to sit around for hours trying to imagine what the covers looked like, yeah, I didn't have a lot of friends lol

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  2. I wanted to ask you if you ever came across those 3-packs! A kid could do a lot with a dollar then. Funny about the past-it's always gone! Thanks Groove!

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  3. The grocery stores in South Carolina all had the 3-Pack bags. Usually there were Gold Keys or other titles I wasn't interested in. But one day my eyes widened with wonder. There was FF # 61 with the Sandman burying our heroes on the cover. I got my parents to buy it for me, excitedly tore it out of the bag when we got home and was thrown smack dab in the middle of the best Lee/Kirby run in FF (44 - 67). I think that experience turned me in a Marvel Zombie for years. Left hanging by the continued story I was able to piece the issues around 61 later as my avid comics collecting picked up pace. Unfortunately, there was never as treasure laden a 3-pack again, even though I kept looking every time we went to the store.

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