Another great story by Mr. Bolling today...my first exposure to these Little Archie comics came from the digest-sized reprints from the 1970s. My mother would grab a couple sometimes when she went to the grocery store, and I would spend the afternoon reading them cover to cover. Bob Bolling was one of the first Archie artists I knew by name because, like Bob Montana, he was allowed to sign his work.
This is another great example of what makes Bolling's work so much fun. This story has everything a kid would like: dinosaurs, wishes and magic, and the conflict between the open-minded child and the stubbornly rational adult (a conflict adults are doomed to lose every time).
Here is "Little Archie and the Wishing Witch" from The Adventures of Little Archie #22 (Spring 1962):
Doug: "Tha's Right!"
Man, do I love Bolling for both artwork and writing. For artwork, just look at that first page. Such beauty! For writing, he just packed his stories with so much that was funny. For me (being a librarian) I really loved that one wordless panel in the library with the glowering librarian and the sign that says "Children's Section. No Ball Playing"
What a subtle, funny genius!
February 19, 2011 10:21 AM
Doug Gray said...
Mykal: I love Bolling's use of silent panels; not many comics creators are confident enough to let the pictures speak for themselves. And the subtext is great; is she glowering at children in general, or does she recognize Little Archie from past encounters?
February 19, 2011 11:44 AM
Jaime J. Weinman said...
Thanks for this. This is personally my favorite period of Bolling's original Little Archie run -- roughly from the first "Adventures of Little Archie" issue to around 1963. He had introduced the adventure and fantasy stories (probably following a general trend which had the Archie company responding to the increased popularity of those genres) but hadn't dropped the cartooniness and childlike tone.
I love some of the more realistic/adventure stories, but when he dropped characters like Ambrose and gave Little Archie a less puffy look, something was probably lost; by the time he was removed from the title, almost all his stories were adventure. (The title went back more toward comedy under Dexter Taylor, but it was comedy that was a carbon-copy of the "big" Archie stuff.) Though the Mad Doctor Doom stories, with their slightly satirical take on the whole idea of supervillains, seemed to anticipate the camp craze years before it started.
February 19, 2011 4:55 PM
Doug Gray said...
Jaime: I have to agree; I love the "Good Ol' Gang" stories more than the realistic adventure stuff, although that isn't to say I dislike the latter stories at all. I just love the comedy stories and the extra characters (especially Ambrose) that Bolling added to the cast.
Thanks for stopping by!
February 19, 2011 8:40 PM
Doug: You just know that librarian knows little archie!! Plus, just look how innocent and funny Little Archie looks. I bet he knows her, too.
February 20, 2011 5:21 AM
Such a beautiful ending! In some way, it made me to remind Eastwood's Unforgiving film. You know, the same scene both for the begining and the ending, and a plot just to explain the reason. Of course, here it's not so subtle like in the film, of course, it's a kids story!, but this melancholic drops work so well when they emerge in a funny kids story like this one! (that's one of the reasons, I think, Stanley is my fave: he was a real master on that matter)
Thanks for posting!
PS: Love that wordless panel of Archie in the Libary as well: there's another untold story in there!
February 20, 2011 12:17 PM
Doug Gray said...
Mykal: yeah, it leaves it open for the reader to imagine the trouble Little Archie has caused this poor lady. She's thinking "They don't pay me enough to deal with that kid".
Gabriel: Yes, it's a great ending. I like it in that Little Archie has altered Miss Grundy's whole belief system. She refused to believe in pterodactyls, based solely on the "fact" that they are extinct. In the end, she has embraced Little Archie's youthful wonder and desperately tries to document the experience. Of course, she could be merely trying to save face in front of Mr. Weatherbee...which would fit in with Bolling's recurring "adults aren't as smart as they say they are" theme...but I prefer to think Miss Grundy has had a bit of a rejuvenation here.
February 20, 2011 2:51 PM