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For May 21, 2007: Exactly How Odd Is SHOWCASE/ THE MANIAKS No. 71?
ONE ODDBALL (My ears are bleeding just from reading the lyrics of those sixteen Rodgers and Hart song parodies!)
TWO ODDBALLS (They say that “All the world’s a stage”…and thanks to The Maniaks, I’m taking the first stagecoach outta town!)
THREE ODDBALLS (Any comic book that mentions theatre critics Walter Kerr and John Chapman has gotta have at least a little class!)
FOUR ODDBALLS (This Oddball issue of SHOWCASE gives me a Woody!)
FIVE ODDBALLS (I’m a raving maniac for THE MANIAKS!)
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Showcase/The Maniaks No. 71

   


E-Mail | Introduction | Archives | Message Board
May, 21, 2007

Issue #1157 of 1157





Previous










the four Maniaks






the cast






a disturbing resemblance to Joey Buttafucco






Milo Hackencouph






house-ad






a variety of “pop art” posters






a back-cover ad



Title: Showcase/The Maniaks
Issue: No. 71
Date: Nov. – Dec., 1967
Publisher: National Periodical Publications (DC Comics)
Cover Artist(s): Penciled by Mike Sekowsky; inked by Mike Esposito

Lock up your daughters! Lotsa famous comedians have been featured in their own funnybooks, but here’s the one-and-only Oddball Comic to co-star none other than Woody Allen! But what are the Wood-man and DC’s mad, mod rock ’n’ roll “Maniaks” doing in a musical performance inspired by Rodgers and Hart? Only this issue of SHOWCASE – brought to you by THE INFERIOR FIVE’s creative team, E. Nelson Bridwell, Mike Sekowsky and Mike Esposito – can provide all the answers!

COMMENTARY BY ODDBALL COMICS CURATOR/CREATOR SCOTT SHAW! – Lock up your daughters! Lotsa famous comedians have been featured in their own funnybooks, but here’s the one-and-only Oddball Comic to co-star none other than Woody Allen! But what are the Wood-man and DC’s mad, mod rock ’n’ roll “Maniaks” doing in a musical performance inspired by Rodgers and Hart? Only this issue of SHOWCASE – brought to you by THE INFERIOR FIVE’s creative team, E. Nelson Bridwell, Mike Sekowsky and Mike Esposito – can provide all the answers!

The Maniaks” were DC’s short-lived attempt to cash in on the rock ‘n’ roll/comedy formula created by the Beatles in the 1964 film A HARD DAY’S NIGHT and exploited by THE MONKEES TV series (NBC, 9/12/1966 – 8/19/1968). Created by DC editor Jack Miller, writer E. Nelson Bridwell and cartoonists Mike Sekowsky and Mike Esposito, the series starred four young adults: acrobatic “Flip” (lead guitar), “Jangle” (vocals, rhythm guitar), “Pack Rat” (drums) and money-hungry “Silver” (vocals). The band appeared in SHOWCASE No. 68 (May – June, 1967), 69 (July – August, 1967) and 71 (November – December, 1967)…and were never seen again in the pages of a DC comic book, not even in SHOWCASE No. 100) -- which supposedly featured every character ever headlined in the title!

It remains a mystery as to how DC secured Woody Allen’s cooperation to appear in this highly Oddball comic book story. (Was the company’s notoriously star-chasing editor Mort Weisinger somehow involved in acquiring Woody?)

At the time of this comic’s publication, Woody Allen (born as Allen Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in New York City), was a popular stand-up comedian, comedy writer and playwright (DON’T DRINK THE WATER) known for his involvement in the recent films WHAT’S NEW, PUSSYCAT? (1965), WHAT’S UP, TIGER LILY? (1966) and CASINO ROYALE (1967). Whoever suspected that Woody would go on to become a respected, multiple award-winner for his acting, screenwriting and direction of motion pictures? Or that he would become a highly controversial figure (or as some say, “pedophile”) for marrying his ex-wife’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn?

According to Wikipedia, “Rodgers and Hart was the songwriting team of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. They worked together on about thirty musicals from 1919 until Hart's death in 1943. Their breakthrough came in 1925 with THE GARRICK GAIETIES, which featured the hit song "Manhattan." Their many other hits include "Here In My Arms", "Mountain Greenery", "The Blue Room", "My Heart Stood Still", "You Took Advantage of Me", "Ten Cents a Dance", "Dancing On The Ceiling", "Spring Is Here", "Lover", "Mimi", "Isn't It Romantic?", "Blue Moon", "Easy To Remember", "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World", "My Romance", "Little Girl Blue", "There's A Small Hotel", "I Wish I Were In Love Again", "Where Or When", "My Funny Valentine", "Johnny One-Note", "The Lady Is A Tramp", "Have You Met Miss Jones?", "This Can't Be Love", "Falling In Love With Love", "Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered", "I Could Write A Book" and "Wait Till You See Her" Their songs have long been favorites of cabaret singers and jazz artists. Hart's lyrics, facile, vernacular, dazzling, sometimes playful, sometimes melancholic, raised the standard for Broadway songwriting. Rodgers, as a creator of melodies, ranks with Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin. If Rodgers had never worked with anyone else, he'd still be remembered as one of the top contributors to the Great American Songbook. Their shows belong to the era when musicals were revue-like and librettos weren't much more than excuses for comic turns and music cues. Still, just as the duo's tunes were a cut above, so did the team try to raise the standard of the musical form in general. Thus A CONNECTICUT YANKEE (1927) was based on Mark Twain's novel, and THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE (1938) on William Shakespeare's THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. PAL JOEY (1940), often thought their best show, has a book by THE NEW YORKER writer John O'Hara -- adapting his own short stories -- and features a title character who's a heel. So unflinching was the portrait that critic Brooks Atkinson famously asked in his review "How can you draw sweet water from a foul well?" When the show was revived in 1952, audiences had learned to accept and enjoy darker material on Broadway (thanks in large part to Rodgers' work with Oscar Hammerstein) and audiences found it easier to accept. The new production ran considerably longer than the original. Comparisons between Rodgers and Hart and the successor team of Rodgers and Hammerstein are inevitable. Hammerstein's lyrics project warmth, sincere optimism, and occasional corniness. Hart's lyrics showed greater sophistication in subject matter, more use of overt verbal cleverness, and more of a "New York" or "Broadway" sensibility. The archetypal Rodgers and Hart song, "Manhattan," rhymes "The great big city's a wondrous toy/Just made for a girl and boy" in the first stanza, then reprises with "The city's glamor can never spoil/The dreams of a boy and goil" in the last. Many of the songs ("Falling in Love with Love", "Little Girl Blue", "My Funny Valentine") are wistful or sad, and emotional ambivalence seems to be perceptible in the background of even the sunnier songs. For example, "You Took Advantage of Me" appears to be an evocation of amorous joy, but the very title suggests some doubt as to whether the relationship is mutual or exploitative.”

Rodgers and Hart’s musical shows include:
-- (1920?) FLY WITH ME
-- (1925) THE GARRICK GAIETIES
-- (1925) DEAREST ENEMY
-- (1926) THE GIRL FRIEND
-- (1926) BETSY
-- (1926) PEGGY-ANN
-- (1926) THE FIFTH AVENUE FOLLIES
-- (1926) THE GARRICK GAIETIES (2nd Edition)
-- (1927) A CONNECTICUT YANKEE
-- (1927) ONE DAM THING AFTER ANOTHER
-- (1928) PRESENT ARMS
-- (1928) CHEE-CHEE
-- (1928) SHE’S MY BABY
-- (1929) HEADS UP!
-- (1929) SPRING IS HERE
-- (1930) EVERGREEN
-- (1930) SIMPLE SIMON
-- (1931) AMERICA’S SWEETHEART
-- (1932) LOVE ME TONIGHT
-- (1935) JUMBO
-- (1936) THE SHOW IS ON
-- (1936) ON YOUR TOES
-- (1937) BABES IN ARMS
-- (1937) I’D RATHER BE RIGHT
-- (1938) THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE
-- (1938) I MARRIED AN ANGEL
-- (1939) TOO MANY GIRLS
-- (1940) HIGHER AND HIGHER
-- (1940) PAL JOEY
-- (1942) BY JUPITER
-- (1943 A CONNECTICUT YANKEE (revised, with additional songs)

Rodgers and Hart’s best -known songs include:
-- (1925) "Manhattan", "Mountain Greenery" (from THE GARRICK GAIETIES)
-- (1927) "Thou Swell" (from A CONNECTICUT YANKEE)
-- (1928) "You Took Advantage of Me" (from PRESENT ARMS)
-- (1929) "With a Song in My Heart" (from SPRING IS HERE)
-- (1932) "Lover" (from LOVE ME TONIGHT)
-- (1934) "Blue Moon" (not from a show)
-- (1935) "My Romance", "Little Girl Blue", "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (from JUMBO)
-- (1936) "There's a Small Hotel" (from ON YOUR TOES)
-- (1937) "Where or When", “I Wish I Were In Love Again", "My Funny Valentine", "Johnny One-Note", "The Lady Is a Tramp" (from BABES IN ARMS)
-- (1938) "This Can't Be Love", "Falling in Love with Love" (from THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE)
-- (1940) "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", "I Could Write A Book" (from PAL JOEY)

Edward Nelson Bridwell (1931 – 1987) was born in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. It’s likely that he was the first comic book fan to become a professional, writing text pages for the American Comics Group in the late 1940s, then, beginning in 1957, writing articles for MAD magazine. In 1965, these accomplishments led to his becoming the assistant to DC editor Mort Weisinger who oversaw the company’s so-called “Superman family” of titles; Nelson was responsible for maintaining a reasonably consistent continuity between all the books. In addition to his encyclopedic – and valuable -- knowledge about the history and trivia of comic books (possessing a photographic memory certainly didn’t hurt!) E. Nelson was an acknowledged expert on such scholarly topics as Lewis Carroll’s world of “Wonderland” and L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” books. Both of these specialties would serve him well on future funnybook assignments. Nelson co-created “The Inferior Five”, “The Maniaks”, “The Angel And The Ape” (all of which premiered in the pages of DC’s SHOWCASE) and THE SECRET SIX. He also wrote scripts for ADVENTURE COMICS, SUPERBOY, ACTION COMICS, BATMAN, BINKY AND HIS BUDDIES, CAPTAIN CARROT AND HIS AMAZING ZOO CREW!, SUPERGIRL, GHOSTS, SUPERMAN FAMILY, HOUSE OF MYSTERY, JONAH HEX, THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES and SHAZAM!, as well as editing SUPERMAN’S GIRLFRIEND, LOIS LANE. He also wrote some freelance stories for Warren Publishing’s CREEPY and EERIE. Eventually, Nelson put his voluminous knowledge about comics of the past by becoming the editor of DC’s various reprint books, including digests, tabloid treasury editions and hardback anthologies. In the mid-1980s, Nelson plotted the three-issue OZ/WONDERLAND WAR, starring “Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew”. Nelson was also the writer of the BATMAN syndicated newspaper comic strip in the mid-1960s. In October, 2005, E Nelson Bridwell was posthumously inducted into the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall Of Fame.

Mike Sekowsky (1923 - 1989) had a long and prolific career in comic books as a penciler, writer and editor. Although known as a superhero artist, Mike’s first published work was for Timely in 1941, drawing ZIGGY PIG AND SILLY SEAL, a “funny animal” comic. Working in-house at Timely -- his desk was right next to that of Jack Kirby -- Mike soon became one of the publisher’s most talented and versatile cartoonists, drawing everything from teenage comics such as GEORGIE to superheroes such as CAPTAIN AMERICA and SUB-MARINER and features for USA COMICS, ALL WINNER COMICS, COMEDY COMICS, MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS, TOUGH KID SQUAD, YOUNG ALLIES COMICS, DARING COMICS and TWO GUN KID. In 1952, Mike began working for DC Comics, drawing various science fiction and romance stories. He also did work for Sterling Comics, for which he drew CAPTAIN FLASH (1954), considered by some to be the very first Silver Age superhero. Other gigs during the 1950s were for AFTER DARK and THE INFORMER among others. During this period, Mike also did a lot of work for Dell Comics in a variety of genres, including an adaptation of the children’s TV show, CAPTAIN KANGAROO. For Charlton Comics, Mike drew stories for THE MASKED RAIDER, RAMAR OF THE JUNGLE and SCOTLAND YARD. He also “ghostedFrank Giacoia’s SHERLOCK HOLMES and JOHNNY REB syndicated newspaper comic strips. Perhaps Mike’s single most famous comic book was THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD No. 28 (February – March, 1960), featuring the premiere of “The Justice League Of America”, edited by Julius Schwartz, written by Gardner Fox, and inked by Bernard Sachs. After three try-out issues, the team received its own series, THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, which Mike penciled for sixty issues. In 1963, the cartoonist received the Alley Award for “Favorite Novel” (“Crisis On Earths-1 And Earth-2” in JLA No. 21 and No. 22). Mike drew two issues of DC’s SHOWCASE, introducing the Oddball superhero, “B’wana Beast”; he also wrote and drew the book’s final two features, “Manhunter 2070” and “Jason’s Quest”. Following Joe Orlando’s initial SHOWCASE stories starring the property, Mike became the regular artist on THE INFERIOR FIVE, working with writer E. Nelson Bridwell and inker Mike Esposito. Mike also did a lot of work on Tower’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS and UNDERSEA AGENT. In 1969, Mike took over drawing METAL MEN, eventually writing the feature as well. Especially adept at drawing beautiful women, the cartoonist also revamped WONDER WOMAN, basing her new, non-super-powered incarnation on actress Diana Rigg’s portrayal of “Emma Peel” in the AVENGERS TV series; this version ran from WONDER WOMAN No. 178 through No. 198, eventually writing and editing the book. ADVENTURE COMICS’Supergirl” feature also got the Sekowsky treatment. He also drew many books for Western Publishing’s Gold Key imprint, including LANCELOT LINK, SECRET CHIMP. Mike eventually wound up back at Marvel, where he drew a few issues of SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP. In 1979, Mike Sekowsky relocated from New York City to Los Angeles, where he was hired by Hanna-Barbera Productions, working as a character designer and storyboard artist. Considered a valuable and talented artist, he went on to build an impressive second career in animation, working for TMS (on THE BIONIC SIX), Marvel Productions and Tom Carter Productions, while drawing the occasional story for DC’s BLACKHAWK and CAPTAIN CARROT AND HIS AMAZING ZOO CREW!, as well as many comic stories for the overseas market starring a variety of Hanna-Barbera characters.

Mike Esposito’s interest in cartooning began at an early age. While attending Manhattan’s High School Of Music And Art, he met his life-long collaborator, Ross Andru. Initially fascinated by animation, and sharing a dream to work for Walt Disney, the duo spent long hours creating their own animation in the form of “flip books”. Reportedly, Mike’s mother didn’t want him to leave New York City for the West Coast. Instead, World War II and the U.S. Army interrupted Mike’s life (and residency in NYC). After the war, Mike returned from Europe, and turned to the comic book industry for employment. His first published work was for the notorious Victor Fox, but he soon gained gigs for Stan Lee at Timely Comics. Eager to produce their own comic books, young Mike and Ross formed “MR Publications” in 1951. The fledgling company published two titles, MR. UNIVERSE, a comic about a JOE PALOOKA-like wrestler, and MR. MYSTERY, a horror comic hosted by a dapper man in a top hat and tails. Unfortunately, the influence of the newly-formed Comics Code Authority hastened MR Publications’ early demise, and the team of Andru and Esposito moved on to DC Comics in 1952, working on the company’s “war comics” such as OUR FIGHTING FORCES, OUR ARMY AT WAR, MEN AT WAR and STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES. Still restless to control their own product, Andru and Esposito once again struck out on their own in 1954, this time with “Mikeross Publications”. Together, they created one of the very best MAD imitations, GET LOST!, as well as a line of well-produced romance comics, including 3-D LOVE, 3-D ROMANCE and HEART AND SOUL. Despite the high quality of these comics, they met with immediate failure, due to a legal threat from EC (the publisher of MAD) and the over-saturation and short fad-life of 3-D comics. Again, it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Returning to DC for a second stint, they drew the first “Sgt. Rock” story (appearing in OUR ARMY AT WAR No. 83, June, 1959) and, most notably, co-created -- with editor/writer Robert Kanigher -- “The War That Time Forgot”, an Oddball series pitting WWII servicemen against dinosaurs. “The dinosaur stories were the ones that Ross and I loved most out of all”, Mike recalls. “When we were sixteen and in high school, we used to frequently visit the Museum of Natural History. We’d spend countless hours sitting before the gigantic skeleton models of the T-Rex. With a sketch pad we’d sit and draw these monsters in the skeletal form, later revising the sketch with muscle and skin. We would create what we thought was the correct interpretation of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. We were obviously far from reality, but as kids we loved to work on them.Ross and Mike also drew WONDER WOMAN, edited and written by Robert Kanigher; like “The War That Time Forgot”, WONDER WOMAN featured its fair share of dinosaurs and giant monsters, too, despite being marketed as a so-called “girl’s comic”. (Their “Suicide Squad”, appearing in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, also had a similar monster-centric theme.) The same trio also created METAL MEN, a series featuring an imaginative and appealing team of shape-shifting robots, each composed of a different metal and given artificial life by a “responsometer”. “I thought and still think that was the best idea he had done,” reminisced Mike on Kanigher’s role in creating the concept. “Bob left the character design up to Ross and myself, under his supervision of course. The comic did very well, we did at least ten years of that comic.” Andru and Esposito also took over drawing THE FLASH after Carmine Infantino became DC’s Editorial Director, but it wasn’t a good fit for them. Their artistic approach was in no way similar to Infantino’s slick, kinetic version of the “Scarlet Speedster” and Frank Robbins’ bizarre scripts didn’t help matters any. Eventually, Ross Andru moved over to Marvel, as did Mike Esposito, first working for that rival publisher of DC’s under the pseudonym “Mickey Demeo”. Working on TALES TO ASTONISH’s “The Incredible Hulk” series (over Jack Kirby’s layouts), and inking John Romita’s pencil art – then Ross Andru’s -- on THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN kept Mike busy. While at Marvel, Mike worked on many other characters, including “The Avengers” “Iron Man”. In 1972, Andru and Esposito took a break from Marvel Comics to make a third -- if equally unsuccessful -- attempt to break away from the major comic book companies. Under the name “Klevart Enterprises”, they published, edited, wrote and drew a satire magazine to compete with MAD, CRACKED and THE NATIONAL LAMPOON. Bearing the Oddball title UP YOUR NOSE AND OUT YOUR EAR. Some of the magazine’s continuing Oddball characters were “Garlic Man”, “Thelma Of The Apes” and “Count Varicose”. Unfortunately, only two issues were published; supposedly, the title and a character named “Joe Snow” led their distributor to believe the magazine was somehow advocating the use of cocaine! Mike returned to Marvel Comics, working on THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and MARVEL TEAM-UP, among other titles. Around 1984, on the advice of cartoonist Stan Goldberg, Mike began inking stories for Archie Comics under the pen name of “Mike Espo!” He and Ross also teamed up once again on the Archie-published ZEN, INTERGALACTIC NINJA. But when Ross Andru died in 1994, Mike decided to retire from working directly for comic book publishers, switching his efforts to drawing specially-commissioned recreations of his and Ross’ previously-published artwork. In 2007, Hermes Press published PARTNERS FOR LIFE, co-written by Dan Best and Mike Esposito, about Mike and his decades-long collaborator, Ross Andru. You can visit Mike Esposito at http://www.mightymikeespo.net/

DC’s SHOWCASE, overseen by most of the company’s editors on a rotating basis, introduced new – or occasionally revived, repackaged and/or reprinted – concepts, in the hopes that the more successfully-received ones would be spun off into their own titles. The first issue of DC’s SHOWCASE featured the theme of “Firefighters” – introducing “Fireman Farrell”, written by Arnold Drake and drawn by John Prentice -- and was cover-dated March-April, 1956. As the series progressed, a wide variety of concepts and characters headlined the book, many of which went on to long runs in their own titles. Most of these features were “tested” for two or three issues, sometimes more. These included:

-- Kings Of The Wild” (animal heroes)
-- Frogmen
-- The Flash!” (many consider this to be the very first Silver Age superhero)
-- Manhunters” (police detectives)
-- Challengers Of The Unknown
-- Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane
-- Space Ranger
-- Adventures On Other Worlds” (starring “Adam Strange”)
-- Rip Hunter, Time Master
-- Green Lantern
-- Sea Devils
-- Aquaman
-- The Atom
-- The Metal Men
-- Tommy Tomorrow Of The Planeteers
-- Dr. No” (a reprint of a British CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED adaptation of the 1962 “James Bond” film)
-- Sgt. Rock” (retelling the war hero’s origin)
-- Cave Carson” in “Adventures Inside Earth
-- I – Spy!” (starring “King Farraday” in new material and reprints of DC’s 1950/1951 series DANGER TRAIL)
-- G.I. Joe” (mostly reprints from various DC war comics)
-- Doctor Fate And Hourman-- Enemy Ace
-- Teen Titans
-- The Spectre!
-- The Inferior Five
-- B’wana Beast!
-- The Maniaks
-- Binky” (re-drawn and updated reprints of earlier stories from 1948’s LEAVE IT TO BINKY series)
-- Top Gun” (reprints of stories from ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN)
-- The Creeper
-- Anthro
-- The Hawk And The Dove
-- Bat Lash
-- Angel And The Ape
-- Jonny Double
-- Dolphin
-- The Phantom Stranger” (new material and reprinted stories from DC’s original 1952/1953 PHANTOM STRANGER series and STAR-SPANGLED COMICS)
-- The Way-Out World Of Windy And Willy” (a redrawn and updated reprint from THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS No. 26)
-- Nightmaster
-- Firehair” (Joe Kubert’s tale of a red-haired white boy adopted by a tribe of Native Americans)
-- Jason’s Quest

The final issue of the original run of SHOWCASE, featuring the third appearance of Mike Sekowsky’s “Manhunter 2070” was No. 93, cover-dated September, 1970. SHOWCASE was briefly resurrected in 1977, carrying on the original’s numbering from No. 94 to No. 104 and showcasing “The Doom Patrol”, “Power Girl”, “Hawkman” and “O.S.S. -- Spies At War”. The title was later brought back for annual series in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996, showcasing work by promising newcomers.

This is the third and final appearance of “The Maniaks” in SHOWCASE; their two earlier appearances were in issues No. 68 (May – June, 1967) and No. 69 (July – August, 1967). All three of these issues of SHOWCASE were executed by the same creative team that whipped up this one.

This issue’s 23-page, three-part, book-length “Maniaks” story was written by E. Nelson Bridwell, penciled by Mike Sekowsky, inked by Mike Esposito and edited by Jack Miller. Part One, “What Swings, Fiddle Strings?”, begins as the four Maniaks perform a short song-parody on stage – “sung to the tune of “Spring Is Here!”, according to “That Fancy Young Man, Nelson” – to introduce the reader to Woody Allen, who stands nearby:

PACKRAT (singing):
Look who’s here,
This fellow is Woody Allen!
With him all of us are pallin’!

FLIP (singing):
He wrote “WHAT’S NEW, PUSSYCAT” so silly –
Followed it with “WHAT’S UP, TIGER LILLY”!

JANGLE (singing):
Next he writ a play called “DON’T DRINK THE WATER”:
It’s a hit;
The playwriting bug, he’d caught ‘er!

SILVER (singing):
This tale of his next play we entitle:
“WHAT SWINGS, FIDDLE STRINGS?”

As the story starts in earnest, the Maniaks are approached by the famous (and neurotic) comedian/actor/playwright/director Woody Allen as they wrap up another rock ’n’ roll performance – he’s written a new musical specifically for them!

WOODY ALLEN:
It’s set in the CIVIL WAR period! There are SIXTEEN new songs!

PACKRAT:
GEAR!

SILVER:
I’ll settle for a few THOUSAND old dollars…a WEEK…for EACH of us!

Woody then introduces his talented composer-lyricist, George M. Coldham. (In a footnote, “Nostalgic Nelson” informs us that George last appeared in the pages of THE INFERIOR FIVE No. 2, May – June, 1967,) Next, Woody hands out script pages to each Maniak:

WOODY ALLEN:
Here are your parts! FLIP, you play RHETT BUTTONS, a CONFEDERATE SPY! JANGLE, you are GENERAL MOLASSES S. GRANITE! PACK RAT, you’re GRAYBEARD RAVENAL, an aging MISSISSIPPI RIVER GAMBLER! And you SILVER, are SALOME RAND, dancing hostess of the SILVER DOLLAR SALOON!

SILVER:
SILVER DOLLAR! Now you’re talking my language!

Next, Woody introduces the rest of the cast:

WOODY ALLEN:
Miss JEANNETTE PUNCHINELLO plays the
General’s daughter, CARRIE GRANITE! ROCK HUTSUT plays the hero’s friend, LT. SAM SIDEKICK! MARJORIE MAIM plays the General’s wife, HEDDA GRANITE! GRUBBY HAYNES plays IVES, a COURIER! And I, naturally, am the stalwart hero, CAPTAIN JACK STRONGHEART!

SILVER:
But how about the heroine…the Southern girl in the script?

WOODY ALLEN:
You mean MATA O’HARA? Well, where did they get the Southern belle to play SCARLETT O’HARA in “GONE WITH THE WIND”?

JANGLE:
VIVIAN LEIGH…from ENGLAND?

WOODY ALLEN:
Meet the MOD FASHION MODEL…TWIGGLY!

TWIGGLY:
Greetings, ducks!

When the male Maniaks express their doubt at Woody’s casting choice, the big-eyed, scrawny British model replies:

TWIGGLY:
Go ahead and ‘ave a bit of a loff at me figger! I don’t envy them voluptuous women like AUDREY HEPBURN and PHYLLIS DILLER!

When a Southern speech teacher is engaged to train Twiggly how to speak in a Southern drawl, Twiggly slowly responds to his lessons…but the teacher winds up with a Cockney accent:

SOUTHERN SPEECH TEACHER:
‘Twas h’all h’in a dye’s work, guv’nor! H’any time yer needs me, gimme h’a ring, will yer?

Although the Maniaks regard George M. Coldham’s material as being “strictly 1930-ish…Rogers and Hart-type stuff” (no kiddin’!), they agree to try arranging the bushy-haired composer-lyricist’s songs, but he finds the results so awful that Coldham leaves, unable to endure hearing his “children” being “murdered”. When Woody explains that they still need a costume designer for his musical, Flip introduces him to the Maniaks’ tailor, Carnaby Rudge, who designs anachronistic “mod” costumes for the entire cast. When Woody’s play is scheduled to open for try-outs in Boston, Woody runs into the old neighborhood bully from his childhood, Floyd (who bears a disturbing resemblance to Joey Buttafucco!). In a flashback, Woody explains how his parents were so poor, they couldn’t afford to buy him a dog, so they got him an ant, instead. One day, while young Woody was walking “Spot” on a leash, Floyd started teasing him, so Woody -- who refers to himself as being named “Heywood”, which he definitely isn’t – orders Spot to kill Floyd, who promptly steps on his “dog”! Although this story really goes nowhere (perhaps it was taken from Woody’s stand-up routine), he explains to Flip that he and Floyd are now friends, ever since he removed a thorn from Floyd’s paw. When Woody’s musical finally opens, the critics give it murderous reviews, so he calls in the greatest “play doctor” in the world to fix his script – Milo Hackencouph – who’s a manic and sinister lookalike for Groucho Marx:

WOODY ALLEN:
Are you ready to begin?

MILO HACKENCOUPH:
Naturally! I’ll just open my bag and take out…my toy STETHOSCOPE, candy PILLS, and so on! Now, where are my PLAY NURSE and PLAY PATIENT?

WOODY ALLEN:
OOPS! Wrong KIND of PLAY DOCTOR!

After tryout performance in Boston and Philadelphia, Woody Allen’s musical, CONFEDERATE YANKEES, finally opens on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre:

WOODY ALLEN:
Well, this is IT! I hope nothing goes wrong!

SILVER:
There’s a big advance ticket sale! What COULD go wrong?

NARRATIVE CAPTION:
The PLAY, that’s what! But we’ll see Act I in Part II…which would confuse you no end! Anyway, here’s your exclusive first night ticket…

Sure enough, to the right of the above caption, is a phony ticket to the Lyceum Theatre, admitting one person to CONFEDERATE YANKEES for the night of October 21, 1967.

As Part Two, “Act 1 Of ‘Confederate Yankees!’ Confused?” begins on-stage against a backdrop of the frontier outpost of “Fort Night”, Jangle leads some of his soldiers in song (that “Generous Nelson” informs us in another footnote, that’s to the tune of “Everything I’ve Got Belongs To You”):

JANGLE/SOLDIERS (singing):
We have no electric tooth brushes or lights;
We’ve no movies or transcontinental flights;
By a kerosene lamp not much we can view…
And everything we’ve got we’d change with you!

We have no electric shavers in this base –
Just straight razor, hence the whiskers on this face!
We look rather like we’d escaped from a zoo…
And everything we’ve got we’d change with you!

We have peeves,
We have gripes,
But no plumbing and no pipes!
We’ve no cars, only nags –
Our life is one great big nothin’!

But our dances don’t snap sacroiliacs,
And we never have to pay an income tax;
We’ve no hydrogen bombs, no frozen beef stew…
Perhaps we’d just as soon NOT change with you!

JANGLE:
Why are we stuck here in the middle of nowhere when we’re dying to fight the enemy?

Then, General Molasses S. Granite and company sing to the tune of “Blue Moon”, according to “Astronomical Nelson”:

JANGLE/SOLDIERS (singing):
Blue men – you see us here at Fort Night,
Without a foeman to face,
Without a battle to fight!

Blue men – to fight I what we’re here for;
That’s what we’re shedding a tear for;
That’s what we cry in our beer for!

We’d like to see the Southern force before us,
We’d like to meet the rebels man to man;
Instead we have a barren plain to bore us –
It doesn’t even boast an Indian!

Blue men – still killing time at Fort Night,
Without a rebel to face,
Without a tussle to fight!

Then Capt. Strongheart (Woody Allen) and Pvt. Rhett Buttons (Flip) enter; while General Granite asks Pvt. Buttons to step off-stage with him, Pvt. Rhett Buttons greets Miss Carrie and her stone-faced mother, Mrs. Granite, who reminds Carrie that she can only marry an officer. When Mama steps off-stage, Carrie and Rhett sing a duet to the tune of “My Romance” (as “Sentimental Nelson” reminds us):

FLIP/JEANNETTE PUNCHINELLO (singing):
Our romance isn’t hampered by the fact that I’m poor;
Our romance with diseases isn’t racked beyond cure!

No spouse unshed, no wife enraged –
We’re both unwed and un-engaged!

Our romance isn’t doomed by race or color or creed…
Or the pants…who will wear them we don’t mull o’er, indeed!

By the stars, Captain’s bars would be like money in the bank
Our romance doesn’t lack a thing but rank!

As the star-crossed lovers leave the stage, Pack Rat, as reformed gambler Graybeard Ravenal, enters, singing a song a pair of soldiers, to the tune of “Falling In Love With Love”, (according to “Fall-Guy Nelson”):

PACK RAT (singing):
Falling in love with luck is falling for fairy-tales;
Falling in love with luck is chasing rainbows!
Euchre and poker broke a lot of good fellows;
Playing roulette, you bet, is only for shmoes!

I fell in luck, deserted my wife and kids;
I thought the dice were nice – I made them my gods!
I’ve learned my lesson, yes –
I’m finished with gambling;
On that I’ll give you odds!

Then Silver – in her role of Salome Rand, the dancehall queen -- enters, singing to the tune of “Mimi” (or so says “Me Nelson – You Reader”):

SILVER (singing):
See me – I’m asking all you soldier-boys to see me, give me the eye!
See me – upon the boards I want you all to see me, so don’t be shy!

See me – observe my skin so creamy, form so dreamy, things get steamy!
See me – if you desire to have a little fun, come and see me by and by!

Then the stage coach arrives and Mata O’Hara (Twiggly) disembarks, to be greeted by General Granite (Jangle), who sings to the tune of “Johnny One-Note”, “Noteworthy Nelson” tells us. When Mata admits that she’s confused as to exactly where she is, the General tries to clear up her confusion:

JANGLE (singing):
We have a feeling for this fort,
And the feeling, Ma’am, is this…
BLE-E-ECH!

Where we are standing,
Once folks did settle;
Their mettle they tested all right;
For there were redskins,
Indians savage,
Who’d ravage and slaughter and right,
Which put all the whites in a fright!

Didn’t like all those acts
When all’s said and done,
So they sent the facts back to Washington.

Somebody there in Washington, D.C.
Said, “We see protection they need.
I’ll send their letter through proper channels
For panels of big-shots to read –
And with all deliberate speed!

Andy Jackson, friend
Was the White House man;
Ere the talk did end,
It was Buchanan.

Each administration some official passed to some other official the buck;
Through much duplication, the request at last in a tangle of red tape was stuck!

It went through state office, war office, law office, post office;
One office sent us – bad luck!

Settlers had moved on, lured by the Gold Age, of old age the red men had died…
OWWW!
So here all alone we reside –
No one recalled s – so here all alone we reside!

Meanwhile, at that moment, Rhett leans over and whispers to Mata their old high school song – Dixie High, that is – “Dixieland”. When General Granite orders Private Buttons and Captain Strongheart to carry Mata O’Hara’s luggage into a nearby hotel, jealous Salome Rand observes this and breaks into song, to the tune of “My Heart Stood Still”, “Cardiological Nelson” tells us:

SILVER (singing):
He took one look at her –
Who thought it could matter?
Then came the urge to kill!

I’m not a mean person,
But I began cursin’
And had the urge to kill!

Thought not a single word was spoken,
I could tell the way he fell;
The way he ogled her told me so well he fell!

She wouldn’t live at all; --
Her blood I’d spill --
If I should indulge my urge to kill!

Inside the hotel, Rhett Buttons reveals to Mata O’Hara that in reality, he’s a Confederate spy – and she reveals the same, in song, no less (to the tune of “The Lady Is A Tramp”, according to “Bum Song-Writer Nelson”):

TWIGGLY (singing):
I love the Southland and all of its scenes,
From the Tallahassee to old New Orleans;
I like hush puppies, sow belly and greens –
That’s why the lady is a spy!

The cotton fields where the little folks romp;
The old plantation, its parties and pomp;
The alligators in Everglades Swamp –
That’s why the lady is a spy!

For home and flag and all of our kin –
We want to win;
Dixie for me!

For Lee and Davis
I’m ready to die –
That’s why the lady is a spy!

As Act I ends, and the intermission begins, Woody Allen (remember him?) compares notes with Jangle and Pack Rat:

WOODY ALLEN:
Say, that’s a beautiful beard you’re wearing!

JANGLE:
Like, I got no beard, cat! I’m doin’ my famous impersonation of Mitch Miller and it’s so good it FOOLS people!

WOODY ALLEN:
And what are YOU up to?

PACK RAT:
I found this yoyo and pocket watch on a dump…I’m just re-arrangin’ the works, Daddy-O! See? An automated yoyo for lazy yoyo-ers!

WOODY ALLEN:
I’m worried about this play and HE’S automating toys!

NARRATIVE CAPTION:
Maybe we’d better go to the lobby ‘till time for Act II…In PART III!

As Part Three, “Act II --Part III (Or Should That Be Part III -- Act II?)” begins, it’s six months later, and Mata O’Hara drops by the say “hello” to Captain Strongheart and his friend, Lt. Sam Sidekick. After sticking his head into a nearby horse-trough to cool off, Sam (played by Rock Hutsut) admits – in song, as “Swell-Headed Nelson” tells us, to the tune of “Thou Swell” – that’s he’s in love with the school ma’rm:

ROCK HUTSUT (singing
She’s swell, she’s pretty
She’s sweet, she’s grand
For me I’ve pity
To beat the band!

I was my own man, see?
Gay and fancy free!
None of feminine gender
Could ge’ me to bend my knee!

But when I zero in on her charm,
The handsome hero loves the school ma’rm!

Is it corny rot? Aye!
Not the plot I planned,
And it’s stale, it’s tasteless, it’s bland!

Meanwhile, Mata and Rhett look over the plans of Fort Night, singing to the tune of “Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered”, so says “Begorra! Nelson”:

FLIP/TWIGGLY (singing):
We’ve cased the fort;
They’ve placed the fort
Too out of the way for our taste.
The fort bemused, baffled and befuddled has we!

We’ll speed the plans,
They’ll read the plans --
But why in the heck do they need the plans?
Bemused, baffled and befuddled are we?

Came to spy for Jeff Davis,
Hoping to help the South;
Lord, from such missions, save us!
We need them lie a drouth!

A wary two,
We tarry to
Find out what it’s unnecessary to –
Bemused, baffled and befuddled are we!

Wondering out loud as to why the Confederacy needs the plans to Fort Night, Rhett also admits that he’s in love with General Granite’s daughter, Carrie. He tells Mata that she has no idea how awful it is to be in love with the enemy…but, to the tune of “With A Song In My Heart” (according to “Baritone Nelson”), she replies that she knows exactly what that’s like:

TWIGGLY (singing):
There’s a Yank in my heart,
Though I hate to acknowledge the fact.
Such a thing isn’t smart,
So with sorrow my conscience is wracked.

From the very start,
I thought he looked grand;
I wanted to land that man and…

At the sound of his voice,
I forgot what my duty should be –
What a terrible choice;
Capt. Strongheart or Robert E. Lee!

Can it all be true?
Can I see it through,
When the man in my heart wears blue!

Eavesdropping, Salome Rand learns that her rival for Capt. Jack is a “rotten Confederate spy”, she turns them in, and soon, they’re held at gunpoint by General Molasses S. Granite and his men:

JANGLE:
You are under arrest! You are spies…and one is wearing a CONFEDERATE UNIFORM…Anything you say may be HELD AGAINST YOU!

FLIP:
Sophia Loren…MAMIE VAN DOREN…KIM NOVAK!

General Granite takes the Southern spies to put them in the fort’s jail, singing all the way (as “Ritzy Nelson” tells us, to the tune of “There’s A Small Hotel”):

JANGLE (singing):
There’s a little jail
Where they set no bail
And where you will await your trial.

There are two small cells
Where each traitor dwells
Till knells that fearful date – your trial!

Then when you’re taken from jail –
Of which I just have sang,
You get a fair trial, dang you!
Then we’ll hang you!

When for help you wail,
But to no avail,
You’ll miss the little jail;
You’ll have to say
Farewell and hail,
Remembering what turned you pale –
Your trial!

Suddenly, Capt. Strongheart enters the scene:

WOODY ALLEN:
What is the meaning of this, sir?

JANGLE:
These two prisoners are accused of spying for the South! They may HANG!

Capt. Strongheart – or is it Woody Allen? -- is so elated to hear this news that he clicks his heels:

WOODY ALLEN:
I KNEW something good would develop in this plot! A trial! The life of the girl I love in jeopardy! What a story! If we can save Mata, we’ll have a WEDDING! Otherwise, an EXECUTION! How exciting!

Miss Carrie pays a visit to the imprisoned Rhett; she’s actually happy, because he’s only been plotting treason with Mata O’Hara – Carrie assumed that he was in love with the female spy!

FLIP:
But darlin’, they could very well HANG me until I’m DEAD!

JEANNETTE PUNCHINELLO:
Hmmm…That COULD be ALMOST as bad as losing you to another woman!

She immediately launches into a song that “Blowing-His-Own-Horn Nelson” tells us is to the tune of “Little Girl Blue”:

JEANNETTE PUNCHINELLO (singing):
I sit beside the guard house! –
What can I do?
My love is through!
He has been locked up in the guard house,
Away from Little Girl Blue!

Though he may be a rebel,
My heart is true!
But his gray uniform makes our romance too hopeless,
Since I’m a Little Girl Blue!

If he and I could slip off and elope no,
I wouldn’t say “no soap” now,
Or feel quite like a dope now!
Daddy would find his little girl hlew!

Later, thanks to constitutional law, Mata O’Hara finds herself on trial before a jury of her peers – “the biddies who live at the fort”, with Hedda Granite as the prosecutor. But when Graybeard Ravenal shows up at the trial to act as Mata’s defense lawyer, he reveals his real name is Shamus O’Hara – Mata’s father! This sends Hedda into a song, to the tune of “To Keep My Love Alive” (at least that’s what “Alive And Kicking Nelson” informs us):

HEDDA GRANITE (singing):
The prisoner, I’m prosecuting her!
We’ll soon be hanging her or shooting her…
Or any execution suiting her,
Because she is a spy.

When first she came to us last fall she spoke so oddly;
With a Southern drawl she spoke;
With “honey chile,” “sho’ ‘nuff,” “you all,” she spoke –
The language of a spy!

She talked of tall magnolia trees
And fields of sugar cane,
Of palm trees and tobacco plants –
Such things don’t grow in Maine!

She constantly kept up her “you-all-ing:’
She mentioned chivalry and dueling
And our suspicions thus kept fueling;
She has to be a spy –
She has to be a spy!

PACK RAT:
What evidence have you? After all, Salome Rand said “you all” in HER first song!

HEDDA GRANITE (singing):
What evidence? Look at Exhibit One’s:
A plan of this our fort! She’ll fib at once,
But that won’t keep her from the gibbet
Once we prove that she’s a spy!

Salome Rand o’erheard a scary plot
She hatched with Private Rhett –
How dare he plot? She’ll soon
Require a cemetery plot,
When we prove she’s a spy!

Besides this little diagram
Describing our defense,
Her letters to Jeff Davis which
Were ready to send hence!

Now, jurors, that she is the worst agree
The agent of a land accursed agree,
That she is guilty in the first degree
As a Confederate spy,
As a Confederate spy!

When the judge asks Mata if she has anything to say in her defense, her answer is surprisingly frank:

TWIGGLY:
What I did was for my cause…which, to avoid any controversial subjects in this magazine…like civil rights and states’ rights…Ah shall call “Southern-ness”!

Then, the judge asks for the jury’s verdict…which is “guilty”! But before he can pass judgment, a courier – named “Ives” – comes galloping into town with some startling news – in song, of course. This one, “”Nelson, Whose Watch Needs Repairing” tells us is to the tune of “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was”:

IVES (singing):
You’ve no idea what news I have!
I’m telling you!
Oh, what exciting news I have!
Good for Blues I have, too!

War! You had wished they’d end her, too…
Though hope seemed scant!
One year ago perhaps, or two,
Lee surrendered to Grant!

Grant! He on the war, beat the Rebs!
Saved the Union from being split!
Grant! Despite the rumors that spread that
He spent all is spare time lit!

Though this news is a little late,
It’s well received!
It will the people titillate
If the new is to be believed!
I’m grieved –
If you don’t believe my news now!

Upon hearing this news, General Granite proclaims that Mata O’Hara and Rhett Buttons are to be set free, prompting Ives to make another surprise announcement, one that seems to tie up all this musical’s loose ends:

IVES:
I have a commission for MAJOR RHETT BUTTONS, C.S.S., as a major in the U.S. ARMY!

FLIP:
I’m an OFFICER again!

JEANNETTE PUNCHINELLO:
We can get MARRIED!

PACK RAT:
Goodbye, daughter! Salome and I have reformed! We’re going where there will never be GAMBLNG or GIRL SHOWS…the new state of NEVADA!

SILVER:
A little place called LAS VEGAS!

WOODY ALLEN:
Mata and I will live in the North!

FLIP:
Not Carrie and me! I plan to make MILLIONS exploiting something the South has more of than any other part of the country! Namely – CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELDS! The Yankee tourists will pay PLENTY to tour them! We’ll declare special commemorative holidays, when we can RAISE RISES! It’ll be GREAT!

Then Flip sings the show’s final song (finally!), to the tune of “I Wish I Were In Love Again”, or so “Wishful-Thinking Nelson” tells us:

FLIP (singing):
The lovely belles,
The kitchen smells,
The Dixie moonlight
Weaving mystic spells,
The Rebel banners
And the Rebel yells –
I’m sure the South will rise again!

The banjos gay
The tunes they play,
The worthless paper
That was once our pay,
New generations
Growing up in gray –
I’m sure the South will rise again!

Forced to eat
Such grim defeat –
We were beat, but
We will never admit it!

The North awaits
To pay high rates
To help us celebrate
Our special dates!
The federation of the Southern states will rise again!

With the show ended, Woody Allen treats the Maniaks to a deli nosh afterwards:

WOODY ALLEN:
Now all we can do is wait for the morning papers…for WALTER KERR’s review of the play in the TIMES…and JOHN CHAPMAN’s in the NEWS!

FLIP:
Man, that ain’t what we MANIAKS pine for!

WOODY ALLEN:
Then what ARE you waiting for?

SILVER:
Not the verdict of Kerr and Chapman!

FLIP:
No, sir! We want the verdict of the READERS…about this SHOWCASE tryout of THE MANIAKS!

PACK RAT:
So all you fans, BUY…BUY!

JANGLE:
Bye, bye!

Yeah, I’ll just bet this issue of SHOWCASE really appealed to all of those teenage, comic-book-reading fans of Woody Allen and Rodgers and Hart musicals! (It’s not often one sees a humor comic that substitutes clever -- if action-less -- musical parodies for jokes.) It’s no wonder that the Maniaks were never seen again!

Also included in this issue of SHOWCASE/THE MANIAKS are the following features and advertisements:

  • Hey Guys! We’re Getting Ready To Enter The Ford-National Football League Punt, Pass & Kick Competition”, a black-and-white, inside-front-cover advertisement for a boys’ football competition, sponsored by “Ford” automobiles.
  • A page featuring two ads: “Be My Guest At America’s Greatest Amusement Park”, with a Curt Swan-drawn Superman extolling the virtues of “Palisades Amusement Park N.J.”, complete with free coupons for the “Batman Slide” and the “Carousel”; and “The World’s Greatest HO Scale Electric Trains Are Made In America By Tyco”, an ad for a model train catalog available via mail-order from “Tyco”.
  • Spectre-acular Announcement!” a one-page house-ad for THE SPECTRE No. 1 (November – December, 1967).
  • The CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN Have Fought Every Kind Of Foe…”, a half-page house-ad for CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN No. 59 (December – January, 1968).
  • Maniak Memos”, a one-page text-feature detailing the fictitious goings-on around the DC offices that produced this issue of SHOWCASE, most likely written by E. Nelson Bridwell. It reads: Editor worked swiftly, silently and efficiently at his desk. At such times, visitors observing him marveled at the way his forehead flowed gracefully into his nose, and from there on down to his lips, chin, and neck. Dramatically high cheek bones separated his delicately carved ears. Gradually he became aware of the fact that Carmine Infantino who occupies a small corner in the same room, was staring intently at him. Infantino’s two-foot high, pointed hat was resting on a table alongside him, but Editor’s eyes were on the craggy face of the artist. Now, among countless other virtues and skills possessed by Editor, he was also something of a mind-reader. His deep, resonant, beautifully-accented voice filled the room: “You’re trying to tell me something, Carmine. Go ahead and say it!” Carmine tried, unsuccessfully, to hide the amazement he felt at this demonstration of mind-reading. Gulping down a king-sized cigarette that had been dangling from between his teeth, he blurted out what was troubling him. “Why can’t I do the pencils for THE MANIAKS?” he screamed. Editor’s voice was calm. “Because Mike Sekowsky is penciling it.” Carmine snorted so loudly that Sophie (of the Superman TV staff) turned around and said, “Gesundhiet!” Ignoring the interruption, Infantino snorted on: “Sekowsky! You call him an artist?” Editor shook his handsome head. “No. All I said was, he’s penciling it.” Suddenly, far down the hall, the crack of a high-powered rifle. Editor buttoned his jacket. “Excuse me, but BIG BOSS wants me,” he snapped. As Editor started out, Barbara F., the only female editor at DC or any other comics, and a demon for work, looked up from her crossword puzzle. “Oh, Ed,” she called familiarly, “what’s a word meaning ‘to gaze in awe at’?” Editor kept right on going. As he walked down the long hall to voice of the other editors calling out to him from their cells. “Keep your chin up, baby!” “It won’t be long now!” “At least you’re out of it, brother!” An old hymn, added to the general gloom. Reaching the vault-like office of BIG BOSS, Editor fiddled nervously with the combination on the steel door until it swung open. “Hi, I.D.!” sang out Editor, with false cheerfulness. But I.D.’s ear was pressed against an antiquated crystal radio receiver At the words of the radio speaker, “…so this is Rasputin, coming to you from the capital of Imperial Russia, and signing off until tomorrow…” I.D. clicked off. “Got to get myself a more modern radio,” he muttered. He turned to Editor, sill respectfully waiting. “That isn’t necessary, J.M.,” he said, not unkindly, which is the same as saying kindly. Editor scrambled to his feet, brushing his trousers at the knees. BIG BOSS surveyed Editor silently for a moment or so, then spoke: “Well, what did you want?” “You summoned me, Big Boss! The rifle shot.” “Oh, yes, quite so!” said Big Boss, opening up a large ledger which he studied for a moment before turning back to Editor, who had, meanwhile, lost a little of his composure but none of his good looks There was an ominous note in BIG BOSS’s voice. “You remember my mentioning to you that a certain Mr. Lee bought 7,50 subscriptions for his own use to THE INFERIOR FIVE?” Editor nodded, and BIG BOSS continued. “Well, the same Mr. Lee has just taken out 2,500 subscriptions to THE MANIAKS. What do you make of it?” Editor shrugged. “Maybe he’s someone ho doesn’t like us – and is trying to keep both magazines off the stands.” “Makes sense,” said I.D. Editor smiled gratefully. “But not much,” added I.D. Editor stopped smilingly. He continued: “Anyway, that is not what I wanted to talk to you about…” But before he could go on, the telephone rang and BIG BOSS picked it up. The phone kept ringing and BIG BOSS began shaking it in a sudden panic. “It won’t stop,” he exclaimed wildly. “You have to lift the receiver, I.D.,” said Editor calmly. Next moment, BIG BOSS passed the phone over to Editor. “It’s for you,” he said. Editor listened to the voice of Mike Esposito, inker on THE MANIAKS and THE INFERIOR FIVE. “Noble Editor,” he began, “I know it’s evil to bother you when you’re in the throne room, but you see, my wife, Mary, is doing this crossword puzzle, and she needs one word that means ‘to gaze in awe at’ – and knowing how smart and nice you are…” Editor hung up and turned to BIG BOSS. “You were saying --?” BIG BOSS held up a new magazine, put out y a rival publisher. In bold and brazen print, the logo fairly bellowed at them: BRAND UGHH! With a voice dripping with honey blended with arsenic, BIG BOSS asked: “Did you know about this?” Editor’s eyes grew round as saucers. Is mouth formed a perfect circle. ”Why, no!” he gasped. BIG BOSS smirked. “Let’s start all over again, baby. Did you know about this?” “Yes, sir.” “Looks like an imitation of THE INFERIOR FIVE, doesn’t it? Looks like they decided to do a little spoofing on their own, after seeing THE INFERIOR FIVE and THE MANIAKS! Right? RIGHT?!?” Editor was on his feet, saluting wildly. “RIGHT!” he echoed in a booming voice. BIG BOSS let out a scream that cracked one of the shatter-proof windows in the office. “Then how come they’re suing us for plagiarism?!?” he roared. Before Editor had a chance to think of an answer, the door swung open, and Dick Milgroom stuck his head in. “Excuse me, Big Boss, but…” I.D.’s voice cracked another window. “How many times must I tell you – when you talk to me – use capital letters only!” “Sorry, BIG BOSS,” cooed Dick. Every once n a while BIG BOSS likes to show his editors that he is just one of the guys – and this was one of those times. He crossed his legs and lit one of Editor’s expensive cigarettes. His eyes drifted to an original FIGHT CANCER hanging on his wall, next to an original Picasso, and he dropped the cigarette, grinding it out in the mink wall-to-wall. BIG BOSS returned his gaze to Editor, winking roguishly. Editor felt foolish, but returned the wink. BIG BOSS now chuckled, “You know my wife Alice, don’t you, pal?” Editor nodded enthusiastically, “Sure do. Real pretty. And nice – sends all the editors CARE packages every time a hurricane hits New York.” BIG BOSS chuckled again, then began coughing. “Those cigarettes! What are you trying to do, kill me?” Editor smiled, but BIG BOSS pretended not to notice. “Er – back to Alice. She’s a crossword fiend, you know. In fact, she called me up a little while ago about a puzzle she was doing…asked me if I knew the word for ‘to gaze in awe at’!” “And did you tell her?” smiled Editor. Suddenly, BIG BOSS was raging maniacally. “No, you finky idiot! Because the word for ‘to gaze in awe at’ is – is – MARVEL!” There was a rattling sound in Editor’s throat. Leaping from his stool, he banged out of the office, forgetting to lock the steel door, tore down the long hall, and into his own office. Barbara’s head was still bent low over the puzzle. Waking her roughly, Editor screamed: “That word you wanted – meaning ‘to gaze in awe at’ – it’s – it’s – MARVEL!” Barbara’s face turned white – and it made a nice contrast with her red hair. In a panic, she began counting spaces in the puzzle. Then, she looked up, and began laughing hysterically with relief. “Nothing to worry about, darling,” she purred, “it doesn’t fit!

  • Never Too Late To Get On The BOMBA Trail!”, a one-page house-ad for BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY No. 1 (November – December, 1967).
  • It’s Sheer Panic When Those Gay Blades, Merryman, Dumb Bunny, The Blimp, white Feather and Awkwardman, Lose Their Heads Over An Execution During The French Revolution!”, a half-page house-ad for THE INFERIOR FIVE No. 5 (November – December, 1967).
  • Novelty Parade”, a page of “lots of laughs and fun galore with a wonderful assortment of bargains”, that include “magic”, “puzzles”, “novelties”, “jokes”, “gags”, “games”, “tricks” and “fun galore”, all available through mail-order from “Novelty House”.
  • Ban Gloom!”, a one-page house-ad for DC’s Oddball (and unsuccessful, lasting for only a single issue) attempt at combining teenage fan magazines with comic books, TEEN BEAT (1967), illustrated by Joe Orlando.
  • The Winning Number Is 3!”, a one-page house-ad for JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA No. 58 (November – December, 1967), an “80 pg. Giant” (“The Ultimate Utmost In Comic Magazines!”) with the theme of “They’re The World’s Greatest Super-Heroes! So How Come They’re In Such A Mess?
  • Cap’s Hobby Hints”, one of a series of “How to Do it Better” features focusing on tips on plastic model kits, written and drawn by cartoonist Henry Boltinoff. (According to this feature, which based its “hints” on readers’ suggestions, “If published, you will receive $5 and the original art.”)
  • DC Currents”, a full-page house-ad listing then-upcoming DC comic books, including ACTION COMICS No. 356, ADVENTURE COMICS No. 62, DETECTIVE COMICS No. 369, STRANGE ADVENTURES 206, OUR ARMY AT WAR No. 187, THE ATOM No. 34 and CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN No. 59.
  • ’Holy Pin-Ups!’ Your Own Pop Gallery – All Six For Only $1.00”, an ad for a variety of “pop art” posters depicting now-classic “Batman” images (all drawn by Carmine Infantino and inked by Murphy Anderson), available via mail-order from “Batman Pin-Ups” (located at 575 Lexington Avenue Ave., NYC, which just happened to also be the address of DC Comics’ editorial offices.)
  • The Best Of DC On TV!”, a black-and-white, inside-back-cover ad for CBS’s Saturday morning cartoon series THE SUPERMAN-AQUAMAN HOUR OF ADVENTURE (animated by the Filmation studio) and ABC’s prime-time, live-action BATMAN TV series.
  • Me Tarzan, You, Build!”, a back-cover ad for a plastic model kit depicting Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Tarzan Of The Apes” (based on NBC’s then-current TARZAN prime-time TV series starring future “Doc Savage” and game show host Ron Ely as the ape man) manufactured by “Aurora Plastics Corp.”, drawn by Murphy Anderson.

ODDBALL FACTOID – This issue of SHOWCASE isn’t the only authorized version of Woody Allen in cartoon form! INSIDE WOODY ALLEN (1976 – 1984) was a syndicated newspaper comic strip, written by David Weinberger (among others) and drawn by cartoonist Stuart Hample! To read abundant samples of INSIDE WOODY ALLEN, visit <http://www.barnaclepress.com/comics/archives/comedy/inside_woody_allen/index.html>

New Next Week: ODDBALL COMIC #1,175: MONDAY, MAY 28, 2007 – Move over, J-Lo! It’s the return of the faceless super-spy, WEREWOLF, in superheroic silliness as only Dell can mangle it! This time, Werewolf and his pet wolf Thor go up against the undersea threat of Chinese Communist Sing-Lo and his deadly trained dolphins! And it’s all drawn by ODDBALL COMICS favorite Tony Tallarico! You’ll howl with demented delight, despite the foul odor of all that wet fur!

For more from Scott Shaw!, visit his Web site at http://www.shawcartoons.com/.

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