Sunday, April 30, 2006

"Little Archie On Mars"

Having done way too many posts about the greatness of cartoonist-writer Bob Bolling and his "Little Archie" comics, I thought I'd actually scan and post one of his stories so Bolling newcomers could get an idea of what makes his work so special.

This is "Little Archie on Mars," a 1961 story; it's included as the first story in the Little Archie Collection, which I highly recommend you get. This is Bolling in his high-adventure mode, a pure and perfect expression of a kid's wildest fantasies: everything in the story seems exactly the way a kid would imagine it. It's not a stuffy grown-up science-fiction story, it's a story for the imaginative child in all of us. Even the dialogue sounds like it comes from a child's vocabulary, without ever feeling in the least dumbed-down. And Bolling's artwork was always wonderful at finding the right angle or pose to suggest an important action. Check out the effect in the very last panel, with Little Archie bathed in the light of the TV that, as he says, has been watching him.

It's a 14 page story -- unlike the "regular" Archie artists, who tended to be limited to five or six pages for most stories, Bolling got a lot more leeway to make a story as long or short as he needed, and also unlike the other artists, he got to sign his name. Indeed, Bolling seems to have had a lot more freedom in terms of variety of subject matter, character development, and so on than many a "grown-up" comic book artist. And his work is still some of the best ever done for comic books, of the grown-up or kiddie type.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This rules! I wanna get that collection, but I'm disapointed to learn it won't include my favourite serious archie stories from this old digest I had, almost all Bollings art.

Do a post on Samm next! :D