Sunday, December 13, 2009

Comics Review: LITTLE LULU: MISS FEENY'S FOLLY AND OTHER STORIES (Dark Horse, 2009)

A moment of silence to acknowledge the death of Irving Tripp, the man who inked John Stanley's pencils on LITTLE LULU for so many years. Tripp passed away on November 27 at the age of 88. Along with his seminal work on LULU, Tripp inked the Dell adaptations of Dumbo and The Reluctant Dragon (the latter of which was reprinted in one of the "Gladstone I" digests in the 80s) and also drew TOM AND JERRY and BUGS BUNNY in the 40s. He stuck with Western Publishing (almost) to the bitter end, retiring in 1982.

.
.
.

What happened to John Stanley during the period covered by this volume, LITTLE LULU #100-105 (October 1956 - March 1957)? In issue #101, he seems to go slightly crazy, spinning off such wacky ideas as racing earthworms, a man bringing his pet mouse to the movies (and asking for a separate seat for her, no less), and riffs on I Love Lucy (in "The Deadly Weapon," Tubby suddenly starts calling Lulu "Lulusie" for no apparent reason) and simply flooding his panels with dialogue. Since I know that Stanley's break with LULU is just a couple of years away, this sudden upsurge in energy may be the comics writer's equivalent of a star burning itself out before entering the "white dwarf" phase. Whatever came over Stanley at this moment, it appears to have subsided by #102, in which Stanley goes in completely the opposite direction by telling a story (of the "fellers" ripping off lemonade-saleslady Lulu by stealing lemonade with their water pistols) with no dialogue whatsoever. The balance of the collection is more conventional and, as always, highly entertaining.

No comments: