Monday, December 4, 2017

Achille Talon, By Way Of Achille Talon!

You may recognize the name “Achille Talon” as that of one of our friends, and regular commenters. 

But, do you also recognize “Achille Talon” as that of a wonderful French/Belgian comic series, from which our friend “Achille Talon” has taken his screen name? 

Neither did I, until he brought it to my attention by providing an Amazon link to a rare English language volume translation of one of the stories – pictured above! 

...Now, it's time to bring it to YOUR attention! 

Click to Enlarge, to Read Descriptive Text. 
“Achille Talon”, or “Walter Melon” as he is known in English, is the product of creator Michael Greg who, in this volume gives us a fantastic 44-page comedy adventure (in four-tiered panel layout, as was done in Dell and Gold Key Comics – no less), in which Achille/Walter journeys to the jungles of “Messaplato” in search of his lady-love, the fair (and somewhat indifferent) “Magnesia Pamperbilt” and the diamond mine she just learned she has inherited. 

 “Magnesia’s Treasure” (1977, with an English translation created in 1981), opens with Achille/Walter purchasing a small vase for Magnesia from an outdoor flea-market, as a token of his undying affection. Click to Enlarge any and all panels! 

We readers are quickly thrust into the magnificent absurdity that I’ll presume permeates the entirety of the  “Achille Talon” series, as Magnesia enthusiastically accepts the gift – but decides that she must change the décor of her entire living room to fit the vase!  

To do so, she orders her servant/faithful companion “Hexcedrin” to switch her present living room furniture with that of a departed aunt and uncle, which is stored in Magnesia’s vast attic.  

Achille/Walter, ever the fawning gentleman assists, and finds an old book – containing a letter that reveals Magnesia to be the heir to a lost diamond mine in the aforementioned Central American land of “Messaplato”. 

Impulsive Magnesia and Hexcedrin are off in search of the titular “Magnesia’s Treasure” , with Achille/Walter just late enough to miss the departing plane, and imagine the many terrors the two ladies will be facing without his protection! 

Achille/Walter gears-up for a dangerous jungle adventure, takes the next plane, and finds the greatest dangers to be customs, local law enforcement, and wild vehicular traffic!  Please forgive an occasional "crooked panel", as this book cannot lie flat on my scanner!  

Teaming up with a perpetually inebriated old war buddy of his father’s, “Arthur, the 14th Duke of Booswallow” (a pun to make me envious), Achille/Walter eventually plunges into the jungle to find Magnesia.

Along the way he picks-up a delightfully funny array of pursuers, hangers-on, and just plain old self-interested exploiters that include…  

…An officer of the Messaplato Secret Police...

…The enterprisingly mercenary natives of the “Kiukiubamba Tribe”...

…A band of revolutionaries... 

…A rather inept man-eating leopard...

…The mysterious adventurer with a bad case of amnesia, “Colorado Jones”…

…Dangerous fauna, and deadly man-made traps…

…And the Messaplato Military!

This wondrous mix (and mix-UP) of humorous and satirical characters makes for one heck of a conclusion!  ...But, no more spoilers! 

Instead, we’ll move on to why the readers of this Blog should enjoy “Achille Talon”, AKA “Walter Melon”.

The character of Achille/Walter is a delightful mix of Carl Barks’ Donald Duck, and E.C. Segar’s J. Wellington Wimpy – yet, with a quality all his own. 
The basic story structure is that of a Carl Barks Donald Duck adventure, beginning innocently in Achille/Walter’s hometown, and leading to intrigues in an exotic locale – with lots of twists, turns, and eccentric characters to encounter along the way. 

Michael Greg was Don Rosa, “before there WAS Don Rosa”!  Like Rosa, Greg adheres to - and builds upon -  the classic Barks story structure, yet creates panel after panel of insanely cramped detail… and does so in a very funny style of cartooning! 

The English translation, by Pablo Vela, is worthy of the best in the English-dialoguing business, such as Geoffrey Blum, Gary Leach, and the “Creative Core Four” of the present IDW Disney comics! (…You know who we are!)

I heartily recommend “Achille Talon”, AKA “Walter Melon” to the readers of this Blog – and thank “The Other Achille Talon” for recommending it to me! 

…Finally, I don’t know if any additional American English translations of “Achille Talon” were created after 1981, but *I’d* sure like to give it a go sometime! 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: If Birds Had Their Own Laws, This Would Be One of Them!

While we’re still rooting around the long box for WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES, let’s turn our attentions to Issue 165 (Cover Date: November, 1950), home of the “Black and Red Woody Woodpecker Halloween Pumpkin Gag” covered in THIS POST.  But now, let’s look in on Homer Pigeon!

To my knowledge, Homer Pigeon only appeared in three cartoons but was, oddly, a mainstay of the Walter Lantz comic books – regularly appearing from the 1940s thru ‘60s, and (via reprints in Gold Key’s Golden Comics Digest) into the 1970s!   

Unlike Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda, Homer did not live in a world largely populated by “human characters” with a side dish of other funny animal characters like Wally Walrus or Charlie Chicken.  Instead, Homer lived in a “world of birds” whose structures were in the trees – with his town even named “Birdville”. 

FUN FACT: Homer actually introduced Chilly Willy to comic books, as noted down somewhere in THIS POST

Homer basically existed to win the affections of fickle “Carrie Pigeon”, and thwart the schemes of his rival “Red Cardinal”.  Or, so went the vast majority of his many comic book stories. 

Click to enlarge, for ease of reading!
Most often, an underhanded competitor for Carrie’s attentions, in this tale Red is more of a moocher – who sponges off Homer, rather than work for his meals.

Fed up with, uh… keeping Red fed, Homer sends the sponging nuisance off with just a cup of coffee… because Homer’s such a good, soft heated guy.  

But, here the story takes an odd turn – even for a Walter Lantz comic (often more loosely plotted than the concurrent Disney comics we’re all accustomed to) about a separate civilization of anthropomorphic birds!

Hungry Red decides to STEAL AN EGG to eat!  Let’s not even try to think about what that could possibly mean in a civilization of BIRDS! 

See what I mean? 


Then, THIS happens! 

Red apparently draws the line at cannibalism, and wisely decides to return the chick to its mother’s nest (After all “Dell Comics are GOOD Comics”, or so said their “Pledge to Parents”), when Homer gets the drop on him! 

Yeah, if ANY logic could be applied to this bizarre situation, it WOULD be that THIS is a “Law”!

Red is sentenced for his crime, according to bird law! 

And, sentence is carried-out by an unusually bird-like version of Woody’s rival “Buzz Buzzard” (so named on-panel)

Gotta love that the blindfold doesn't work! 

Also gotta love that Buzz can’t count!  …Or, maybe he CAN, and just took some more licks for the hell of it!

So, the next time you see the comic book Donald Duck in jail, think how different it COULD have been for him, if Walter Lantz and Universal got DONALD from Disney, instead of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit!   

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 Continues with Fluffy and Mervin and Tom and Jerry.

Remember the turkey pictured in our last post, from the cover of WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES # 178? 

Well, he’s still around (thanks to the kindness of Andy and Woody) – and so is Thanksgiving 2017, since Thanksgiving is a four-day-holiday, after all!  And, that’s not including Cyber Monday!

So, to keep being thankful (if only for the next few days) for all the persons, places, and things that you would normally just “kick out of the way” throughout the rest of the year, we offer this Fluffy and Mervin Thanksgiving gag created by our good friend Debbie Anne Perry!

Let’s be thankful that persons like Debbie are out there to drop unexpected smiles on us – sometimes when we need them most! 

Seeing this brought to mind a Tom and Jerry Thanksgiving tale, from Dell Comics’ TOM AND JERRY # 184 (Cover Date: November, 1959) that will be forever seared into my brain. 

Why, you are undoubtedly asking your collective selves, is this particular Tom and Jerry story forever seared into my brain? 

Good question, considering there were SO MANY great Tom and Jerry stories created over the 1940s thru ‘60s.  

Indeed, I daresay that the “ten-pagers” that led off each issue of the TOM AND JERRY title may very well be second only to the Carl Barks Donald Duck “ten-pagers” that led off each issue of WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES during that same period, in terms of reliably delivering great art and humor!

But, this one (and certain others like it) remains forever special because, back in those very early days of my existence, my grandmother bought and read these comics to me… long before I could read them myself!  In fact, it was from comics like these that I learned to read, well before entering elementary school!  They also created the life-long love of comics that lives within me to this day!

Talk about having something to be thankful for!   

But, to our story… “The Turkey” 10 pages.  Writer: Unknown.  Artist: Phil De Lara. 

Tom has just prepared a Thanksgiving meal for his GrandmaTabby, to which Jerry and Tuffy have invited themselves.  Tom tells the story of his ancestor at the first Thanksgiving , and why mice are never invited to a Thanksgiving meal. 

Aw, this story was never reprinted – and due to the images of pesky Native American mice, probably never will be even if there WERE any Tom and Jerry comics – so here it is for your Thanksgiving enjoyment.  Click to enlarge, for greater ease of reading. 

Hopefully, Tom gets his fill of Thanksgiving turkey before Cyber Monday! 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!