This story is clearly drawn, written and lettered by John Stanley. He is in fine form here, as he is in the previous two issues' "Woody Woodpecker" stories for New Funnies. His spiky, expressive pen line brings an enormous energy to this dryly morbid story. That Stanley was already such an adept cartoonist, prior to his long engagement on the Little Lulu series, is something that most comics historians have overlooked.
Stanley's cartooning took a blow in 1945. He had to mimic the primitive, near folk-art cartoon style of Marjorie Buell in his role as writer-artist-adapter of her valuable commercial property. The look and feel of Marge's poor cartooning had an adverse affect on Stanley's work through 1946.
He reclaimed his own, superior cartooning style in 1947, with a series of dynamic, striking "Woody Woodpecker" one-page gags, and with his first comic-book original, "Jigger and Mooch," which he wrote and drew for the final issues of Animal Comics. Those pieces are available elsewhere on this blog. Admirers of John Stanley the artist are advised to seek these posts out.
And now, the original 2008 post...
Just in time for the Labor Day weekend--that last hurrah of summer--here's a 1944 "Woody Woodpecker" story set at the beach. Our favorite sociopath vends deadly hot dogs and saves the day!
Such stories make me wonder how often 1940s folks encountered food poisoning or other invasive bacteria in their daily lives.
This story continues the venerable link between nutty cartoon characters and the sale of hot dogs. Ub Iwerks made a wonderful Mickey Mouse cartoon in 1929 called THE KARNIVAL KID. This may be the wellspring for the whole hot dog fixation in animated cartoons--and, later, comic books. It's also the rowdiest, most un-Disney MM entry.
I won't be hitting the beach this weekend--it's rainy and cool in overcast Seattle. I don't eat hot dogs, either--well, perhaps I'll encounter a cartoon octopus!
See you soon...