People seemed to dig the previous two Clyde Crashcup posts. Thus, lightning strikes thrice and a post is born.
I've said everything that needs saying about Clyde Crashcup, and where it fits in the John Stanley canon, elsewhere on the blog.
John Stanley (and two of his finest artists, Irving Tripp and Bill Williams) seemed to enjoy themselves with this five-issue series. There's a genuine sense of fun in their DNA. Much less joy is evident in other post-Little Lulu work-for-hire projects, such as New Terrytoons (and, arguably, the later run of Nancy and Sluggo).
Crashcup's built-in Quixotic qualities were tailor made for the John Stanley sensibility. As well, the series offered catnip to its creator: a single situation that could be milked for endless variations.
Here, for your summer reading pleasure, are three stories from this second issue of CC. Well, four; first is a one-page filler illustrated and lettered by Irv Tripp...
And now, Clyde Crashcup un-necessarily invents the dog:
This panel comes from the last issue of LL John Stanley worked on--itself the subject of one of this blog's most popular posts.
This concept came late enough in the Little Lulu run that it was, likely, fresh in Stanley's memory when he put together the Crashcup comics in 1963/4.
There are probably many more examples of the ultra-fluffy dog in comics. Time is fleeting, so I limit myself to these two.
Back to our regularly scheduled broadcast. Undeterred, Crashcup, er, behooves himself to conjure the camel:
The cynicism that often runs rampant in Stanley's later work is everywhere in Clyde Crashcup. This element is perhaps the key that makes these stories read at a higher level than Stanley's Nancy and Sluggo, et al.
Cynicism is built-in, on a core level, in the mere concept of the Crashcup character. It's one thing for a little kid like Tubby Tompkins to daydream, and surf his cognitive biases from one whim to another. For an adult to be crippled by delusion is something deeper and darker. I doubt the creators of the Crashcup character had any of this in mind. This was Stanley's turf, and an aspect of the human condition he understood like no other comics creator, save Carl Barks.
As astute reader and animation/comix historian Thad K. observed, the ending of "Camel" is a sour take-off on that beyond-cliché Charles Atlas bodybuilding ad, seen in thousands of comic books. Parodies and references to that ad could make up a small comics anthology.
Switching from living matter to inert, our hero endeavors to dream up communications in our third and final tale...
In classic fashion, Stanley, via Crashcup, invents, considers and abolishes a parade of mass-comm formats. (What would Clyde Crashcup make of e-mail, telemarketing, infomercials or Facebook?)
The impact of mail, telegrams, telephones and TV on Clyde's life are amusingly detrimental. The garbled singing telegram strikes me as worthy of Rube Goldberg's wit.
The Crashcup series seems to have been written for an older audience, as were Kookie and Thirteen Going on Eighteen. Nowadays, a John Stanley could find a comfortable, profitable niche in creating comics for more perceptive, experienced readers. Working inside the mainstream comics mill of the early 1960s, Stanley anticipated a need for comics that gave a nod to their consumers' intelligence.
He didn't have the time or patience to really pursue this notion, but it's evident in the work itself. This is one of many aspects of John Stanley's work that keeps it current to 21st-century readers, both young and old.