Sunday, June 11, 2017

Adventures of Bob Hope #95 (1965)


Adventures of Bob Hope #95 (October-November, 1965)
"Super-Hip, the Sickest Super-Hero of 'em All"
Writer - Arnold Drake
Artist - Bob Oksner
Cover Price: $0.12

We'll wrap up our "comedy weekend" by meeting the sickest super-hero of 'em all... Super-Hip!  

What in the bluest of hells is a "Super-Hip", you ask?  Well, if we are to go by the cover copy, he's a swingin' teen, and honorary nephew to Bob Hope.  I *hope* (ha!) that clears things up.

Just in case it didn't, let's read on and find out together.

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We open with one of those Silver-Age splashes which shows us some of what we're in store for... it's here we meet Super-Hip, and he's really causing a stir... getting back at some nogoodniks who have done him wrong.  I mean, if you're gonna step on a mans' pointed Italian shoes, you really should expect to be forced into a pool via super breath.  That's just science.  As the story proper begins, we see Bob Hope (and his... talking dog) preparing the guest bedroom for the arrival of his old buddy "Crazy Legs" Jutefruce's son.  Bob's been tasked with keeping an eye on him while his parents tour Europe.



The doorbell rings, and Bob falls down the stairs.  I can't claim to be the biggest Bob Hope fan, but I don't recall him being big on the slapstick... figured him to be more "quippy".  Anyhoo, at the door stands Tadwallader Jutefruce, and boy is he Square!  Bob brings him to his room, which is adorned like a young sports fan lives there.  Well, that won't do at all... ol' Tad does a bit redecorating, which makes it look, I dunno, nerdy?  I think that's where they're going with this... I just look at it and think "old lady".



That evening, Bob and Tad try to get to know one another over an episode of... Hee Haw, perhaps?  Tad ain't impressed, referring to the program as "vulgar" and "uncouth".  Bob does what any confused parental-figure would do in this situation, and confers with his talking dog about how he might "reach" the boy.  The dog suggests therapy (via his PhD dog-friend Poodle Von Noodle, naturally), Bob thinks... nah, practical jokes would work better.



... and it doesn't.  The following morning Bob drops Tad off at school.  The hip, swingin' coeds treat him as though he's a Prince... but not in the good way.  They tease him about saying "Hi" to the Queen Mother and all that... and all the boy wants to do is get to class.  This really makes me wonder... just how long are "Crazy Legs" and wife gonna be in Europe if their kid has to change schools?  Are they ever coming back?  Anyhoo, he asks the gals where room 302 is... and they tell him.  Boy, do they...



It's here he meets his biology teacher, Beverly Ghastly!  She is stringing up the class skeleton... with a noose, of course.  This is also where we meet the antagonists of this rollicking tale, Badger and his "Swingers".  They are about as imposing as their name suggests.



While Tad helps Ghastly hang the skeleton, the baddies start shaking the ladder.  It's a good thing he doesn't make it past the first rung, otherwise this could be dangerous!



Next class is chemistry... wow, this is one science-heavy curriculum!  Badger helpfully escorts Tad to the lab, where we meet... Professor Heinrich Von Wolfman!  And yeah, he's a wolfman... you've probably figured out the direction this is going... even if the cover didn't tip you off.  Anyhoo, the Prof's latest chemical concoction goes boom... then he bites Tad's hand.



Next up is gym class, where we meet Coach Franklin Stein... ay yai yai.  Guess he got some time away from S.H.A.D.E.!



Tad mentions that the Coach, who is most definitely not Frankenstein, bears a striking resemblance to... Frankenstein, and gets thrown through a wall for his sass.  What's more, he's then sent to the Principal's office for destroying school property... wonk wonk.



It's here that we meet the Principal... who, if ya can believe it, sleeps in a casket.  Shocking, right?  Well, this is the "friendly Principal" Dr. Van Pyre!  They chat a bit, and I think the Doc sees the lad as a lost cause... his advice (which I didn't realize was solicited) is to avoid the Cafe Go-Go-Ghoul.  Hmm...



As Tad leaves the school, one of the swingin' kittens (Lisa) approaches.  She suggests that under his Square facade lies the heart of a party animal.  He isn't a fan of the "swingers", especially if they include her "ape like friend" Badger.  And so, she suggest he... go die!  For real.  Bob Hope is watching this play out from afar.



At this point, Badger saunters up... and I gotta say, he's dressed even nerdier than Tad.  He's like Thurston Howell the Third in a motorcycle helmet!  Anyhoo, He and Lisa proceed to beat up the poor nerd... then throw him into a fountain.  Bob almost intervenes, but his talking dog convinces him otherwise.



It's at this point that poor Tadwallader Jutefruce makes his stunning transformation.  His body is overcome with hipness and swingosity... he spins around like Wonder Woman, however instead of becoming an Amazon Princess, he becomes... Austin Powers?



Why of course not, he becomes the Sickest Super-Hero of 'em All... Super-Hip!  With his battle-cry "Down With Lawrence Welk!" he and his Super-Guitar take to the skies of... er, Los Angeles, I suppose.  I don't think Bob Hope lives in Gotham.



Super-Hip sees the target of his scorn... the rat himself, Badger!  He transforms into... a pair of clippers, and gives ol' Badger a Legion of Doom haircut.  It looks ridiculous, though, he might do a better job than Wonder Woman's stylist.



Super-Hip ain't done yet... next he transforms into Root Cream Oil... then a can of whipped cream... then an ice cream scoop... and finally a jar of maraschino cherries.  Ay yai yai.  I can't help but wonder why this guy never joined the Doom Patrol or something.  (That's a call-forward, by the way). 



Lisa runs up and is instantly in love... referring to Super-Hip as Fab! Marv! and Sensashe! (but, as the Hipster notes, she leaves out Stupend! Incred! and Fantast!).  She then tells him to... commit suicide.  What is with this woman?!  Bob Hope makes his entrance to... I dunno, hit on Lisa a bit?  Super-Hip transforms into a fan... and blows Bob's clothes off.



Super-Hip's next stop is the forbidden Cafe Go-Go-Ghoul... and lemme tell ya, it's quite a scene.  This is like those dancing scenes from Peanuts if we the gang had a pants full of ants.  Super-Hip rushes in and kisses all the swooning kittens.



The then hops on stages and begins crooning.  Outside, Badger and his buddy are staging a call to the police from a "Letitia Littleoldlady" to complain about the noises emanating from the cafe.



Inside the ghoulish faculty we met earlier... jeez, that was the same issue (?) show up to quiet the party.  Super-Hip wastes no time zapping them with his electric "Soopy" guitar... which causes them to all start cuttin' a rug... doin' the "Faculty Frug"!



At this point, the police have arrived... and wouldn'tcha know it, they're also susceptible to the Soopy-G.  It's not long before they're doing the... er, Patrolman Plotz?  No, no, no... that's clearly the "Law-Man Limbo".  Next Super-Hip makes another transformation... this time into a vacuum cleaner.  He sucks up Badger and his buddy before depositing them... out the back end (ew!) into a garbage can.



Our titanic tale ends the following morning.  Tad has no memory of his alter-ego... and in fact, swears to take him down!  Dun, dun, dunnn...



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Well, that was... weird, right?  Not out of the realm for our friend Arnold Drake.  I gotta say, the only thing that might have made this weirder is if our other friend Bob Haney was doing the dialogue!

I know I kinda poked fun at this throughout the synopsis... it's easy to do so when discussing a humor/comedy mag... but, damned if I didn't enjoy this.  Such weird fun... it almost felt like I had unearthed an ancient Young Animal book, except, ya know... without gratuitous use of the F-word.  Boy, I hope Young Animal is still a thing in the coming years, or that's going to be one horribly dated reference.

I mentioned above that it's a wonder that Super-Hip didn't wind up joining the Doom Patrol or something.  I know that these "Hollywood" books reside somewhere on the periphery of the DC Universe proper... but, would it surprise you if I were to tell you that Super-Hip actually made a couple of non-Bob Hope comic book appearances?  There were only the tiniest of handfuls, so let's not get too excited... but the most recent only occurred six years ago (!) in an issue of, you guessed it... Doom Patrol!  This is the pre-Flashpoint volume written by Keith Giffen.  Super-Hip is made out to be an old college buddy of Cliff Steele!  How cool is that?


From Doom Patrol (vol.5) #20 (May, 2011)
Words - Keith Giffen / Art - Matthew Clark

It makes me think we might not have seen the last of ol' Tad's alter-ego.  I'm tellin' ya, this would fit right at home at Young Animal!

For the story itself... it was silly.  It's what we've come to expect from a Silver-Age humor mag.  The dialogue was, well... super hip, and cheesy to 2017 eyes... and the art was really nice.  It was clean, Bob Hope was identifiable, really a nice mix of cartoony and comic booky.  Bob Oksner is a name I really didn't know before starting this blog (almost 500 days ago), but he's certainly on my radar now.

Overall, I'd tell ya to grab any of these DC-Hollywood books if you can find 'em on the cheap.  This one set me back a cool... dime, and I have no regrets.  I'd have probably paid at least twice that if I had to!  All kidding aside, this is definitely worth checking out.

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