Binky’s Buddies #6 (November-December, 1969)
“Benny in The Gallant One”
“Buzzy in The Great Outdoorsman!”
“Binky’s Secret Admirer”
Artist – Henry Scarpelli
(Probable) Editor – Joe Orlando
Cover Price: $0.15
For our three-hundred and ninety-ninth daily discussion we’re going to stay in the humor realm. Tomorrow’s 400th piece will feature a bigger book… where I will have a lot more to say.
I can’t claim to be an expert, but Binky’s Buddies appears to be DC Comics’ answer to Archie and the gang. Originally, Leave it to Binky was launched way back in 1948, six years after Archie #1 (1942). It’s weird looking back on the timeline… there are entire years where just one issue of this book hit the shelves… and between the penultimate and final issue there was a gap of six years. It was a different time, I guess. Maybe nobody noticed?
I can’t claim to ever have been an “Archie” guy. Even when I was a kid it bored me to tears. The recent reboot of the property is not my cup of tea either. I suppose I do sometimes enjoy checking out the syndicated strip to laugh at how terrible it is… so, yeah… this kind of book might not be up my alley. I suppose we’re about to find out!
*Note that this is another book with very nebulous creator credits… not even our pals at The Grand Comics Database know for sure!
Our first chapter is called The Gallant One! and it stars Benny, who looks to be the Binkyverse’s answer to Maynard G. Krebs… at least visually. He and the gang scored some choice jobs as Camp Counselors for a children’s camp. Sounds lame, right? Well, here’s the thing, it’s right across the lake from a (hopefully a bit older) girls’ camp! The driver, who I’m assuming is one of the guys’ dad, hits a pothole and blows out a tire. Unfortunately they are 50 miles from the nearest service station… by road, anyway. It’s only 10 miles if they cut through the woods. Benny, the poor idiot, is volunteered for the long-walk.
Benny starts his trek, and runs afoul of… I dunno, a sasquatch? Whatever it was, it pointed him in the right direction. Benny sprints away like a lunatic… and right through a girls’ campground where he slams into an older woman who mistakes him a camper named Suzy. She’s near-sighted, ya see… er, no pun intended. She sends him to “his” tent. The gals pop their heads in to chat him up… and just then, the dinner bell rings. Well, Benny’s hungry, so he decides to stick around.
He runs out of the tent… and again runs afoul of the near-sighted counselor. She says Suzy can’t eat until she takes off her slacks. Um, okay. She can’t tell that this is a boy… with a chin-beard… but knows he’s not wearing a flouncy skirt. Either way, Benny is really hungry… so, he’s cool with letting it all hang out.
But Benny’s not done playing dress up… because it’s time for a dip in the lake. Well, he would’ve if there were any water in there… he head-plants into the soil.
Later that evening, he is enticed into sticking around for campfire songs and marshmallow roasting. While he serenades the gals, a curious bear pokes his head into his tent and steals his superfly corduroys.
We wrap up this chapter with the forest troopers reporting to Binky and the gang that they found a bear wearing Benny’s pants… and so, the boys mourn the passing of their erstwhile job-facilitating pal. Well, that ended a bit darker than I though it would.
Chapter Two is The Great Outdoorsman! and stars Buzzy, the sole blonde member of the gang. As the fellas set up camp, they are shocked to see Benny saunter up, not eaten by a bear. I’m just shocked he’s not wearing a skirt! Benny starts lecturing the fellas on self-sufficiency and being all Daniel Booney. This has a profound effect on our man Buzz… who stomps off with a whole new resolve. Around the bend he meets some gals who want to start a fire, and need a match. Well, Daniel Boone wouldn’t use matches… and neither would Buzzy. He starts a fire by just rubbing sticks together… and nearly burns down the entire forest in the process!
The girls just wind up getting a book of matches from someone else. Buzzy, being an idiot, insists that he escort the ladies back to their camp… but is driven up a tree when he sees a rabbit. Oi. He and the girls come across a movie being shot… only, they don’t know it! Buzzy sees a man struck down by arrows!
The girls insist he shew the… ahem, injuns… away, and steal their horses. He bolsters his courage, and heads out to face them head on. Lucky for him, he is joined by a skunk… which is effective at scaring grown men away. Anyone whose been camping can attest… skunks ain’t a welcome guest.
This chapter ends with Buzzy and the girls working their way through the brush on horseback… when they clear the foliage we see that Buzzy is now on the back of… I dunno, a wolf maybe? I’m not sure if his horse was eaten or what… probably best not to think about it.
Our final chapter is called Binky’s Secret Admirer! and stars… well, not Binky… but his secret admirer Eloise. She watches our boy row his boat from the shoreline. She is dressed plainly… which should be our first tip as to how this is all going to wash out. She is hanging out with a pair of gals who are very interested in hooking her up with her dream boy.
The next couple of pages feature
terrible madcap situations in which Eloise tries to get Binky to notice her. She almost drowns him… then they ruin a perfectly good boat… then she tries perfume, however it either smells like onions or it’s overpowered by the smell of onions.
I’m just going to skip to the end… when we all realize, say it with me… she dresses too plain! The gals yank her into a tent and get her all dolled up. She returns later that night and says she dated Binky… but fell in love with his pal Sherwood. D’oh! I guess the message here is… don’t dress plain. Oi.
Well… that started off pretty decently… not sure if I just got “over” the tone of the book, or if the stories actually did become progressively worse… but boy-o-boy, those last two stories were the pits.
Like I said, I found the opening Benny story actually enjoyable. It was stupid and silly… but it worked. Can’t say that’s due to the focus-fella… because I don’t know any of these goofs.
Buzzy playing Daniel Boone was… terrible. Binky’s Secret Admirer is the kind of story that I would almost bet occurred with regularity during this series. I mean, how often do we see the “plain girl” dolled up to get the guy in teen-fiction? I believe the answer is “too often”.
Like I said yesterday when we were discussing Jerry Lewis, there really isn’t all that much to say about humor books… I can say whether or not I found it funny, and that’s about it. I didn’t, by the way… but that’s unfair, I’m a 37 year old goofball reading DC’s answer to Archie ova hea’. The art was nice throughout, and did a really good job emulating that Archie style, no complaints there.
Overall, this bugger hasn’t been collected or digitized… and if you’ve never read any Binky, I can’t say it’s worth tracking down the singles unless you’re already a fan of Archie-style books. It may not be the easiest title to find, however, if you do… it shouldn’t set you back more than a buck or two. I wouldn’t spend a cent more than that.
Before we go, just another reminder… tomorrow is our 400th Daily Discussion, so swing by if you get the chance!
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