Peter Panda #26 (October-November, 1957)
“The Brave Little Wooden Soldier!”
“Easy as Pie!”
“The Fine-Feathered Friends!”
“Baby Sitter Blues!”
By – Your Guess is as Good as Mine!
Editor – Whitney Ellsworth
Cover Price: $0.10
Before we get into today’s piece, I want to sincerely and humbly thank everyone for their kind words yesterday. The ONE-THOUSANDTH DAILY DISCUSSION was one I’ve been kind of sweating over for the past few weeks.
I mentioning in the extra-rambly post-ramble yesterday that we (err, I) have a habit of kinda romanticizing these milestones… and, I dunno, attempt to project their importance onto the reader? This usually leads to disappointment… because, honestly… the reality is, it’s just a comics blog… discussing a niche of a niche of the hobby.
Yesterday though, I received so many kind and thoughtful words… I’d say it “made my day”, but it’s more than that. It made this entire “journey” worthwhile. So again, thank you all. I was truly touched… almost embarrassingly “need to compose myself” so.
Now… another thing I said yesterday… I’ve got an addictive personality, which doesn’t allow for me to let things go. And so, here we are with today’s ONE THOUSAND AND FIRST DAILY DISCUSSION… where, if you show this post at your local Dairy Queen, they might just knock a dime off the price of your Blizzard. Or, they’ll kick you out. Yeah, probably the latter.
Our first story opens up with Peter Panda heading into Toy Land. He excitedly runs into the forest, happy that he arrived on time to witness the Toy Soldier “changing of the guard”. Unfortunately, before they can be dismissed, another Toy Soldier strides up on a rocking horse to deliver more dire news… the king needs to speak with them, for there is a… LION on the loose in Toy Land!
Outside the castle, the Toy Soldiers try and figure out how to handle this threat… while Peter Panda, just kinda loiters. One of the Soldiers, the Captain in fact, decides it would be best for him to “set an example” by facing the beast all by his lonesome. The Princess begs him not to go, but, if we’re being honest, seems a bit impressed by this show of bravery.
And so, into the woods he goes. Little does he know that he’s actually not alone, because Peter Panda is loitering out here as well! The Captain talks about doing this to impress the girl… and win over the King so he can be with the girl, and Peter busts out with the sage words “Love will find a way” (which, dunno about you, but it’s my favorite Pablo Cruise song). Just then… they hear a growling from the bushes.
Peter clears the bushes and finds… why, the most adorable little baby “Toy Lion”. He’s no threat to nobody, and is just there in the Toy Land woods to practice his growling. The Toy Lion feels bad for freaking everybody out, and wishes there was something he could do. This gives Peter an idea.
Ya see, the Toy Lion would pretend that the Toy Soldier Captain actually convinced him to “be good”. This would win over the King, and allow the Captain to finally marry the Princess. And whattaya know, that’s exactly how it all goes down!
Our next story opens with Peter telling his best gal Pretty Panda about a party they’re going to that day over at Jack Horner’s place. Pretty’s all “you should’a checked with me first…” because, ya see, she’s already got a date to the shindig, in the form of noted wilderness jerk, Busby Bear!
No sooner does she break the news, than Busby Bear bursts in… and gets right to being a jerk. He tells Peter that he won’t save him a single dance with Pretty. These are serious stakes here, folks.
And so, we head to Jack Horner’s party. Peter is sulking at a picnic table as Pretty and Busby saunter on up. First thing Busby does is… throw a couple of dishes of ice cream right into Peter’s mush. C’mon dude… that was just mean.
Peter responds by… manifesting a tub of honey and plopping it down on Busby’s head… annnnnnd, that’s it! Busby wobbles off, Peter gets the girl… and everything’s jake. All I’ve learned from this is that violence will solve all of your domestic problems…
… and that Little Jack Horner can’t bake a proper pie if his life depended on it.
Next up, Peter Panda is working on tanning his white areas at the beach with a couple of (human) friends. I’d like to pretend these two are a pre-teen-aged Sugar & Spike, but I don’t think that’s the case. Anyhoo, the boy (Jimmy) is reading about Blackbeard’s treasure, and discovers that… wouldja lookit that, some of his treasure is buried right here on this beach! What luck!
After digging up a bunch of the beach, Jimmy finds… a message in a bottle had been buried right on that spot. He pulls out the paper, which we find out is a treasure map. Jimmy’s all psyched up for his riches… but Peter suggests he settle his tea kettle. Ya see, the map has a bunch of modern-day landmarks on it… Blackbeard couldn’t have possibly left it.
This really ticks Jimmy off, and he tells Peter that they ain’t friends anymore (or something). He then follows the treasure map… which brings him to the Ye Treasure Chest novelty shop.
Inside, he’s rewarded for finding and following the treasure map with three ice cream cones. The little jerk decides that he’ll eat them all himself.
The young lady (Janie) calls him out for being selfish, but Peter says it’s cool… he’ll just buy them their own ice cream cones (maybe he kept the coupon from this very issue!). And so, in they go… emerging minutes later with a whole bunch of loot! Ya see, they were the one-millionth customers to the novelty shop!
Now for something completely different… a story about a
scared timid scarecrow named Stanley. One day his father (Mr. Scarecrow, naturally) was trying to convince him not to be afraid of crows. Ya see, crows are supposed to fear scarecrows, not the other way around… or something. And so, he takes Stanley to the Museum of National Scarecrows to psyche him up.
He shows him all of the portraits of brave scarecrows hung on the walls (because, really… what else are you gonna fill the joint with… besides actual scarecrows, of course?). He asks his son to imagine his own portrait up there. Just then, they are approached by Mr. Guard… who informs the fellas that the “James Crows” have been making a habit of stealing their portraits (but, why? C’mon…).
This causes our timid Stanley to run away…
… right into the James Crows (Frank and Jesse), who were in the process of pilfering the portrait of Sir Francis Scarecrow. They profusely apologize.
The story predictably wraps up with Stanley being given his own portrait in the Museum for his bravery in capturing the nefarious James Crows.
Next up is a text-piece. Yawn. I’ll leave it here so you too can learn how remarkable Davey Duck is.
Our final story features Peter trying to talk an annoying rhyming dragon off the precipice. The dragon (Dronald) tells Peter that he’s looking for a girl… by that, Peter (naturally) assumes he means he wants a girlfriend. But no! Dronald already has a girlfriend, Drucilla. What he wants is a girl to babysit his nephew, Dreadful. C’mon Dron, for someone who clearly puts so much effort into speaking, you could’ve gotten that point across a little bit better.
Peter decides he’s the girl for him. He’ll tag along and watch Dreadful so Dronald and Drucilla can enjoy their day at the amusement park.
Peter and Dreadful head to the merry-go-round, while the big dragons load their big bods into a tiny boat at the Tunnel of Love. This doesn’t work out so well.
Next stop for Dronald and Drucilla… the Fun House. This doesn’t end well either, because when they arrived at the Hall of Mirrors, Dronald saw all of those “handsome dragons” and assumed they’d make a play for his dear, sweet Drucilla… and, uh… that’s it!
Here’s the thing… it’s really hard to “discuss” a book like this. Outside of saying that, yes… it has words, pictures, and staples… I really can’t talk to the “quality” of this book. It’d almost be unfair of me to do so.
The stories (barring that irritating Dronald the Dragon one) were cute… some cuter than others. I’d say this would be a fine book for young kids to read, “good” overcomes “bad” and all that. Heck, I always keep it clean here, but this is a post I have zero fear of a kid stumbling upon, or reading over your shoulder… perhaps while enjoying a ten-cents cheaper Dilly Bar at the local Dairy Queen.
I guess Peter slamming that bucket of honey over Busby’s head might not be the message you wanna send to your lil’uns, but, if we tell ourselves that Busby probably really enjoys honey, it kinda frames it differently. It was more like Peter was trading the honey for the girl. Err, that might be worse… nevermind.
The art served the tone of the stories… makes me wish there were credits here so we can find out more about this (or these) creators.
Overall, not much more to say. It’s certainly a relic… and if you come across any of the funny animal books of the mid-20th century, I’d say it might be worth it to grab a couple (certainly don’t break… or even bend… the bank, though). Unsurprisingly, Peter Panda is not available digitally.
Your 10-cent Dairy Queen Coupon!!!