Fox and the Crow #94 (October-November, 1965)
Editor – Murray Boltinoff
Cover Price: $0.12
Continuing our impromptu “Comedy Weekend” here. Yesterday we looked at a Funny Animal book from the mid-1950’s… today, we’re going to jump ahead about a decade and take a look at some more.
This is Fox and the Crow, a book (perhaps) best remembered for the debut of Stanley and his Monster. Well, I got some bad news… those two first show up in Fox and the Crow #95… and, today we’re looking at #94.
The first time I’d ever heard of a Fox and Crow was in the pages of Rachel Pollack’s run on Doom Patrol. In fact, issue #71 of that series is called “The Fox and the Crow”. I don’t think it features the characters we’re about to look at exactly… but, I like to pretend that it does. Here, take a look:
|From Doom Patrol (vol.2) #71 (October, 1993)
(w) Rachel Pollack / (a) Linda Medley
Anyhoo, let’s now take a peek at where Ms. Pollack probably nabbed that name from.
Our first (untitled) story opens with Foxie partaking in one of his favorite pastimes… counting his money. Not sure if he’s supposed to be wealthy, or just kind of a nerd. Either way, Crow decides he’s gonna screw with him.
He frantically knocks on Foxie’s door, because he needs change for a nickel. Foxie goes to slam the door in his face before Crow tells him he’ll trade the nickel for just four pennies. In the business community, we call that a profit. Foxie is more than happy to make the ex-change (get it?).
Back inside, Foxie continues counting his cash… when he discovers that the nickel Crow gave him… was (gasp) wooden! He lunges out of the house and grabs Crow by the ankles (or whatever approximation for ankles a bird might have) and demands his four pennies back.
With one failed attempt at screwing Foxie under his belt, Crow decides to have a think. He comes up with the great idea of spending 75-cents on a goose… then fetching a dozen “hen-type” eggs (the ones from naughty anime, I guess)… and paints ’em gold.
He shows the greedy and gullible Fox the shiny eggs, and offers to trade his “golden goose” for all of Foxie’s cash. Foxie, unsurprisingly, agrees. We conclude our story with the revelation that the goose actually does lay solid gold eggs! Wonk wonk wonkkkk…?
Our second (untitled) story opens with an out-of-breath Foxie narrowly outrunning the local foxhound. Crow sees this as an opportunity to… well, what else? Screw with Foxie s’more. This time he throws rice at him, and tells Foxie that it made him invisible. He even tricks him by pretending an empty picture frame is a mirror. Foxie, is an idiot, so he buys the lot of it.
At the very same time, our local foxhound is watching some television with his owner. It’s a nature program, during which he learns that foxes and dogs are actually… brothers! At this point, the foxhound is rather embarrassed to be “related” to Foxie (and I can’t say that I blame him), and decides from this point on, he’s just going to ignore him (ya see where this is goin’?).
And so, Foxie tests his newfound “invisibility” by really making a pain in the neck out of himself. The foxhound pretends not to notice him. When Crow asks why the Hound ain’t chasin’ the Fox, the foxhound continues pretending that he sees no fox.
So now, Crow thinks there might actually be something to this invisibility-rice… and so, he buys it back from Foxie and proceeds to dump the rest of it all over himself so he can rob the local cornfield.
This story ends with Crow getting shot in the tuchus.
Our next (untitled) story stars… the Brat Finks. And, oh boy, is it a drag, maaaaaan. Ya see, the Brat Finks are a pair of “hipster” rats… from back in the long ago when the word “hipster” didn’t mean what it means today. Anyhoo, they’re carrying on, dancing and listening to music… and their mother ain’t havin’ it no more.
She does the whole “wait ’til your father gets home” thing… and once he does, he goes into Tom Bosley lecture mode, sharing stories about their family and heritage… and how they shouldn’t be such little jerks, I guess? He winds up grounding them for “disrespecting their mother” which means they won’t be able to attend the big dance at “The Attic”. I remember when Zack Morris snuck in there to meet with that college girl that one time.
And so, the Hipster Rats decide… if they can’t go to the dance, they’ll just bring the dance to them. Before you know it, we’re in the midst of a “Big Rat & Roll” show, live from the Fink family… uh, hole in the wall.
The ruckus wakes their folks, who stomp in and demand to know why there’s a party going on. The Brat Finks say the party is actually in their father’s honor… for it is his birthday! Quick thinkin’… although, their mother ain’t buyin’ it.
Rather than attend the party (which is apparently in his honor), the Rat Pop decides to leave ’em to it, and head back to bed. On the way out, Rat Mom reminds him that it, in fact, isn’t his birthday… to which, he just assumes that the boys made a mistake… not that they are lousy liars who lie all the time.
In our, (thankfully) final (untitled) story, we are back with Fox and Crow. You’ll never guess what’s going on… get this, Crow is looking to screw with Foxie. This one is hard to really explain, but I’ll do my best. Crow asks to use Foxie’s phone, as to not tie up his own… he calls a fella named Joe.
Then, his phone rings back to his tree… it’s a fella named Jake. He talks for a bit, then runs back to Foxie’s to tell Joe what Jake said. Foxie is confused… and, for once this issue, I can’t blame him.
Next, a dude named Luke calls the bird house… and Crow runs back to Foxie’s to pass on what he said to Joe. It’s really a muddled mess, which… is the entire point, but doesn’t make it any more fun to read.
The next morning, Foxie watches as Crow heads out… and decides to follow him (which, again, was the whole point). What he finds is Crow doing some “business” with a trio of foxhounds. Ya see, they’re paying him fifteen bucks to lure Foxie their way.
While Foxie is being chased, Crow… oy… disguises himself as a Gameskeeper. As Foxie passes by, he pays the “Gameskeeper” fifteen bucks to call off the mutts.
By now, Foxie’s seen the whole thing… and tells the Foxhounds about Crow’s plot. The story (thankfully and finally) ends with Crow being chased by the fox and the hounds.
I know yesterday, during our Peter Panda discussion I said that it would be unfair to really judge the “quality” of half-century old children’s comics… but, this just wasn’t very good. The Peter stories felt more like actual “comic” stories, where these feel like the Looney Tunes music should kick in as they end… which, doesn’t make for a necessarily bad story, just one that might be less fun to read, than to view.
I guess when you’re whole gimmick is “these two characters are rivals”, you can kinda become pigeonholed… especially after 94 issues of the same ol’ thing. I guess Stanley and his Monster’s arrival (the issue after this) came not a second too soon…. or maybe a bit too late.
Just like yesterday’s Peter Panda book, it started out much stronger than it ended. The first couple of stories here weren’t anything to get mad about… and, I would figure kids might get a chuckle or two. The second half, again… not talking about quality of story… they just dragged. The pacing was such that they felt much longer than they were… and kind of overstayed their welcome.
Overall… if you had to choose between (a non-Stanley and his Monster) Fox and the Crow and Peter Panda… Panda all the way.
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