Windy and Willy #4 (November-December, 1969)
“Historical High Jinks!”
Writers – Larry Nadle & Bob Oksner
Art – Bob Oksner
Cover Price: $0.15
You ever boggle your brain thinking about all the useless knowledge and memories you’ve got kickin’ around? Well, if you’re reading this, you’re very likely a comic book fan… which means, of course you do!
One of the things I recall quite vividly, though… really, I shouldn’t… is the first night my family had cable tv. Come to think of it, it was early-December, 1988… so, almost exactly thirty freaking years ago. Yikes! Anyhoo… that first night, I did what I’d assume a lot of goofy eight-year olds did… watched Nickelodeon until it went off the air!
This surprised me… I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Nickelodeon signed off, and was replaced by Nick-at-Nite… which I probably wound up enjoying even more than the kids’ shows. What are the odds, right? Me liking entertainment from before my time…
I remember the initial line-up… Mr. Ed, Patty Duke, My Three Sons, Donna Reed, Saturday Night Live (back when it was watchable), SCTV, and Laugh-In. The stupid things that occupy my brain-space, I’m tellin’ ya. I also remember one day Mr. Ed was replaced by something called Dobie Gillis…
… or, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. I don’t remember much about it, but I don’t recall it ever being one of my favorites. I know it would usually open with the preppy-looking dude posing in front of the statue of Rodin’s The Thinker, while he contemplated life and (his apparently, many) loves. His best friend was a Beatnik Gilligan named Maynard. I think my occasionally calling people “Maynard” might be the most lastingest impression this show had on me… and honestly, I didn’t even realize that until now!
So, why in all hells am I talking about Dobie Gillis? If you’re familiar with some of the weirdo stuff DC Comics put out during the 1950’s and 60’s, it probably won’t come as too much of a surprise that ol’ Dobie actually had himself an ongoing series…
… which for some reason, they decided to repurpose into a short-lived late 60’s title called… Windy and Willy! And, when I say “repurpose”, I mean they took Dobie wholesale, and had Bob Oksner draw these new (DC owned?) characters over the cast of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis! Here, have a look at the opening splash for The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis #17 (January-February, 1963) and this very issue of Windy and Willy!
Pretty neat, right? The real question… er, the only question… is “why?”. I mean, this is such a weird series to draw from… and it’s not like anyone was putting all that much thought into scripting romance/comedy books back then… it almost seems like an unnecessary amount of extra work to muck about with the old art!
Oh well, I guess we ought to get into it… and see if this story stands out as something DC should’ve gone out of their way to “preserve”? Also, if I do ever come into possession of Dobie Gillis #17, I will do a full and proper “juxtapoz”, just like we did with our “Hardcover/Softcover” look at New Teen Titans and the Outsiders! Those were a lot of fun to put together (and play with!), check ’em out if you haven’t already!
After that opening splash page (posted above), the story proper begins inside Newton’s Grocery store (owned by Willy’s parents). Mrs. Newton runs into a Mrs. Van Buren who can’t stop talking about how great her daughter, Dolly Madison Van Buren is doing in History class. Mrs. Newton laments that her boy, Willy, ain’t doin’ all that hot. Mrs. VB suggests Dolly Madison tutor him… and is very excited by the prospect. Ya see, Willy, for whatever reason, is viewed as kind of a “catch”. It’s been decades, but I’m guessing Dobie might’ve been viewed the same way.
Speaking of Willy, he and his burnout friend Windy enter the shop and Ma and Pa break the news that he’s gotten himself a brand-spankin’ new history tutor! Oh, happy day!
Mr. Newton talks about what a great student of history he had been during his yoot, to which, Willy suggests that there just wasn’t all that much history way back then! Hmm… ya sorta walked right into that one, pops. This, for some reason, leads to Willy’s dad practicing Native American “war whoops”… oooookay. Wouldn’tcha know it, this (and a threat of “scalping”)… somehow… convinces Willy to visit his new tutor.
As Willy and Windy go to leave, the burnout decides to help himself to a jar of… something (baby food?)… from the shop shelves. Mr. Newton responds by… “whooping” again. I’m not sure the joke landed the first time… much less the second. Hell, I’m not sure there’s even a joke to be found!
Outside the store… and a safe distance away from Mr. Newton, Windy decides to start “whooping” himself. Why are we still doing this?!
Oh well, let’s move on… Windy and Willy head off to the Van Buren house, and… hide in the bushes for some reason. I feel like I’m typing “for some reason” and “somehow” a lot today. Anyhoo, while they’re hiding, the witness the arrival of Dolly Madison Van Buren… a rather frumpy-looking co-ed. Windy, for some reason, decides to pretend to be a turkey. This gets DM’s attention, and she introduces herself to the fellas.
Willy tells her that she likes to “act out” history in order to better remember it… so, he and his waste-case friend were in the bushes pretending to be Lewis & Clark. So, that’s what we’re calling it? Anyhoo, Willy tries to pass on the tutoring… after all, who’d wanna be stuck inside with such a “scholarly-looking type” as Dolly Madison? He winds up accepting anyway.
Here’s where that other shoe drops. Once inside, Dolly Madison decides to get more comfortable. She removes her over-sized sweater, takes off her glasses… and lets down her hair. Boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom… turns out, she’s a knockout! Whodathunkit?!
Suddenly… Willy’s all about the studying. Dolly Madison is impressed that he even came inside with her. Well, the other her, anyway. Ya see, she dresses like a frump to avoid wolf-whistles and cat-calls, which she finds very disquieting.
Finally, it’s time to study. Willy suggests they maybe “act out” a bit of history between Cleopatra and Marc Antony… hopefully not the final scene though. Dolly Madison makes it clear that their relationship is strictly that of Teacher-Student. Willy seems okay with this… so long as he can “yearn” while he “learns”. Whatever the hell that means. All’s I know, is only one of his hands is visible in this panel.
Dolly Madison mentions that her heart has been filled by the American Heroes of history. Willy suggests that he too is a hero, just nobody has written about him yet. Remember to use that line next time you’re out fellas! She ain’t buyin’ it… nor should she. Willy leaves, but not before suggesting he’d be getting more out of this lesson if the other-her was teaching it. He meets back up with Windy… who is still loitering on the lawn… because, really… where else would he be?
While chatting up his burnout buddy, Willy has a tremendous idea… in order to woo Dolly Madison, he’s going to have to become… a Hero! Willy hasn’t the foggiest idea what his pal’s going on about… after all, why go to all the effort for such a frumpy-looking gal? Willy introduces Windy to Dolly Madison… who stands seductively in her doorway.
Willy (w)racks his brain about ways to impress the new object of his desires… and figures that maybe he can have ol’ Maynard pretend to be a bandit… who he can foil. Windy ain’t keen on the idea… and goes full Shaggy from Scooby-Doo to express that emotion.
Willy then has another thought… he’ll save Windy from being hit by a car! Windy finally wises up… or maybe the buzz wears off, and he goes to walk away. Willy grabs him as he steps off the curb… and they fall on top of one another. An old woman witnesses the entire thing, and mistaking it for a fight, calls a police officer over.
Willy starts talkin’ some spoo about saving his buddy from an oncoming vehicle… and via the power of suggestion, the old lady cops to the story as well… hell, she even says she saw the whole thing go down!
Windy and Willy head off to “tell it to the press”. I could picture the evening news broadcast that night. “Boy saves burnout from invisible car… and, in other news, NOTHING!” After they leave, the officer realizes that this whole thing was a sham… the street was closed down the entire time! Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.
We wrap up with Willy delivering the news to Dolly Madison, who… is actually impressed! So much so, that she insists he share the story with her Uncle Quincy… who, just so happens to be the police officer he’d pulled a fast one on! Wonk, wonk wonkkkkkk.
Well, that was somethin’, wasn’t it?
I had more fun with this than I was expecting. Sure, it’s a goofy sitcom story… but it’s more or less inoffensive. I did leave out some of the panels of “war whooping” due to some insensitive language used… but, it was a different time, whattayagonnado?
The “frumpy girl is really a hot girl” plot is well-worn, and hell… probably was even way back in ye old 1963 when this story first appeared in Dobie #17. Again, more or less inoffensive… silly teen-age comedy shtick… something that wouldn’t feel out of place on Saved by the Bell or the like.
I think my main takeaway from all this can be summed up with one word. Why? Why did DC feel the need to rework old Dobie Gillis stories, like six years after the fact?! Why did Windy and Willy occupy an issue of Showcase (#81-March, 1969), and why-oh-why did DC decide to give ’em an ongoing?! Was there something about these stories in particular that needed to be preserved?! I mean, it’s not like they were reprinting all of the old Dobie Gillis stories! This is Windy and Willy #4… and this story is from Dobie #17! It’s just so weird.
Oh well. I guess it’s not mine to wonder why… all’s I know, is I kinda dug this. It was goofy and silly… and kind of a waste of time, but not the worst thing in the world. Turns out Windy and Willy would only make one more appearance after this… in the pages of a very recent issue of Scooby-Doo Team-Up (March, 2018)… whiiiiich, now I’m going to have to track down.
Is this worth tracking down? Ehh, probably not. If you happen across it in the “buck and below-bins”, well… yeah, grab it… but otherwise, you shouldn’t break your back nor your bank tracking this one down. Shock of shocks, this one is not available digitally.
If you’re interested in the “source material” for Windy and Willy, Shout! Factory has uploaded some full-episodes of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis to their YouTube Page.
A Windy and Willy Text Piece?! Why???