Archie’s Rivals in Teen Comics, 1940s–1970s

An Illustrated History


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About the Book

This is the first book to comprehensively examine the multitude of non-Archie teen humor comic books, including girls and boys such as Patsy Walker, Hedy Wolfe, Buzz Baxter and Wendy Parker from Marvel; Judy Foster, Buzzy, Binky and Scribbly from DC; Candy from Quality Comics; and Hap Hazard from Ace Comics. It covers, often for the first time, the history of the characters, who drew them, why (or why not) they succeeded as rivals for the Archie Series, highlights of both unusual and typical stories and much more. The author provides major plotlines and a history of the development of each series. Much has been written about the Archie characters, but until now very little has been told about most of their many comic book competitors.

About the Author(s)

Michelle Nolan has been a newspaper and magazine feature writer for more than 50 years. She received an Inkpot Award for her work as a comics and pop cultural historian and entrepreneur. She has written more than 12,000 published articles in newspapers and magazines along with contributions to dozens of books. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Bibliographic Details

Michelle Nolan

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 266
Bibliographic Info: 58 photos (15 in color), appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7758-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3976-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: The Rivals of Riverdale 3

Section I: Overview: The 1940s 7
1. Here She Comes in Miss America Comics: Patsy Walker 10
2. Patsy Walker’s Groundbreaking Title 16
3. Marvel Teens in the 1940s 23
4. Judy’s Date with Success 37
5. Buzzy, Binky and Scribbly in the 1940s 40
6. Candy’s Antics 48
7. Hap Hazard and the Ace Gang 54
8. Wilbur, the Forgotten Success Story 60
9. Topsy-Turvy, Cookie and The Kilroys 65
10. Why My Date Didn’t Go So Well 70
11. Comics Advertised “For Teen Girls” 76
12. Ozzie and Babs—Fawcett’s Only Teen Stars 80
13. Junior, Sunny and Corliss 85
14. Slick Chick Comics and the Dearfield Duo 89
15. Other Short Run Pre-Code Girls 96
16. Teena and the Strip Reprints 102
17. Hi-Jinx—­Teen-Age Animal Funnies 106

Section II: The 1950s 111
18. Patsy Walker, Something of a Supergirl 113
19. DC’s Teen Humor: A Favorite in the ’50s 121
20. The Unique Wendy Parker 127
21. My Girl Pearl: Dumb and Dumber 134
22. The Joy of Meeting Miss Bliss 139
23. Henry Aldrich and the Dell Teens 143
24. Jetta, ­Teen-Age Sweetheart of 2052 146
Between pages 148 and 149 are 8 color plates containing 15 photographs
25. The Mystery of Candy in the 1950s 149
26. The Amazing Mazie and Her Boyfriends 153
27. Why Ginger Deserved a Better Fate 160
28. The First Kathy and Company 165
29. Lucy, the (All Too Soon) Real Gone Gal 171
30. Oh, What a Brother! 175
31. The Most Obscure Teen Humor Comic Book 180
32. Junior Hopp and the Hopp Rod 183
33. The ­Short-Run Guys in the ­Not-So-Nifty ’50s 187

Section III: Introduction: The 1960s and 1970s 197
34. John Stanley’s Masterpiece: Thirteen 199
35. Patsy and Hedy: A Novel Approach in the 1960s 204
36. An Early ’60s Bright Spot: Marvel’s ­Teen-Age Tornado! 210
37. Judy, Dobie, Freddy and the Early ’60s 217
38. Tippy Teen’s Surprise Appearance 222
39. Josie, Pussycats and All 228
40. A Word on the Working Girls 234

Appendix: Teen Humor Comics Outside the Archie Universe, 1940s to 1970s 237
Bibliography 245
Index 247

Book Reviews & Awards

“A comprehensive overview of less-known American teen humor comic books from the mid-20th century….Plots of individual comics are summarized at length, and exhaustive bibliographical information is provided. Less attention, however, is given to the writers, artists, and/or readership of teen humor comics….The prose is clear, well written and free of jargon, and extensive illustrations are included. Most useful to specialists interested in US comics and popular and visual culture….recommended”—Choice