Sunday, August 21, 2011

Basil Wolverton and PLOP!

PLOP! # 1 (click to enlarge)

PLOP! "The New Magazine of Weird Humor" was a comic book published by DC comics beginning in 1973 (original intended title: ZANY). I remember being totally thrilled to see the cover of issue #1 on the newsstand, because it featured one of my all time favorite artists, Basil Wolverton, creating the art and title lettering. It  would turn out to be one of his last steady, high profile assignments.

 At first glance to a casual reader, It looked to be a throwback to the original EC MAD comics, as well as having an "underground comix" feel to it. It didn't take me long to realize that the covers were basically the only thing worthwhile or actually funny about this comic book, which was neither Weird nor had Humor. Edited by Joe Orlando of EC comics fame, it was clearly aimed at (sub-mental?) children, and the "humor", mainly lame, obvious DC superhero parodies (Batman/Superman/Wonderwoman...) and reprints of unfunny magazine "gag cartoons" (for some reason, an abundance of "prisoners hanging on prison walls making droll comments"?) was all but nonexistent. The only other saving grace was the inclusion of artwork by the great Sergio Aragones of MAD fame, who contributed the cover border as well as some interior art and stories. Still, I continued buying it, mainly for the covers, most rendered by Wolverton, with some later issues featuring covers by Wally Wood, aping Wolverton's style a bit. PLOP! Plodded along for 24 issues till it was finally put to rest in 1976. These are the covers by the one and only Basil Wolverton, with three by Wally Wood:

                             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_Wolverton




















6 comments:

  1. Oh yes, yes. I had ALL of the early issues of PLOP. I still remember looking at the dollar in my pocket and thinking, "I can buy five comics!" The early issues, if I recall, had the Wolverton cover image on the back outside cover; bigger and without the logo.

    A year or 2 later, there were some small plastic statues made of some of Wolverton's characters. Again, I'm going on memory and not breaking the ol' concentration to go Google the hell out of this -- but there were a number of them, all molded out of one color of plastic. I had a red one, but I can't recall much else. these weren't fancy like some of the more recent ones I've seen in comics shops. I think I bought mine in a Memphis, TN Woolworth's.

    But thanks for this. It wasn't til years later I saw his SPACEHAWK material and it was so wonderful. A true American original.

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  2. Yeah, I bought all of the Plop issues, too. Your review is spot on. The covers were great and the gag cartoons... well, now I know why they're called "gag cartoons."

    I got the feeling they were buying material that was rejected by the big magazines. "Have you got any cartoons lying around that were turned down by every editor in town? We'll pay five bucks apiece."

    Still the Wolverton and Wood stuff made them worth keeping.

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  3. Hello
    I'm looking for a Basil drawing that I have seen once long ago and have been unable to find since. It is a man with a bandage on his head, holding his brain in his hand, and a goofy grin on his face. Please, can anyone help?
    Thank you
    Jacob

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  4. I remember Tonsils Thompson very well.My cousin and I would save our allowance and we'd each get either Plop, Cracked or Mad and share them.

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  5. The covers were always the best part of Plop! but I liked at least some of the interior stories (at least one Bernie Wrightson piece about a sculptor stands out.) And Sergio Aragone's intro stories were the first time I saw his work on anything but Mad's Marginal Funnies. Wally Wood's post-Wolverton covers look like Topps outtakes.

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  6. there was one strip about a family of ants walking down the street. Daddy ant was stomped on by a pedestrian, and the kid ants all screamed "DADDY"!!!! I was a "Mad", and "Cracked" magazine fan back in the day. I still think about this magazine today, and I remember the first 2 issues I bought...(Arms Armstrong and Art Arteries)...I still have that twisted sense of humor 40 years later! I'd LOVE to find a place where I can actually read these issues again!

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