This past weekend we spent some time on the south end of Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York. We were just north of the town of Hammondsport, which is almost famous for the nation’s fourth oldest winery and as the hometown of Glenn R. Curtiss, the guy who actually flew before the Wright Brothers. As the story goes, the Wright Brothers got the patent first, and all the fame too. (More info available at the Curtiss Museum.)
When were there, we spent most of our time listening to live music and visiting a few entrepreneurial start-ups. If you were to guess they were mostly wineries and craft breweries, you wouldn’t be wrong.
We visited some antiques shops too. (Don’t you dare call them junk shops.) And I found some wonderful comic books, and comic-adjacent treasures.
There’s a certain charm to the last issue of a comic, especially when the creators realize the party is almost over. Charlton’s The Partridge Family #21 (Nov 1973) is a perfect example.
The Partridge Family was an early 1970s TV series about a single mom and the musical act that she and her kids created. From my pre-teenage point of view back then, it was kind of like a slightly hipper version of the Brady Bunch. And like that show, it was on every Friday night. As a kid, I was a bit interested in Laurie Partridge, played by Susan Dey. As an adult, it’s the mother who’s the most interesting of the bunch. How did I ever get so old?
Anyways, I picked up a nice copy of The Partridge Family #21, the final issue of the series, for just $6 bucks. I was initially drawn to it because the cover artist, Don Sherwood, captured the actors’ likenesses pretty well.
But the surprising part is that just about the whole comic is a series of full-page portraits. Don Sherwood, bless his heart, draws portraits and a few girls in bikinis for the beach scene, and the Partridge Family’s version of their Batmoblie, an old school bus repainted to transport their musical equipment. I don’t think there was ever a comic, even the most bombastic 70s Kirby issue, that had so many splash pages!
There is such an emphasis on drawing faces that stories leave out things like “the rationale” and “the end”. One story is clearly missing pages. But in the end, who cared? I gather this was meant to be a fan magazine so that young fans could cut out the pictures.
Oh, one more thing about this comic, it seems like such a racket! Just about all the ads are for Partridge Family merchandise, like David Cassidy photos and Susan Dey’s dated book Boys, Beauty and Popularity: How to Have Your Share of Each.
I did a lot of research for my recent Dick Tracy article for the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide a couple of years ago. It was fun, and I learned a lot. Chet Gould was quite a guy, and it was a treat showing the recent documentary at ITHACON in April. I’m probably “over” my Dick Tracy phase, and I’m not trying to build a Dick Tracy collection, but when I saw this Big Little Book in the vintage store, I had to grab it.
Besides, Terry Beatty always seems to be getting great deals on Big Little Books, and I’ve been a little jealous.
The story is lurid and a real grabber. It opens with the hero, Napoleon Solo, romancing a beautiful spy. But evidently the Russians know she wants to defect. She puts a Hawaiian lei over her head, and it blows up! It was a Russian boobytrap. Solo, the spy/hero, is aghast as he’s looking at this sexy girl with her face blown off. Try imagining that scene in your mind’s while sipping your coffee on an early Sunday morning
I’m eager to see where the adventure goes from there. It’s pretty nutty so far.
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Oh, and there’s one more thing on my radar that I want to share with you all. The latest issue of the ultra-cool art magazine, Jimon, features an interview with one of my favorites: that funky, NYC artist DeeDee. I just ordered a copy. I’m sure it will be a good read. On the other hand, I’m not sure how many comic shops or bookstores carry this magazine, so if you can’t find it, there’s more info here.