1991: Small Wonders: The Funny Animal Work of Frank Frazetta

Small Wonders The Funny Animal Work of Frank Frazetta (1991) #1 by Frank Frazetta and others

A popular scam I mean publishing genre involves finding early works by people who later became famous. This work can sometimes be interesting, but in comics this usually involves finding some public domain stuff from some bottom feeding publishing outfit, that didn’t give the artists much money at the time, and that had no publishing standards what-so-ever.

So I’m guessing that this is one of those books, because the second volume of this series never happened, and you’d think that anything with “Frank Frazetta” on the cover would sell.

Oh wow. This is even rougher (and more horrible) than I imagined.

And… wha? About one third of the pages here are like this. I’m guessing these are illustrations that went with short stories from some magazine or other? I understand the completist impulse (ahem), but c’mon.

*phew* Finally something that’s worth reading. The bulk of the book is funny animal strips featuring characters stolen from apparently any other funny animal comic.

So we randomly get a character that looks very much like Peg-Leg Pete (but without the peg leg).

And an alligator named “Al”.

In any case, these stories aren’t that bad, really? Frazetta’s cartooning is lively, and the stories are… OK. Nothing to get excited about, but I’ve certainly read a lot worse.

Now they’re just fucking with us. How do you spell “p.a.d.d.i.n.g.” anyway?

As transparent money-grabbing scams go, this book is one of them. There’s enough somewhat interesting material here to fill about one normal-sized comic book, which is something. But man…

You almost have to admire the brazen shamelessness of it all. Almost.

I was unable to find any contemporary reviews of the book.

This work has apparently never been reprinted again:

What many people, even some dedicated Frazetta fans, don’t realize is that Frazetta was primarily a comics artist for the early part of his career, starting in professional comic book work at the age of 16.

Some of his earliest work was for so-caled “funny animal” comics, in which anthropomorphized barnyard animals careen through loopy nonsensical misadventures in emulation of the popular animated cartoons in the same genre.

This is the one hundred and thirty-third post in the Entire Kitchen Sink blog series.

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