After reading Mark's review of Boody: The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers, I knew I had to read this thing. And I just did. And I'm reeling with it.
Boody Rogers, a contemporary of Tex Avery, Harold "Little Orphan Annie" Gray and Chester "Dick Tracy" Gould out-weirded any cartoonist, living or dead, for the bizarre design of his characters and the out-of-control situations he plonks them in. In reading this book, I kept seeing visual echoes of the many who clearly cribbed from Boody, from the characters in Monsters, Inc. to Tex Avery at his oddest. But this tasted like the original brew, first brewed from fresh leaves.
Babe is an immensely strong hillbilly lass who is destined to be a pro ball-player, provided her Mammy can keep her in lightning juice. Sparky Watts is a strongman who needs to be refreshed with cosmic rays or he shrinks to bug-size (his pals include a talking hat with feet and a pinhead whose feet have been swollen to immense size by cosmic rays, and naturally they loathe each other), Dudley is a be-bopper whose kid brother wants to use his records for target practice (and whose dialog runs to "Jumpin' Jack from Skaggerac!" and "'Lo from Buffalo! Crowd in, gang — mom an' dad have gone to a movie — let's start SLICING CARPETS!"). They all climb new pinnacles of lovable absurdity, as the words and pictures vie to see who can be more madcap.
This kind of comic makes me wish I was a time-traveller and could visit the era of its birth and read it every week.