So I had a little time to kill a couple of weekends ago when my youngest was playing miniature golf with his church youth group. The Fun Acre miniature golf course is, really, about an acre wedged between a strip mall and residential homes on a side street off of Campbell Avenue. It’s been there forever; the aged proprietor still mans the small shed as he did when Steve Pokin of the Daily Dammit, Gannett profiled him in 2014.
Whilst the youngster played a round with which he would ultimately be disappointed, Daddy went to the antique mall that abuts the looking mostly for cheap DVDs (LPs are now heading past $10 each, so buying them at antique malls is generally out).
I also stopped up the road at Nameless City, which has a couple of roleplaying games left but also still has a couple of tables of dollar comics. As you might remember, gentle reader, I used to hit up the Comic Cave (and sometimes got a discount for being a good customer). I liked the dollar comic boxes because they were organized; you could easily find runs of comics, even kinda new comics, for a buck each (which ultimately led to the store’s downfall–the proprietor would “subscribe” to a comic on your behalf, where he would pay the annual subscription and you promised to come buy the issues every month, and so many of you did not live up to your part of the bargain that I got your unclaimed comics for a buck each, and the proprietor could not afford to keep the shop open).
So when I am pawing through the jumbled boxes at Nameless City or Vintage Stock, I’m generally looking for interesting looking stories with low numbers, generally non-Marvel and non-DC, or I’m looking for issues in series I’ve kinda collected over time. Which leads to a lot of one-off, incomplete stories to read, but sometimes I can patch together a small run if I paw through enough boxes.
At any rate, to make a short story long, this trip I found something interesting: A 1967 Sad Sack Laugh Special from Harvey Comics:
As I mentioned, I got a large number of hand-me-down Harvey Comics from the 1960s from my aunts/great aunts. Old issues of Hot Stuff, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Wendy the Good Witch, and, likely, Sad Sack.
Basically, Sad Sack is similar to Beetle Bailey but appeared eight years before the more popular slacker/soldier. This particular volume collects multi panel newspaper comics into a single flat-spined comic book. You know, the archetype of the reluctant soldier skating by probably proved more popular during wartime, after the war with the returning GIs, and through the draft era. This particular volume, though, comes from the late 1960s, where presumably GIs in Vietnam could have read it, although I expect the schtick and motif were getting long in tooth by then. But, hey, Gomer Pyle, USMC was still on the air, so what do I know.
Sad Sack had a long history–although the newspaper cartoon only ran for 12 years, Harvey kept pumping out comics for 37 years, and Sad Sack appeared on radio in the 40s and in a movie in 1957. Mostly forgotten today except for some of us who inherited a stack of comic books almost 40 years ago.
I was pleased to find this book for a buck for the nostalgia it provided–it even smelled like those old comics, a bit musty which you don’t get from newer comics on slicker paper (and probably won’t in 40 years). The humor within is what it was, which is a bit amusing in spots particularly if you served, but probably not something that would reach today’s audiences.
But for the secondhand nostalgia.