Wednesday, June 21, 2017

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! OUT OUR WAY WITH THE WORRY WART #680 (Dell Comics, available via Golden Age Reprints)

J. R. Williams' Worry Wart, along with his perpetually puzzled and un-named big brother, was just as much a part of my growing up comic page (or in this case comic stuck in the want ads section) days as PRISCILLA'S POP, FERD'NAND and the rest of those strips that gave me something to look forward to between the finishing up of homework and the afternoon TV jamz were.

This OUT OUR WAY character/"situation", one in a running series that also featured the "Why Mothers Get Gray" and "Born Thirty/Fifty Years Too Soon" sagas (not to mention the first ever cowboy series of the comic pages), featured a short messy li'l kid who big brother (and friends) always called "Worry Wart" .And boy was the li'l jerk always getting into some sorta trouble that really would rankle his brother as it would you! He may have made a mess of the kitchen while preparing jelly on bread, he mighta got into some massive magilla even though who ever thought four-year-olds could rumble like Worry Wart could, or maybe he was just too disheveled in his hand-me-downs to function like he shoulda always getting caught up in the rolled up trousers and oversized necktie. In other words, Worry Wart was the PERFECT example of suburban slobdom to be seen in the funnies, and it was for this if for no other reason that I was so attached to the guy seein' a lotta him in me.

One thing's for sure, and that is I sure needed my role models and "ideels" to help get me through school and the drudgery of being shaped and formed into something I sure didn't wanna be in a millyun years. Worry Wart gave me something to...y'know...look up to in his (and my) own scroungy do-it-yourself-and-get-it-wrong kinda way.

But how would the Worry Wart look in comic book form placed in developing stories with actual plots and twists and other decidedly comic book functions anyway? Well, the kid got just that in this one mag which was part of Dell Comics' ongoing special series featuring a wide array of characters appearing monthly. I gotta say that, despite my initial doubts that this comic was gonna be grade-A turdsburger at all, (thankfully) it translated well in its own mid-Amerigan way from a single panel to comic book length. Thankfully a lot of the spirit of the daily panel was kept intact to the point where I kinda wish this weren't just a one-off and a continuing series lasting long enough to be giving me loads of summertime goof off hours of fun this far into the muck we call modern day living.

As you'd expect (I dare say "as you'd hoped") the sagas here deal with the same kinda good ol' jerk kid adventures that I know you upper class bred types who are angry at things that are nice and beautiful never thought existed because hey, you never read about this stuff in THE ADVOCATE. The stories include Worry Wart opening up a toy fixing business which is soon foreclosed on when brother is in danger of losing his fifteen-cent investment, Wart and friends' makeshift boiler/rocket taking a ride they didn't plan on when some mean girls sell said boiler to a scrap yard, Worry Wart entering his mutt dog (done in perfect JR Williams scraggle) in one of those fru fru pedigreed dog shows and lastly the kid running away after brother makes him beat the rugs and delaying on delivering some meat until the package is all beat and torn. That's not including a number of one pagers that are fair enough and do capture the spirit of the original somewhat.

I doubt that OUT OUR WAY originator Williams was involved with these...his artwork was way looser and besides by this time I believe he had retired. Then again I don't quite think that Williams' successor (and oftimes ghoster) Neg Cochran did these even though it is closer to his than Williams' style. But the stories and feeling are close to the original and I really gotta say that I get the impression that if I were some ranch house kiddie in 1956 and I had this comic in my possession it woulda been one of the prize catches of my single-digit life! Who knows, if the thing hadn't worn out into nothingness I'd probably still have (and occasionally read) that same copy this late in life, unrepentant fanabla that I am and most surely would remain.

And if you either were big on OUT OUR WAY until its final days or want to osmose to how the "less hip than your richness" half spent their growing up years, this is a comic to get into especially if you have a bottle of soda pop and bag of Munchos to down while reading it.

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