Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mr. Bungleton, All-Star! Part 2

Continuing our survey of all things Bungleton, Little Audrey's TV Funtime #27, from May 1970, is a pivotal issue. It features *two* Bungleton stories, and not as a minor character. The earlier stories featured art by Warren Kremer, whose work was generally effective but whose Bungleton doesn't stand out.

This time, Howie Post takes over. Post is an interesting figure and perhaps one of the more versatile artists and storymen to ever work for Harvey. This 1999 interview mostly focuses on his Anthro comic, which is a semi-comedic caveman series drawn semi-seriously, or so it semi-seems. The interview also touches in passing on his Harvey work (but no Bungleton mention, alas) and the Honey Halfwitch cartoons he made for Paramount. To John Kricfalusi, and no doubt others, Post's greatest achievement was simply as "the cartoony Harvey artist." Post rendered (and probably scripted) the classic Bungleton: short, round, a twinkle in his eye, a lilt to his moustache, and a derby replacing the porkpie.

Let's see the Post Bungleton in action:

At once, Bungleton is no mere foil, but effectively overshadows Audrey. He's friendly but no longer willing to let her antics disrupt his serenity. The little "idea" snap suggests a quick wit which sometimes succeeds, sometimes leads to bungling. Bungling by a ton, no doubt. At last the name, the art, and the personality seem to actually mesh. Ignoring the fact that Mr. B's apparently decided to raise his itchy-looking sweater so his belly can get some sunshine, this is the Mr. Bungleton I've come to know and love. And it's a pretty funny one-pager, really. Not laugh out loud, but quite amusing and in the way it was intended to be. Also, Audrey looks very much like the original Paramount model here, which has always been my preference.

The next stage on Bungletonian development is fairly simple, changing the hair color from white to ginger orange. Bungleton is still older, but this change suggests a sprightlier, more youthful Bungleton, less avuncular than still childlike despite the years. More on this in our very next chapter.

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