Mar 18, 2018

All the Four Color Beefcake Ever Printed

The Four-Color series was the mainstay of Dell Comics, begun in 1939 and lasting through 1962, with over 1300 issues, often two or three per month.  There were no ongoing characters: each book was standalone.

Artists mined the stables of Walt Disney and Warner Brothers for comic inspiration:
"Porky Pig and the Grand Canyon Giant"
"Donald Duck and the Pixilated Parrot"

They adapted radio and tv series:
"Tom Corbett, Space Cadet"

Some of the early 1960s cartoons:
"Rocky and His Friends" (TV cartoon)
"Yogi Bear Joins the Marines" (predating Gomer Pyle)
"Yogi Bear Visits the U.N." (seriously?)

Some of the tv adaptions were head-scratchers, not at all popular with kids:
"77 Sunset Strip," about swinging bachelor detectives.
"I Love Lucy"
"The Life of Riley"

They adapted movies, some from years before:
"Francis the Talking Mule"
"Jungle Jim"
"Rio Bravo"

And comic strips, some from a generation before:
"Krazy Kat"

Some that I have never heard of:

Plus miscellaneous features:
"Smokey the Bear," about the advertising icon.
"Wrinkle Wrangle" (a song broken by the sharp crack of gunfire)
"Paul Revere's Ride" (history)
"The Lennon Sisters' Life Story" (1940s singing group)
"Yak Yak" (a sort of Mad Magazine)
"Brain Boy" (?)

One would expect a lot of beefcake, but in fact out of 1300 issues, I found 7 covers featuring beefcake photos:

1. The Sword and the Rose (top photo), a 1953 Medieval knighthood movie starring Richard Todd with an Errol Flynn moustache.

2.-3. Two shirtless photos of Keith Larson as the Indian Brave Eagle, in a tv series that lasted for only 26 episodes (1955-56).

4. Nick Adams (left) wearing a Confederate uniform with his shirt off as The Rebel (1959-61)

5. Kirk Douglas in Spartacus (1960).

6. David and Goliath, based on the 1960 Italian movie with Croatian actor Ivica Pajer as the shepherd boy.

Here's more of Ivica Pajer.  He also played Sophie's father in Sophie's Choice (1982)

7. Sal Mineo as an Indian boy in Comanche.  The film was actually released as Tonka (1959).

At least two of the seven covers featured gay men, and a third had a gay subtext.  Not a bad record.

See also: Four Color Beefcake and Bonding

1 comment:

  1. Apparently Hanna-Barbara cartoons as well. You can tell Hanna-Barbera by the distinctively cheap limited animation style: You have a bunch of cartoon animals wearing collars, necklaces, neckties, and the like so they didn't accidentally decapitate their characters. Also, characters only move on one plane, since full animation (or sometimes really old techniques like rotoscoping) is cheaper with 3D motion.

    Not as cheap as 70s/80s staple (and source of beefcake) Filmation.

    Anyway, yeah, Dell comics, kinda interesting how they never had Indians playing the Indians back in those days.


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