Saturday, November 22, 2008

Comic Book Interlude: Muggy-Doo Boy Cat


Dave Mackey's comment in my previous post about my father's comic book work re Hal Seegar made me realize I have some Muggy-Doo Boy Cats scanned -- so let's have a story while I continue to pull together the Graham material. Muggy was a Seegar creation who showed up again -- albeit as a Boy Fox -- about a decade later in the animated Milton the Monster Show. The comic book series itself lasted only four issues.

This titleless lead story, although not his best, co-stars a recurring Muggy foil, the fez-topped Osh, and is from issue #1 (1953) in which my father wrote and drew the cover and all stories. He was working for Famous Studios during this time, yet seems to have simultaneously produced quite a few comics, as well as his Sunday strip Coogy. Animator Bob Jaques, animation ID-er and comic book sleuth extraordinaire (among other attributes), has mentioned to me that he probably "knocked off the comics during his Famous coffee breaks". I don't doubt that, due to the loosey-goosey inking and quick-and-easy gags. Only a few years earlier his comic book style could easily have been confused with Dan Gordon's, but by the time Muggy was produced he'd moved past that, and if he's retained any Gordon traits than the most apparent to me is the occasional tongue hanging out of a mouth.











6 comments:

Dave Mackey said...

Actually, one cartoon was made with Muggy Doo as a cat - it was called "Boy Pest with Osh" and it was theatrically released by Paramount. Hal Seeger produced and directed and Myron Waldman animated. Hal's wife Beverly Arnold was listed on the credits as "girl creator". The handful of Muggys that were made with him as a fox were used to pad out "The Milton The Monster Show", and were mostly animated by Waldman with one from I. Klein thrown in. In all these cartoons Herb Duncan did the voice of Muggy. Thanks for the looksee at the comics!

jim engel said...

I love Muggy Doo, and I also love Lucky Duck--they're the strips that got me interested in your dad's work in the first place (which for me was 30 years ago)...

The designs on those two characters are two of my favorite funny animals of all time (AND I love their color schemes, though I'm guessing Irv didn't do them---they have the typical "ignore the lines" colorist's approach of the era. Where your dad clearly intended Lucky Duck to have Daffy-Duckish yellow "beak-cheeks", Lucky got green "feather cheeks" instead). As for OSH, he's basically Kelly's Beauregard, lifted wholesale from POGO with nose-hatching and fez intact...

The really loose inking has a charm to it, though (like Gordon) I'd be interested in seeing what Irv's stuff would look like if he really took his time...

Thanks for starting this blog. I'm anxious to discover more about your dad and his work.

p spector said...

Thanks Jim,
I'm not sure where Seegar's idea for Muggy and his cast ends and my father's begins. I'm guessing that Seegar might have "described" him to him, maybe drawn a few ideas, and that was that. (Come to think of it, did Seegar draw?) Also, I'll be posting some Lucky Duck at some point in the near future. In actuality, I was aware you liked them, at least Lucky, from reading Scott's old CBR columns.

As far as his drawing style when he took more time, you might have seen his comic strip Coogy, which ran concurrent with these in the fifties. With those, it looks (to me) like he took more time in the composition, and tightened up the inking -- though still quite a "loose" feel.

- Paul

eeTeeD said...

the comic has a slight walt kelly look to it.

do you recall if your father was a fan of kelly's work?

mr. spector, i'd like to offer my thanks to you for putting together this blog, and for sharing your father's work and your memories. i am a huge fan of famous studios and the artists that worked there. their art has been an influence of my own.

p spector said...

Thanks eeTeeD,

Good pickup on the Kelly style. In his comic book and comic strip work, he went through several stylistic changes in the years after WWII. Cartoonist Scott Shaw once described his work on Lucky Duck as "Walt Kelly on quaaludes." I take that as a compliment. I'll be posting his strip in the future, with no mistaking that the Herald Tribune Syndicate wanted, and promoted it, in a Pogo-esque manner. The Muggy-Doo presented here is at the tail end of that.

Dave Mackey said...

Paul,

Hal Seeger (lots of people misspell it, you're not alone) definitely was an artist. He was an animator at the Fleischer studios and did draw the Betty Boop comic strip for a time (possibly at first as an assistant to Bud Counihan), but I think he gravitated more toward the production end by the time he opened his cartoon studio.

He wanted to branch out beyond cartoons, and he did get a few nice opportunities later on, mostly through his son's production company. The comic books were another avenue of expression for him and Spec helped bring it to life. (Lots of those Famous Studios guys were knee-deep into the comics world as well - Otto Feuer, Steve Muffatti, Dave Tendlar to name a few.)

But Hal was one of the ones that helped to nurture some of the newer design and animation talent on the scene like Bob Taylor and Bill Ackerman, and being able to combine guys with new ideas with the likes of old vets like Izzy Klein, Johnny Gent, Tendlar, etc. and still produce coherent, entertaining product took skill.