DigestCast #16 – Funny Stuff

DigestCast is back! Shag and Rob take in some FUNNY STUFF from BEST OF DC BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #37, featuring Stanley and His Monster, Peter Porkchops, Doodles Duck, The Dodo and the Frog, The Three Mousketeers, Peter Panda, and more! We also take time to discuss some of the creators behind this issue, including Sheldon Mayer, Nick Cuti, Otto Feuer, and Rube Grossman! Plus YOUR Listener Feedback!

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30 responses to “DigestCast #16 – Funny Stuff

  1. Otto Feuer was given a creator credit for Pig Iron on a couple of the comics databases. I read the Zoo Crew regularly and also have a copy of the Showcase collection; I had a few of Peter Porkchops own book in my closet from my earliest comic buying. Pig Iron was Peter Porkchops right from the beginning of the Zoo Crew and his main supporting character, Wolfie, appeared in some issues. I looked up Feuer’s obituary and he was a big deal. In addition to all the things you mentioned, Feuer was responsible for the re-design of Fleischer’s Betty Boop from a funny animal to a human girl. Betty is still earning big bucks from licensed products today. His design certainly had “legs”.

  2. I would say “another great episode of DigestCast” but, as a relatively new listener (of about one year), I didn’t even realize this was an episode choice!

    Finding any DC digest in the magazine rack of my local grocery store was rare, but I recall having two issues of DC Blue Ribbon Digest: one of early Legion stories and another of the World of Krypton. I also found the last few issues of Adventure Comics when that was also in digest form, though I didn’t realize they were 2 different series at the time.

    These digests were very educational to this young reader.

    The only access I had to back issues was ordering from the ads for Mile High Comics — and waiting 6 to 8 weeks for delivery — and hoping I didn’t accidentally buy something I already owned but failed to log in my “database” of loose leaf pages in my Trapper Keeper (which also doubled as my “art board” for this aspiring, yet talentless artist-wanna-be).

    I learned so much about the Legion history. I read and re-read these digests until their poor little spines broke.

    That said, until today, I don’t remember there being anything other than super-heroes in these digests. I’m sure they were there, but I only had eyes for the “serious” stuff.

    (Just don’t ask me about my nearly-complete collection of “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”!)

  3. Where did the Captain Carrot audio in the final minute of the show come from? Is there an episode of a show out there with The Zoo Crew? And someone *died*?

  4. Oh, my lord. When I opened your page this morning and saw that a new Digest Cast was the top of the page, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Man, it’s been too, too long.
    And this is an interesting digest to cover. I never picked up any of these ‘humor’ digests back in the day, so I guess I was one of those leery members of the reading public who were responsible for the sales figures that Mr. Cuti lamented. (Although except for one of the Sugar & Spike books, I don’t think I ever saw any of these back then – but again, even if had I doubt I would have bought them.)
    Regardless, I found your discussion quite interesting – and I’m glad you decided to forego the story synopses and instead focused on the individual creators and general impressions. It was quite informative. Of the features you mentioned, I’d only previously heard of – but never read any – Stanley and his Monster. But I agree that an exclusive Stanley digest would have been pretty cool.
    Anyway, looking forward to the next Digest Cast, which I hope will, in fact, appear before 2025. And I’m a bit bummed about the Archie superhero digest not getting covered – I’m really fond of both of those (as reflected in a post I wrote for another comics site a few years ago ). In fact, if you guys or anybody else still wants to cover those, I’d be willing to do the heavy lifting for story summaries, etc. (The same goes for the Marvel digests, since I was probably the first to index them a few years back).

  5. NOW I know why I haven’t be able to get on DigestCast. I get it, Rob. The work of doing synopsese’ and research slowly killed my interest in podcasting about comics.

  6. I thought this was dead !!!
    (Enter shag dresses as dr. Frankenstein)
    It’s alive it’s alive !!!!
    A great episode and looking forward to the next episode .
    Also doodles the duck makes me think of yaki doodle . Also just a question for the digest cast did you Michael Jackson had a treasury comic as Captain EO??

  7. I hate to say this, but I was actually ANGRY that DC started putting out so many of these funny animal digests. I admire Nick Cuti for what he was trying to do, and it actually is sound marketing, but 10 year old me hated the decsion to go almost all Superman and Funny Animal toward the end of the digest’s life span. The digests were my chance to learn the history of the DCU, and in my mind, these “cartoon” characters were not part of it. I didn’t pick up any of these, despite being a fan of Captain Carrot and Pig-Iron (and yes, Peter Porkchops was Pig-Iron from the get-go of the Zoo Crew book). I loved Superman, of course, but I missed the variety of getting different character-themed collections.

    Now, having said all that, NOW, I can see these look like a lot of fun! I loved old Warner Bros and MGM cartoons, and always have, so I don’t know why I had such a stick up my butt about this. I’m a bit confused though, because I thought Peter Panda was a Walter Lantz character in the Woody Woodpecker “universe”? Also, Nutsy Squirell seemed like a blue version of Tex Avery’s Screwball (or Screwy) Squirell, who was owned by MGM. Not sure how all that shakes out.

  8. Nice to have Digestcast back. I like what you did with it. I vote for this style of format going forward. It’s nice to know what the stories are about, but the story about the stories is just as interesting.
    Captain Carrot was a fun book. I also had no idea Peter Porkchop was an already established character. Amazing.

  9. I meant to add that I get it, re: synopses. I am trying to keep my episode synposes on JLUCast to just a few short paragraphs. Some of them I’ve written for House of Franklin-Stein over the years could be published as short paperbacks. Ridiculous, time-consuming, and draining. If you can’t have fun with it, don’t do it.

    And I agree Funny Animal material shouldn’t be synopsized either.

  10. Nice to have DigestCast back although I know that I would have avoided this like the plague when it was released. As Cudi said ‘oh those sales!’

    I do remember the ad Rob talked about because there was a cow in baseball catcher’s gear sitting on the front of the train … get it! Cattle Catcher! But how many kids got that visual pun!

    Interesting to hear about all these creators and how prolific they were! And also glad you talked about Sheldon Mayer’s greatest creation – The Black Orchid!

  11. Nice job, S&R. It might be a testament to how much I like your podcast chemistry that I listened to this episode all the way through, considering that I there’s no way I’d ever read this digest.

    You said something about how, during our childhoods, the only regular exposure we’d have to funny animals was Disney cartoons. But I feel like the Warner Bros. cartoons—Bugs Bunny, Speedy Gonzales, etc.—were a staple of kids’ TV during the early ’80s, and those characters were certainly burned into our culture at the time. Which leads me to wonder why I enjoy those characters so much more than any of the (very little) DC funny animal material I’ve read. A different style of humor, perhaps? A slight edginess in terms of comical violence and how Bugs messes around with gender roles? Maybe the prevalence of human characters in WB cartoons places them in a different, more interesting category. Some pointy-headed geek needs to write a scholarly treatise on this, e.g., “Duck Seasons and Rabbit Seasons: Modes of Conflict-Based Humorous Storytelling Within Animal-Themed Children’s Entertainment in the U.S., 1951–1981.”

    And yes, the “Peter Porkchops Became Pig Iron” thing was established in the first appearance of the Zoo Crew, and Peter’s rival, Wolfie, even turned up in an issue of the ZC series. In fact, you forgot about one of the funniest moments in all of the Who’s Who series: Under “Known Relatives” for Pig Iron, it reads “None (but we haven’t read all the Peter Porkchops stories lately).”

    1. Noah – my guess as to the difference between the (fantastic) Warner Bros. cartoons and the Funny Stuff / funny animal books
      is that the Looney Tunes shorts originally were shown in front of movies for grown-ups – thus – the humor had to be up to that standard.

      The funny animal books were always written for kids, so very rarely did they ever reach for a level higher than that.

  12. Digestcast is still a thing! Great show, Rob and Shag. While I’ve never seen or read this digest, I was intrigued by the backgrounds of the creators. A smart way to cover it. Since DC hasn’t mined these characters in a long time, I look forward to a dark take on Doodles Duck sometime soon.

    You guys inspired me to get out my digests. I thumbed through a few and then put them away because I’m past the point of reading 4 point font. Still, cool to look at!

    Hey, thanks for dusting off the listener feedback from the previous Digestcast. I’m pretty sure last time you did one of these, during the promo breaks you were discussing prohibition and dancing the Charleston.

    Seriously, a wonderful show as always, fellas. Can’t wait for my ancestors to listen to the next one!

  13. Sorry this response is so late, but wow! DigestCast is back! It’s like late Christmas! And you did feedback! Did I comment? Did Ed(o)? Did Martin? Liza Anne? Chris? Yes! Lots of people commented! And I wrote things I didn’t even remember! It’s like a window into our past selves.

    Seriously, this was a ton of fun, as I told you via a separate medium, Rob (and must now admit to Shag). I’d be happy for you to do an overview without synopses like this for Archie digest, or just take Ed(o) up on his offer.

    I really enjoyed meeting you too, Rob! Thank you for making time for it. I wish Shag could’ve made it. And I’m very glad you both find me entertaining. My compulsion is to make these jokes regardless, but it’s better if someone likes them. Regarding me not being so impressive in person — 100% true, but I was more impressive once — not terribly, but still.

    One question: Everyone always talked about the “Herculean workload” of doing a newspaper strip. Wasn’t it about thirty panels a week? And if you had a running story, you weren’t even coming up with premises all the time. Why was it so difficult that they needed teams of assistants?

    1. Imagine having to have a series of panels that need to be completed from soup to nuts (writing, thumbnails/breackdowns, pencilling, inking, paste-up) every Day. Six days a week, plus maybe twice as many panels on Sundays. It’s a lot of damn work, man.

  14. I apologize to Nic Cuti for being “that fan.” I was 20 years old and comics were serious stuff, man! The only concession I made to “funny animals” was Cerebus the Aardvark. I have a much greater appreciation for these digest selections now. Also a much greater admiration for the creators! Keep this in mind when the Bill Finger nominations come around!

  15. Digest Cast is back from the dead! It only took two….. long….. years……..

    This was a fun diversion of the usual digests you guys cover. I think like a lot of the commentators, I never bought these funny animal digests, mostly because I guess I thought they were too “kiddie” for me at the time. But hearing how many stories were in these digests, I would have bought it, no questions asked. Talk about bang for your buck!

    I agree with you both that this was a funny tag line for the digest, advertising that Peter Porkchops is Pig Iron. I guess they got to cash in on that sweet, sweet Captain Carrot money! It was that or have Wolverine guest star. (Yes, yes, he’s Marvel but he guest starred in everything in the ’80’s….)

    Well done, gentlemen! Until the next episode two years form now, keep up the great work!

  16. Great episode, or my milk doesn’t come in a bag! Anyway, I seem to never stop by the website to leave a comment these days…and perhaps I shouldn’t, because my recommendation for a Fantasy Digest is….The New Talent Showcase Digest! See the first ever stories (or so) by (some) people who went on to be mega stars (or at least occasional freelancers) in the comic book industry! You’re welcome!

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