What’s a Wacky Woodpecker to Do?
Something’s Funny in the Funnies
Well, if you’re a fan of comics (and I presume you are, otherwise what the heck are you doing on a site about comics?), then chances are you have at least a passing interest in cartoons. And if you have an interest in cartoons, then chances are you are familiar with some of the more well known cartoon characters, characters like the one shown below, gingerly borrowed from the world wide web…
You probably guessed already by the title of this entry that Woody Woodpecker would be the focus for today. If you did, give yourself a pat on the back. You know, I kind of see this entry as a bit of a challenge. Let’s see if I can send this entry of a relatively inoffensive cartoon character spiraling down a moral sewer WITHOUT using his name as a punch line. Let’s face it, making fun of a name like Woody Woodpecker would just be too easy. Bet you’re already making fun of it right now you sick pervert! Okay, that was harsh of me. I’ll just quietly wait now until you’re done with your fun and want to return to torturing yourself by reading this site.
Dum-dee-dum-dum, dum-dee-dum, dum-dee-dum-dum, DUM, de-da-da-dum…
Ready kids? Okay, let’s continue!
Woody here, like most other cartoon characters, has had an interesting evolution. What you see above is his most recent incarnation, a cute redheaded, hell-raiser (as far as G rated constrictions will take him, anyway). In his earliest existence however he was merely an inspiration gleaned from nature, that is, a real live woodpecker…
Somehow the critter above gave inspiration to the classic first incarnation of the wacky Woody in cartoon form as seen below…
Do you see a similarity between the two, because I sure as hell don’t! Seriously, how could anyone start out with mother nature’s woodpecker and end up with the simple minded looking psycho we see above is anybody’s guess. I suppose when the creative juices start flowing (or the drugs start working) anything is possible.
(Aspirin break inserted here for your enjoyment).
Sometime later, inspired by Chuck Jones’ work over at Warner Bros, Walter Lantz studios decided to streamline Woody and ended up with the version my generation grew up with…
Uhm, yeah. Did I ever tell you how seriously f****d up my generation is? I don’t know what Woody’s doing to Andy Panda there, but they look WAY too happy while doing it! Sigh, at least Woody’s keeping his hands above the equator.
For some inexplicable reason I feel like reiterating at this point that I am strait. Don’t know why the urge came over me to say so.
Let’s see my checklist for spiraling articles into the gutter: 1) reference drug use (check) 2) sexual orientation innuendo (check) 3) racism
Let’s move on.
Now, of course I wouldn’t start out this entry unless I had something comic related. Quite frankly it is startling how often comics take liberties with their source materials. Folks complain when their beloved comic characters are butchered in big budget Hollywood adaptations, well I say, Hollywood is just getting even for all the stuff comics have been messing around with. For example, if you looked over my recent Jetsons entry, you’ll note that Astro wasn’t quite himself in the comics. Or one of my earlier entries that introduced the bald-headed, purple short wearing Kojak Klingon brigade into Star Trek lore (all readily available in the Archives section). And brother, Woody Woodpecker is no different! For proof I present to you The Funnies #64, Woody’s very first comic book appearance…
So what we have (from left to right) is Oswald the Rabbit whose most recent claim to fame was being traded from Universal to Disney in exchange for an executive and up-teen-millions of dollars. Turns out Ozzy was one of Walt Disney’s earliest creations for a Mr. Walter Lantz. If you need further details feel free to Google it. All I’ll say is it would suck to be the executive made part of the deal. Could you imagine living your life knowing you were traded for a cartoon rabbit? Could be worse, imagine if Ozzy Osbourne of heavy metal fame was originally named after this rabbit. Now that I put the thought in your head, the next time you hear “Crazy Train” all you’ll think about is an obese rabbit in overalls. Kind of shatters your world, doesn’t it?
Next we have Andy Panda who we covered (well, actually Woody covered him) above. All I’ll add here is that for the longest time Andy was paired up with a character called Charlie Chicken, and they lived together in a small house, sharing expenses and living their lives with nary a gal in sight. Sure Andy had his seldom seen girlfriend, but Charlie was ALWAYS there. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. To the best of my knowledge Andy never choked the chicken – drum roll please!
And then we have Lil’ Eight Ball. Yeah, I think the whole moral sewer thing is a slam dunk now. What can I say, 1942 attitudes were different from the present. Even so, judging by the big American flag in the background these boys are all true blue patriots! And hey, any nation that allows human beings to be traded for commodities, and allows same sex, trans-species relations AND derogatory caricatures to see print must truly be the most free thinking nation on the planet.
Okay, enough politics, back to the woodpecker. Woody’s first entry into the annals of comicdom would occur in Oswald’s pages…
WTF happened to Oswald? He was a freaking brown rabbit on the cover, now he’s a white rabbit? And his mom is a brown rabbit. Hmm… you know I could make a Michael Jackson joke here, but I’m going to take the high road. I’ll let you insert your own joke here.
Secondly, WTF happened to Woody? Seriously, how do you go from this…
Word of advice to any aspiring colorists out there, if you are colorblind, don’t become a colorist. It just doesn’t work out. If they didn’t actually call the character Woody Woodpecker in the story I would have NO idea it was actually him.
Ah well, let’s continue…
Man, that cow has some serious gas problems! Here’s a close-up of what I’m talking about…
I’d feel uncomfortable drinking down a glass of whatever Bessie here is serving. In this image Woody seems oddly attracted by the cow’s rear end as well, which is just plain wrong.
Two quick questions to tack on here:
<![if !supportLists]>1) <![endif]>What the heck is a pesty woodpecker?
<![if !supportLists]>2) <![endif]>Doesn’t Oswald notice how light things are AFTER Woody drills holes into them? Shouldn’t he catch on that a full bucket should weigh more than the empty bucket he started with?
Next up is a very important safety lesson with Oswald. Pay attention and you may learn something.
Safety lesson number one, always look away while hammering nails into boards. That way you won’t hurt your eyes. Brilliant!
How Oswald can’t figure out the weight of a full bucket versus an empty bucket, yet at the same time be able to build a working airplane from scratch is beyond me. Maybe he’s some sort of idiot savant or something? I wonder if he ever ended up working for a large corporation like Boeing, helping to build and design the jets we travel on today?
Lord, I really hope Oswald isn’t working for a large company like Boeing and helping to design and build the modern jets we all travel on.
And what in the world is a polar bear doing in an obvious rural setting? And sleeping in a tree? Do polar bears even know what trees are?!?
Oh, wait, judging by his fangs this is a vampire polar bear! That explains it.
But what’s a vampire bear doing out in broad daylight?!?
(Aspirin break inserted here for your enjoyment).
Okay, let’s continue. Be advised, partial nudity is coming up…
My but this is getting rather dramatic! Also a bit bizarre that Woody can take the top of his head off at will. One thing that always gets me in cartoons that deal with birds is the insistence of adding teeth to them. To the best of my knowledge your average bird doesn’t have big, white choppers like people do. It just creeps me out.
Will Rosie be saved? What do you think…
It took me a couple of tries before I finally got it right. The bear falls, the broken branch hits him on the head and he runs away.
Hee hee… “I’ll get the NUTS!” “I’ll chop the WOOD!” “I’ll PULL the WORMS!” If you’re mind’s in the gutter like mine, that’s actually pretty funny.
And what the heck is going on with that bird? He’d better have that growth coming out of side checked, it doesn’t look at all healthy. Here’s a better look at what I’m talking about in a brief animated gif…
And how do the woodland creatures celebrate a hero? Why by serving circumcised carrots of course!
Scroll down if you don’t believe me!
The woodland creatures may think Woody’s ruining their banquet, but judging by the texture and pliability of the food prepared (seriously, nuts+carrots+worms=yellow crap?) Woody just saved their lives!
And there you have it, the very first appearance of Woody Woodpecker in comic book form. I hope it was as educational for you as it was for me and until next time all I can say is Goom Bye everyone!
Image Within the Image
A special entry here, taken from Superman Annual #14 which is now on sale! First a little back story to establish our place…
Things were looking pretty good in Krypton, eh? I wonder why…
Hmm, something awfully familiar here…
Something very familiar…
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Obi-Wan Kenobi was on the ruling council of Krypton?!? The Jedi’s ruled Krypton? Didn’t the Jedi’s have some rule about non-interference – oh, wait, I think that was Star Trek. Does this mean Superman has some latent Jedi Force abilities he doesn’t know about? Imagine the ass he could kick once he figure out how to use a light saber! Pretty bloody leaders though, weren’t they? Still, it could’ve been worse, Krypton could have had the Spanish Inquisition in charge…
Heh. Well then, I’ll see you later and my the force of Rao, or something, be with you!