Friday, March 2, 2012

"The Tommy Moccasin Trail"

I feel like this blog has been too damn positive lately.  Here's my impression of me: "Gee whillikers, fellows, look at this keen Italian artist I just discovered!  Isn't he swell?  Golly, I sure hope he gets published in the US someday!  Living in 1958 is the most!  I like Ike!  I wonder if Jenny will go to the sock hop with me?  Gosh, she sure is pretty!"  Now, that's all good clean fun as far as it goes--and we've definitely not seen the last of entries of that nature--but sometimes you just need to spit some venom, you know?

Friggin' Vic Lockman.  I'm not gonna claim to never have enjoyed anything he's ever written, but, fairly or not (and surely it's at least a little fair), he's sorta synonymous in my mind with the kinda broad, pandering, childish turn that Western started to take with its Disney comics in the sixties and that only got worse as time went on.  This is the man responsible for the Beagle Brats, ferfucksake.  The sensibility that would think that something like that was a good idea is not a sensibility that has much in common with my own.

You've sorta got to admire his tenacity, however.  He was crankin' 'em out all through the sixties and seventies and eighties right up 'til the death of Western.  But did that stop him?  NO.  Apparently he was set back on his heels briefly, but then in 1987 he was back with a flurry of scripts for (I think?  Correct me if I'm wrong) Disney Studio Program stories.  Good lord, man.  This lasted until 1991, and then stopped, I presume because the Disney Studio Program stopped.  But that was not the end either, as he reemerged in 1994, and suddenly--possibly influenced by the new auteur school of Disney comics as embodied by Rosa and Van Horn--he was drawing his own stuff.  Apparently, he was doing this specifically for Gladstone; if inducks is to be believed, none of it has been published overseas.   

And…you overseas people ain't missing a whole lot.  It's pretty much the usual boring Lockman stuff, and his art is pretty hideous.  It's not exactly worse than frequent former collaborator Kay Wright…but it's not exactly better, either.  These stories are very much a throwback to the late Western days; I have to assume that Gladstone published them out of charity more than anything else; given all the European stuff that was finally getting localized, along with new stories from Rosa and Van Horn, they weren't exactly hurting for much better material.  I suppose I can't object to this too strenuously, however: guy certainly paid his dues; as long as his stuff wasn't overwhelming the comic books, fine okay I don't mind. 

Now to be fair: this is a pretty clever-ish story, and with better art I suppose it could be a minor classic.  Most of the rest of it is merely completely forgettable--with the rather major exception of the goddamn fucking "Tommy Moccasin Trail," which I hate SO MUCH I cannot even TELL you people, but I am bloody well going to try.  I hadn't planned on writing about this story, because, for the only time ever, I felt kind of bad about the intensity of my antipathy.  The damn thing was written many, many years past his prime!  Hardly anyone read it!  Just let it lie, fercryinoutloud!  Still, these late stories are a part, however small, of Disney comics history.  Besides, not to be too morbid, but Lockman's in his eighties; by all means, may he live for many more years, but if he does pass in the near future, I'll want to write a more or less respectful entry about a story of his that I actually like (they do exist, kind of, even if I don't love any of them).  And at that point, an entry about one I really, really hate would just seem inappropriate.  So I'm striking while the iron is, uh, alive.

I didn't come into the story determined to hate it, I'll tell you that much.  In fact, I found this opening--in spite of its general bugliness (that's a disclaimer that could accompany everything I say here)--to be at least potentially promising.  Discovering a long-lost cabin?  Could be intriguing!

…with a lost diary, no less.  Could sort of an almost Junior Woodchucks version of a classic Scrooge treasure hunt be on hand?

Here's ol' Tommy himself.  I want you to stare long and hard at his visage, as it will become relevant later.

Yes, of course, Dufus is impressed; who wouldn't be…wait, who?  Like Doofus from Ducktales?  I suppose if you got drunk enough and squinted, it might look very vaguely like an adult version thereof, but that isn't really any more sensible an explanation.  I would be inclined to suggest that Lockman, only very vaguely familiar with the show, made a wildly off-target interpolation of what the character was supposed to be (and then misspelled his name).  But that won't fly; he did a number of Ducktales scripts in his time.  Is "DUFUS" supposed to be a Junior Woodchucks acronym (Diligent Undersecretary of Forestry Usage and Safety)?  Or was this a stillborn effort to create a new character?  It's very mysterious.

So…the kids go to follow the trail, but FUCK THE WHAT?!?  You'd think they'd have some prior knowledge of Duckburg's location, but never mind; that's not our central concern here…

 …then this happens…

 …and this; you get the idea.  Waiting for the other shoe to drop…

Not exactly emotionally subtle, is Lockman.  "As if anything matters anymore!"  Whatever you say, Robert Smith.  This is partially a drawing problem and partially a writing problem--in neither medium is he able to convey high emotions of this sort.

But anyway, as you can see, ol' Tommy is a TRAITOR!  Presumably, he wasn't all that bright, either, if he needed a key to help him remember what his dumb little abbreviations meant.  "What do you have for me, Moccasin?"  "Oh, I've got some great ideas, Mr. McDuck!  For instance, that bay--it would be the perfect place to build a c--a co--a…cod…hatchery…"  "Excuse me?"  "No!  I mean, a…creepy…hermitage…?"  And so on.

See?  Lockman's general level of artistry does not serve him at all well here.  Pretty sure Dewey's meant to be actually angry there, but what he really looks like is an adorable kitten trying to be a fierce tiger.  Grrr!

Note alternative spelling of "Dufus."  Or maybe…the earlier version was the alternate one!  Did I just blow your mind?  I feel like an editor should have caught something so obvious.  In isolation, this whole "Dufus" thing--misspellings and all--wouldn't be a huge deal, but in the context of this story, I feel like it bespeaks a general half-assedness.

…seriously, do the characters here remind you of the classic Disney characters even a little?  They sure don't me.  Note again this statue: everyone's outraged beyond words by land having been cleared for cities and things, but destroying a mountain to build a giant, hideous, garish monument?  No problem!  And then just cavalierly blowing it up with no regard for environmental consequences?  That's just A-okay!  I only mention this because it demonstrates how--as is about to become obvious--Lockman is either unwilling or unable to get into the mindset of the characters he's supposedly depicting.

O can't you just see the risible TWIST ENDING coming?  Naturally, it's precipitated by insane people in cars shrieking about their vacations.

Here's where I just start to see red.  Grrr!  Feel free to imagine me as Dewey angrily kicking a pinecone if it makes things more vivid.

Now, as for this "guid[ing] industry in a way that both aided progress and conserved nature for us all to enjoy"--well, let's overlook the use of the extremely loaded word "progress," and let's ignore the fact that "for us all to enjoy" would not, for a real Junior Woodchuck, be any kind of mitigating factor--and admit that there's the germ of an interesting idea here.  Oh, and also, we have to accept the idea that Scrooge founded Duckburg ex nihilo, which clashes completely with pretty much any duck continuity you can name.  But let's just go with it, eh? 

As it stands, the concept is totally undeveloped and thus doesn't make any sense.  But if the story were to be expanded and revised, this could be remedied by including flashbacks of Scrooge and Moccasin talking, or just Scrooge reminiscing: "I remember I was originally going to build Duckburg in this Yosemite area--lots of natural resources to exploit.  Heh--ol' TR was making a fuss about it, but I had the land rights and there was nothing he could do about it.  But my agent--Moccasin was what he called himself--was quite insistent that that I should build on this other, less biologically rich plot.  Explained how I could make a lot more money from tourists if I let TR have the Yosemite property.  And doggoned if the crazy old coot wasn't right in the end!"  Something like that.  I think the most dramatically interesting thing to do would be to have the Woodchucks never figure this out--they revile Moccasin (sorry--can't quite bring myself to refer to him as "Tommy") to the end, never knowing the environmental damage he mitigated.  Kinda dark, but quite effective, I should think, like a Disney version of Borges' "Three Versions of Judas."  I kinda doubt I'd agree with that story's central arguments much more than I do with this one's, but at least it would be honest and coherent and really give you something to think about.

And just as I've almost convinced myself that this story's actually quite good, I remember that the good version is the one that only exists in my head.  In this here external world, the evidence that Tommy Moccasin was one swell fella is…that people visit National Parks.  So what evidence would be enough to convince the Woodchucks that he was a vile traitor after all?  All National Parks are abolished?  Calling this rationale half-assed would be giving it about .47 of an ass too much credit.

But this isn't really about Moccasin per se, is it?  What it's really about is a mindless lionization of industrial interests.  Note the clumsy rhetorical legerdemain in these panels: in the first one, Tommy Moccasin's a good guy because he "guided industry" in good ways.  In the second, that suddenly morphs into a blanket "yay development of industry"--nothing Moccasin-specific required.  Apparently, as long as the entire country hasn't literally been reduced to a nightmarish, dystopian, industrial wasteland, everything developers do is A-okay!  HDL know goddamn well--notably from their clashes with Scrooge in Barks' Junior Woodchucks scripts--that "progress" of this sort is a mixed blessing at best.  There's just no way that they would buy into this line of bullshit.  Indeed, nobody, save the most thoroughly industry-bought-and-paid-for Republican governor, would even pretend to go that far.  I have to imagine that, if pressed, even Lockman himself would have to concede that, at the very least, the issue isn't nearly so clear-cut.  So what the hell?

It's almost as if this Lockman specifically wrote this story as a counter to the aforementioned Barks Woodchuck tales.  Okay, so--based on the evidence of this story, at least--he's an anti-environmentalist.  Fine (well, not "fine," but he certainly has that right).  But putting such a stupid, low-grade "argument" in the mouths of the fuckin' Junior Woodchucks of all people--that's when the whole thing just becomes offensive.

Ugh.  Right.  "Heh," indeed.  Please please please please please just fuck off.

Of course, if you wanted to read the story against itself, you could make it into something very dark indeed: the Woodchucks are so completely emotionally invested in this Moccasin character that they're willing to desperately embrace even the most stupid, flimsy of rationales to avoid having to face the reality, that their hero was in fact a corporate stooge.  Still, I don't know that that would actually be much better: you would imagine that the Woodchucks would be prone to such behavior why, exactly?

Anyway, it seems very unlikely, in light of Lockman's, um, interesting viewpoints.  He's still around, but these days, he contents himself with turning out tracts about the Trilateral Commission's fiendish plans for a North American Union and weird evangelical children's books in which "creation zaps evolution!"  Yup--he's a prime example of that quintessentially American character type, the Crank.  Dunno if he was always like that or if he came to it late in life, but it seems somehow appropriate that such a person should have been a small but significant part of so quintessentially American a concern as Disney.

As I said, there's a part of me that feels bad about savaging such an insignificant comic so brutally, but good lord, people--Gladstone made the decision to print the damn thing, and I, all unsuspecting, read it--and lived to regret it.  It seems only fair that I get to use this blog to exorcise it.



Anonymous Elaine said...

Ooh, I, too, *hated* this story. Ick ick ick. First of all, I hate stories with explicit morals; second, third, fourth of all, I hate this particular moral. Fifth of all, these are *not* the JWs I know and love. Reading this story was too depressing for words.

There are actually two VL stories that I'm fond of: "The Hound of Basketville" (WDC 300-01) is a fine Holmes-homage (Holmage?)--note the rating on INDUCKS, it's not only my nostalgia talking (we had this comic in my childhood); and "The Gold Hound" (KJW 013), though written for the Disney Co's 1990's interregnum, has a fine female character, the prospector Pyrite Jenny (The art sucks, though, and of course the colorist had to make Jenny wear PINK! The couture of choice for any prospector living alone with her dog in the desert.). You understand, I'm grateful for every decent female character who turns up in duck comics.

March 3, 2012 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Just like Elaine, I could spend my comments listing good stories Lockman has done over the years. Many of them, in Silver Age comics you’ve probably never read – like The Jetsons, The Flintstones, and Huckleberry Hound. He may have written the best Jetsons story of ANY publisher that had the title (there were six such publishers, all told), where he expertly transplanted the rampant competitive consumerism of the early 1960s into the future-era of The Jetsons.

I could also honestly turn around and say he wrote the single WORST Donald Duck story (“Bird Bothered Hero” (1969) – which you Blogged about, and rightly ripped to shreads) and very likely the worst Bugs Bunny comic story ever – something called “The Feast on Planet Fuddo” (1968).

But “good and bad” is not necessarily the point I wish to make. More so, I can be deservedly harsh on (oh, say…) Kay Wright’s ART, without being equally venomous about the person. You may think as little of “The Tommy Moccasin Trail” as I think of “Bird Bothered Hero” – and perhaps you SHOULD – but I see a little too much that appears to be directed at Lockman, himself. And that’s where it begins to become slightly uncomfortable for me.

I enjoy your writing. Very much so, as my numerous comments and observations on your Blog bear out. Largely, I’d say, because you always keep it interesting – and never pull your punches.

Maybe this is just another manifestation of “that special quality” of yours, and nothing more. And, maybe this is part of what I should expect when passing through these gates. But, still…

March 3, 2012 at 11:45 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I know what you mean, Joe; I really do. That's part of why I was sort of ambivalent about doing this entry for so long (which is maybe apparent from the several "I feel kind of bad about..." disclaimers)--I was afraid it would get overly personal, and I actually went through several drafts of this to try to be as fair as possible. I think the only really questionable thing in the final version that one might take issue with is me characterizing him as "crank." No doubt he would disagree with the characterization, but I'm not slandering him--he appears to hold some social and political viewpoints that would generally be considered bizarre, and if anyone takes issue with my assessment, they can click the links and check for themselves.

I don't know; maybe I didn't get it right. I'm not perfect. All I can tell you is that I was not unaware of these issues, and I felt satisfied that the final product, while vitriolic, was not unfair and did not criticize Lockman based on anything other than work that he made publicly available, whether in comic books or on his website.

March 4, 2012 at 12:26 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...


I DID get a sense of what you were doing with the disclaimers, and maybe the problem is that certain things are known about Mr. Lockman that go beyond the fact that he can (presumably) sleep at night after turning in stuff like “Bird Bothered Hero”. (To ME, that’s problem enough!) And, maybe that can’t help but influence one’s point of view and, by extension, one’s writings.

As you may glean from my own writings and comments, in the pre-Internet years when people communicated by written and posted letters – or face to face communication -- and when the more (shall we say) “enthusiastic and bothersome” type of fan was less prevalent, I made contact with, and (in certain cases) became friendly with, a number of Disney and Western writers and artists of the various ages of comics. Visited their homes, showed them around New York, if they came east, etc.

Vic Lockman was not one of them. Can’t really say why, for certain. It *could* be that certain views of his are at odds with mine – and that might limit the scope of any “friendship” that might develop.

But that’s like saying that there would be no point in my becoming acquainted with John Wayne (if I’d had the opportunity) for similar reasons, despite being a fan of his movies. Director Mark Rydell, of “The Cowboys” (1971 and a favorite Wayne film of mine) admits to those same apprehensions, in his DVD commentary on that film. But, he found that Wayne, despite his views, was a really great guy.

Perhaps that could be the case here, as well. I know I’d love the opportunity to discuss comics writing, and his experiences therein, with Vic Lockman. I’d also love to show him the published version of Gyro Gearloose: “When Posty Met Patty” (UNCLE SCROOGE # 362) where every word and phrase of my dialogue was a tribute to Lockman’s um… “unique styling’s”. And, in general, just how much I’ve enjoyed certain things he did, over the years. Hey, who *doesn’t* enjoy hearing THAT!

Oh, and to Elaine: In that story, I didn’t choose to make the (fe)male box “pink”. I’m assuming it was just another case of comic book shorthand, as was “Calisota Shore” in WDC&S # 720. :-)

March 4, 2012 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

It had occurred to me to wonder if you had ever had interactions with Lockman. It would definitely be interesting to hear his reminiscences about his comics work, but the extent to which he downplays this on his website is kind of surprising--apart from a brief, one-line mention on his "mini-resume" page--nothin'. Who knows? Maybe he considers it a distraction from the kind of work he's *really* interested in.

I take your point, but these things get a bit difficult when you're dealing with things that have an explicitly political message. To take the John Wayne example, if I were writing a review of Green Berets, I would really have no choice but to say something like "seriously, Wayne? A pro-Vietnam-War movie? That's pretty fucked up, dude." Doesn't mean I don't think he could have other, redeeming characteristics, but in a case like that, by criticizing the ideas, there's an extent to which you can't avoid criticizing the person. I don't know; maybe in a case like this, where nothing's really at stake, it's better to just keep quiet. But, well, for better or worse, I made my decision.

For whatever it's worth, thanks in part to knowing that people are actually reading this stuff and in part to Dave's (constructive!) criticisms, I feel like I'm a lot more circumspect about these things these days than I would have been in the past. Not exactly *cautious,* but more aware of what impact certain sorts of comments could have in the real world.

(As opposed to when I'm writing elsewhere about politics; there, I'm not even a little bit circumspect, 'cause seriously, fuck 'em all...)

March 4, 2012 at 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

The Tommy Moccasin story doesn't only have a politico-social POV; it's essentially propaganda. The fact that the characters have to spell out the moral (rather than having it come across in the plot) is a giveaway. (Not that all propaganda has explicit morals; in some propaganda the plot is artificially manipulated by the author's heavy hand to demonstrate the moral.) There can be propaganda for good causes as well as for bad causes; but it is perhaps true that criticism of a work of propaganda is harder to keep separate from personal criticism of the artist. An actual work of art, where the messages are imbedded in a believable created world/characters/plot, can be criticized with less reference to the person of the artist, since the artist has given that world a sort of independence from her/himself.

March 4, 2012 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

And I take YOUR point, as well!

In fact, John Wayne may have been the perfect “place to go”, in order to present both viewpoints.

My affection for Wayne is pretty much limited to his westerns. And, all politics aside, I think enough people will agree that Wayne’s westerns are among the best of the genre, cinematically. If not, certainly they are the most iconic.

Doesn’t mean I’m a fan of “The Green Berets”, or support his views of the time and on the subject. I didn’t then (as I approached draft age) – and I don’t today. Still, halting the spread of Communism was a legitimate argument of the postwar world. (Even Carl Barks told us THAT with Brutopia!) We just don’t all believe that was particularly the correct time or place.

And, yes, it’s probably not easy to “keep from going there”, if one were to discuss the film (and its times) in any depth. But one can certainly discuss praiseworthy vehicles featuring John Wayne – from the early “B westerns” (entertaining in their own innocently humorous right) to the later epics like “True Grit” -- and pan any misguided attempts to shoehorn Wayne into the ‘70s detective / action drama, while eschewing the personal stuff. And that pretty much applies to the good and bad of Vic Lockman as well.

March 4, 2012 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger Chris Barat said...


While the word "crank" can probably be fairly used to describe Vic Lockman's views, he certainly doesn't strike me as being an UNPLEASANT crank. He's like one of those amateur mathematicians who think that they can square the circle or trisect the angle, but don't press the point too strongly.

You put your finger on one of Lockman's main failings as a writer... one that I observed when reading his scripts for (of all titles) Western's WINNIE THE POOH. His vision of how to construct a story is almost entirely plot-driven; the characters and their proper characterizations appear to be a secondary concern. In Lockman's POOH, for example, Pooh is the "main character," the one who comes up with plans, etc., for no other reason than Lockman apparently figured that Pooh HAD to be the center of attention because, hey, his name was in the book's title. In the Milne books, by contrast, Pooh is a repertory company member -- a major one, to be sure, but a company member just the same.

None of the characters in the POOH title have any sort of distinctive voice, and I think that the same can be said of most of Lockman's Disney work. Apart from such obvious traits as Goofy's accent, most of Lockman's characters talk alike and use the same speech patterns. It's not surprising that Lockman used the Woodchucks to tell this particular story, because it seemed to fit their milieu so well. Whether or not it made much sense, given what we know about HD&L's personalities AS members of the Woodchucks, was a secondary issue.

The "Doofus" gaffes are particularly annoying because Lockman wrote some DT stories in which Doofus appeared as a pal of HD&L. However, he seemed to be under the impression that Doofus was older than HD&L, simply because he was BIGGER than them. I'm guessing that Lockman never saw the finished art that the Diaz Studio did for his DT Woodchuck scripts, nor did he see the TV series. It was therefore easy for him to fall into the trap and conclude that Doofus was simply a JW troop leader of some sort.


March 4, 2012 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Thanks for the clarifications. Especially with regards to Doofus, that really clears some things up. Still a very odd misconception, though.

For what it's worth, I meant "crank" at least semi-affectionately--though, fair enough, someone seeing him or herself thus characterized would be unlikely to appreciate the distinction.

March 4, 2012 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

"None of the characters in the POOH title have any sort of distinctive voice, and I think that the same can be said of most of Lockman's Disney work."

I'm not sure I would go to such extremes, but in some ways I agree. Lots and lots of characters are portrayed as what I might call "generic childish figures": curious, overimpulsive, unrealistic, vindictive, panicky and fussy in no particular order. Only when a character has very specific, notably obsessive pre-existing traits (greed, gluttony, criminality, inventive nature) do their personalities really survive intact.
But this explains why Lockman was IMHO best with Gyro and Zeke Wolf: their obsessive nature played to his strengths.

March 5, 2012 at 1:24 AM  
Blogger Ryan Wynns said...

Geo and all,

I remember this phase where Gladstone was printing new, original Lockman stories, though I had absolutely no -- zilch -- memory of this one particular.

But from this post, it's apparent that, completely regardless its ideology and whether or not you disagree with said ideology ... this story just plain MAKES NO SENSE!

("Oh, wow, we had no idea of this mountain that we've been climbing's immediately-proimate geographical relationship to Duckburg!") ("That guy wasn't the saintly folk hero we thought he was, so obviously, the ONLY thing to do is use up time, energy, and resources blowing up that enormous statue of him!")

Like you, Geo, I want to give Lockman credit for his persistence and consistency in his career. I'd really like to know the story behind how he came to, for a time, be freelancing for Gladstone exclusively.


March 5, 2012 at 3:20 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Ever the astute editor, David does it again! Getting to the core of the matter.

The “Doofus / Dufus Anomaly” aside (and shame on his editors there, as well), Vic Lockman never really mischaracterized the characters he wrote. Certainly not in the horrific way Marv Wolfman did for Scrooge and especially Glomgold at the end of the abomination known as “Scrooge’s Quest”.

He got all the basic traits right. Goofy was Goofy, at least consistent with the way Goofy was portrayed in Western’s comics. Bugs Bunny was Bugs Bunny – again, Western’s version and not Bob Clampett’s or Chuck Jones’ version. Yogi Bear was Yogi Bear. As were David’s citations of Gyro and Zeke Wolf.

But all this WAS secondary to “The Vic Lockman Type of Story”.

“The Vic Lockman Story” was “The Vic Lockman Story”, and the characters that participated in it were secondary to the “Story” itself. That’s why HE above all of the uncredited writers who toiled for Western Publishing is always the most easy to recognize.

Yep! My editor does it again!

March 5, 2012 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger Pete Fernbaugh said...

Ironically (and perhaps conversely), I *love* Vic Lockman's original Gyro story, "Solar Shenanigans," from this period. I thought it was a clever idea, and as it has been noted, using Gyro played to his strengths.

Like Joe, I was a bit put off/disturbed by the personal nature of the review. In fact, I stopped reading, even though I probably agree with you, Geo, about the overall quality of the story.

Reading "Tommy Moccasin" at a young age, I found it difficult to respect Lockman's work because it seemed like he didn't have a basic grasp on the characters, nor did it seem like he cared. Over the years, Joe has salvaged Lockman's rep for me, and I now hold Lockman's best work in the highest regard.

("Og's Iron Bed" is one of my all-time favorite Duck stories. Wrote a whole article on it back in the day.)

It *is* the nature of discourse in our modern society, though, to link criticism of a person's work with who that person is as an individual. That's not wholly invalid, and when two people are from two vastly different walks of life with two vastly different belief systems, as you, Geo, and Lockman are, it becomes even more difficult to separate the two. So, I understand where you're coming from.

Lockman's views, as espoused on his website, are not foreign to me. I know many good, wonderful people who believe as he does. I hope our society eventually evolves to the point where conversation between opposite spectrum ends overrides evisceration.

That said, evisceration can be a ton of fun for the one doing the eviscerating... :-)

March 5, 2012 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Comicbookrehab said...

Did Vic Lockman create Cracky the Parrot? I bought an issue of Cracky from a quarter bin and thought the busy "cartoony" scripts and art reminded me of Vic.

I wonder if anyone bought the "Vic Lockman's How-To-Draw" books that were advertised in Gladstone comics around 1994? Obviously, I'm guessing you guys did. ;)

March 5, 2012 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Chris Barat said...


Excellent point: Lockman didn't get characterizations WRONG so much as he didn't let characterizations drive his stories. You get a cash reward for this!


March 5, 2012 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Pete Fernbaugh said...

lol I actually thought about it, but didn't have the money at the time. I don't mind his artwork so much. He needed to polish it a bit more. At times, it looks a tad rushed.

I seem to recall he played up his Disney work in those ads...

March 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Ugh--those ads made me feel sad in a "how far the mighty have fallen" kind of way. Guy used to absolutely dominate Disney comics, and now he's reduced to hawking these lame-looking pamphlets with PAID ADVERTISEMENT prominently written on them in a book surrounded by, let's be honest, better art than he ever did? Look upon my works, ye mighty...

March 5, 2012 at 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Re: Og's Iron Bed. I really, really love the cover art for that one. And I enjoy the story, up until the end. But even when I first read the story at the age of 10, I thought the ending made no sense. How could one prove that the picture of Og and his guards was taken at the same time/place as the picture of the bed?

March 5, 2012 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Elaine writes:

“How could one prove that the picture of Og and his guards was taken at the same time/place as the picture of the bed?”

With the same certainty that one might prove the authenticity of (oh, say…) a Babe Ruth autograph! People believe what that want to believe, regardless of what logic tells them – look no further than contemporary politics for example after example of that. I once regarded the overly scattered and emotionally reactive population of Duckburg – as well as THE SIMPSONS’ Springfield – as superb comic exaggeration. Now, our own reality seems to be catching up!

And, to the ending of “Og’s Iron Bed”, didn’t photos of the time of the story print with “dates” stamped on the back? Maybe Gyro’s “Century Sailer” was SOOO effective, it reversed the camera’s automatic dating mechanism as it traveled to the time of OG – resulting in the back of the photo reading July 15, 1400 BC! Add to that a little Duckburgian “irrationally motivated belief” and – BAM! Authentic 1400 BC double-exposed photo in 1966, and proof positive of the Bed’s origin!

Good gosh! He’s even “fixing” old Vic Lockman stories! Somebody, start a NEW Disney comics publisher QUICK! So, he can get back to “fixing” NEW stories, before it’s too late!

March 6, 2012 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Of course, NOW, as opposed to 1966… in a time where any image can be altered and faked to show ANYTHING, the ending is totally invalidated, after all. Anyone wanna try a “fix” for that?

March 6, 2012 at 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

The ten-year-old me was perfectly willing to believe that the Duckburg museum folks, being well acquainted with Gyro, would not balk at time travel, so that they would accept that the photo could have been taken in Og's time. And that Og would be identifiable as himself (in the same way that artifacts are identifiable). What I didn't believe was that the ducks could prove that the photo of the bed (in what was obviously a double exposure) had also been taken in Og's time/place.

The printed date on the photo is an interesting hack. Wasn't it the date of development, printed by the developer? Or if the camera "knew" the date and recorded it (surely only possible post-mid-60's), what would happen in a double exposure?

It occurs to me only now that perhaps it was the artist who made this unbelievable, by making the photo so clearly a double exposure. Perhaps VL intended for the photo to appear relatively natural, with the people beside the bed rather than overlaid on it, so that viewers would not immediately recognize it as a double exposure? Essentially, an unintentionally faked photo.

And indeed the plot doesn't work with contemporary cameras/computers at all.

In any case, Joe, your last paragraph with its plea for a new Disney publisher made me laugh out loud.

March 6, 2012 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...


In “Og”, couldn’t Gyro have devised a camera that “knew the date and recorded it”, in the mid-sixties? Where is your faith in the “Loose-Geared One”, oh scathing skeptic?

He DOES give Donald the camera on Page Four, Panel One – so we can assume it’s his! That would also explain why the camera’s “internal date recorder” was in perfect synch with his “Century-Sailer”.

As for what would happen in a double exposure, both images were captured on the same day, so only the theoretical date of July 15, 1400 BC (…so postulated because the original comic was on sale in July, 1966) would be the only date stamped on the back! …Though the date image might be “double-struck”, due to the circumstances. We will assume this did not blur or otherwise obscure the image.

And I am thinking entirely TOO much about this not to receive a retroactive scripting credit!

Glad to have brought a laugh to your day!


March 6, 2012 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

And, of course (he goes on reflexively overthinking), that “theoretical date of July 15, 1400 BC” was Gyro’s special camera TRANSLATING the date of their time traversing to what it would be on the modern calendar. You know… like pre and post Julius Caesar… and that kinda stuff!

Oh, if only there were some new Romano Scarpa stories to “fix”! THEN, I could free myself from reliving “Og’s Iron Bed”…over and over… for all eternity! :-)

March 7, 2012 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Vic Lockman seems obviously to be a weird guy, based on his website. However, visiting the website in question had me thinking: "he's definitely not improving on what he writes, but, provided the drawing near the logo and the bookshelf and stuffs are by him, well, at least he considerably improved his art !". Don't you think so too ?

November 17, 2015 at 5:11 PM  
Anonymous PL9 said...

I don't know if anyone will read this because it's almost four years after the original post, but I just discovered this blog, and...oh, god. Based on the final panel of this story, I think I've finally discovered the identity of the worst Gold Key comics writer whom I read as a kid – the one who always had the characters interjecting “...heh...” in the middle of their sentences. As in, “When that mouse and his goofy friend show up...heh...they're in for a big surprise!” “Wben that road runner stops to eat this birdseed...heh...I'll flatten him with this anvil!” And so forth. Every time I saw that in the dialogue, I thought, “Oh, no, it's the '...heh...' guy! This story is going to suck!”
But maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps some famous quotes would benefit from the Vic Lockman treatment! “Frankly, my dear...heh...I don't give a damn!” “We must all hang together, or...heh...surely we will all hang separately!” “The only thing we have to fear is...heh...fear itself!”
Now that I know who's responsible for all those crappy stories from my childhood, I'm tempted to send an email to Mr. Lockman venting my rage. But, judging from his website, he's a bitter, angry, deranged old man, so out of mercy and the Christmas spirit I'll leave him alone.

December 24, 2015 at 5:58 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Heh! I never noticed that linguistic tic; it would be interesting to track it through old Western comics. It might have only been Lockman, but I cannot guarantee that. Certainly something to think about!

December 24, 2015 at 11:31 PM  
Anonymous PL9 said...

Well, OK. I suppose it is a bit unfair to blame all the “...heh...” stories on Vic Lockman based on this one example. But whoever it was, I'm fairly certain it was one writer. His (or her) stories had other uniquely irritating qualities. However, I don't know for sure that it was Lockman, so I'll give him a pass on it for now. Have a nice holiday, everyone!

December 25, 2015 at 12:17 PM  

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