Breaking News: The perpetrator of this currently-defunct blog, one John Glenn Taylor, has recently been spotted in Oregon. He is operating under the alias Bon Bock (bahn bahk) and was last sighted playing hashtag games on Twitter. Subject has two arms, so he should be considered "armed." However, he poses no danger, so approach with a complete lack of caution.

January 15, 2009

Scribbles: The Genius Of Sheldon Mayer - Part Four

Perhaps the most memorable and enduring of all Sheldon Mayer's creations is the team of Sugar & Spike. In this excerpt from Amazing World Of DC Comics #5, Sheldon himself describes the germination of the concept of the strip:

(I needed a book) about kids...Human compete with the rash of "Dennis The Menace" imitations that were then flooding the market. I resisted all suggestions that it be another "Dennis" imitation! I remember saying, "When Ketchum dreamed up 'Dennis', he looked around him and found what he was looking for in his own kid. To that degree only, I WILL imitate Ketchum. I too will look around me and see what I come up with. But it won't be another 'Dennis' type. It'll be somebody else, with his own individuality. That way it'll have a better chance of survival when the 'Dennis' craze ends." Easier said than done...Ketchum had his little son...My kids were already entering their teens. I had to look elsewhere.
After observing and sketching the neighborhood kids for a day or two, every idea I had was just another "kid" strip. Nothing fresh seemed to show itself. Trying to recall what my own kids were like when they were smaller, I ran our old home-movies of them, working my way back thru the dozens of reels to the earliest shots we had of 'em. Merrily and Lanney were less than a year apart in age, so that there was a brief period during which neither of them had learned to talk yet. Watching them together as babies in their playpen (when Lanney was about 9 months old, and his sister about 10 months older) I observed that they seemed to be communicating with each other. On this silent film, you could swear they were having an involved conversation. And yet I KNEW that they had not been able to talk when I shot those films.

Here is an example of Shelley's finished concept, from Sugar & Spike #19 (Oct. 1958):

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