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Thursday, February 27, 2014

on newsstands December 1947

Big things were brewing for Archie Comics.
The radio program had jumped from the NBC Blue Network to Mutual of Omaha in 1944, but settled in with NBC Radio in 1945, where it would run for the next 8 years.

Bob Montana was handling the newspaper strip and it's success and visibility was helping the brand name as well.

Archie appeared bi-monthly in the 52 page Archie Comics, of which Bill Vigoda was doing all but 6 pages of the art; a 10 page story in Pep Comics every other month, and a 7-8 page story every other month in Laugh Comics. Which still gave him 30+ pages of art to do per month.

With the idea of expanding the line, they had to find artists that could draw in a style like what Bob Montana was using for the newspaper strip or how Vigoda was using for the comics.

(Here Archie accidentally orders an alcoholic Daiquiri, and Veronica’s Uncle BUYS it for him. Of course he doesn’t drink it! - from Archie Comics #29 - December 1947)

It had been thought for some time that the Betty and Veronica story in Archie Comics #29 was also a Bill Vigoda drawn story, but in looking it over and comparing, it looks like Ray Gill to me...
Nope! It's Red Holmdale! Thanks to the release of the Archie Archives Vol. 9, we now know for sure!

(from Archie Comics #29 - December 1947)

Red Holmdale worked in the comic book industry throughout the 40's, and is known for his early 'funny animal' stories. His work at Archie Comics was primarily on comic features like "Gloomy Gus' and 'Cubby the Bear'.

I guess they needed a fill in artist for an Archie story and they let Red have a shot at it!
Seems like he knew what he was doing.... he has the facial and expressions and body language down...

(from Archie Comics #29 December 1947)

And he included a girls locker room panel....

(from Archie Comics #29 December 1947)

That turned into a fight....

(from Archie Comics #29 December 1947)

That turned into... “...A Woman’s Place is in the Home!”??? LOL.
He should've did more!

(from Archie Comics #29 December 1947)

Here’s a flamboyant Katy Keene ad from the same issue by Bill Woggon. They thought enough of the character to let the ad break the boundary and overtake a small portion of the panel in the story.

Notice the ‘Pin-up Pose and Swim Suit by Mary Ann Wilgenhof, Kalamazoo, Michigan’.
Woggon or MLJ came up with the idea of letting fans design costumes for the Katy Keene character and featuring them in the stories and giving fans credit. They even had cut out paper dolls. It was a very big deal back then and brought them many female readers.

Betty and Veronica would occasionally follow with the gimmick, but it never really had the same impact it did in Katy Keene.

(from Archie Comics #29 December 1947)

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