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Monday, 26 June 2017

Plop! 24 - Cain, Abel and Eve tour the DC offices and tell stories as the series comes to an end

Plop! comes to an end with issue 24 (Nov/Dec 76). Ironically, this was the first issue of the series I bought as a kid.

Aragones does the final framing sequence for Cain, Abel and Eve as they take a tour of the DC offices. Comic books would form a connecting theme to the stories as well.

The first story is by Don Edwing and Dave Manak, and centres on a young comic collector and an evil politician, Bella Button, who wants to make comic books illegal.

The boy is distraught, but then the Great Comic Book Spirit shows up and gets him to say the name of his favourite comic. It's a Shazam take off, so it's appropriate that it turns him into a Captain Marvel type character.

He has little luck going after Bella Button as Captain Marvel, and tries as Batman and Wonder Woman before finally succeeding as Superman. Bella Button winds up getting turned into a comic book herself by the Comic Book Spirit.

Aragones writes and draws the second story, which gives a supporting role to Eve. It seems he holds some hard feelings towards William Gaines of Mad Magazine, as this pretty clearly satirizes the man, in a downright nasty way.

Tired of the abuse from the man, Aragones goes to Eve to have her cast a spell to turn Gaines into a disgusting monster. But the monster she creates is how Gaines looks already.

Wonder Woman pops up in the framing sequence, and shows Cain, Abel and Eve around. The DC office staff are made to look like a bunch of loons, but the satire in these bits is nowhere near as men as that against Gaines.

Oh, Wolverton still does get to do his creepy people. It's just that they have moved into the interior pages from the cover. And most of the book consists of the one page Plop jokes.

Steve Skeates, Cary Bates and Ric Estrada combine for the final story, in which an artist gives drawing lessons to the reader. They are useless lessons, though, as he demonstrates how to draw a cheque, draw flies, and draw a conclusion.

One can only cheer when another character shows up and draws a gun.

Some actual DC editorial staff show up on the final page of the issue, and you have to love Julius Schwartz in the Superman outfit.

After the cancellation of this book Cain and Abel continue to appear in Houses of Mystery and Secrets, respectively. I am not certain about the next time we see Eve, though.

Plop! 20 - Aragones covers begin as Cain, Abel and Eve go underground

With issue 20 (March/April 1976) Plop! begins featuring Aragones cartoons on the cover instead of Wolverton grotesques. And with the following issue the book expands to 48 pages.

The framing sequence in this one, as usual by Aragones, sends Cain, Abel and Eve into a mine shaft to rescue some trapped miners, and tell the captive audience their stories.

As the issue ends the miners, glad to be out and away from their rescuers, get the foreman to Plop in some rock and seal Cain, Abel and Eve in the mine.

Plop! 13 - taking precautions, and a Super Plop

Another creepy Wolverton cover on Plop! 13 (June 1975).

As it is the 13th issue, Aragones makes the most of it with Cain, Abel and Eve doing everything they can to avoid getting Plopped, and warning the reader to stay away from all the classic bad luck things, walking under a ladder, a black cat, broken mirror, etc.

I'm not sure who drew the Super Plop in this issue, but it's not very funny. I guess the joke is that the pollution is so extreme it even affects Superman. But that doesn't make me laugh.

On the other hand, the finale to the issue does. Now that there are ads in the book, the framing sequences no longer end on the black and white interior cover. That's about the only plus to having ads. I really love the Plop of ink from the pen. Feels very Terry Gilliam.

Plop! 9 - Cain, Abel and Eve at Halloween, and another Super Plop

It's strange that I seem to be covering every odd numbered issue. Plop! 9 (Jan/Feb 75) makes five in a row. But it has a Super Plops, so I have to include it. Another Wolverton cover on this adless issue.

The Aragones framing sequence has Cain, Abel and Eve telling their stories to a group of trick-or-treaters on Halloween. The three are dismayed that the kids are not in costumes, and even moreso as the issue goes on and none of the stories scare them.

I'm not sure who does the art on Batman in the Super Plop, which demonstrates why it's not wise to keep a car in a Batcave.

The conclusion of the framing sequence reveals that the "kids" are really monsters in kid costumes. It's not too hard to see that one coming. I do enjoy the comment by Cain that they must be on the last page, because they are now in black and white.

Oh, and I should add that issue 10 is the last one with no ads.

Plop! 7 - Cain, Abel and Eve tell stories to Superman

A big brain by Wolverton on the cover of Plop! 7 (Sept/Oct 74).

It's the Aragones framing sequence that makes me include this issue. Cain, Abel and Eve cannot agree about which of them tells the best stories, so they decide to get Superman to decide for them.

Their way of getting Superman's attention is to have him save them from falling to their deaths. Abel is the first to try this, and after Superman catches him, he relates the first story in the issue. Cain jumps next, and tells the second story to Superman.

Things get very silly when Eve jumps, and Superman has no free hand to hold her. Eve then tells the third story to an increasingly irritated Superman.

The ending is no great surprise. Rather than pick any one of them as the winner, Superman simply drops all three, giving each one their own Plop.

Plop! 5 - Cain, Abel and Eve explain Plop to the Easter Bunny, and Super Plops

Plop! 5 (May/June 1974) contains a feature I had not been expecting, so I have to include this one. The Wolverton cover, which is a wrap around, doesn't quite work as a frontspiece.

The Aragones framing sequence sees Cain, Abel and Eve dealing with a really stupid Easter Bunny, who cannot understand what the whole concept of Plop is. So the various stories and Plop jokes are all designed to get the rabbit to understand.

But what makes me write about this issue is the three page Super Plops feature, by Murphy Anderson. The pages themselves are framed by marginalia by Aragones, as are all the "Plops" joke pages that are not actually by him. It's not new work on each page of marginalia, rather a set background. Of the three Anderson cartoons the first, with Batman and Robin discovering a crushed Batmobile, is the least amusing. Much better is Flash checking out Superman's cards while the hero and Batman greet Supergirl.

But by far the best is a two pager, which begins as Lois Lane falls out of a window. Clark has no time to change in order to save her, so flies out as himself. Lois reveals that this was a trick to get him to expose his identity. The final panel is a wonderful capper, with Clark announcing to Morgan Edge that Lois fell out a window.

The framing sequence culminates with the Easter Bunny finally figuring out what Plops are, and then jumping onto Cain, Abel and Eve.

Plop! 3 - Cain gets an angry visitor, and a beach based Plop.

I'm dealing with Plop! the way I dealt with the mystery anthologies, so I am only stopping on issues in which Cain, Abel or Eve actually get integrated into one of the stories. The first time that happens is in Plop! 3 (Jan/Feb 74). Another creepy Wolverton cover, and the issue still has no ads.

Aragones does the framing sequences at the beach, as Abel asks Cain and Eve to explain exactly what a Plop is.

Michael Pellowski and Alfredo Alcala handle a story about goblins who keep trying to get published by Plop!, but keep receiving rejections slips. They get angry about this, and decide to go to Cain and show him just how scary they are, and by doing so frighten him into publishing their stories.

But before they ever meet Cain they run afoul of his gargoyle, Gregory, and take off screaming. Cain has no idea what is going on.

The conclusion of the framing sequence is on the interior back cover, as a huge wave plops Cain, Abel and Eve.