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Monday, 26 June 2017

Plop! 1 - Cain, Abel and Eve begin, and tell some stories

Plop! debuted with the Sept/Oct 73 issue. Billing itself as a comic of "weird humour," the book really fit into the format of DC's mystery books from the era, with a framing sequence running through the volume, and some hosted tales. For much of the run, the cover would feature an illustration by Basil Wolverton. This first one isn't too bad, but I recall seeing some of the later ones on the stand when I was a kid, and I found them disturbing. So much so that I never picked up a single issue with a Wolveron cover.

This first issue has no ads. The interior front cover contains a table of contents, listing the four main stories, as well as the pages of "Plops," individual funny cartoons.

Sergio Aragones was clearly the driving force for this book. His renditions of Cain, Abel and Eve, who combine for the framing sequences and take turns hosting, are really the high point of the series. At this time, in their own books, the three characters were handled pretty seriously. Well, Abel a bit less so. But the influence of the success of Plop! would result in the characters becoming more comedy oriented overall.

Aragones also provides the first set of Plops for the issue, setting the tone for the others to follow.

On top of that, Aragones also handles the first story in the issue, hosted by Cain, which is set during the Middle Ages, and deals with the prisoners of a castle dungeon.

One of them spends years befriending and training rats, eventually using them to escape.

But oops! The plague has struck, and he winds up dying. Should have stayed in the dungeon. Great illustration of this last page.

Frank Robbins and George Evans serve up the second story, hosted by Eve. This one plays off of King Kong, and deals with a hot young couple, interrupted during sex by the rampaging gorilla.

The woman decides she will be noble and offer herself to the gorilla to save the city. But it turns out the gorilla is female, and takes the guy instead.

Eve also hosts the brief third story, by Sheldon Mayer and Alfredo Alcala, which sees a ghost rise from the grave and enter a man's home. The twist is that it is just checking out the score in the football game on tv.

Hmph. Just noticed that Cain hosts the last story in the issue, by Steve Skeates and Bernie Wrightson. So Abel is in the framing sequences, but doesn't actually host a tale in the debut issue. This story is the best of the lot, simply because of the art. It deals with a wealthy gourmand who loves frogs legs.

He winds up set upon by a horde of legless frogs, and winds up legless himself, catching flies with his tongue.

The interior back cover concludes the framing sequence, as Cain, Abel and Eve suffer a Plop themselves. They would do so in every issue, and as the series continued, become aware of this, and spend their pages trying to avoid getting Plopped.

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