From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.161
Hello all and welcome back to our all-ages column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! Before we get down to it this week, we have a schedule announcement. Starting next week, the first Friday of every month instead of From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays running, we will be running a brand new column I’ll be writing that covers the vast world of foreign comics that are widely available these days for the American market, from U.K. to Indian, from Japanese manga to Franco-Belgian, once a month I’ll take a gander at it all! The rest of the month as per usual this all-ages column will be back, so don’t worry, you will still get your all-ages fix. Speaking of which, let’s get down to it.
Starting way back in 1946 when Pep Comics #57 hit the stands, we were introduced to a new story joining the line up: Dotty and Ditto!
Dotty and Ditto took some things that were working in pop culture at the time and gave it a new twist in its comic-format to the delight of readers. On the surface the gag comic tells the story of Dotty, a little cowgirl who lives on a dude ranch with her Grandfather. Here she gets into all sorts of adventures that take her from the simple wilderness wackiness to the lots of sunny Hollywood. Her first and foremost companion isn’t a horse or a cow, though, although they certainly decorate the artwork’s landscape, but actually a talking parrot named Ditto! Soon joining them would be her little girl crush in the young Native American boy Dottum, who has a heart of gold, and although a little dense at times, provides the comedic relief when not supplied by the rest in this comedy comic.
Dotty originally ran in Pep Comics and then Top-Notch Comics, until it disappeared eventually. Recently, though, her tales have been reprinted in the Archie digests, and here the reprints from the digests were digitally collected together for pure-Dotty-fun-only, and released on the Archie Comics App.
Dotty and Ditto is the creation of cartoonist Bill Woggon, who is best known as the creator and long time artist of Archie Comics’ Kathy Keene. Now undoubtedly the impact and genius of what he did with Kathy Keene cannot be contested, however, he also did some great work here which has been shadowed until recently.
Already by this point in time in 1946, comic strips, considered a better job to work than comic books, unlike today, were already roaring with such starts as Little Orphan Annie, and in film we had Shirley Temple dominating the cinema screen. Dotty follows in those origins taking the same cute girl with spunk aspect that had captured American’s hearts, and juxtaposed here to a dude ranch setting. To finish the package he paired her with a parrot named Ditto, who from look and style is extremely reminiscent of Disney character Joe Carioca, who would pre-date Ditto with popular appearances in films Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944), as well as a comic strip from 1942 to 1945. The duo of Dotty and Ditto is so colorful with its wild west setting and gags that there is nothing to not love about it, it just works so well for the time period (and I say that because some of the jokes feel a little dated in 2013).
The first digital collection provides us with a variety of great stories that are a must read for classic comics readers, the first one definitely for Archie-fans with guest appearances by everyone from the Shield to Jughead himself!
Dotty and Ditto comics are available both in print in the Archie digests or digitally in both the digital version of the digest or this special digital collection!