Monday, December 24, 2012

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer!

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Without question one of the most charming creations in all of comics is DC's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Of course DC didn't "create" Rudolph at all. Rudolph was the creation of Robert May who worked for Montgomery Ward. A guy named Denver Gillen drew the first Rudolph and Montgomery Ward realized what a marketing goldmine Rudolph could be. Rudolph was adapted to cartoon form in 1944 by Max Fleisher and later in 1947 or thereabouts Johnny Marks wrote the song recorded by the great Gene Autry. The song was a blockbuster and in 1950 DC came out with its first annual issue of The Brand New Adventures of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The series lasted for the entire decade of the 50's and into the 60's until ending with the 1962 "Giant" issue. A decade later DC revived the series for its tabloid size Limited Collector's Editions series and Rudolph again appeared somewhat regularly through the 70's. Rube Grossman handled most of the work on Rudolph in his original 50's run and Sheldon Mayer took the helm in the 70's. The final issue of a Rudolph comic by DC was a Best of DC digest in 1980. I especially love Rudolph's snow-topped logo (doubtless by Ira Schnapp) which I notice they ditched for his inexplicable "summer fun" issue (which seems to be the work of Gaspar Saldino to my eye).

Here is a delightful adaptation of the very first DC issue from 1950 transformed into a cartoon of sorts. 



Below is some original artwork by Sheldon Mayer featuring Rudolph, Santa, and the whole North Pole gang.




There is a charm and a whimsy to Rudolph which is hard resist. DC would be well-served to dig up the character and issue some reprints for the modern market. I don't know what the license issue might be (and licensed characters seem not to be something the Warner bosses want to deal with) but it wold make a delicious trade.

The management of the Dojo (me) hopes Santa (and Rudolph of course) brings everyone what they wish for this Christmas Eve.

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2 comments:

  1. Thanks, Mr. J. That was a charming post. Compliments of the season.

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    Replies
    1. Back at ya Dougie! This was a fun one to assemble, and I learned a lot about the Rudolph comics I did not know.

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