Scott’s Classic Comics Corner: Damn Yankees
Here we are at the end of June, and the Yankees sit atop the American League East and my beloved Blue Jays slide back down towards mediocrity. Not only have the Yankees dominated major league baseball over the years, but they have also made an impact in comic books. This week is dedicated to our fearless leader Brian, as I take a look at those Damn Yankees!
A good place to start is The Thrilling True Story of the Baseball Yankees (1952), as it has a great photo cover. You’ll notice that Mickey Mantle’s first name was misspelled. The script is by Charles Dexter, who wrote many of Fawcett’s sports-related comics. There is also a New York Giants version of this title.
Fawcett produced some player biography comics, featuring a variety of major leaguers. Among those chosen were Yankee greats Yogi Berra and Phil Rizutto. Both were written by Charles Dexter and I believe that Kurt Schaffenberger provided the artwork. These are tough to find and in very high demand.
Magazine Enterprises also produced a number of sports and biographical comic books during this era. Pride of the Yankees (1949) features a terrific photo cover and interior artwork by Ogden Whitney. While this one is also valuable, a G/VG copy sold last year for $56 so it is within reach for Gehrig fans.
Fans of other baseball teams may get a kick out of Nuts! #3 (July, 1954). The cover pokes fun at Joe DiMaggio’s rather tumultuous relationship with Marilyn Monroe. It should also appeal to those who collect racist covers and/or covers featuring severed hands. That’s a select group.
More readily available and more affordable is Little Archie #147 (October, 1979) which would have hit stands in the summer of ’79. The Yankees were once again a hot commodity, coming off back to back championships. I guess the Little Archie curse was in effect, as the Orioles easily won the division that year, with the Yankees finishing 4th. My Blue Jays were a remarkable 50.5 games out of first place. I never knew that the stands at Yankee Stadium were pink.
In addition to be the subject matter for comic books, Yankee players were often seen as spokesmen for all sorts of products. Here’s a full page ad from 1960 featuring both Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. The fact that he was chosen as headliner over Joe Louis that really says something about Mantle’s popularity at the time.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks. Those Damn Yankees are in comics all over the place. There are also a lot of other terrific baseball related books, but that’s a topic I’ll tackle another day. How’s that for poor choice of metaphor? For more comic book chatter, check out my blog: Seduction of the Indifferent