If you cherish the likes of Little Lulu, Richie Rich, and Archie and the Gang (“Eeps!”) as much as we do, you’ll want to put that Barnes & Noble gift certificate (the chances of receiving one at this time of year are 78.6%) to good use and procure a copy of The TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics (Abrams ComicArts). Edited by the dynamic duo of Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly, the volume collects sixtysome tales from the golden age of comic books, which according to our sources was the late 1930s through the early 1960s. Chapters such as “Hey, Kids!” and “Funny Animals” highlight the work of master comics writers and artists, including John Stanley, Walt Kelly, and Basil Wolverton, along with brief biographies. For Steven Heller, who reviews the volume in the new issue of Eye, The TOON Treasury induced “soothing pangs of nostalgia” and led him to make some new rodent friends.
For me, the biggest joy was the introduction to Walt Kelly’s little known Hickory and Dickory in “Help the Easter Bunny.” Who can top this exchange between the two protagonist mice, when Hickory says: “Now that we’re out of sight, let me ask you—does the Easter Rabbit lay Easter Eggs?” Dickory responds, “Golly—” Hickory adds: “Because if he does, it leaves us in a rather awkward position.” Dickory: “You mean—” Hickory: “Exactly—he told us to supply the eggs—and that can mean only one thing…” Dickory: “Have you ever laid an egg?” Ahhh, to return to the important questions of one’s youth, rather than grapple with the health-care debate and war and peace in the Middle East.