Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Forgotten Comics: Tower's Tippy Teen

Well, that was my daily dose of alliteration. Thanks for putting up with that. It will get a bit worse in second, though. To be honest, I hadn't realized that Tower Comics had put out any comic books besides the legendary T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents by Wally Wood, Gil Kane and numerous other artistic luminaries. But like every company, I guess you can't stay in business just selling one title, no matter who the characters or creators are.

Tippy Teen was your standard teen/Archie-style comic. The cast of characters included Tippy Teen, the blonde teen-aged girl with the sensibilities that middle-aged men writing teen-oriented comics assumed teen-aged girls had: She was interested in boys, music, boys, clothes and shoes. The somewhat-awkward teen-aged boy who was always hanging around with Tippy was Tommy Trippit. Tommy was interested in girls and cars, and wasn't all too good with either one. The stereotypical rival was Ashley Hartburn, the dark-haired rich guy who couldn't understand what Tippy could see in Tommy when he was around. He's the kind of character you always imagine talking with a Hubert Updike/Mr. Howell accent. Tippy's best friend was the rather dippy Go-Go. There was also a somewhat dim hulking athlete named Animal, and a few other incidental characters that barely got a first name.

The only issue I've read is #4, from April of 1966. I bought it at a flea market when I saw the Tower Comics logo in the corner. The cover advertised "Star Time with Dino, Desi and Billy", which was a page featuring a brief write-up of the pop band, which was composed of the children of some famous celebrities. The stories are pretty much like reading an issue of Archie, or perhaps an Archie's Gals 'n Pals: Ashley tries to show up Tommy while ice-skating with Tippy. In a bizarre little tale, Go-Go grabs her dad's keys because it was her turn to drive the car pool to school. Go-Go has no license and apparently has never driven before. Since this is not the grim and gritty 1980's, no one is actually killed during this strange story, though a foreign car meets it's demise at Go-Go's hands err wheels. Ashley returns to try and spoil a picnic outing the gang was having with Tommy Tippy and his very ramshackle car. Tippy tries to get Animal a date, and Tippy later wants to get Tommy's attentions from the new Southern Belle in the class. Tippy tried to prevent the removal of a tree in which her new beau has carved their initials. Tommy attempts to become a cheerleader with the girls, and Go-Go has Animal find a front-page story for the high school paper.

It's all pretty tame stuff. There are the usual pages of clothing designs for Tippy and Go-Go that kids have sent in and a "Dear Tippy" page, and there's a hard-hitting feature on the delicate subject "Are you ready to wear make-up?" The stories are drawn in the standard Don DeCarlo-style, with not a lot of detail beyond the designs of the clothing the girls wear.

Tippy Teen is not a comic book that's going to blow the socks off anyone. In fact, if you are just your standard super-hero comic reader, it will never even be on your radar. But if you're the kind of comic geek that will read anything in four colors, the comic may be worth a look, just to see another contender to the title of King Teen that has been held by Archie Andrews since the late forties.


by Rich Meyer

If you name a comic book character from the last 70 years, you'll probably find a question about them - from Thor and the X-Men, to Superman and Batman, to Little Lulu and the Pink Panther. There are questions about almost every genre of comic book - superhero, funny animal, teen, horror, war, humor. 

This quiz book has 1,001 questions (and answers) for the most neophyte of fans and questions that will probably stump a few of the experts!

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