Wednesday, April 17, 2013

George Wunder Terry Sundays 1947--2

Nine Days' Wunder

I have no idea whether anyone is interested in these things, but as long as I have them I'll post a few more before giving it up as a waste of time. Here are nine more Terry Sundays from George Wunder's first year on the strip. In these 1947 halves Wunder begins his second storyline. The femme fatale from the previous story, Ermine Toy(!), returns in the company of Theodore Bor, an amazing fat man of the sort only Wunder could have designed. Chopstick Joe continues his supporting role and Terry's old pal Pat Ryan makes a final appearance. Again--regrettably--some strips are missing.

[UPDATE: I didn't get my facts straight. This is not Pat Ryan's final appearance. He continues into the next story, the one introducing Spray O'Hara.]

Ermine Toy represents something that irked me about Wunder's early stories. Under Milton Caniff Terry's romances had always been a big part of the strip. Wunder continued that tradition. The difference is that we could understand Terry falling in love with Caniff's women. (With the possible exception of Burma, who was plagued by the temporal paradox of having met Terry when he was a schoolboy.) Instead Wunder hooked the guy up with a string of wackos that leaves us wondering what the hell Terry saw in them. Murderous, bitchy, vain, manipulative...the prize of the lot was Baroness Popoffnikoff, who was so self-centered that she secretly dumped a cargo of desperately-needed relief supplies to make room for her fancy wardrobe. All these women had to do was approach within twenty feet of Terry, and he would instantly jettison all common sense and fall madly in love.

After awhile Wunder switched the romances to secondary characters, like Hotshot Charlie and his future wife, Spray O'Hara. This was a wise move, as it saved Terry from seeming a complete idiot. These other women were however cut from cloth similar to that of Terry's ex-paramours.

Visually Ermine is a knockout. As Wunder's angular style of character design evolved, women's faces suffered the most. Ermine combines Wunder and a bit of Caniff with excellent results. In my opinion Ermine was Wunder's hottest hottie.

I also need to mention Chopstick Joe. Wunder's work always contained a streak of humorous exaggeration, and Chopstick Joe was right up his alley. Though Caniff created Joe, it was Wunder who brought him to life. Design, posing, even his dialogue, make Chopstick Joe one of my favorite Wunder characters.

16 March 1947
23 March 1947
6 April 1947
13 April 1947
27 April 1947
11 May 1947
18 May 1947
25 May 1947
8 Jun 1947
Next time: respite from Wunder puns.

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