Friday, April 1, 2011

Famous First Fridays: Plop! #1

What it is, Groove-ophiles! For an April Fool's Day Famous First Friday, Ol' Groove can't think of anything better than sharing the preposterously peculiar premiere publication of Plop! from June, 1973. Can you? Now I've shared the hilarious and horrendous history of this macabre mag of mirth before (you can read all about it here), but I've never laid that first ish 'pon ya! Well, here it is, baby! Feast your eyes, grab your gut, and get ready to guffaw--and/or glorf, depending on your particular sensibilities. Like it or not, don't blame me! It's all Carmine Infantino, Joe Orlando, Basil Wolverton, Sergio Aragones, Slim, Frank Robbins, George Evans, Sheldon Mayer, Alfredo Alcala, Steve Skeates, and Bernie Wrightson's fault!


  1. Wow! Loved PLOP black in the '70s, and Berni Wrightson drew stories for #1 and #5. The whole mag seemed to be an intentional throwback to the MAD comics days when Harvey Kurtzman edited it. I also owned MAD #10 with a cover and some interior pages by Basil Wolverton, which only confirms the aforementioned. And Sergio Aragones was very much busy at MAD magazine at the same time. A great start to the title, but it didn't last for too many years.

  2. Since checking out so many of the comics oriented blogs I've really, REALLY become a big fan of Basil Wolverton. I love his sci-fi/adventure work. It's beautiful and one of a kind. I even dig his early humor stuff. But once you get into the Wolvertunes and some of his later(?) work, I kinda back off. It's not that I don't appreciate it; I do, it's brilliant. But it SERIOUSLY gives me the willies!!! (Hopefully I won't have to turn in my Groovie badge!) I wish someone would collect that sci-fi/adventure stuff in Archive form!

  3. PLOP! is one of the few comics I'd actually LIKE to see become a TV series--as long as they kept Cain, Abel, and Eve's hapless misadventures. But then, we wouldn't get the same quality art we see here. (Favorite bit: Wrightson's image of Cain's disembodied head held aloft by a hand sticking up out of the soil.)

  4. Hey! Somebody wrote on one of the pages. Doesn't this Bernie What-his-name (it's hard to read!) know better than to mark in people's comic books? And right in the story drawn by Bernie Wrightson, too.


  5. I still remember buying this book at the convenience store. It was my first encounter with sales tax! I thought I was being tricked! "whattaya MEEEAN it's 21 cents? It says 20 right there on the cover!" LOL It was also the first comic I'd ever seen with no ads in it...

  6. "The Gourmet" by Bernie Wrightson was also reprinted in "The Masterworks Series Of Great Comicbook Artists" by DC in Number 3: Bernie Wrightson/ The Macabre (1983) along with other stories from "Plop" & "House Of Mystery"; as is often the case with later reprints, they were re-colored (more vivid, but I think I prefer the originals)

  7. The Wrightson stories from PLOP 1 ("The Gourmet") and 5 ("Molded In Evil") along with a 7-page new Aragones framing sequence with Cain and Abel, and "Secret of the Egyptian Cat" (H O M 186), and "Nightmare" by Neal Adams (also HOM 186), are all collected with nice printing in the one-shot WELCOME BACK TO HOUSE OF MYSTERY, cover-dated July 1998. It also reprints "Sno Fun" by Wood (HOM 199), "The Demon Within" by Aparo (HOM 201), "The Burning by Sekowsky/Palmer (HOM 206), "My Name is Kane" by Kane/Wood (HOM 180). Plus several of Wrightson's intro splash pages from HOM 203 and 219.

    The reprint of "The Gourmet" was re-colored in the MASTERWORKS SERIES:BERNI WRIGHTSON reprint, and that diminished it for me. But it reprints the Wrightson stories from PLOP 1 and 5, and from HOM 186 and 188. And I agree, I prefer the original colors. Would that material this good were still being produced. There are OMNIBUS collections of HOUSE OF MYSTERY and HOUSE OF SECRETS, one already out, one soon to be.

    PLOP lasted 24 issues. It was at its peak with the no-ads format in issues 1-10. Slightly diminished in 11-20, it lost Wolverton as cover artist, and then lost Araagones for whatever reason after issue 21, and just had an increasing ratio of material I didn't like. And that apparently others didn't like. But at its peak it was fantastic. According to Bob Rozakis, at one point DC's bestselling title. And in having Cain, Abel and Eve all together in one book, I considered it the flagship title of DC/Joe Orlando's mystery title line. Great stuff. I think of all the stuff Aragones did, Between MAD, BAT LASH, "Cain's Game Room" pages, and most prolifically GROO, and of it all, the range of material he did for PLOP makes it my favorite of his work. And that's saying quite a bit, because I love his other stuff.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!