Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mad House Mania

Before Gladir and Busino created the short-lived and well- loved Tales Calculated To Drive You BATS (of which I've posted often), they both toiled away on another obscure Archie comic book called Archie's Mad House. Though not nearly as monster-centric as BATS, this other Mad Magazine rip-off still had it's fair share of creepy cartoons. In fact, the comic eventually developed a 'monster section' (alongside a 'teen-age section' and a 'space section', being sure to cover all the hot fads) with a regular dose of wacky monster gags hosted by Hilda the Witch. I promise to post a heap of this campy madness at some later date. In October 1962, two of the sections collided in the creation of Sabrina, the Teen-Aged Witch, written by George Gladir and drawn by Dan DeCarlo. You've probably heard of her, even though it took Sabrina years to click with an audience. In an interview at The Comics Review, Gladir recalls those early days... "Around 1961 I came up with the idea of doing Tales Calculated to Drive you BATS'..or BATS for short. My partner in this endeavor was my old C&I classmate Orlando Busino. And while this book was destined to become a cult favorite it was relatively short lived, because the Comics Code Authority thought that our innocent spoofs on vampires and assorted monsters somehow violated the Comics Code. Shortly thereafter, I created "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" for Archie 's Mad House (#22 - Oct. '62), and was most fortunate to have the comics legend Dan DeCarlo draw it. I think we both envisioned it as a one-shot and were surprised when fans asked for more. We continued to do Sabrina stories off and on in Mad House until 1969 when we were flabbergasted to hear it was to become an animated feature. I might add, that Sabrina first made her appearance two years before Bewitched showed up on TV." Here are a couple of pages from that inauspicious beginning.