Wednesday, 23 July 2008


Even though several issues of different series of comics magazines in Italy were being devoted exclusively to Li'l Bad Wolf comics with Big Bad Wolf and/or Li'l Bad Wolf appearing on their covers since 1949, it would take longer for the father&son wolves to have any comics magazine issue devoted to exclusively themselves in their home country, the USA. Their debut on comics covers in the US would come in the medium of give-away comics. In 1950-51, the Wheaties cereal company issued a total of 32 oblong-format mini-comics as give-away and four of these featured Li'l Bad Wolf, Secret of the Woods being one of them.
Secret of the Woods, whose writer is unknown but whose art is by Gil Turner, is an outstanding comics story. The plot kicks-off with Li'l Bad Wolf voicing speculation that someone must be casting spells on the woods since unexplainable happenings are being observed lately. The first act sets up an uneasy atmosphere, successfully conveying the protagonists' feeling of paranoia which spread with with word-of-mouth without any concrete proof. This is brilliantly achieved by simple devices of a few well-written lines of dialogue and expressive looks on the faces, as in the below successive panels:

In the second act, the usual wolf vs pigs antics are carried out against this background, without any clue to uncover the mystery being encountered but the characters carrying the burden of paranoia throughout.

The finale of the story is a genuine masterstroke and the final revelation of the mystery comes as a surprise not for what it is but for how sudden and unexpectedly it is revealed:

When Secret of the Woods was re-printed in no. 37 of Brazilian Mickey comics in 1955, the cover of the said issue was based on its finale:

Secret of the Woods is the only one of the Wheaties give-aways currently in my collection, but as soon as I get the others, I will also post about them. In the meantime, I will be posting a general overview of Gil Turner's career and works in the coming days, so stay tuned on..

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