Monday, 30 June 2008


This rubber figurine was recenty sold (for 15 US dlrs) by an ebay seller from Argentina who said it was an US product:

A pvc figurine from Germany:

This figurine from 1996 (which was recently sold at an ebay auction for 51.5 US dlrs) recreates a scene from the short cartoon The Three Little Pigs (1933) where Disney's Big Bad Wolf had debutted:

Sunday, 29 June 2008


In an earlier post on this blog, I had covered Big Bad Wolf's appearances in the 'Shuffled Symphonies' illustrated stories series in Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly in the years 1936-37. The Big Bad Wolf appeared at least two more 'Shuffled Symphonies' episodes in 1939.
In the story published in no.176, the wolf opens a snack bar as a front for his plans and manages to capture not only the two silly pigs as usual, but also Mickey's nephews (and he plans to eat them as well!):

Of course, Mickey and the Practical Pig come to the rescue in the end.
On the other hand, the Big Bad Wolf is portrayed relatively in a better light than usual in the episode on no. 182, which takes its cue from an earlier cartoon short titled Mickey's Polo Team (1936). Here, Mickey sets out to assemble a polo team and the duty of inviting the wolf to take part falls on the shoulders of Donald Duck:

At the end of the game, it is revealed that the Big Bad Wolf hadn't refrained from carrying out a petty theft in the meantime, but he is nevertheless pardoned for the sake of his performance in the game!

The Big Bad Wolf appeared in another illustrated story series published in the same amagazine in the same year. The three-part series titled as 'Last Ground-Up' stars Toby Tortoise as a "tender-foot" hero in the wild west with Peg-Leg Pete and the Big Bad Wolf as a team of villains. The below scan is from the second installement, on. no. 194:


Above image is of a sheet with instructions for making Big Bad Wolf dolls. It may (or may not) be related to the Big Bad Wolf dolls reported to be marketed in 1934.

Monday, 23 June 2008


The above stunning image is the cover of the French edition of a collection of Sunday newspaper comics. The 1980 US edition, from the 'Best Comics' series, features a different cover art without the Big Bad Wolf.

Sunday, 22 June 2008


One of the scans I had posted on the first day of this blog ( May 27th) was the image of the music sheet of the short cartoon Three Little Pigs (1933). Above scan is of the 1936 French edition of the same sheet, which is notable for crediting Robert Valerie and Jean Valmy for the French-language version of the title song. The below image appears to be the Belgium edition of the same sheet.
And the below image is from the cover of a 1955 French 'disc' (I believe a record single) featuring the Big Bad Wolf:

The figures in silhoutte chasing the Wolf appear to be Goofy and Br'er Bear. I am especially fond of this illustration as it tends to present the Wolf's nemesises in a more disfavorable light and invite more empathy with the wolf than with them.

Saturday, 21 June 2008


In a previous post (on May 28th), I had posted scans from the French edition of Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood, the hardcover illustrated story adaptation of the cartoon Big Bad Wolf (1934). Above image is the cover of the Italian edition by Mondadori, which was published in August 1937, three years after the original US edition by Blue Ribbons. In 1949, Mondadori published a reprint, omitting the pigs from the cover art:


I find the above toy trailer-car from Italy interesting because it seems to feature the pigs in the wolf's captivity!..

Thursday, 19 June 2008


The above cut-out from the no. 210 of Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly enables the readers to dress up Big Bad Wolf as a highwayman, a fitting identity for this character. Highwayman was the name given to outlaws who laid in wait on roads and robbed travellers in the medieval ages in England. It has been recorded that they were nevertheless subject to a degree of admiration from the public and heroic portraits in literature.

The below scan is the instructions to the readers regarding the cut-out.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


A 'cut-out' collection of Disney characters were run in the center pages of Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly issues from 1938. Below scan is of the Big Bad Wolf cut-out from no. 110:

The illustrations from this cut-out collection were also printed on the cards of a card game from Britain titled as 'Shuffled Symphonies', as seen in this scan of the Big Bad Wolf card:

Its title derived from the title of a series of illustrated stories in Mickey Mouse Weekly, this card game carries a "permission" notice from the said magazine. What makes this game special for the Big Bad Wolf angle is that his card is the pivotal one, as can be read from the rules booklet inside the deck:

The card game itself would be promoted in the magazine on issue no. 145, later in the same year:

Next year, the same card game would be re-released as part of a promo package of a British soap brand.


In a previous post (on June 3rd), I had posted cover illustrations, featuring Big Bad Wolf, from Mickey Mouse Weekly issues dating from 1936. The above scan is from the cover of issue no. 52, from 1937 (it's too large to fit my scanner completely, but you can click over the image to view this upper portion in larger size).


The above gag panel is from Mickey Mouse Weekly no. 49 and the below successive gag-comics were ran in no.'s 74 and 75:

The writers and the artists involved are unknown. As far as I know, they have never been reprinted (or posted on the web), so this is the first time they are being available for public viewing in more than 70 years..

Monday, 16 June 2008


In addition to comics, each issue of Mickey Mouse Weekly, from its inception in 1936 until 1940, featured installments of a series of loosely-related illustrated stories titled as 'Shuffled Symphonies' (which the online comics artists encyclopedia Lambiek credits to Basil Reynolds.) and the episode on no. 5 was the first to featured Big Bad Wolf:
The plot of this story involves the Big Bad Wolf kidnapping Mickey's nephews and then hiding in the house of Red Riding Hood's grandma. In the end, the visiting girl realizes the situation and lures away the wolf by lying out loud that she had seen on the way that the wolf's house is on fire. The story is somewhat a-typical of Big Bad Wolf's character in that he is portrayed as brandishing a rifle!

Here is a round-up of his further appearances in 'Shuffled Symphonies' in the remaining issues of Mickey Mouse Weekly in 1936:
The plot of the episode in no.22 entails a boxing match between one of Mickey's nephews and one of Big Bad Wolf's son; however, the match ends as soon as it starts because the over-weight referee causes the floor to crack, causing big frustration on the part of the Wolves:

The episode on no.23 has the Big Bad Wolf kidnap the Cookie Queen and take away the prize money she had brought for a horse race (note that the money bag in the illustration has a British sterlin sign over it!), only to be caught by Mickey...
and brought to justice:

The follow-up episode in no. 24 entails the punishment devised for the Wolf, which is clearly inspired from the 'wolf pacificier' gizmo featured in the cartoon short Three Little Wolves (1936):
At the end of this episode, the Big Bad Wolf and his sons somehow manage to escape on a plane, which is inexplicably carrying a Xmas sign (interestingly, the text acknowledges to this anomaly by saying the wolves were either too late or too early for Christmas, as this was published in July!):

The Big Bad Wolf's next set of appearances in Mickey Mouse Weekly's 'Shuffled Symphonies' would come in no. 29; The theme of this episode is far more ingenious than the previous stories as it entails the Big Bad Wolf forging gold coins in, of all places, the Land of Midas (the king with the gold touch):

In the follow-up on no. 30, he is caught by Mickey in a trap set by the Three Pigs:
and given an intricate punishment:

In a succession of stories set in Nursery-Rhyme Land and published in no.'s 49-53, he teams up with Mickey Mouse's nemesis Peg-Leg Pete!.. However, the wolf himself does not get center stage until the third installement of this serial. Below are scans from no's 51-53:

This succession of stories which start in Nursery-Rhyme Land are rather disjointed with poorly articulated plots. On the other hand, another episode with the Big Bad Wolf later in the same year is very interesting as it is based on a uniquely British cultural motif. November 5th is traditionally celebrated in the UK with fireworks as the anniversary of the uncovering of a Catholic plot to blow-up the Parliament. The 'Shuffled Symphony' episode in no. 92, which came out on Nov. 6th, 1937 features the wolf's plot to blow-up the big brother pig during these celebrations:
A few issues from 1937 are missing from my Mickey Mouse Weekly collection, so these might not be all the Big Bad Wolf appearances in that year's 'Suffled Symphony' episodes. However, I can confidently say that the wolf wasn't featured in any episode in 1938. Scan of his next appearance in 1939 will be posted in the coming days.

Thursday, 12 June 2008


Here are some Big Bad Wolf illustrations published in British comics publications from 1936.
Below is a news item, from no. 36 of Mickey Mouse Weekly, promoting the cartoon short Three Little Wolves on the eve of its British theatrical release:

The below puzzle is from no.40:

And the below illustrated text is from no.41:

Another regular British Disney publication of the era were the Mickey Mouse Annuals (which actually predated Mickey Mouse Weekly and were put out by a different publisher) which also featured art by Haughton. The 7th Mickey Mouse Annual (copyrighted 1936) had the below gag-page featuring Disney characters including Big Bad Wolf with mismatched heads and bodies:

Wednesday, 11 June 2008


Here are the remaining Sunday half-pages (click over the images to view them in their original size) from the 1936 'Silly Symphony', picking up from where I had lef off at the previous post:

This 'Silly Symphony' continuity, as all Disney Sunday comics (including the Mickey Mouse half-pages) from 1933-37, was scripted by Ted Osborne (1900-68). A radio writer by profession, Osborne had been initially employed by Disney to prepare a Mickey Mouse radio show, but eventually recruited into the comics department when that show did not last long; in addition to his exclusive work on Sundays, he scripted most of of the Mickey Mouse daily strips in this period as well. In 1937, he was shifted to the animation story department and assigned to work on the feature cartoon Bambi. Afterwards, he wanted to go back to his previous job as comics writer, but artist Floyd Gottfredson, who headed the comics department at the time, preferred to continue with his replacement (Merrill de Marris), so Osborne left Disney. Gottfredson has claimed (in an interview published in Mickey Mouse in Color) that "Osborne was sort of mechanical. He had a tremendous gag file, but he did everything by formula." Marris may or not have been a better writer, but I believe that, if not anything, the 1936 Three Pigs continuity shows Osborne's writing was far from being simply mechanical and formulaic (on the other hand, the Marris-scripted 'Silly Symphony' continuity titled 'Practical Pig' from 1938 is a pretty straightforward adaptation of the cartoon short with the same title from the same year).
All of the scans from this 'Silly Symphony' continuity are from the high-quality photogravure prints of British Mickey Mouse Weekly no.'s 9-40, which followed the original US newspaper run of the series with a two and a half months lag, but which nevertheless preceeded its run at Italian and French Disney comics magazines by several months.

Saturday, 7 June 2008


The Big Bad Wolf's debut in comics pages had come with a 1936 'Silly Symphony' Sunday half-page continuity in 1936. Disney comics Sunday pages had started in 1932, with half of each page being devoted to Mickey Mouse and the other half to continuities derived from the 'Silly Symphony' cartoon series. While the initial Three Little Pigs / Big Bad Wolf cartoons from 1933 and 1934 had not spun off any comics, a 'Silly Symphony' continuity titled as 'The Further Adventures of the Three Little Pigs' started on Jan. 19th, 1936, on the eve of the release of the cartoon Three Little Wolves; it was first heralded on the last panel of the ending Elmer Elephant continuity in the previous week:

The plot of the comics continuity bears almost no relation to the cartoon it accompanies other than the fact that the Big Bad Wolf's three sons are featured in both of them. While the cartoon is loosely inspired from the children's tale 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf', the continuity is actually composed of three successive episodes, the first two being very simplistic stories of the Wolf in disguise (first as a music teacher, then as a boy-scout trainer - it seems the Wolf is some kind of a forest Fantomas, the French pulp fiction / silent cinema 'master of disguises' anti-hero) kidnapping the two silly piglets who are promptly rescued by their vigilant 'big brother'. And yet, even though their stories might be simplistic not to say repetitious, these two episodes nevertheless have some moments of brillance, as in the below half-page:
Not only is the cruel irony in watching the piglets sing "Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" while trembling in fear in front of the Wolf is outstanding, but the Wolf's persona is embellished by having him wax poetically in a sarcastic tone ("music soothes the savage beast"). His cruelty is given a refined touch by his forcing his victims play music for his pleasure before he sets on devouring them. His remark "But I'm not savage! Only hungry!" is a self-conscious protest in advance for stereotyping him as a crude villain. All these points bring him closer to a Hannibal Lecter (or Fantomas) quality anti-hero than, say, the Leatherface of Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Well, of course, he is not exactly a Hannibal Lecter with all the non-pretensious, genuine aristocratic aura, but he is an exceptional figure defying the typecasting which comes with his social status (an outcast bum, basicly).
The below row of panels from a subsequent Sunday leaves no room for further comment on the depth of Wolf's wit, and consequently on his high-calibre persona, (and, conversely, on the piglets' stupidity):

This 1936 'Silly Symphony' continuity also boasts some interesting moments with regards to visual narration as well, as in the below panel where the Wolf winks at the readers!, not only underlining that he and only he is the 'master of ceremonies' here, but consequently also creating a shared extra-diegetic space between the fictional world of the comics and that of the reader, bonding himself with his readership:

The drawing art itself visibly improves within a span of several weeks with regards to the figure of the Big Bad Wolf. At the beginning of the continuity (see, for instance, the Sunday page at the top of this post), his nose is rubbbery, apparently more elongated and more thinner than we are now accustomed to. Towards the end of the second episode, however, his face has evolved with a more rounded nose, as can be seen below:

The second episode of the continuity ends with a helpless Big Bad Wolf getting a violent beating from the big brother pig:
The violence depicted at this episode finale is quite unusual and disturbing. 'Though violence has quite frequently been featured in Disney cartoons and comics, especially in the earlier, pre-war examples, those instances of violence have in most instances been of a caricaturized, fancy, non-realistic, hence 'cartoony' manner, just like in the 1938 cartoon Practical Pig -and its Sunday comics version- where the Big Bad Wolf gets another beating at the hands of the same pig but with soap rubbed to his mouth and his butt slammed with a brush while strapped to a fancy gizmo. On the other hand, here in the above example, while the pig's monologue might be regarded as funny in its sarcasm, there is nothing really 'funny' with the actual violent act itself, which is made more evident in the subsequent panel below depicting the wolf's consequent pain and suffering:

The third and the concluding episode of the continuity has got a more engaging story and hence I will post it here in its entirety. As the initial episodes of this continuity had featured the Wolf kidnapping the two silly piglets twice and the big brother pig rescuing them in both cases, the Wolf now comes to the logical conclusion that...

The above half-page continues in embelleshing the Wolf's persona, which I'd pointed out in my previous post regarding the earlier episodes of the same continuity, by making him display a cultivated wit ("I am not a sculpter like Rodin nor like the ancient Phidias! I lean more to the modern style which is more -uh- insidious!"). Also, note that the Wolf puts on an artist's costume not as a disguise this time, but because he just feels dressing up as such is appropriate for the occasion. And in the subsequent, below Sunday half-page, he displays a deliciously wicked sense of humour:

And, at last...

To be continued!..