In a previous post on July 23rd, 2008 at this blog, I had covered Secret of the Woods, one of the four oblong-formatted mini-comics featuring the Big Bad Wolf and the Li'l Wolf, distributed as giveaways for the Wheaties label cereals in 1950-51. Since then, I managed to collect the rest, but was disappointed that none were nowhere as good as the marvelous Secret of the Woods. The only noteworthy point of Forest Ranger is that it features the first-ever appearance of Big Bad Wolf on the cover of a US publication, not counting the cover of a pre-war Mickey Mouse Magazine where he was seen in drag as a mermaid -and his pose in the cover of this 1950 mini-comic is not very flattering either!
For some reason, the title of Hollow Tree Hideout has a somewhat promising ring to it and I was most curious about this one, but the story turned out to be as mediocre as Forest Ranger and the less said about it, the better.
On the other hand, Fire Fighter is amusing and interesting on several counts. It starts with a modestly impressive splash panel:
Note that the Big Bad Wolf's costume is red and not blue as customary. It turns out that the fire the wolves see has wiped out Br'er Bear's chicken house. Big Bad Wolf's taunting of Br'er Bear on the occasion is superb:
And Br'er Bear's below complaint reflects a more mature humour in the script clearly intended for adults and not merely for kids:
The plot then unfolds as the task of being the fire warden falls on Li'l Wolf while his father fetches plans to get Br'er Bear's hens using false fire alarms..
The comics in the four Wheaties Li'l Bad Wolf books are by Gil Turner. On the other hand, the paternity of the cover arts is problematic in my opinion. Alberto Beccattini's Disney Index credits the cover arts of all Wheaties give-aways to Carl Buettner. However, while the covers of Hollow Tree Hideout and Fire Fighter does indeed look like the work of Buettner, the covers of the other two seem to be the work of a different artist, perhaps Turner. You be the judge by comparing the faces of Li'l Wolf especially with regards to his hair and mouth..