Saturday, July 23, 2016

Short Lived Comic Series #4 - The Close Shaves of Pauline Peril (Gold Key)

Comics used to be for kids. They used to be fun. They used to tell stories that made you laugh out loud when you read them. They used to also cost only 15 cents, but that's a whole 'nother story, and we're not going to go there.

Case in point - The Close Shaves of Pauline Peril.

The fun little series was published in 1970 by Gold Key comics and was more or less a lampoon of the early movie serials, The Perils of Pauline.  Written by Del Connell and art by Jack Manning, the comic follows the misadventures of poor Pauline Peril, a reporter-wannabe who works for her father's newspaper, The Daily Noose.  What she doesn't realize, however, is that her editor at the newspaper, Snodgrass McViper, is actually sending her out on stories that he hopes will be the end of her so that he can (hopefully) inherit the newspaper when Porterhouse P. Peril dies.  There's only one problem with that plan - no matter how dangerous and deadly the story appears to be, Pauline somehow manages to escape certain doom, either by pure luck or due to the last second rescue by her beau, Chester Chesty.  There are numerous "cliffhanger" style escapades throughout the four issues, and it was truly enjoyable to watch how Pauline manages to somehow survive each adventure and walk away with the all-important story (much to McViper's chagrin).

I had never heard of this series prior to last year's Florida Supercon in July 2015. Combing through various boxes of comics at one of the dealers at the convention, I stumbled across the first issue.  It looked rather cute, and in some aspects, I wondered if it wasn't a parody (of sorts) of Nancy Drew.  The dealer was kind enough to let me take it out of the bag and look through it, and I could easily see that it was a satire of the old cliffhanger serials of yesteryear Saturday matinees.  I mean, the description of Pauline herself on the cover of the first issue pretty much says it all:

- Natural Blond Hair, Naturally
- Beautiful Eyes for Finding Way into Perilous Places
- Reporter's Nose: Can Smell a Story a Mile Away
- Woman's Mouth: Will Repeat a Story for Miles Around
- 18" Waist for Squeezing Through Perilous Places
- Calf Muscles for Muscling Into Perilous Places
- Well Turned Ankle: For Turning Aside from Peril
- Elbow: Ideal for Jabbing Villain's Rib Cage

Each issue finds Pauline and her faithful companion,Weakheart (her old, shaggy, whining dog) going over land, sea, and even in the air to get her story, totally oblivious to the various dangers around her (from dropping safes, to falling out of planes without a parachute, to giant sea monsters, to abominable snowmen).  In issue three, Pauline is even tied to a railroad track (in classic Perils of Pauline style), as well as tied to a log that is heading for a huge saw. Yet, through the sheer luck, happenstance, and, of course, Chesty, she escapes each time unscathed and ready for more.

I did a quick search online and discovered that while the art is very cartoony in style, our heroine never saw the small screen, unlike her "sister" in peril, "The Perils of Penelope Pitstop" (who was also a character in Hanna Barbera's Wacky Races).  Pauline Peril was only ever a star in the comic world, and at that, only for four issues.  Which is a shame, as it was such a fun read.  I would say I'd love to see someone revive the character today, but with the way comics are today, I'd be afraid they would try and turn her dark and gloomy (a la Wacky Raceland, DC Comics' post-apocalyptic verson of Wacky Races).

Toonopedia is a website that has some information about Pauline Peril ( and it is where I found some of the information to enlighten me about the character and the comic.

RATING:  9 invisible nylons out of 10 for taking me back to the joys of my childhood cartoons and reminding me what good, clean fun is really like!

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