Wheelnuts

Classic finds

 I just picked up the July 1964 issue of Drag Cartoons, a black and white comics magazine focused not on performative gender-bending as the youth must suspect, but on souped-up autos, including not just drag racers but hot rods as well. Did I pick it up because it had a Peanuts parody? Absolutely, but it takes more than that for me to hunt down a 60 year old comic and pay old-comics prices for it. I’m not eagerly chasing after every Mad, Cracked, and Crazy that has some Peanuts spoof in it. However, the three-page story “Wheelnuts” in this issue has something that your typical parody does not: it’s drawn by Dale Hale, who had assisted Schulz by doing such things as drawing Peanuts comic book stories. (My interview with Dale, when he was a strapping young lad in his late sixties, is here. The good news is, he is now a strapping young lad in his 90s!) As such, this has a real Peanuts link to it, and it gives us a chance to see how Dale handled the characters while Schulz was not looking over his shoulder and redrawing Charlie Brown’s head.

I’m not going to reproduce the whole three pages here out of copyright concern, but I think fair use will let me show you enough that you can see that it starts out visually very much in the traditional Peanuts realm…

… and how it ends, sometime after Lucy has managed to scam some free Ford parts for her vehicle…

I should note that this was a full half century before Hot Wheels would bring us this:

This is not the only material that Dale would do for Drag Cartoons; he has an additional one-page story in this issue, and apparently another three-pager in the next issue. The “Wheelnuts” story would be reprinted in the September 1967 issue.

Purchasing this issue come with some bonuses for me, as there were two one-pagers by Alex Toth and one by Russ Manning. (Peanuts is not all there is in this world!)

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