thrift store finds: camp candy #2 (marvel comics)

Boy oh boy, I would have thought Saturday Morning NBComics would have been the final word on comic books created and published about NBC’s slate of Saturday morning cartoons… but I would have been wrong!

Today’s thrift store find is Camp Candy #2, published by Marvel Comics in June of 1990. under the Star Comics imprint. Cover price was $1 dollar, American.

For some reason, NBC spent a considerable amount of time giving animated cartoons to the SCTV stable of comedians during the 1990’s. NBC pumped out a LOT of cartoons based on real life celebrities during this time. Many of them were firmly entrenched in the network’s galaxy of stars; Mr. T, Gary Coleman and Punky Brewster all received the animated treatment.  Even today, these cartoons make a kind of sense to me- they have broad kid appeal and grow fans in two ways. Kids who like the live-action Punky will start watching the cartoon… and kids too young to watch cartoon Punky will become curious about the live action version! Presumably, it’s a win-win.

…but the three cartoons NBC produced featuring Rick Moranis, Martin Short, and John Candy had no synergistic network support. Moranis, Short and Candy were pretty famous at this point in their careers though, so I could see why NBC would want them on board, entertaining the kiddies. The most famous of these three cartoons was probably The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, based on Martin Short’s strange, triangle playing nerd character. The most successful of these three shows was, however Camp Candy. It ran for 40 episodes and even had a brief run in syndication.

In the cartoon, John Candy is cast as the enthusiastic head counselor of a summer camp; he leads a bunch of kids on adventures of a pro-social nature. All the kids are vague, inoffensive stereotypes who could suggest typical storylines.

…like, for some reason, pretty much every cartoon I watched from 1985 until 1995 had a “ridiculously vain” character.

Most cartoons from this time period also seemed to have a villain who was obsessed with money, polluting the environment, or some combination of the two.

Get it? DeForrest? ZING!

Camp Candy: It’s exactly like every other cartoon ever made during the 1990’s, complete with a moral at the end of every episode. This comic is no exception!

I had never heard of Angelo Decesare, the writer of the two stories presented here, but  I recognized Howie Post‘s name right away. Post had a pretty good career as a cartoonist and animator and I remember copying a bunch of his drawings out of old issues of Hot Stuff and Casper the Friendly Ghost when I was a kid. He has an appealing, rounded style, and while I’m sure Post was working off model sheets, his artwork suits an adaptation of a cartoon like this.

Like I said, Camp Candy #2 is a pretty standard comic, but I wanted to write about it because… well, just seeing the comic got me thinking. Is there ANY comedian working today who could carry an animated series, aimed at children? Candy’s personality made him a natural fit for this kind of enterprise but in 2012? I’m hard-pressed to think of anyone in today’s show-biz environment who’d want to be featured in a cartoon where they’d be depicted in old-timey pajamas, pitching woo at a moose.

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