Sunday, March 27, 2011

DC's Pat Boone Comics: Wholesome Americana

The cover of Pat Boone 4 is typical of the short run of this late 1950s DC title, in that it uses a large photo of Pat, plus in this case Johnny Mathis and Bobby Darin, about whom there are some text features with illustrations inside. The series ran from Sept/Oct 1959 through May/June 1960, and coincided with Pat's still being a hit record artist, as well as a movie and TV star. We'll start this second look at DC's Pat Boone series with one of the short 5-page stories set in Pat's family, with his wife Shirley and their four young children. The beautifully rendered art is again by Bob Oksner, who drew the entire 5-issue series, and this and the stories presented in the previous post were written by Larry Nadle.

Next here's a collection of the fashion double-page spreads from the centers of Pat Boone 1 through 5, stitched together as well as I could manage. These are very much a feature of DC romance comics of the 1960s, and you can see a wonderful selection of these on Jacque Nodell's romance comics blog, Sequential Crush. Note the "Twixt Twelve and Twenty" title to the fashion pages from Pat Boone 2 - this was the title used by Pat for one of his self-help books for teens.

Pat himself was used in ads in the comics, including this one for men's shoes from the back cover of Pat Boone 5.

Here's a couple of double page gag features drawn by Mort Drucker. "Teens Eye View" is from Pat Boone 3 and "Teen Dates" is from Pat Boone 2.

Here's one of the text features on another star of the time (and still today in this case!): Johnny Mathis from Pat Boone 4.

Each issue contained one or more pages dealing with the numerous Pat Boone Fan Clubs - fan clubs appeared to have been very important to young people at the time, a social group for individuals with a shared interest. Note the cartoon drawn by Pat Boone.

Each issue has information about Pat Boone and his life, and was in fact written by Pat Boone himself, so it's autobiographical. I like this one, from the last issue:

Finally, the letters pages that were also a regular feature. Whether or not Pat answered the letters himself, or even if the letters were genuine, is unknown, but Pat certainly seems to have got into writing those self-help books for teens in the early 60s.

So that's it for this one. As you can see, these comics contained a lot for the Pat Boone fan, more than what has been offered here on this post. These books are tough to find nowadays, but I would say they're important artistically because of the way Oksner drew the stories (different from his other work, for example, on DC's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis), and for me, this was some of his best work. The absence of speech balloons, and with minimal framing to the panels, this style must have saved on inking but it also looks really great.


  1. Wow! Thank you VERY much. I've never seen any of Oksner's work for "Pat Boone" and am just stunned at how it looks. I remember purchasing a copy of "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" and noticing a cover blurb congratulating Oksner on winning the National Cartoonists Society's Rueben award for best comic book artist. I suspect that his work on "Pat Boone" helped sway those who voted for him!

  2. Anonymous: Why Oksner was allowed the freedom to depart from convention in a mainstream comic would be interesting to know, but it certainly works. I looked at some of his Dobie Gillis, Bob Hope, and Jerry Lewis work from the same period and it's very nice, but not as good as this. Later in the 60s his style became more 'cartoony', but then he had to revert to a bit more realism when he worked on Supergirl - I like his work on Supergirl in Adventure Comics also, but again not quite as eye catching as this Pat Boone material.

  3. Really interesting - I sincerely never knew there was a comic book dedicated to PAT BOONE - was a wonderful effort and I bet it is hard to find one in excellent condition nowadays -

  4. Hi Anonymous - Yes, tough to find and can be expensive!