Saturday, June 02, 2007

Teen Idol in White Bucks

Pat Boone was seemingly made for DC, with his squeaky-clean earnest image. From 1955-57 he recorded several #1 hits. In 1959 he branched out into TV and movies, with a memorable performance in Journey to the Center of the Earth. He also published a self-help guide for teenagers called Twixt Twelve and Twenty.

DC, sensing a hot property, decided to create a comic book about him. Well, sort of.

Pat Boone was more like Tiger Beat for the 1950s. It had way more text than any comic of the time with features on hot upcoming stars (and teenage girl heart throbs) like Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Jimmie Rodgers. It had comic stories but they didn't feature full word balloons, instead just lines to the text, much like Doonesbury.

They also had features on dating, fashion, and Pat even contributed an advice column. We also met some of the Pat Boone Fan Club "Prexies on Parade".

There were five issues in all. Why didn't it last longer? I suspect there were a couple of reasons. First, although Boone was only 25 and had recently graduated from college, he was also a very married man with four daughters. And second, the hits just stopped coming, at least in 1959 and 1960.

One notable thing about the Pat Boone comics; they were ahead of their times racially. Here's a picture of Pat clowning around on the set of his show:

If that's not the only photograph of a black person in a DC comic in the 1950s, it's gotta be very close. And this might be the only one on the cover of a DC comic of the 1960s:

And Pat discusses racism here:

Note in particular that phrase "light my life"; his daughter Debby would years later have a monster hit called "You Light Up My Life".

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