|Waitaminute, those guys aren't little at all!|
Was this a cartoon? You can tell me if it was a cartoon I’d just never heard of before. I won’t be embarrassed, honestly. I mean, I already knew about the Robonic Stooges, so I’m sure I’ve already got cred.
I only ask because The Little Stooges – billed on the cover of their debut 1972 issue as “The Wild, Wacky Sons of the Three Stooges in their First Adventure!” – had all the hallmarks of a Saturday morning cartoon. Besides the three titular stars of the story (their names will be easy to remember. Despite being a whole new generation of “Stooges” and the offspring of the original three, the Little Stooges not only appear to be effectively identical to their assorted faddas but also share their names – Mo, Larry and Curly Joe), the cast is also made up of a trio of perfectly matched female equivalents to the boy Stooges, plus a wisecracking dog, and an antagonistic kid about their own age – Benedict Bogus, the “con-kid,” whose old man is also some kind of evil schemer who presumably bedevils the elder Stooges - whose role is to set up schemes which complicate the Little Stooges’ lives. Wait, did I just coin the phrase “The Elder Stooges?” I’d like to see a terrifying novel written under that title immediately, please.
|I hated that dog, but luckily so did the writer, because it just|
basically vanishes after page five.
It’s weird, because the original Three Stooges didn’t build their reputations on the strength of their narrative craft. No one ever watched a Three Stooges short for the story, they didn‘t have Faulkner cranking out a script for three bumbling movers who knock down a chandelier, you know. In its way, the Three Stooges are like porn – if you had any say in it, you’d skip all the talking and fast-forward to the part where the clam squirts the one guy right in the face*.
Speaking of porn, one of the more unsettling components of the Little Stooges is that it confronts you with the idea that the original Stooges must have procreated at some point. Once you have that mental image in your brain, it basically will be with you until you die. Welcome to the last thing you will see before the semi jumps the divider and smashes your Escalade flatter’n hammered shit: Larry Fine doing it doggy style.
|The sound of adult Stooges having sex.|
The weirdest part of this arc is how much attention is deliberately drawn to the cheap television owned by the Little Stooges, which possesses a screwed-up vertical hold and picks up “strange foreign broadcasts.” Ultimately – SPOILERS – the weird reception on the television makes for an important plot point, as Curly verifies that a showroom television in the store owned by a local businessman is indeed the same one owned by the Stooges, and which had previously been stolen. What’s never clarified is the “strange foreign broadcasts,” which SEEMS like it’s implying another plot point, but is instead either some sort of red herring or just thoughtless addition to the story.
The Little Stooges, despite everything, managed to pull out a healthy seven-issue run, which is pretty significant considering that they never had a direct tie-in material except the loose association with the source material and also because of that implied mental image of Larry Fine plowing some broad from the back. Enjoy!
*So, so very ashamed of myself right now.
|Meanwhile here's the lost three panels from Wally Wood's 22 Panels That Always Work|