|I do have to say, though, this is one of the best comic book logos I've ever seen.|
The admittedly large volume of funny animals who were launched within comics had their own hurdles to overcome, not the least of which was merely fighting for recognition on a shelf where movie stars like Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse and Tom & Jerry were already attracting the eyes of cartoon-hungry kiddiewinks. Perhaps that explains the quick-to-anger antics of Harry Hot Dog, the star of a mid-1950s production from Magazine Enterprises, starring comicdom's maddest mad dog.
|You heard the man/dog.|
Which is a pretty accurate description of the obviously severe emotional deterioration evidenced by Harry Hot Dog at a rate of "three out of every five panels." The laffs in Hot Dog come from Harry's violent, over-the-top responses to the world at large -- seemingly unprompted by anything. Even Donald Duck needed an impetus to go buck wild on those poor, mischievous nephews of his. Harry Hot Dog would murder a kitten just because he had nothing better to do before breakfast.
In his first issue alone, for instance, Harry does the following: Smashes the aforementioned TV set, punches a television director pretty clearly in the balls, stuffs a plant down an opera singer's throat, kicks over a kleig light, smashes a second television set, shoves a cop, knocks a bunch of hats off of a guy wearing a bunch of hats (to be fair, I might have done that too, myself), cracks the town mayor over the head with a walking cane, beats a doctor within an inch of his life, bites through a thermometer, and just generally verbally and physically abuses every individual he meets.
|This is basically the same ending as A Clockwork Orange|
Harry's unspoken backstory seems promising, but never investigated -- and for god's sake, why would it be, this ain't Proust. A prime physical specimen, the powerfully strong and easy to enrage figure has at his disposal all sorts of circus skills, including a little fire-eating, sleight of hand, acrobatics and -- inexplicably -- the French Horn. Who are you, Harry Hot Dog? What made you the way you are?
Probably the most off-putting thing about Hot Dog, besides its unprompted level of violence, is how few characters smile. It's one thing that Harry himself only smiles in rare periods of smug self-satisfaction or indulgence, but even the anthropomorphic citizens of his world barely crack anything much more than a leering grin. This book is like The Purge set in Duckburg.
Still, as the Golden Age of Funny Animals is so often overlooked in favor of the super-heroes, westerns and horror comics which seemed to define the age, you can't turn your back on such a stand-out example of the genre. I mean, seriously, you cannot turn your back on Harry Hot Dog, because he might brain you with a boat oar.
|There is literally no reason for him to be beating the holy hell out of this cat, but he's doing it.|