Monday, July 19, 2010

More Than Just Archie Comics--Tippy Teen & Bunny!

To most people, the 'tween / teen comics scene begins and ends with the Archie Comics line.
Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and the rest seem to be the only non-super powered teenagers in the four-color world!
But it wasn't always that way...
Others rose to challenge Archie's domination of the genre!
Even DC and Marvel have attempted teen-themed series, but none had the staying power of the red-head from Riverdale!
In the 1960s, when comics companies big and small flourished in the era of Pop Art and "Camp", every company had teen-age characters side-by-side with superheroes and spies!
Two companies in particular, Tower and Harvey, had teen lines headed by female leads, rather than males!

Tower's character, Tippy Teen, was not an Archie clone.
She didn't have two boys fighting over her, as Betty and Veronica did over Archie, but a number of her supporting characters seemed like close relatives to some of Archie's pals and gals.
It's not surprising, since a number of Archie writers and artists were also doing work for Tower, including Dan DeCarlo and Bob White!
Interestingly, Tippy was the longest-lasting title at Tower, running five issues longer than the now-legendary T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents!
Tippy also had several spin-offs including Tippy's Friends Go-Go & Animal and Teen-In, which serves as the basis of our Tippy line of kool kollectibles!

Harvey's female teen character, Bunny, was a doll...literally!
1n 1966, a toy company wanted to launch a line of Barbie-type dolls, with the added kick of a comic book tie-in to boost public awareness!
Much like the way the 1980s GI Joe series was co-conceived by Hasbro and Marvel, Harvey's writers and artists worked with the toy company's staff on character development and storylines for the comic and toys.
Like most Harvey characters, Bunny had an ongoing obsession--in this case with teen fads and trends...clothing, dances, hairstyles, etc! Presumably, this was to encourage doll buyers to pick up the newest clothing and accessories the manufacturer could produce after seeing them in the comic!
The Bunny line also had what would have been the first African-American fashion doll character, her best friend Marcy, beating out Barbie's "Colored" Francie by a year! (The character was a major part of the comic series, including performing in an all-Black band called SOULar System which had it's own backup strip!)
However, before a single doll could roll out of the factory, the toy company collapsed!
The Harveys, deciding not to let all the already written and drawn pages go to waste, decided to publish the comic anyway.
It sold well enough to keep going for several years and produce a spin-off, Rock Happening, which, like Tippy's spin-off, serves as the basis for our line of Bunny goodies!

We'll be adding to both the Tippy and Bunny collectible lines as we acquire more of these hard-to-find books. (It is convention season...)

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