This morning I was reading through Archie’s Funhouse Digest #22, and I found a Frank Doyle/Samm Schwartz story called “Show Biz” that I’d never seen before. It may be the finest example of physical comedy in comics I’ve ever seen. I’ve cut out the parts that really impressed me to show them to you.
Doyle was one of Archie’s most prolific writers from the 50s up until his death in 1996. He wrote a ton of my favorite Archie material, like the more adventure-based stories in Life With Archie, but he also wrote prolifically for the mainline Archie books. I’m thinking this story was probably an inventory story from sometime in the seventies or early eighties, when Schwartz drew all the teenage boys dressed like my grandpa.
I go around and around on who my favorite Archie artist is, between Bolling, DeCarlo, and Schwartz. This story shows off so much of what makes Schwartz’s work so exceptional. The clean, clear figure work combined with the masterful layout really makes the slapstick sing. Look at the flow on the sequence I’ve highlighted above, with Moose breaking the panel, leading the eye down, hitting the bench, and swinging back up to Reggie flying into the air with such a subtle but perfect pose. That panel layout shouldn’t work, but Schwartz made it flow beautifully.
Also check out the great expression on Pop Tate down at the bottom. That drawing printed at about a quarter inch high but it’s perfect.
Samm Schwartz could draw drapery on clothing like nobody’s business, huh?
I first read this comic as a little girl and had no idea what he was talking about. But it has been stuck in my head for the past 20 years, and Juggie has always been my favorite character from this series. Since I figured out I am asexual, I now know why.