Monday, September 21, 2015


LEONARD STARR'S MARY PERKINS ON STAGE VOL. 7 (Classic Comics Press, 2010; Softcover)

Collects Mary Perkins On Stage strips originally published on October 12, 1964- May 4, 1966

Writer and Artist: Leonard Starr

I am under Leonard Starr's spell. While there are definite start and stopping points for arcs this book was difficult to put down. I will be intentionally vague with this, as I don't want to reveal anything. I am all about the joy of discovery. The book starts out with a twisting turning journey behind the Iron Curtain, as Mary and Pete fall victim to subterfuge at the hands of Major Grigori Volkov and Morgana D'Alexius, who isn't ready to let Pete Fletcher go quite yet. She isn't one to let something silly like, say, marriage stand in her way, either.

The next arc deals with Constance Heath, Mary's old drama coach. She is getting on in years and has never managed to settle down. While she would be called a cougar in today's vernacular, back then her cavorting with a younger man was a taboo. After that Mary whisks away to Bermuda to film The Tempest. We see the return of Maximus, The Man With The Plastic Face, and we find out the origin of his face at last.

Then we find a doppelganger for Jim Nabors (who played Gomer Pyle) by way of Claude Harper (as Gopher in Corncob Corners). Harper takes a role on Broadway to fulfill a promise he made to the girl he loves. Trouble starts when Mary's co-star, playboy Rod Damian, enters the picture. I'll say no more.

The final arc this time out is one that was ripped right out of the headlines: The Viet Nam War. Pete Fletcher is sent on a photo assignment to Viet Nam, although things get a bit sticky once he gets there. Like most of the arcs in this book, subterfuge is a recurring theme. I wonder what caused Starr to recycle the themes of deception and betrayal during this era.

Brilliantly written and beautifully drawn, Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage is a fine example of the potential of the medium of comic books and comic strips. I am dead serious folks, drop those endless crossover Marvel and DC Comics that do nothing but annoy you and bleed your wallet dry and do yourselves a favor and pick up this title. You can thank me later.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Like most strip books, this is presented in landscape format.
The Sundays are presented here in black and white. They were originally printed in color.
Linework restoration: Excellent throughout with only one or two iffy looking strips.
Paper stock: Uncoated stock paper.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Cardstock coating has a matte coating that is resistant to scuffing.

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