Family Comic Friday: A Review of Pink Panther: Classic Christmas #1
It’s officially the holiday season and Family Comic Friday knows how to celebrate. For the next 4 weeks, we’ll be reviewing new holiday specials that are perfect for the whole family. And do we have the purr-fect way to start- it’s Pink Panther: Classic Christmas #1.
Pink Panther: Classic Christmas #1
Written and Illustrated by Warren Tufts
Published by American Mythology
Cover Price: $3.99
Though they have been around for just a few years, when it comes to classic comics, American Mythology has been up there on my list of great publishers.I that very small window of time, they’ve managed to pick up an impressive inventory of licensed properties. Zorro, Stargate, The Three Stooges, and the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate are some examples of franchises that it takes some publishers decades to built up a reputation in order to obtain rights to create comic books about.
Perhaps the franchises that I have been the most excited about are those based around classic kids cartoons. In October, I sang the praises of AMP’s newest series Casper’s Ghost Land. Well today, I am looking at another classic kids property- The Pink Panther!
The Pink Panther didn’t originally start out as all-ages fun. At first, Pink Panther wasn’t even a cat. Instead, it was a pink jewel with a flaw in it that looked like a panther when viewed up close. The ever bumbling Inspector Clouseau was in charge of protecting the diamond from a cat burglar. Even though the gem wasn’t in all of the film directed by Blake Edwards, the name ‘Pink Panther’ stuck around in almost every sequel except for two entries.
Pink Panther films were pretty bawdy for their time. Yet, the cartoon feline became a family cartoon thanks to the popularity of the animated opening and closing segments of the movies which featured a cartoon Inspector Clouseau being stymied by the Pink Panther. Eventually, the Panther branched out into a series of award-winning animated shorts. By 1969, the character was given his own TV show.
The Pink Panther was so popular that in the 1970s and early 80s, the toons were still airing on TV. A number of items such as dolls, art kits and even home insulation were being licensed with the rose colored pussy cat’s image. And that’s where this comic book fits in.
Pink Panther: Classic Christmas reprints a long-lost issue of the Pink Panther comic from 1978-79. The issue, #60, was published by Gold Key, a legendary comic book publisher that has been long defunct. The book published a comic book adaptation of the 1978 animated TV Christmas special, Pink Christmas.
In both the comic and the cartoon, Panther is homeless, cold and hungry. A number of episodes involve the character trying to find something to eat to no success. When he finds a Santa Claus uniform, the Panther’s luck changes as a department store desperate for a Kris Kringle hires him on the spot. But alas, that is all for naught when the Pink Panther is overcome by his empty stomach and the smell of fresh baked gingerbread. Can this poor puss ever catch a break on a snowy Christmas Eve?
Written and illustrated by Warren Tufts (Challenge of the Super Friends), I thoroughly enjoyed this trip down memory lane. While I do not remember the animate holiday special that this story was based on, the art and slapstick was pure Pink Panther. It’s exactly how I remembered that show- almost.
In this comic, the Pink Panther talks! Up until the 1990s, Pink Panther was mute. I was able to find Pink Christmas on Youtube and with the exception of sound effects, the entire episode is without dialogue. I’m not sure why the author or publisher decided to have all of the characters talking in this. But I am sure that it has something to do with quality. For a comic book reader such as myself, a comic book without any words feels like a gyp. And this isn’t a new thing, I’ve felt this way for a very long time.
I am completely okay with the addition of a voice to the Pink Panther. It just wasn’t something I was expecting. However, I think having the dialogue helped me to enjoy this book a little better. Even with the talking, this is an extremely quick read. But I got to enjoy it’s magic for just a little bit longer thanks to the words included with the pictures.
This is a holiday special from long ago. When comic books used the word ‘Christmas’ on the cover. When coloring was done in four-colors with micro-sized dots. When if was fun to be a kid. This is what classic comics were like for me and I am so thankful American Mythology has decided to share this lost treasure with a new generation! Though this comic book is not rated- it’s something that the entire family can read together and enjoy!
Pink Panther: Classic Christmas #1 debuted in print and digital media on November 28th, 2018.
For more Family Comic Friday and other reviews, check out my blog: Madman with a Book!