Binky, with a good supply of tickets. Artist: Bob Oksner.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1948
Creator: Sheldon Mayer
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With superheroes, the first big fad of American comic books, losing their grip on the reading public of the mid-to-late 1940s, publishers were trying all different kinds of comics in search of …

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… the next big thing. MLJ Comics was having such success with teenage humor, it renamed itself after its most prominent character of that type. DC Comics, which was already publishing a comic about a "hep cat" named Buzzy, continued in that direction by doing something it had never done before — launching a brand-new character in his own comic. Leave It to Binky, starring a teenager named Bertram "Binky" Biggs, who had never hitherto been seen, started with a cover date of March, 1948.

(DC had skirted the edge of such launches before — Howard Post's Jimminy & the Magic Book debuted by taking over most of More Fun Comics, but that wasn't quite the same as having his own title right at the outset. And while Mr. District Attorney and A Date with Judy had started at DC with titles of their own, both were licensed adaptations of radio shows. Binky was the first DC character to begin in a title of his own.)

Binky's first issue — which, by the way, predated television's Leave It to Beaver by just under a decade — was written and drawn by Hal Seeger and Bob Oksner, respectively. Seeger's fame was mostly in animation, as producer of ABC's Milton the Monster, the syndicated Batfink, and more. Oksner worked mostly in comics, and was responsible for DC's Super-Hip as well as his own syndicated newspaper comic, Miss Cairo Jones. But Seeger and Oksner were working with a character that had been extensively developed by editor Sheldon Mayer, whose contributions to DC Comics run the gamut from The Justice Society of America to Doodles Duck.

Binky wasn't quite America's Typical Teenager, a title then held by Harold Teen. But using the phrase as a description rather than a title, he was about as typical as Harold. He had a dog named Dopey, an older sister named Lucy, a girlfriend named Peggy, a rival named Sherwood, and a kid brother named (or at least called) Allergy. He went to a typical high school and was part of a typical family, with the possible exception of having a rich uncle named Snootly, who was also his dad's boss. He went on his typical way, as part of a group of teenage protagonists that included not just Buzzy and A Date with Judy, but also Here's Howie, a revival of Mayer's Scribbly, and a couple of others. In addition to his own comic, he also, like Superman and Peter Porkchops, appeared in public service ads throughout the DC line during the 1950s.

Leave It to Binky ended with its 60th issue (October, 1958), by which time the superheroes were starting to give signs of a comeback. They did come back, and dominated comic books over the next few years. But by the middle '60s, some comics industry people thought they were fading away again, and a revival of the teenage genre was starting to look good. Accordingly, DC first launched a similar set of characters in Swing with Scooter, then devoted the 70th issue (October, 1967) of Showcase, the try-out magazine where The Flash, The Spectre and others had earlier been revived, to reprints of Binky.

From there, Binky moved back into his own comic — Leave It to Binky #61 was dated July, 1968. Including a title change to just plain Binky, and a brief hiatus in 1970-71, it ran until #82 (Spring, 1977). In 1969 and '70, it even had a companion title, Binky's Buddies.

Since then, the superheroes have steadily held sway, with the teenage market niche pretty much monopolized by Archie Comics. The odds of DC again reviving Scooter, Buzzy, Howard, Binky or any of its similar properties appear slim.


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