Cookie contemplates life, the Universe and everything. Artist: Dan Gordon.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: American Comics Group (ACG)
First Appeared: 1945
Creator: Dan Gordon
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The effect of Archie on the comic book industry was a lot like that of Crime Does Not Pay, Sheena or even Superman. Knock-offs proliferated for years, from practically every …

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… publisher in the field. Most assumed the look as well as the substance of Archie — largely because creative personnel such as Dan DeCarlo (Jetta) Samm Schwartz (Tippy Teen) and Henry Scarpelli (Scooter and possibly Fast Willie Jackson) were all Archie Comics men.

An early exception was Cookie, which was first published by R.B. Leffingwell (Jeep Comics) in a oneshot, dated April, 1945, titled Topsy-Turvy. Later, Cookie was picked up by the company that soon became The American Comics Group (John Force, Commander Battle), which put him in his own title starting in April of the following year. Cartoonist Dan Gordon used a similarly cartoony style, but it was his own take on the teenage escapades schtick, more dynamic, "animated"; and not an attempt to duplicate the more staid style of Bob Montana, who originally set the visual tone for the Riverdale High gang.

Dan Gordon's "animated" style was understandable — he'd been an animator for one of the most "animated" studios of then-recent memory, that of Max Fleischer. Later, he worked at Hanna-Barbera, where he's credited with having created The Flintstones. In comic books, he moonlighted in funny animal comics from several small publishers, including ACG's Ha Ha Comics and Giggle Comics, which, between them, introduced such minor stars as Super Katt and Spencer Spook.

Cookie O'Toole, who may have been a little younger than Archie (he was noticeably shorter, anyway), was the star of the series, and his supporting cast (aside from Mom and Dad) consisted mostly of his associates in and around Harelip High School. His best friend was Jitterbuck, who, unlike Jughead, was the instigator of hare-brained schemes that would do credit to The Brain. His well-dressed, well-heeled adversary (much nastier than Reggie) was Zoot. His lust object was Angelpuss Witherspoon (whose father was Cookie's father's boss). His teacher was Miss Bibblesnicker. The whole gang (except Bibblesnicker, of course) hung out at The Soda Jerkerie.

Cookie's series was nothing if not fast-paced. A simple dispute at school could grow into a labyrinth of complications involving all aspects of Cookie's life within a couple of pages, and from there escalate to byzantine proportions. Nobody had an easy time achieving even the simplest goal. Gags sometimes involved risqué elements that might easily have been censored once the Comics Code Authority came to power — but then, most would-be comics censors don't notice a thing wrong with Li'l Bad Wolf, who lived in one of the most horrific situations in or out of comics, so who knows what might go over their heads?

For that matter, maybe the Code, which came into effect during 1954 and '55, did object to some things about Cookie. At least, its onset, during 1954 and '55, coincides with the title's demise, which occurred with its 55th issue, dated September, 1955. Only the last two of those issues carried its seal of approval.


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Text ©2008 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Roger Broughton.