Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dell Comics: Lassie

From the late 1940s through 1970, Dell Comics published a bimonthly Lassie comic to continue the adventures of MGM's favorite canine star. Since the Lassie movies had no running storyline,  Dell decided to invented one for her. The feature began set in the Brazilian jungle, the "Matto Grosso," with Lassie's human companions Gerry and Rocky, two American journalists who owned a ranch who wrote and photographed South American historic locations for publication. Timbu of the Taquari Indian rounded out their little cast of characters as they traveled to Peru, Argentina, Venezuela, and even to New York on occasion. Well written scripts gave bits of knowledge  about the habitats of native animals, plant life, and history, in our collie's travelogue. With fantastic painted covers by Morris Gollub and Matt Baker interior art, Lassie was usually featured saving her human companions, or other dangerous and often charming covers with Brazilian flair. In 1956 though, Dell decided to change the comic to be current with the TV show and sent Lassie to live with friends in Calverton, after discovering a life-threatening allergy to a certain grass found only in the Matto Grosso! From then on, Jeff and Timmy were Lassie's loyal masters as the storyline followed the television series and became wholesome morality plays with lessons on friendship or safety. Photo covers now replaced the painted gems as the series progressed to the Corey Stuart adventures until the comic ended in 1970 of America's most beloved collie.

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