Funny-animal comics retrospective: The History of Hi-Jinx and the Hepcats – by Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
I would like to thank Perri Rhoades for giving me the inspiration for this article and for making most of it easy. I used to have a complete set of Hi-Jinx, but when I had a paralyzing stroke in 2005 and was permanently hospitalized, some friends boxed up all my books, magazines and comic books and donated them to the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy at the UCRiverside Library. I have not seen them since. Fortunately, Rhoades has called my attention to the fact that much about Hi-Jinx and the Hepcats has been posted online since 2005. She has scanned all but one of the seven issues of Hi-Jinx for her LiveJournal, and she gave me her URL so that I could reread them at leisure for this retrospective. Even more, her scans have included the different covers of the Australian edition of Hi-Jinx, which I never knew about. Thanks, Perri!
Much of the remaining information is from The Comic Art of Jack Bradbury, a website created by his son, Joel (http://jbrad.org/index.html); and from Dave Bennett, a Hollywood animator and funny-animal fan for decades who knew Hi-Jinx’s artist Jack Bradbury personally. Bennett says, “Jack told me himself that all the Hepcats stories he drew were written by Cal Howard — he raved about how good he thought they were! Other than those stories and the Disney work he did, Jack wrote all of his ACG/Nedor/Pines/Standard stories himself. They were lettered by Tubby Millar.” And after I had thought that this retrospective was completed, Alter-Ego #112, August 2012 came along with “‘Something … ?’; A Study of Comics Pioneer Richard E. Hughes” by Michael Vance, containing never-before-published information about Hi-Jinx’s obscure publisher.
The American Comics Group’s Hi-Jinx, “Teen-Age Animal Funnies”, only lasted for seven bi-monthly issues in 1947/48. But it was – different. It was the only comic book to mix funny animals with teenage humor.