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Dan DeCarlo's Jetta (The Library of Good Girl Art) (The Good Girl Art Library) Hardcover – April 27, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: The Good Girl Art Library
  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600106463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600106460
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,413,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Chris Thompson on July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've just had the pleasure of sitting down with my morning coffees (who can do just one?) and reading Craig Yoe's latest offering of Dan DeCarlo's Jetta. This book is Volume 1 in Yoe's new Good Girl Art Library from IDW Publishing, and there is no better way to start than with some classic Dan DeCarlo art. If this guy isn't just the father of 'good girl art' then he's the granddaddy of them all! DeCarlo created Josie & The Pussycats, redefined the Archie Comics 'house-style', influenced an untold number of artists, and truly deserves every bit of acclaim he gets. Sadly DeCarlo is no longer with us (he passed away in 2001), but he left behind a huge body of work, of which Jetta is a vital (and, until now, missing) part.

For those who don't know, Jetta was a title originally published by Standard Comics in 1952-53. It began with issue 5 (and there's a story to that), but sadly ran for only 3 issues before poor distribution and the ridiculous censorship of comics at the time led to its untimely demise. Fredric Wertham has a lot to answer for, and I will no doubt address that in a future post on Pop Culture Hound! The books have remained rare and hidden gems for many years now (like a lot of comics from this era), so to have them cleaned up and reprinted in beautiful hardcover format like this is quite a treat.

I first read about this book a few months ago when I was trawling through Amazon looking at upcoming releases. I'd heard something about IDW partnering with Archie to release some classic volumes (including DeCarlo and Montana ones), but couldn't find anything at that stage. Fortunately I happened upon the listing for Jetta and was immediately smitten! I like it when a book can get me excited like that as it happens so rarely these days.
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Format: Hardcover
Dan DeCarlo's Jetta comic book, which ran for three issues, first appeared in 1952. It takes place in 2052, when there's "a new kind of teen-age talk". It's everything good about Archie comics shot into the future, combining the best features of '50s comic art: the stylized design, teen slang, and zany slapstick. Jetta is the cosmic cousin of Betty and Veronica, and Arky's space ship has "Atom and Eve" doodled on it, not unlike Archie's slogan-scrawled jalopy. The big news is who's taking Jetta or Hilaria to the Prom at Neutron High School, not unlike the sock hop at Riverdale. Jetta, "Teen-Age Sweetheart of the 21st Century" which began at issue #5 (a ploy to suggest a track record for new comic titles) and ran through issue #7, was published by Standard Comics (Pine's).

With such a winning formula, no wonder Archie's artists spun off so many likable teen tales, including Sabrina, Josie, and my favorite, Archie's Mad House (later called Mad House). I wouldn't be surprised if DeCarlo did those also, because he did Sabrina comics, and she became a regular in the retooled Mad House title starting in the '60s. Despite the rarity of this comic trio, one might yet find the price a bit steep, but this is a Craig Yoe book, which means that's only the beginning.

Besides the three full color comic books in this 115 page, full-color, (about) 9 X 12 inch hardback coffee table book, there's a twelve page introduction (more or less, depending if you count the art), and 37 pin-ups of Jetta in a myriad of diverse styles by a roster of contemporary artists.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...sizzling comets(!) & hot rockets... these are the kinds of colorful expressions teens are using in the 21st century!

It's a futuristic take on a familiar formula: Here it's Jetta, Hilaria & Arky, instead of Betty, Veronica & Archie. Illustrated by Dan Decarlo for Standard Comics, the similarity between this series and Archie Comics is obviously intentional. I like this series, and it's surprising to me that it lasts only 3 issues: 5, 6 & 7. Yes, issue 5 is the first issue, since the publisher wanted to trick retailers into thinking this series was already a proven commodity. It's interesting to me that Jetta Raye is the main character here, and not Arky, which is one departure from the famous Archie formula. These futuristic episodes take place in & around Neutron high, and colorful terminology is constantly given an electronic twist. This series has the Jetsons beat by 10 years, and it feels surprisingly fresh, even today. It's interesting it lasts only 3 issues, but this was released around the time of the Wertham hysteria, so that may have had something to do with this series not taking off.

As much as I like this, the colors are reproduced here exactly as they were originally, and this is a bit problematic. These colors are very patchy & uneven looking, with lots of excessive bleeding over lines and with the classic dot-matrix effect. Sometimes I like it when the original presentations are preserved, but in this case I'm thinking high-quality color reconstruction may be in order. For a great look at past comics with cleaner images, try The Art of Betty & Veronica, another book by Craig Yoe. Dan Decarlo is well represented there, and that book is highly recommended.
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