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Did Archie Once Run the Same Story Twice, With Just the Faces Changed?

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, discover how Archie Comics once literally just re-ran the same comic with different faces.

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, discover how Archie Comics once literally just re-ran the same comic with different faces.

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and forty-first installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. Click here for the first part of this installment. Click here for the second part of this installment.

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I’ll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!

Archie Comics once republished an Archie Comics story as a Wilbur Comics story with just Wilbur Wilkin’s face placed over Archie Andrews’ face in the story.

True

In May of 1944, Wilbur Comics #1 debuted, which showed the misadventures of an often lovestruck teen named Wilbur Wilkin….

The comic book was published by MLJ comics, which stood for the three founding members of the company (the initials of their first names), Morris Coyne, Louis Silberkleit and John Goldwater. That was over a year after Archie Comics #1 debuted, which showed the misadventures of an often lovestruck teen named Archie Andrews…

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As I pointed out in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed, while you would naturally assume that Wilbur Wilkin was…ahem…inspired by Archie Andrews, it was actually the other way around, as Archie Andrews debuted in October 1941 in Pep Comics #22 (by Vic Bloom and Bob Montana), the home of MLJ’s main superhero, the Shield…

Wilbur Wilkin debuted three months earlier in July 1941 in the pages of Zip Comics #18 (by Harvey Willard and Lin Streeter…I’m unfamiliar with Willard, so he miiiight have been a pseudonym), the home of the lesser known Steel Sterling (and others, of course, as almost all comic books back then were anthologies)…

Of course, it was actually a case of Archie and Wilbur both copying the same influence, the hit series of films starring Mickey Rooney as Andy Hardy.

However, while Wilbur didn’t copy from Archie in THAT instance, he definitely DID copy from Archie in OTHER instances. Wilbur Comics stories were typically just re-used plots from Archie Comics stories. However, the craziest example of this occurred in a story in Wilbur Comics #5 (which happened to also include the first appearance of Katy Keane, as I wrote about in this Look Back) that was literally just an Archie Comics story by Bob Montana with artist Bill Vigoda (who, yes, WAS the brother of the actor Abe Vigoda) putting Wilbur’s face over Archie’s face!

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I have to choose carefully from the pages of this story, from 1942’s Archie Comics #1 by Bob Montana, as there is some super awful casual racist stuff with a porter on the train (train porters were go-to places for racist caricatures back in the Golden Age). You can still see him in the opening page…

Archie accidentally takes the sample case of a salesman who had finally returned home after a long sales trip. The salesman chases Archie back on to the train and is stuck when the train keeps going and since it is an express, he can’t even get off the train until the next day!

He tries to make the most of it and gets a berth to sleep, but it is right on top of Archie’s berth, and hilarity (and mishaps) ensue…

In the end, Archie accidentally gets the guy thrown off the train…with Archie’s suitcase instead of his samples case!!!

Here’s the Wilbur Comics #5 story (also judiciously avoiding the racist stuff)…

It’s at least possible that Vigoda literally traced the Montana art, but I doubt it…

I think it’s just photo stats of the original story…

Funny stuff.

In the latest TV Legends Revealed – What was the bizarre origin of Burgess Meredith’s iconic “quack” during his Penguin portrayal on the Batman TV series?

OK, that’s it for this installment!

Thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don’t even actually anymore, but I used it for years and you still see it when you see my old columns, so it’s fair enough to still thank him, I think.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well! Also, if you have a correction or a comment, feel free to also e-mail me. CBR sometimes e-mails me with e-mails they get about CBLR and that’s fair enough, but the quickest way to get a correction through is to just e-mail me directly, honest. I don’t mind corrections. Always best to get things accurate!

Here’s my most recent book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books.

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Here’s my second book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends. — half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…

If you’d like to order it, you can use this code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter, and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed suggestions on our Facebook page!). Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get some original content from me, as well!

See you next time!!

CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over fifteen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed).

He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo.

He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed and other pop culture features at Pop Culture References.

Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you’d like to see featured at brianc@cbr.com!

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