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SECRET ORIGINS OF SWING WITH SCOOTER - PART 4 of 8

MEET THE CAST OF SCOOTER & COMPANY!

Scooter was NOT a knock-off of Archie, but a unique character modeled after Paul McCartney of the Beatles. But what about Scooter's supporting cast? Well, they weren't quite as original as the main man. In fact, with one glaring exception, they pretty much WERE knock-offs of Archie's supporting cast! Here's how the gang was introduced, in "Swing With Scooter" #1 ...
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As you can see from the descriptions above, many members of the supporting cast of Scooter seem to be modeled after characters that populate Riverdale, USA -- home of Archie Andrews, as well as Reggie Mantle, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge and Jughead Jones...
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On the surface, it seems that Kenny is just like Reggie, Cookie is a copy of Betty, Penny is Veronica as a Brunette, and Sylvester is Scooter's Jughead. But is that really true? Each Scooter character got their own single-page gag strip in various issues of the title. Take a look at each of them, and decide for yourself if the characters are Archie-cast clones. We'll start with Kenny...
KENNY - HE'S ONLY A PAPER TIGER!
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COOKIE - SCOOTER'S SWINGIN' CHICK!
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SYLVESTER - "TUBBY GREENBACKS"!
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CYNTHIA - SCOOTER'S GINCHY SISTER
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Dial B for Blog reader Van-Zee points out that Scooter's sister Cynthia bears a striking resemblance to Cynthia Lennon, John Lennon's first wife, who had long, straight brown hair, wore round glasses, and even spelled her name the same unusual way!

Although there's no official confirmation on this one, when you see the two of them side by side (shown right) it seems obvious beyond all doubt that Cynthia Lennon WAS the model for Scooter's ginchy sister, Cynthia! Thanks Van-Zee. Good call! This issue is becoming a real group effort, isn't it. OK, back to work... here's a "Cynthia" one-page gag strip...
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MALIBU - THE RAGE FROM FINKSVILLE!
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.Aside from Scooter himself, Malibu, the self-styled "Rage From Finksville," is the only character in Swing With Scooter who is really unique. Why? For one thing, Malibu is a vampire! Sort of. I mean, they never come out and SAY he's a vampire, and he never drinks anyone's blood, and he's seen in the daytime in every issue... but still, there are constant hints of darkness, and shocking glimpses of Malibu's odd, disturbing behavior.

Why did Malibu always wear a white trenchcoat? At first, he said it was "to keep his bathing threads dry." (See panel at top of this issue of DBB). Then, .later, he said he was copying James Bond (see panel above left) -- but in fact, another spy was famous for wearing a white tuxedo.

Thanks to a comment from comic blogger and Dial B for Blog reader Johnny Bacardi, I, Robby Reed, creator of this blog and author of this article, now believe the character of Malibu actually had two different inspirations: Eddie Munster from The Munsters and Ilya Kurakin from The Man From U.N.C.L.E.!

"The Man From U.N.C.L.E." premiered on NBC September 22, 1964. We covered the spy drama and its influence on 1960s comic books in Dial B for Blog #173. Pictured below is one of the "men," super-spy Ilya Kurakin, .played by David McCallum (pictured below, left). From the receding blonde hair and triangular-shaped face to the white trench coat, and even down to the pointy ears (!?!?), it's obvious that although Malibu tries to pass himself off as a "James Bond type," he's actually much more of an "Ilya Kurakin wannabe" -- at least physically.

However, Malibu's personality is much more similar to Eddie Munster's than it is to Kurakin's. The Munsters, a monstrous satire on the average American family, aired on CBS from 1964 to 1966 . Eddie Munster, played by Butch Patrick (pictured above), had pointed .ears, and was described as “a werewolf of elementary school age.

Malibu had Eddie's widow's peak and pointy ears, but no mention was ever made of Malibu being a werewolf. However, there were plenty of strange inferences that Malibu was really a VAMPIRE! (Perhaps this angle was inspired by the success of Sabrina the Teenage Witch from Archie-verse, cover shown right).

Freaky! The panels below from "Swing With Scooter" #11 strongly imply that Malibu sometimes wore, or at least owned, "vampire makeup." Malibu has no problem with being called a vampire, he's just curious why the girl freaked out when he "didn't even have his vampire makeup on," whatever THAT was supposed to mean...
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Wait! It gets even more bizarre. Check out this one-page gag below starring "the Rage From Finksville.," from a later issue of Scooter. Once again, it seems that everyone thinks Malibu is not just weird, but that he actually has supernatural powers. Plus, notice how Malibu's EARS seem to get pointier over time?
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In Swing With Scooter #27 (panels shown below), Scooter finally got to meet some of Malibu's freaky relatives. Although it's never stated, they all apparently hail from "Finskville." Beyond their outlandish appearances and the joke that they "could fly here on their own brooms," Malibu's cousin Jerome explicitly states that he "made himself invisible and rode on the airplane for free." A shocked Scooter asks, "He's a ghost?" but then lets the issue drop.
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In Swing With Scooter #27 (page shown below), all pretenses were finally dropped, and Malibu was more or less revealed to be a vampire. Not in so many words, but -- well, read the page below and see for yourself.
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See? Malibu is out at midnight, feeding bats, and he has noticeable fangs. Was he a vampire? Well, call him a day-walking, pointy-eared, fanged vampire of comedy and "rage." The Rage of Finksville!
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.Perhaps Malibu had a fondness for dark places, or maybe Joe Orlando and Scooter's various artists just liked to draw them -- but whatever the reason, a surprising number of haunted houses showed up in "Swing With Scooter."

According to noted comic book historian and Dial B for Blog reader Mark Evanier, many of the haunted houses seen below were drawn by Jerry Grandenetti, who was then ghosting a lot of Joe Orlando's stuff. Grandenetti's work also turns up all through the first two "Inferior Five" stories, says Evanier.

Scooter's haunted house were sometimes watched over by a talking moon, who served as a kind of narrator for the Scooter haunted house stories. You can see the moon in several panels shown here. This lunatic lunar "character" had no other name but... the Moon!

Below is a gallery featuring of some of the best haunted house stories from Scooter. Note the standard plot-point reasons for getting kids into a haunted house: (1) They follow criminals inside; (2) To get out of a storm; (3) To disprove a curse; and, finally, (4) To hold a seance. You may notice that art-wise, the houses and characters both get increasingly "Archie-ish" as issues go by.
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"SWING WITH SCOOTER" #3


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"SWING WITH SCOOTER" #7


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"SWING WITH SCOOTER" #12


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"SWING WITH SCOOTER" #28


Finally -- in Swing With Scooter #26, Scooter actually went inside Malibu's OWN house for the first time... and what he saw there terrified him so much he literally ran out of the place in a fit of panic. I'm not kidding! Take a look for yourself! Malibu has no sofa or TV set, but he DOES have a bubbling cauldron, a human skull, a WWI helmet (?!?), a noose hanging from the ceiling, and various glass beakers filled with strange, unknown liquids. No wonder Scooter runs out screaming as the clock strikes midnight... Malibu's house is even scarier than Scooter's PANTS. Here's "Jekyll and Hide!"
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CLICK HERE FOR PART FIVE

HERE COMES THE DC UNIVERSE WELCOME WAGON!
BATMAN -- SUPERMAN -- HAWKMAN -- FLASH -- ADAM STRANGE
SCOOTER MEETS THE NEIGHBORS!