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SECRET ORIGINS OF SWING WITH SCOOTER - PART 7 of 8
The DECLINE and FALL of SCOOTER!

Scooter began his life as a distinctive character of moderate success, and for two years, Scooter -- under the guidance of creators Barbara Friedlander, Jack Miller and Joe Orlando -- maintained his unique style. But then, in "Swing With Scooter" #12, #13 and #14, virtually everything about the character was transformed, and forced into a process that can only be called... Archi-fication! It started in issue 12, with a story drawn by fill-in artist Bob Oskner (pages shown below). As you can see, suddenly, Scooter, Cookie, Penney and the whole groupy gang all looked... different.
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Swing With Scooter's new direction was made clear with the introduction of a new logo -- a logo that was almost a mirror-image of the familiar "Archie" logo, seen below left. It was as though someone at DC had issues marching orders: "Make "Swing With Scooter" even more like Archie!" The big change occurred over the course of just three issues, covers shown below. Scooter #12 featured a "new-look" Scooter cover and story by fill-in artist Bob Oskner (pages shown above)

.Lucky Scooter #13 reverted temporarily to the "old" Scooter on a Joe Orlando cover, but by the next issue, the .die was cast. Scooter and friends were now almost unrecognizable, having undergone the painful process of "Archi-fication."

Check out the cartoony cover of Scooter #14 by Henry Scarpelli. It could just as easily have been an Archie cover! I'm not saying anyone turned in bad work -- Oskner and Scarpelli are total pros whose work I've enjoyed for many years. It wasn't their fault -- their version of Scooter was NOT unprofessional in the least.

The "new look" Scooter, no doubt editorially mandated, was just a jarring change from the "old look" Scooter, that's all. See for yourself...
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SCOOTER #12 SCOOTER #13 SCOOTER #14
Most of the stories on the insides of these book were now written by humor-strip veteran Henry Boltinoff, and drawn by Doug Crane and Henry Scarpelli. Their Scooter stories were totally Archi-fied, as seen in the pages below from "Swing With Scooter" #14...
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SCOOTER #15 SCOOTER #16 SCOOTER #17
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Things got still more Archi-fied for Scooter as time went by, with an even more Archie-like logo. Blonde Cookie filled in for blonde Betty, and Penney's hair suddenly became as black as Veronica's (as seen on the cover of Scooter #15, above left.)

And what about Scooter's famous scooter? The one that gave him his name? Well, as seen on the cover of "Swing With Scooter" #16 shown above), the Scoot-man now had a red jalopy that was almost shockingly like the perpetually non-working clunker made famous by Archie and company!

Pictured right is Archie's famous red car, and below that are a few panels from "Swing With Scooter" #17, showing Scooters remarkably similar new set of red wheels...
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Below, also from Scooter #17, a cartoony blimp version of Sylvester a.k.a. "Tubby Greenbacks" seems to recall bits and pieces of his former life as a member of the DC Universe who once met Batman himself...
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The DC house ad seen below for "Binky," "Debbie's Dates" and "Swing With Scooter" shows that it wasn't only "Scooter" who had become became Archi-fied. It appears DC made a conscious decision to steal Archie's thunder by making their teen line into a virtual "Archie Evil Factory," turning out clone after defective clone of the entire Archie line. What a "fun happening!"
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SCOOTER #18 SCOOTER #19 SCOOTER #21
Below, a page from "Swing With Scooter" #19 (cover by Henry Scarpelli pictured above center), from a story called "Osculation Frustration!" by Boltinoff, Crane and Scarpelli...
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The middle phase of Scooter's life came to an end in "Swing With Scooter" #18-21. By now, the series had given up on its quirky original premise ("What if Paul MCCartney had quit the Beatles and come to America?) and was almost identical to the Archie line of comics. Scooter's covers no longer featured scenes from the stories inside -- now, like Archie covers, they were one-panel gags that had no real relation to the book's contents. The stories inside were equally Archi-fied, with (as displayed in the pages above) Cookie and Penny chasing after Scooter, and pausing only to deliver corny one-liners to each other. The DC house ad shown below sums up Scooter's new attitude...
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So far, "Swing With Scooter," still a bi-monthly, had managed to survive until its 21st issue, cover-dated September 1969. That's 42 months, or three and a half years. Not bad! Had the dreaded process of "Archi-fication" actually prolonged Scooter's life? Probably. If the book had been doing well in its original incarnation, it's doubtful DC would have undertaken to change it in the first place. As the old saying goes, "You can't argue with success." So, although Archi-fication took away everything that made Scooter unique, it also prolonged his existence -- and not just for a few issues, but for years!

Tomorrow, Dial B for Blog's landmark Secret Origins of Swing With Scooter series concludes with a look at issues #22-36, featuring another new Scooter logo, the GIANT SIZED issues, the final fate of Scooter, and the sensational character find of 1971... Penny's Cross-Eyed Pussycat!
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BRITISH ROCKER? AMERICAN TEEN? ARCHIE CLONE?
WHO IS SCOOTER?!?!? Read...
SCOOTER'S
IDENTITY CRISIS!