Friday, November 25, 2016

Book cover: "Fangface: A Heap of Trouble" (1979)

Here at the Papergreat World Headquarters, we have a very discriminating process for choosing the book covers that we feature on this blog. You can trust that we will select only the finest, rarest and most beautiful volumes to present to you, the reader...

  • Title: Fangface: A Heap of Trouble
  • Author: Ruby-Spears Productions, Inc.
  • Cover artist: Possibly Tony Tallarico, who did the interior illustrations.
  • Publisher: Cinnamon House (a Division of Charter Communications, which was a Grosset & Dunlap Company). There is also a mention of Tempo Books. It's quite confusing.
  • Cover price: $1.25 (the equivalent of about $4 today)
  • Year: 1979
  • Pages: 96
  • Format: Paperback
  • First sentence: The quiet Midtown University campus was deserted at night.
  • Last sentence: And the whole Fangface gang started to laugh.
  • Random sentence from middle: "Just keep your peepers open and follow me," Puggsy said.
  • Back-cover blurb: It's Fangface to the rescue as a mad scientist menaces a college campus with his monster-making ray machine. Join Fangface and his TV friends Biff, Kim and Puggsy as they foil the fiendish Dr. Arnos.
  • From the preface: "For extra fun, color the pictures as you read the book!"
  • Notes: So, Fangface was a short-lived Saturday morning cartoon that originally aired from 1978 to 1980. It was produced by the aforementioned Ruby-Spears Productions, whose biggest claim to fame was Scooby-Doo, and it was very derivative of that iconic cartoon. ... According to Wikipedia, Fangface (later Fangface and Fangpuss) was an odd melting pot of Scooby-Doo, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Looney Tunes' Tasmanian Devil, and The Bowery Boys.
    It was also slightly progressive for a Saturday morning cartoon, as main characters Biff and Kim were a mixed-race couple. ... The 1996 book Children and Television: A Semiotic Approach, by Robert Hodge and David Tripp, has, somewhat bafflingly, an entire section on Fangface and notes: "Kim, the girl, has a darker-coloured face. It is ambiguous whether she is meant to be black or not, but in every other way she is respectably middle class. ... [T]he relationship between the middle-class Kim and Biff is cool and proper." In all, Hodge and Tripp devote more than two dozen pages to Fangface analysis, which is more absurd than the fact that I'm blogging about it. And they describe the premiere episode, "A Heap of Trouble" (the cartoon, not this novelization), as being "very rich" in meaning. ... I could get a bit more into how Sherman "Fangs" Fangsworth transforms into Fangface and oftens eats his friend Puggsy whole, but let's not do that. Instead, I'll just leave you with this link to Toonzone and some Fangface fan fiction that was posted earlier this year. Shareify it around, if you wish.

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