Comedians + Comic Books = Remarkably Unfunny
Superheroes are synonymous with comic books, but when their popularity is on the wane publishers turn to other measures. There are funny comics, and there are attempts to make otherwise serious books humorous, (an approach that seldom, if ever, works). It makes sense that a publisher like DC comics might have turned to two legendary funnymen to try and inject their pulpy hilarity into 15 cent comic books.
From 1950-68 DC Comics devoted an entire series to the
adventures of Bob Hope. A popular star at the time, each comic depicts comedic mishaps and adventures similar to his feature films. He's surrounded by dishy beauties, and has the habit of calling all the babes "doll" (which is equally annoying in comics as it is in real life).
I gave him a chance, but even in this format * SPOILER ALERT * Bob Hope just isn't that funny. The humor seems intended for children, but Hope's girl-crazy antics are a little too racy for tikes. Even after having read the book, I can't figure out what audience DC was intending to reach. All I can say about the experience is that just because a celebrity has a face that's easy to caricature, that doesn't make for a good comic.
DC tried it again in a couple early 1970's issues of "Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen". This comic series brandishes a two pronged pincer - Don Rickles in a dual role! In a trippier plot than Bob Hope could handle, Don appears as himself as well as a costumed alter-ego called Goody Rickles.
Superman does eventually show up, but all in all it's a big mess. There's no sign of Rickles' famous brand of insult comedy. Why do a comic book starring Mr. Warmth (Frank Sinatra's nickname for Don), if he only appears as a neutered version of himself?
The Hope comic makes some tiny bit of sense, but the elaborate Rickles cameo with Superman is just odd. It's hard to believe that including Hollywood stars could do all that much to increase sales of comics. On top of that, the presence of real-world celebrities compromises the elaborate universe that comic books work so hard to construct. I don't think that Superman sales soared because the world was just waiting for Rickles to don cape and boots.
As our modern Hollywood continues to plunder the long rich history of comics for more blockbuster ideas, let's hope that neither of these crummy comics become big-budget feature film epics. Wasn't a hundred years of Bob Hope enough?