Friday, January 14, 2011

Sugar&Spike - A Study in Science Friction

The Chronicles of Sheldon Mayer's Sugar & Spike

A Study in Science Friction
The Best of DC #41 [1983]
8 pages
Reprints: None

Following the 1971 conclusion of SUGAR AND SPIKE's impressive 98 issue run Mayer's main work for a few years was writing for DC's mystery books, including the creation of the Black Orchid and several great stories with Alex Toth. After his recovery from his 1973 eye operations, he also drew some stuff, including some Rudolph the Reindeer stories for DC's tabloid line, and worked on a Bible adaptation. The original Sugar & Spike stories were also published in other languages ("Sal y Pimienta" in Spanish, "Bib et Zette" in French, "Tutuca e Teleco-Teco" in Portuguese, "Bosse och Bettan" in Swedish), and in the early 1980s Mayer began writing and drawing new stories to appear in those publications.  Eventually some of those stories, along with classic reprints, would appear in DC's digest comics, although there are still a lot of stories that have never been published in English.

Most of the new stories that were published appeared in this issue of BEST OF DC. In this one, Spike is confused by his inability, as a little kid, to fit in his mother's big-person shoe, when the rules he learned from Sugar suggest he should be able to (since "little stuff always gozinta big stuff").  Bernie tries in vain to explain the logic to Spike, and then briefly thinks that Sugar understands him (which requires a bit of a strained bit of dialogue) before learning, as always, that life is never easy for an infant genius.

While the new material Mayer did in the 1980s isn't quite as good as the original series, there are a lot of fun stories, and I'd certainly like to see the published material re-published in a larger-than-digest size and the remainder published for the first time in English a few years down the line, after several books of the 1950s and 1960s stories come out.

Characters: Spike, Bernie the Brain, Sugar, Mrs. Wilson
Sugar's treatment of Spike: It's actually Bernie who faces the usual wrath of Sugar, pushed over and stood on

"You may be the infant genius around here, but I know a thing or two myself!"

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