Monday, February 19, 2007

Goofus & Gallant

Do you remember Goofus & Gallant? Since 1948, they've had their own feature in Highlights magazine, the one that's in all the pediatrians' and dentists' offices. You may have blocked it from your memory because you associate it with stabbing needles, screaming pain, and choking on X-ray tabs.

Here on "Earth-Prime" we call them "Goofus & Gallant". But in the DCU, they're called something else:

Aqualad & Robin.

Aqualad traps himself and panics constantly.

Robin always escapes and remains calm.

Aqualad is jealous of the fame of movie stars and wants credit.

Robin is secure in himself and wishes well on others.

Aqualad, who lives in the ocean, is afraid of fish.

Robin, who lives in Gotham City, snaps tigers' necks.

Aqualad is always ready to throw in the towel, and waits for Aquaman to save him.
Robin confidently jumps out of a plane flying over the North Pole to save Batman.
While wearing green bathing trunks and short sleeves, I might add.

Aqualad panics easily and waits for Aquaman to save him.
Robin always escapes and remains calm.Did I say that already?

Taking aim at Aqualad is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Taking aim at Robin is like putting a gun in your own mouth.

Remember, kids:
Don't be an Aqualad; be a Robin!


Anonymous said...

You must be reading a different showcase then I sir!

That has the Aqualad who decided that Aquaman could go search around for stuff while he took out a sub of pirates by himself.

Tom Mulherin said...

"You may have blocked it from your memory because you associate it with stabbing needles, screaming pain, and choking on X-ray tabs."


By the way,

Goofus and Gallant seem to be in the air.

SallyP said...

I don't remember Goofus and Gallant. I was too busy reading Asterix.

I went to the COOL doctor. But yeah, Aqualad does seem to be a bit...whiney.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I was drinking soda while reading this.

You owe me a new keyboard.

Scipio said...

Heh, Mallet, I won't deny that these aren't Aqualad's finest moments I've selected, but, I would still maintain that there were seriously differences in how each sidekick was portrayed, right from the start.

Aqualad's purpose was to make Aquaman's seem cooler; Robin's but was simply to be cool.

Scipio said...

"Goofus and Gallant seem to be in the air."

Now that I think of it, given that every American child for last 50+ years has been exposed to them, I surprised they aren't referred to more often...

Anonymous said...

Man, looking over all these old Dick Grayson stories makes me wonder just why Nightwing isn't ten times more of a badass than he's usually portrayed as being.

Anonymous said...

given that every American child for last 50+ years has been exposed to them

Well, not quite every. I never read those magazines in the doctor's office. I always brought my own comic books.

Unknown said...

*L* That was priceless. And to think that I would have cast Speedy as the Goofus, especially given the relentless manwhore he turned out to be.


(Where's the love? It's at Geek Love)

Siskoid said...

Wait a minute... is Showcase Presents Aquaman OUT?

The Icon said...

Man, why you're not writing for Highlights For Kids is just amazing! Reading this, I'm inspired to be a better person already.

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Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Not all gaily dressed young sidekicks are created equal.

Scipio said...

Well, actually, Ms. Wylde, I just stumbled across it one day while searching for stuff on the Legion; I'm afraid I don't have any links I could send you. If you do some search for the legionnaires in combination with some of their female opponents, I think something to your liking might turn up.

Ashley said...

Wow. I hadn't thought of those guys in years. I was one of those kids who grabbed that mag in any doctor's office and turned right to Goofus and Gallant. Since I didn't like either of them, I attribute this to a congenital predisposition to enjoying being slightly irritated.

Goofus was never bad enough for me--and too stupid to get away with anything. And I just wanted to pound Gallant in the head.

I agree with the analogy, and although he's indisputably cooler and more worthwhile than Aqualad, I still sorta want to pound Robin in the head, too.

Anonymous said...

As I said above, I never read Highlights magazine as a kid. But I have to wonder about Goofus and Gallant. This strip has been running for close on 60 years now? Just how many of those little moralistic object lessons can they come up with? Do they just rerun the same ones over and over and over again (which they can probably get away with, as the magazine's audience reboots every five years or so)? Or do they try to come up with new ones, perhaps situational stories appropriate to a modern audience?

"Goofus wastes his parents' cell phone minutes on unimportant conversations. Gallant uses the cell phone only in case of emergency."

"Goofus gets the smart kid from school to disable the V-chip his parents put in the TV. Gallant only watches Noggin and ABC Family."

"Goofus uses GOOGLE to find pictures on the internet that make him feel all funny inside. Gallant does too; hey, the kid is human!"

Anonymous said...

Goofus is mean and selfish, and Gallant is indecisive and fluffy like a Care Bear.

In the selected panels Robin is clever and strong, and Aqualad is weak and whiny. I'm not seeing the comparison here.

Anonymous said...

I can't help feeling that having his parents name him Goofus is the root of a lot of his maladjustment.

rachelle said...

This is an amazing post. It must have taken forever. Awesome.

Tom Mulherin said...

I can't help feeling that having his parents name him Goofus is the root of a lot of his maladjustment.

Probably, but it's a better name than "Aqualad."

Anonymous said...


Scipio said...

Thanks for noticing, Rachelle!

Until you've actually done it, finding and scanning clips into a post seems easy in principle, but in practice it takes quite a bit of elbow grease!