Tippy and a typical lust object. Artist: Samm Schwartz.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Tower Comics
First Appeared: 1965
Creator: Samm Schwartz
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When comic book fans recall the short-lived 1960s publisher Tower Comics, they generally think of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. If they recall Tower's lesser titles, those …

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… generally consist of T.H.U.N.D.E.R.'s spin-offs, Dynamo and No-Man. This is because comic book fans tend to concentrate on the superheroes. Teenage humor is mostly off their radar — and yet, not only did Tower publish more issues of Tippy Teen (25 in all, plus a special) than of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents — when you add in the 15 issues of Tippy's Friends Go-Go & Animal and the four issues of the magazine-like Teen-in, which also featured Tippy and her pals, her share of the company's overall output outnumbered all the rest put together!

Like Bunny, Henry Brewster and most others, Tippy owed a lot to the reigning superstar of teen humor in comic books, Archie. In her case, however, it was more than just subject matter and style — she also shared their creative personnel, starting with publisher Harry Shorten (There Oughta Be a Law!), who'd been involved with the carrot-topped teen back in his very early days at MLJ Comics.

Shorten hired Samm Schwartz, who has extensive credits on Archie's Pal Jughead, to put together the new character set and edit it once it was running. Schwartz's other credits include Tower's U.N.D.E.R.S.E.A. Agent. Other Archie creators involved include Dan DeCarlo (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and Bob White (Cosmo the Merry Martian). Also, several of Tippy's friends were strongly reminiscent of certain Archie supporting characters.

They all made their debut in Tippy Teen #1, dated November, 1965 — just six years after the demise of the first teenage comics star, who shared Tippy's surname but was never actually stated to have been related. Tippy's boyfriend, Tommy, had a relationship similar to Archie's with Betty, in that both were free to date others, and sometimes did. Her best friend, Go-Go West, had a boyfriend called Animal, and the two of them resembled Archie's classmates Big Moose and Midge, except Animal wasn't as possessive as Moose.

The series lasted until #25, dated October, 1969. Despite the lack of vocal fan interest, it was the first Tower series to be brought back. A mid-1970s Marvel imitator, Atlas Comics (Phoenix, The Destructor), bought rights and reprinted several of her stories, inexplicably changing her name to "Vicki".

Again, she outlasted most of the company's other comics. Whereas three issues or less was the norm for Atlas titles, Vicki was among the few that made it to four. None lasted as long as five.

But that was her last gasp. Today, there's still interest in T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents — and indeed, DC Comics has made moves toward getting those characters back into print. But nobody has expressed interest in Tippy, under either name, in a long time.


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Text ©2006-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Tower Comics.