Here is the Smilin’ Ed’s Gang story from Buster Brown Comics Book #23 from 1946. “Smilin’ Ed and His Gang Entertain the Army” is the name of the story. They opted to have Squeaks and Midnight talk in the comics. Smilin’ Ed again is Andy’s predecessor who met a sinister and untimely demise. It isn’t surprising… Froggy attempts to murder him multiple times in this story.
There are two other stories in the book as well that I didn’t scan… one is called “The Poachers” and is about an Indian boy named Ghanga and his elephant (seen on the front cover)… the other story, “Black Lagoon,” is about a South Pacific island boy named Suki and his chimpanzee Coco. Boy from exotic land with exotic pet seems to be the recurring theme of choice in these comics (judging from this issue and #27 and 28, which I also have).
What? You mean a comic book with Buster Brown in the title doesn’t feature Buster Brown? Well, actually, it does. In the ads for Buster Brown shoes. These comics were giveaway premiums at shoe stores and department stores that sold Buster Brown Shoes. The store name is printed on the bottom part of the front cover, and all the ads in the comic are for Buster Brown shoes. Usually only his iconic image appears in an issue.
However, in this issue, there is actually a comic strip with Buster Brown! Very likely his last comic strip ever, I suspect (although his last newspaper comic strip can be seen here). And what sort of mischief is the little rapscallion up to, you may wonder? Why, he is pretending to be a shoe salesman! Strangely, his “resolution” appears in the first panel…
“When kids insist on Buster Brown Shoes they get the best fit in town!”
Wait a minute… our scamp isn’t making mischief at all! Tige’s jolly laugh is nowhere to be seen. Buster is just selling shoes! He’s being helpful! What has become of our Buster, our impish rascal of yesteryear?
Wait a minute… the kid in the last panel with the new shoes… his feet are glowing. Why that’s it! Buster hasn’t reformed at all! He has taken to irradiating children’s feet with a shoe-fitting x-ray machine (Note the mention of X-Ray fitting on the front cover below). That smug kid with the new shoes will be keeling over with foot cancer in no time! Ha ha ha! Oh, that Buster.
Download a 27MB pdf of the comic book, minus the boy from exotic land with exotic pet stories, by clicking the below image.
See an excerpt from an issue of Buster Brown Comics featuring Smilin Ed’s Gang aka Andy’s Gang courtesy of Stupid Comics here.
Read more about Andy Devine on Wikipedia.
Visit the grave of W.H. "Major" Ray aka Buster Brown here.