That Wilkin Boy’s Samantha Smythe

SamanthaSmytheWeb

Another sketch request from our 2015 DIE KITTY DIE Kickstarter campaign, this one is of Samantha Smythe, the pretty blonde girlfriend of Bingo Wilkin. Bingo is the title star of the Archie Comics series THAT WILKIN BOY. Samantha’s attire, the T-shirt and the word on the T-shirt were all as per the commissioner’s requests.

I didn’t read a lot of That Wilkin Boy as a kid. It was one of those features like Superduck and Cosmo The Merry Martian that popped up in Laugh Digest and the other more anthology oriented books. Whenever I did come across a Bingo story though I did enjoy them. I enjoyed them much more later as an adult when I was more able to appreciate the subtext and the social commentary of That Wilkin Boy and how it was a response to its inspiration, the popular 1970’s TV series All In The Family. There is …believe it or not… a lot of raciness and sophistication to That Wilkin Boy. So much so that there are That Wilkin Boy stories that will most likely never be reprinted again in a conventional digest! Hopefully they’ll see the light of day in some other format.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 comments on “That Wilkin Boy’s Samantha Smythe”

  1. Robert O'Brien Reply

    Yeah, most of what I’ve read of That Wilkin Boy has either been in digests or scans I’ve found online (not something I do often, I like to buy my stuff) but I’m starting to track them down on eBay, etc
    I just find the Wilkin stories more interesting than regular Archie stuff, the character dynamics are more solid… except with Teddy, I don’t know why Bingo never decked him for chasing after Samantha? Maybe he did and I’ll stumble upon the story eventually…

    • fernando Reply

      That Wilkin Boy was certainly edgier than most of the standard Archie stuff. Samantha’s father, Samson, was an outright racist! I’d like to get access to some of those early stories that will most likely never be reprinted in the digests. Maybe if they’re still cheap I can hunt down some of the back issues or maybe one day there will be a good comprehensive collection.

    • fernando Reply

      Of the non-Archie stuff that used to run in the more anthology-oriented digests like Laugh, That Wilkin Boy was among my favorites and I found more compelling than, say, Katy Keene. Poor Katy. Nothing against her, but I remember skipping her stories every now and then.

  2. Dennis Reply

    It’s probably more accurate to say that both That Wilkin Boy and All In The Family were products of their time and common influences and concerns. THAT WILKIN BOY #1 had a cover date of January 1969 (meaning a Fall 1968 release). All In The Family didn’t premiere until January 1971, over 2 years later. The central concept of the That Wilkin Boy premise is built around the idea of feuding next-door neighbors, and the fact that Samson Smythe and Archie Bunker were both middle-aged inflexible arch-conservatives is sort of coincidental. Apart from the contentious neighbor Mr. Smythe, just as much of the comedy in TWB revolves around ratfink “Tough” Teddy Tambourine, whose antics make Reggie Mantle look like a “nice guy” by comparison.

    Samantha Smythe (who is supernaturally strong compared to her boyfriend Bingo) was certainly always one of the main attractions for me. I also liked the fact that Bingo (while suffering from some feelings of inferiority due to the fact that Samantha needs no protection from him, and can outdo him at anything physical) was truly a nice, average guy and devoted to his girlfriend — none of that “girl-crazy” chasing of other girls for him.

    Nice drawing of Samantha!

    • fernando Reply

      Thanks, Dennis. I wasn’t aware of the exact dates of what came first so I’m on board with your theory that both All In The Family and That Wilkin Boy were products of the influences of their time.

      Thanks for the comments on my drawing of Samantha!

  3. Dennis Reply

    Of course, I don’ mean that Samantha’s strength is *literally* supernatural in origin — she’s that way because her father is a macho he-man-type health, fitness and exercise nut, and he raised his daughter with those same values. She’s often seen in the back yard, tossing around barbells or dumbells like they were featherweights, but when Bingo tries to lift them, he has to grunt and strain. Samson disrespects everybody who doesn’t share his old-fashioned values, and takes a dim view of “this generation” of teenagers in general, and Bingo in particular, who he considers a wimp. Over the backyard fence, Samson takes every opportunity to bully, belittle and insult Bingo’s easygoing dad, Willie Wilkin. He’s gruff and irascible, and knows just how to push his buttons, by referring to him as “Wee Willie Wilkins”… and the normally even-tempered Mr. Wilkin goes ballistic whenever somebody calls him “Wilkins”.

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