Dig 13 Pages of Previously Unpublished SUGAR AND SPIKE Strips by SHELLY MAYER

NOT an April Fools’ gag! PAUL KUPPERBERG pays birthday tribute to one of comics’ greats…


Sheldon “Shelly” Mayer (April 1, 1917 – December 21, 1991) was:

— “One of the very first contributors [of original material] to comic books” in 1935, according to 1985’s Fifty Who Made DC Great;

— An early employee of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson’s National Allied Publications, predecessor company of DC Comics;

— Among those credited with discovering (as an editor for the McClure Syndicate) Joe Siegel and Jerry Shuster’s Superman;

— Editor of All-American Publications (Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, etc.) by the age of 23;

— An insanely talented illustrator who created the semi-autobiographical feature Scribbly the Boy Cartoonist (whose supporting cast included Ma Hunkle, the Red Tornado), and left his mark on many memorable funny animal and humor strips throughout the 1940s and 1950s, including The Three Mousketeers, Leave it to Binky

… and Sugar and Spike.

If you don’t know his story, I urge you to learn more about Shelly Mayer, but among those who do know, the exploits of Sugar Plumm and Cecil “Spike” Wilson — next-door neighbor toddlers who could communicate with one another and other babies (and sometimes animals, if I’m remembering correctly) in baby talk that adults heard as infantile babbling — was his magnum opus.

Shelly wrote and drew 98 issues of Sugar and Spike (April/May 1956 – October/November 1971) and the only reason he had to stop when he did was because of his failing eyesight. But after cataract surgery corrected the problem, Shelly returned to creating new Sugar and Spike stories for the foreign comics market and would do so until the end of his life. The series got the Archive Edition treatment in 2011, reprinting the first 10 issues from 1956 and 1957, while some of the material created for the foreign market would make it into print in several DC Digests (The Best of DC #29, 41, 65 and 68).

Sometime in the early 1990s, not long after Shelly’s death, I came across a stack of photostats of 110 pages of those Sugar and Spike stories in the course of my work as an editor at DC. Doing my duty as a fan and a packrat, I Xeroxed those 110 precious pages and, later, scanned those Xeroxes. I’ve posted a few bits pages on Facebook over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared the entire file, except with Shelly’s granddaughter, Chelle.

I’m still not going to, of course (copyrights are respected across all 13 dimensions here), but in celebration of a most celebratory man and creator, here then, 13 Pages of Previously Unpublished SUGAR & SPIKE BY SHELLY MAYER:



— 13 GREEN LANTERN PAGES: A MARTIN NODELL Birthday Celebration. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Perfect stories! I wish DC would put out an omnibus (or two) of S&S stories. Or even use the DC ink / YA trade paperback format to get these out as preschool reader books.

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  2. I also have a number of commissions in tribute to S&S. The series ended at 98 as you say. DC did a 99th issue (so numbered) as part of a Silver Age Classic series. However, there is no 100th issue. While we wait, I’ve been building a set of variant covers to help when they decide to print one. 🙂


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