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December 25, 2012


Christmas is finally upon us, bringing to an end the run-up we’ve had here on the blog, and I can think of no better way to cap of the festivities than with a Yuletide comic based on the classic TV show The Honeymooners. You see, Ralph Kramden’s four color shenanigans weren’t limited to goofy crossovers with wrestling legends like Captain Lou Albano. He and Ed Norton and Alice and Trixie also had this nice little square-bound Christmas Special, which gives both Ralph and Alice the Frank Capra It’s a Wonderful Life treatment. No, this comic doesn’t see Ralph killing himself, his wife and his two friends by augering a magic flying car into the Hong Kong Garden. SORRY TO DISAPPOINT YOU. “She’s a Wonderful Wife” imagines — or tries to, as we shall see — what life would have been like for the two halves of our starring couple if they had never met.

The impetus for the split is poor Ralph out shopping for Alice’s Christmas present. He knows she’s had her eye on a red dress, but the $199.95 price tag literally makes him faint, and he’s at a loss for how he’s going to pull this off. Just his luck, he runs into an old friend named Sammy Whitherspoon (who looks like Arnold Stang’s comic book doppelgänger), who has his own ideas on how to scrape together some short-notice Christmas dough (spot the typo!):


“Albino fir trees” is one of Ralph’s tamer attempts at making money (I’m sensing a pattern between the albino fir trees and Captain Lou Albano), but the fact that he spent the money that was supposed to go towards Christmas dinner and the tree doesn’t sit well with Alice — much like a certain fairy tale about three beans for a cow. They have one of their high-volume arguments, complete with empty threats of TO THE MOON violence, and decide to spend Christmas Eve apart:


This is where the story gets a little different. The writer and artist — Robert Loren Fleming and Win Mortimer, respectively — here make their appearance. They’re putting together this Honeymooners Christmas Special, and realize that they’ve maybe made it a little too depressing. It’s a problem in need of a solution:


Despite their best efforts to show both Ralph and Alice how bleak life would be without them together (their tiny apartment is occupied by roughly 30 yokels running a still), they still keep winding up together. When Ralph helps out a downtrodden widower by taking him to the Salvation Army, guess who’s running the show:


And when Alice brings an orphan, worried that Santa Claus will forget him, to the big man himself, guess who’s under the beard and hat:


Not quite satisfied with how things keep turning out, Fleming and Mortimer leave their studio to go get some chow. Yet (cue the strumming of a harp) the pages are magically completed in their absence, with Ralph returning home to find that everything has worked out just fine:


And just who finished these pages? Who’s writing the big comic book of life, which controls Fleming and Mortimer and you and me?:


Existence is a comic book. I can live with that.

‘Nuff said. Merry Christmas.

(Just so you know, the Art Carney interview promised on the cover at no point touches on his role in The Star Wars Holiday Special. Which seems such a waste.)

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