|Sugar and Spike|
Cover to Sugar and Spike #1 (April/May 1956)
Art by Sheldon Mayer
|Publication date||April/May 1956–October/November 1971|
|No. of issues||98|
|Main character(s)||Sugar Plumm|
Cecil "Spike" Wilson
|Created by||Sheldon Mayer|
|Written by||Sheldon Mayer|
|Editor(s)||Whitney Ellsworth #1–21|
Lawrence Nadle #22–52
Murray Boltinoff #53–93
Dick Giordano #94
E. Nelson Bridwell #95–98
Sugar and Spike is an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1956 through 1971, named after its main protagonists. The series was created, written, and drawn by Sheldon Mayer.
The series was launched in 1956 along with another Sheldon Mayer creation The Three Mouseketeers. The Sugar & Spike series had 98 issues published in the United States through 1971, when due to Mayer's failing eyesight that limited his drawing ability, the series was canceled. Later, after cataract surgery restored his eyesight, Mayer returned to writing and drawing Sugar and Spike stories, continuing to do so until his death in 1991; these stories appeared in overseas markets and only a few have been reprinted in the United States. The American reprints appeared in the digest sized comics series The Best of DC #29, 41, 47, 58, 65, and 68. In 1992, Sugar and Spike #99 was published as part of the DC Silver Age Classics series; this featured two previously unpublished stories by Mayer. DC Comics writer and executive Paul Levitz has described Sugar and Spike as being "Mayer's most charming and enduring creation". Novelist and Sandman creator Neil Gaiman has stated "Sheldon Mayer's Sugar and Spike series...is the most charming thing I've ever seen in comics."
DC attempted to license Sugar and Spike as a syndicated newspaper strip but was unsuccessful. Sales on the "Sugar and Spike" issues of The Best of DC were strong enough that DC announced plans for a new ongoing series featuring the characters. The project was never launched for unknown reasons.
Mayer had an agreement with DC that no one else could write Sugar and Spike. However, they have occasionally made cameo appearances in modern comic books. They are rescued by the underwater heroine Dolphin in Showcase #100. They appear as theme park characters in Justice League Spectacular; as being baby-sat by Cassie Sandsmark in Wonder Woman #113; and as teenagers on the crowded cover of Legionnaires #43. They have a cameo on a video screen in Planet Krypton in Kingdom Come #1. The two made speaking cameo appearances in the first two pages of The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4, but they were not named. In an issue of the digital-first series Adventures of Superman, the children are babysat by Superman in his secret identity as reporter Clark Kent.
The comic featured the misadventures of two toddlers named Sugar Plumm and Cecil "Spike" Wilson, who possessed the ability to communicate via "baby talk" with each other and to other infants, but not to adults. It shared ideas concerning baby-talk with P. L. Travers' Mary Poppins novel; one notable feature was that all babies spoke the same baby-talk "language", allowing Sugar and Spike to speak with not only human infants, but baby animals as well. Another popular recurring feature was paper dolls of the two leads, with outfits based on designs submitted by readers. Mayer used his own children, Merrily and Lanney, as inspiration for the strip.
In addition to the toddlers, their parents and adults, who were only seen from the waist down (Bill and Barbara Plumm; Harvey and Peg Wilson), recurring characters included:
Writer Keith Giffen and artist Bilquis Evely brought back the characters as adults in 2016, starring their own adventures (among other characters) in the new ongoing series Legends of Tomorrow. At the time of the announcement, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio said of the Sugar And Spike series, "They're not spoiled kids anymore, but they're older and they're operating as private investigators handling problems and mysteries that the superheroes can't handle themselves".
Two children's titles began: Sugar and Spike and The Three Mouseketeers.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
He continued to write and draw Sugar & Spike until 1971, when failing eyesight forced him to abandon cartooning...Mayer's sight was restored a few years later, and he went back to producing new Sugar & Spike stories. But the American comic book market was no longer able to support such a feature, so these were mostly published overseas.
Did you know that DC tried to sell Shelly Mayer's Sugar and Spike as a syndicated newspaper strip? [A] sample, ca. 1979-early 1980s was one of three DC concepts unsuccessfully pitched to papers.
Sugar Plumm and Cecil "Spike" Wilson had to make sense of their environment without assistance from those who already knew their way around it, because everybody but their fellow babies spoke in the incomprehensible gobbledygook of grownups...[Mayer] secured an agreement with DC that he would be the only one ever to write and draw those characters.
The creations of editor and cartoonist Sheldon Mayer, Sugar and Spike were two tiny tots who were old enough to get into trouble but a little too young to talk. As a result, they conversed in baby talk, 'the only language that makes any sense.'