Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Friday, April 26, 2013

Swing With Scooter: The Mod Teen Idol

So many of us easily forget that the Mod culture was all started by teenagers. Two reasons explain why I'm still fascinated by it after so many years. One, I refuse to grow up. File it under "I'm a kid at heart". Two, it's the only subculture that you can still pull off after you turn 40. What man doesn't look good in a tailored suit at that age? Having a 10 inch mohawk might be harder to do. A pierced face, a cape and some black painted nails will get you noticed but people won't take you seriously. How about a crooked baseball cap, sneakers and oversized jeans? Think that will work for you?

In my endless quest to explore every aspect of Mod, I came accross this comic book. (Thanks Oliver!)

Click on image to enlarge

The first issue of Swing With Scooter came out in June-July 1966, just when the Mod "craze" hit the North American shores in the midst of a British Invasion tsunami. The story is pretty straight forward. The most famous English singer since The Beatles has deserted his British group, The Banshees, to start fresh in the good 'ol US of A. In your typical Archie type adventures, Scooter and his mates try to attain the American dream by being shrunk by lasers, battling martians and being transformed into vegetables. You know, your average teenage stuff.

Don't expect a true Mod being depicted in this 36 issue run. It is a DC comic afterall. For one, what's up with this Honda Cub / Zundapp Bella scooter hybrid?

But in issue #31, you see him scoot around in a Vespa / Lambretta crossbreed mishmash. Check out Clothes Make The Man and what we have all lived at one point in our lives while going to the "Mod Shoppe".

Our friend Scooter is starting to look more and more like Archie and his gang.

Knowing that I've long stopped collecting comic books since the tender age of 15, why bring this Scooter fellow up on Parka Avenue? Aside from some quirky Mod dilemmas and quanderies, the attempt at sounding cool is what makes it worthy of a closer look. You have to give credit to the writers Barbara Friedlander and Jack Miller for trying to make the characters sound like they are part of the in-crowd. And who here hasn't been faced with going to a dance without having a new Mod outfit to wear? Have a look and a chuckle.

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