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Four Color: Ricky Nelson, Number 998, June-August, 1959, page 27.
©Ozzie Nelson

"Acting Natural"
Writer: Unknown
Artist/Colorist: Unknown
Letterer: Unknown

Trying to impress a girl who he thinks is a "brain", Ricky bones up on science by reading This Atomic World and dons a pair of geeky-looking glasses. The plot takes several twists as the girl that he is interested in turns out to be one of a pair of identical twins and their father turns out to be the new science teacher at school. Ricky's hopes for a date are dashed when he discovers that the twins are going steady with two other guys. The moral of the story is "be yourself", but Ricky falls into the same trap again at the end of the story. The last panel shows him chasing another girl, who happens to be a roller skater. As Ricky pursues her down the street carrying a borrowed pair of skates, a friend calls after him, "But Rick ... you never did like to skate!" Ricky replies, "Don't bother me with details, son!" The full irony of this story came to fruition in the early 1970s in Ricky's bittersweet hit Garden Party.

An interesting malapropism is foisted upon the reader when Ricky reveals his shallow knowledge of chemistry by confusing protein with proton. The writers reveal their knowledge of chemistry in this play on words as well as in Ricky's statement that "simply making the ratio seven and seven, instead ... BINGO! It becomes a nitrogen atom !" They give us more fact mixed with cracked science when Ricky says, "And then, just by adding two more electrons and two more proteins and a couple of vitamins, we would get a neon atom! Isn't that wonderful?"

This comic book is an obvious attempt to cash in on Ricky Nelson's immense popularity in the late 1950's. His All-American image was cultivated and his musical career was nurtured in the Nelson family television situation comedy, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which ran on the ABC Television Network from 1952 until 1966. For those who are too young to remember Ricky's early musical career, browse to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Web site to learn more. Click here to listen to Ricky's signature tune, Hello Mary Lou in RealAudio.

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