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Superman Goes Communist
National Review Online ^ | May 4, 2004 | Alexander Rose

Posted on 05/04/2004 8:07:00 AM PDT by Akira

Though I read them occasionally as a boy, I have never been overly interested in comic books, especially the American sort, the ones featuring superheroes dressed in super-tight costumes fighting super villains, none of whom ever seemed to receive super-long jail sentences for attempting, yet again, to destroy Our Way Of Life. A junior realist, I tended to read, instead, the British-produced, four-times-a-month Commando comics, which were generally set during the Second World War.

Commando — whose fabulous titles included Hun Bait, Iron-Cross Yankee, Ghost Stuka, and the unforgettable Deserters Deserve Death! — abjured those pathetic ads one saw in the trans-Atlantic comics for Charles Atlas bodybuilding manuals, Sea Monkeys, and those pervy X-Ray Glasses that unfortunately never worked. No, Commando offered helpful and educational schematics of, say, the Panzerkampfwagen IV (the version sent to the Afrika Korps between 1941 and 1943, and armed with the 75mm KwK 40 L/48 gun).

Working with a somewhat limited set of plotlines, Commando writers churned out thousands of stories featuring buff, manly English Tommies fighting merciless SS colonels who called them "Schweinhund" and shot prisoners with a cruel laugh (Wehrmacht officers, on the other hand, were depicted as honorable soldiers who obeyed the Geneva Conventions and said, "For you, Englander, ze war is over" and offered a cigarette when Tommy surrendered). When in triumphant mood, the Jerries, in their fiendish way, exulted in the kill, "Feuer!" But when their Messerschmitt 109s were shot down by the patently superior Spitfires (of course) piloted by chaps named Jenkins (commoner) and Greyshott (gentry), they cried "Gott im Himmel!" as their flaming crates streaked into the drink. In this age of moral uncertainty and nihilistic abandon, you'll be relieved to know that Commando comics are still selling well.

What the American and British comics had in common was their utter predictability and dialogue so wooden it was an insult to furniture. You always knew that the grizzled sergeant (all sergeants were grizzled) from Yorkshire would eventually come to appreciate the gallantry and prowess of his effete Old Etonian lieutenant (Coward in Khaki!, shrieked one Commando title), who would inevitably sacrifice his life for the good of his platoon. Over here, you always knew Batman (or Spiderman or the Green Lantern, etc.) would never stoop to kill the baddie when the cops weren't looking, even if by doing so he could save himself a lot of future headaches. They also tended to have suspiciously drawn-out conversations with themselves as the panes advanced, and one thing American comic-book guys never mastered was the art of convincingly summarizing a back-story ("Clark, I know that you're in love with Lois Lane of the Daily Planet, but Professor Lex Luthor has discovered how to weaken your powers by using Kryptonite stolen from your home world," exclaimed Jimmy Olson).

Unlike the Commando hacks, writers, pencillers, and inkers at DC and Marvel, the two venerable American houses, have in recent years tired of the traditional storylines. How many more times, after all, can they rehearse the hackneyed Peter-Parker-gets-bitten-by-a-radioactive-spider routine? As a result, they've begun experimenting with alternate histories of the superheroes, and are re-imagining the great icons of American kid (and now adult) culture.

The most recent of these efforts toys with the story of Captain America. Traditionally, Cap was a World War II warrior who enjoyed stoutly biffing erring Nazis, but who was frozen and then re-animated in the 1960s, when he joined the Avengers. Captain America, as Michael Medved pointed out on NRO last year, has suffered the indignity of being reinvented as Captain Anti-America by Marvel's in-house team of Chomskyites, but that sort of wholesale, mea culpist revisionism is not quite what I meant by writing an "alternate history."

MAN OF THE HAMMER & SICKLE Take, for example, DC's Superman: Red Son, an alternate history that has just appeared in "graphic novel" format; that is, DC has collated last year's series of single issues, bound them, and kicked the price up to $17.95 — which is more than you'd pay for a real novel. As "reimagined" by Mark Millar, the writer, the ship carrying baby Kal-El from Krypton lands twelve hours earlier than we have come to assume. Instead of crashing in the Midwest, and growing up wholesome and all-American, the man we know as Clark Kent comes down in the Ukraine, matures on a collective farm, and eventually arrives in Moscow, where he enthusiastically works for Stalin — the real Man of Steel — as a Sovietized Superman. "Superman: strange visitor from another world! Who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands.... And who, as the champion of the common worker, fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, Socialism and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact," blares one television announcement.

Passing over the Queen Mary II-sized plot-holes, it's a brilliant idea, and there is some fun to be had in cameos by Batman (now wearing a fur hat and working as an anti-socialist vigilante) and Wonder Woman, who plays a radical fellow-traveler fighting for women's rights. There's also some terrific artwork of Superman, a hammer-and-sickle emblazoned on his chest in place of the iconic "S," wearing a Red Army uniform and encouraging his "comrades" to throw off their shackles.

Unfortunately, there's an unnecessary pompousness to the proceedings. Mark Millar makes no secret of his Leftie views — he changed the storyline, he says, to genuflect on "unethical American foreign policy" (yeah, right on); Superman the Sov "is an allegory of George W. Bush and very like America," you get the picture — and doesn't bother mentioning the Gulag even as he paints Stalin as an avuncular fellow.

SUPERMAN, CAESAR, HITLER... But before we get too worked up about Millar's Walter Duranty-like fantasies about the CCCP, or grow purplish with rage over his tinkering with the hallowed tale of Clark Kent, it's worth remembering, first, that it's just a comic, and secondly, that the characters may be Red but their motivations and dialogue remain as unconvincing as ever. Most importantly, we ought to acknowledge that the kind of intellectual puzzle Millar's playing is a worthy and interesting pursuit in its own right.

Alternate histories, sometimes known as "counterfactuals," or the "What-If" school of history, enjoy a long tradition. Tactitus, the Roman historian, once wondered what would have happened had Germanicus, Augustus Caesar's stepson and a first-class general, not expired young. Tacitus believed he would eventually have "outstripped Alexander in military fame." More recently, there's been a vogue for these counterfactuals: The perceptive historian, Niall Ferguson, edited a book entitled, Virtual History, whose contributors discussed such topics as what might have happened had the American Revolution not erupted, had Charles I avoided Civil War with Cromwell, and how long the Soviet Union would have existed had Gorbachev not given it an unwitting push. There's also been the two bestselling What If? books, edited by Robert Cowley (NR's Victor Davis Hanson contributed to the sequel a piece on Socrates dying early, before he'd had a chance to mold Western philosophy).

All this alternate history stuff is very interesting, but is it important? Yes. Thinking counterfactually makes history appear less pre-ordained, less determinist, less inevitable, less obvious, than Marxists (and theologians, progressives, and congenital foreign-policy optimists) lead us to believe. Which is precisely why humorless Stalinists like E. H. Carr called alternate histories a mere "parlour game," and the less humorless (but more vulgar and equally Red), E. P. Thompson dismissed them as "Geschichtswissenschlopff."

At any time, anything could have happened, and we can appreciate the value of contingency in human affairs. On a real-world level, we learn that history is important, but never omnipotent: The mighty torrent of events rushing forward can be slowed, or diverted, or it may end abruptly in a waterfall, or even be dammed. Chance, foresight, wisdom, and opportunism play their major roles, and there is no need to fear that history "must repeat itself" (a cyclical form of determinism recently resurrected in "Vietnam" analogies), or that nations "cannot free themselves of their pasts" (the post-1945 generation of Germans certainly has, and perhaps one day too shall Middle Easterners and Africans).

Only in comic books are outcomes inevitable and histories unbreakable, but maybe not forever.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Political Humor/Cartoons
KEYWORDS: 2004electionbias; antiamericanism; bushbashing; bushhasser; comic; comicbook; comicbooks; comics; commiecomics; commieshill; communism; communists; culturewar; dc; dccomics; graphicnovel; indoctrination; iraqwar; joestalin; josephstalin; lovedclintonswars; manofsteel; marxism; mediabias; prodictator; prostalin; reddupe; saddamite; socialism; socialists; sovietunion; stalin; stalinsusefulidiots; superman; supesareddupe; timelifewarnerturner; unclejoestalin; usefulidiots; ussr; warnerbros; wb; workoffiction
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"Superman: strange visitor from another world! Who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands.... And who, as the champion of the common worker, fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, Socialism and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact."
1 posted on 05/04/2004 8:07:00 AM PDT by Akira
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To: LibertyThug
USSR bump
2 posted on 05/04/2004 8:07:29 AM PDT by Akira (The people have spoken.....the bastards.)
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To: mhking
Comic ping!
3 posted on 05/04/2004 8:19:12 AM PDT by TheBigB ("Any moment now, unspeakable horror! Trust me!" -Tom Servo)
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To: Akira
If I remember right during the build up to the Iraqi War there was a Superman issue where the President was Lex Luther and had ordered an evil pre-emptive war against an innocent middle eastern country which Superman opposed or some nonsense. It appears that the comics are becoming propaganda for the left like other media outlets.
4 posted on 05/04/2004 8:20:52 AM PDT by Dr Snide (vis pacem, para bellum - Prepare for war if you want peace)
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To: Akira
Glad to see the author finally emerged from the lead mine. DC's only produced about 5 zillion "Alternate Universe" stories in the past 40 years, starting with Flash # 123 in 1961.

Eventually, the DC universe became so full of alternate worlds that they consolidated the whole thing in Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986.

In the past 10 years, DC has produced numerous "Alternate Reality" stories under the "Elseworlds" imprint. One story might show Batman as Sherlock Holmes fighting Jack The Ripper. Another might have Superman as a hero in the Old West.

The reason graphic novels cost more than regular novels is that graphic novels are printed in color, on better paper, and usually have smaller print runs. Plus a lot of regular novels aren't all that cheap anymore. Paperbacks will typically run $6.99 or more cover price, and hardbacks will run $22 to $30- even lame, non-believable pieces of alternate reality fiction like Hillary Clinton's book.
5 posted on 05/04/2004 8:22:25 AM PDT by VisualizeSmallerGovernment (Question Liberal Authority)
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To: Dr Snide
That'd be this thread here...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/955744/posts

6 posted on 05/04/2004 8:24:44 AM PDT by TheBigB ("Any moment now, unspeakable horror! Trust me!" -Tom Servo)
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To: Akira
Stalin's buddy Adolf would have appreciated "Uebermensch."
7 posted on 05/04/2004 8:25:44 AM PDT by T'wit ("To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society" - Theodore Roosevelt)
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To: Akira
...and there is some fun to be had in cameos by Batman (now wearing a fur hat and working as an anti-socialist vigilante)...

How does Superman ending up in the USSR change Batman's past? Boy, that writer sure is willing to make some amazing changes to sound off on his political agenda. I wonder if he's been torn apart by rabid fan-boys yet?

8 posted on 05/04/2004 8:26:44 AM PDT by Future Snake Eater ("Oh boy, I can't wait to eat that monkey!"--Abe Simpson)
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To: Akira
You'd have to have a world full of "Supermen" to make a system like communism work.
9 posted on 05/04/2004 8:29:20 AM PDT by pawdoggie
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To: Howlin; Ed_NYC; MonroeDNA; widgysoft; Springman; Timesink; dubyaismypresident; Grani; coug97; ...
[Yawn].

This is tale from DC's "Elseworlds" line. A "What-If" story.

"What if baby Kal-El's rocket landed in Russia instead of Kansas?" Everyone is up in arms over this, and for no good reason.

Ah. I forget. Everyone's heads are in the sand over this, so it's "eeeeeevil."

Not only that, the three issues were issued what, a year ago? The graphic novel format is actually much better for those of us who don't want to fight the fanboys crowded around the counter at the local comic shop. $17.95 for the three-issue series? Considering the original was somewhere between $$5 & $7 bucks a pop, that ain't too much to plunk down for better paper, a decent binding and a package that fits better on my bookshelf. Add in a reasonably good story, and you'll get a sale from me and thousands of other people.

Message to the author: Take off the tin-foil. It makes you look foolish.

Just damn.

If you want on the list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...

10 posted on 05/04/2004 8:33:28 AM PDT by mhking (When I can't walk, God carries me and my FRiends & family support me.)
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To: Akira
you always knew Batman would never stoop to kill the baddie when the cops weren't looking

Bob Kane's, & Frank Miller's, Batman would. He would playfully torture them for a while first. He wasn't a super-hero. He was a psychotic killer out for vengence. I loved that Batman.

11 posted on 05/04/2004 8:34:20 AM PDT by laotzu
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To: Akira
Superman and the others are reifications of ideal human types as sketched out in German Idealism, the bastard spawn of French Philosophy.

The totalitarian word made flesh, so to speak.

Just an opinion. ;^)
12 posted on 05/04/2004 8:37:23 AM PDT by headsonpikes (Spirit of '76 bttt!)
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To: Akira
"...British-produced, four-times-a-month Commando comics ..."

Mine were Sergeant Fury and his Howling Commandos, Sergeant Rock and Easy Company, and .. the tops ..


The Haunted Tank

13 posted on 05/04/2004 8:46:54 AM PDT by BlueLancer (Der Elite Møøsënspåånkængrüppen ØberKømmååndø (EMØØK))
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To: Future Snake Eater
How does Superman ending up in the USSR change Batman's past?

The Soviet Batman is not Bruce Wayne; he is the child of dissidents whose parents are killed by the state after being detected by Superman. In his efforts to escape, he was trapped in a room or cave full of bats, and became obsessed with revenge against the state and its crimes.

Actually, the book is pretty good. If the author was trying to draw parallels with GW, he failed. The book is pretty clear on the point that the Soviet system, Superman-style, exists and succeeds only by changing its people into robots. It is the fragmented United States and Lex Luthor that end up saving the world from Super-USSR and creating a near-paradise society based on freedom.

14 posted on 05/04/2004 9:02:25 AM PDT by AzSteven
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To: Akira
This would be amusing if it weren't still another way in which our children's minds are being twisted. Instead of being exposed to simple but real models of heroism, they are being exposed to cynical satire or twisted role models.

It happened with children's books around the time of Judy Blume. It has happened with the movies, where very few real heroes are portrayed outside the work of Mel Gibson and a few others. Even when a character behaves heroically, he has to do it with a cynical laugh.

I think one reason (among many) why Tolkien is so popular is that he shows genuine heroism of all kinds and degrees. It's a rare commodity.

There was a theory that after 9/11 cynicism and coolness would go out of fashion. If they did, it was only for a couple of weeks.
15 posted on 05/04/2004 9:32:15 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero
Superheroes for saving Saddam?
Brent Bozell (archive)

September 19, 2003

It was only a matter of time, I suppose. Comic-book superheroes have gone into the liberal political indoctrination business.

The September issue of the DC Comics book "Justice League of America," or "JLA," presents Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as U.N.-promoting paper dolls for a thinly disguised propaganda play against President Bush's war on Saddam Hussein.

The story begins with a "napalmetto" attack on home soil. President Lex Luthor -- how nice, a supervillain standing in for President Bush -- connects the terror attack to "Qurac" and says the "Joint Chiefs are recommending military pressure." Wonder Woman protests: "International law and the U.N. Charter forbid unprovoked action against a sovereign nation." She then lectures, "We cannot simply disregard international ethics to depose him ... what message does that send to the world?"

(Ten-year-old Johnny must be on the edge of his seat reading this, don't you think?)

The scene then changes to people mobbing a supermarket for olive oil because the "Department of Defense" insists it will help in a napalmetto attack. Clark Kent tries to reason with Lois Lane that "the connection to Qurac still isn't clear," but Lois replies, "Every White House official is talking about prevention." Then, Gotham police use a false alarm to shut down the subway system and obstruct peace marchers, and a cop clubs a protester in the face as he says, "It's not safe for ya to risk gettin' badly hurt to attend a lousy cowardice rally!"

Superman then tells President Luthor that millions of people are protesting worldwide. "No one supports what you're doing," says Super Pollster.

"I hear them," says the evil president, "but I can't listen to them." When Superman says perhaps an attack could be delayed for more proof, the president retorts, "Where do you get off questioning me? ... It's unbecoming to question your president during times of international unrest." He says Batman and Wonder Woman were removed from the room because "they were confusing you with unpatriotic talk."

A subsequent picture has an enormous video image of a wide-mouthed president appearing ready to eat a shadowed Superman as he bellows, "America will bear the burden alone, if necessary."

Superman vows, "I will know the truth, and I will not feel ashamed or be called un-American for demanding it."

The storyline ends with the reader discovering it's all been a nightmare Superman's been having through a Martian therapeutic device. He recalls the dream with horror: "Luthor took the U.S. to war, despite our protests ... he killed everything we stand for." Superman laments being "paralyzed with indecision ... and the world paid the price." Superman shouldn't be so hard on himself. Being paralyzed by indecision is how the United Nations usually responds.

The Internet message boards sizzled and seethed when the JLA book hit the stores. "Maybe Clark Kent is French after all," joked one. But mostly, comic-book fans prefer traditional fantasy situations, not the action-free, didactic lectures offered by JLA writer Joe Kelly. "Someone needs to remind him that these are superheroes with outrageous powers and shouldn't be bogged down in political situations all the time," said one. In other words, can we do without Superman as Cyrus Vance and Wonder Woman as Madeleine Albright? Can they kick butt instead of lecturing on international law? Do they get to engage evil, or do they have to wait for a subpoena from The Hague?

In an interview, Kelly explained his Superman as Ted Kennedy with muscles: "I believe that he believes in an idealized America. One that operates above boards, truly does embrace diversity, and cares for its downtrodden, but not because he's naive, but because it IS possible." As for the super-villainous president, Kelly opined: "Luthor represents duplicity to Superman, so to keep it personal, it makes the most sense to use him." Why the blatant (or if the word fits, cartoonish) propaganda? Kelly acknowledged his agenda: "I think that comics are a much more powerful medium than people imagine, and in certain circumstances, it's appropriate to use them to discuss political issues."

Sadly, DC is not alone in the liberal-revisionist comic-book world. The other giant, Marvel Comics, has also transformed Captain America, the former Nazi-fighting hero, into a brooding listener to a series of post-Sept. 11 lectures against America's "empire of blood."

But in the real world, it's not all an apocalyptic vision of rogue presidents and policemen bashing peaceniks who alone hunger for the truth. It's not a grim vision of media outlets and citizens reacting like sheep to Pentagon directives, and then, illogically, at the same time, a world rising up in unanimous protest against American military action. In the real world, people want a strong defense by action heroes, not just guilt-ridden lecturers waiting for universal agreement with their pacifist dreams.

Brent Bozell is President of Media Research Center, a TownHall.com member group. ©2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc
16 posted on 05/04/2004 9:43:21 AM PDT by Esther Ruth (You shall love the Lord you God with ALL your heart, mind and soul!)
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To: BlueLancer

17 posted on 05/04/2004 9:46:02 AM PDT by 7thson (I think it takes a big dog to weigh a hundred pounds!)
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To: laotzu
In Batman #1, Bats says the following "As much as I dislike taking human life, this time it's necessary".
18 posted on 05/04/2004 9:50:51 AM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Count Petofi will not be denied!)
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To: Akira
There's also some terrific artwork of Superman, a hammer-and-sickle emblazoned on his chest in place of the iconic "S," wearing a Red Army uniform and encouraging his "comrades" to throw off their shackles.

Except that this change throws out that S which came from his home planet, not the Earth. Do the commies FORCE him to do this? Not bloody likely.

Q.T./David Carradine/Bill explains this clearly in Kill Bill Vol. 2. Even Jerry Seinfeld would agree.

19 posted on 05/04/2004 10:00:04 AM PDT by weegee (JFinKerry used the words Medals and Ribbons interchangeably before he didn't.)
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To: Akira
and how long the Soviet Union would have existed had Gorbachev not given it an unwitting push.

The writing was on the wall. 10 years longer tops (only could have been prolonged if the Clinton Administration had been there to opt for HELPING keep the Soviet Union together).

20 posted on 05/04/2004 10:02:55 AM PDT by weegee (JFinKerry used the words Medals and Ribbons interchangeably before he didn't.)
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To: mhking
The author of the comic is quoted as saying that he DID write this to further his leftist agenda against this administration.

DC Comics is owned by Time-Life-Warner-Turner. If folks want to reconsider giving such propagandists their money, then such editorials are fair game.

The author of this piece did acknowledge that it is part of a tradition of reimagining events (and even differentiated it from Marvel's retro-continuity in the Capt. America history).
21 posted on 05/04/2004 10:11:02 AM PDT by weegee (JFinKerry used the words Medals and Ribbons interchangeably before he didn't.)
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To: headsonpikes
As originally written by Siegel and Shuster, there was a whole planet of Supermen (people with unusual abilities). It was a science fiction author who suggested that they put one of these superpeople on a planet with people who didn't have such powers.

In "Reign of the Superman", they had their superman be a super-villian.

It wasn't until the comics that they made him a hero. They tried unsuccessfully to sell him as a comic strip but caught a break as comic books sought original content (instead of strip reprints).

22 posted on 05/04/2004 10:22:08 AM PDT by weegee (JFinKerry used the words Medals and Ribbons interchangeably before he didn't.)
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To: Fedora; Bear_in_RoseBear; Rose in RoseBear
Comic ping....

See, this is why I read manga.
23 posted on 05/04/2004 10:27:34 AM PDT by JenB
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To: Cicero
There was a theory that after 9/11 cynicism and coolness would go out of fashion. If they did, it was only for a couple of weeks.

And for nearly a month it did seem that there WOULD be a change. Of course the WTC attack was televised for only 3 days (and then suppressed). All photos and video of the carnage was suppressed (NO 9.11.01 bodies have been seen in this country even to this day).

Some turned to religion for comfort but those who didn't have religion wanted to turn to late night tv and it wasn't there for them. They pined for the day when they could watch David Letterman again (and even he had to ask if it was "okay" to laugh again).

Within about a month Americans were back to worrying about simple minded BS.

24 posted on 05/04/2004 10:27:43 AM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
Many of the villians in Chester Gould's Dick Tracy died violent deaths.
25 posted on 05/04/2004 10:28:55 AM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: weegee
Dick Tracy was a great strip!

The early Little Orphan Annie strips could be violent too. I remember the Asp killing a bad guy by throwing an axe through the open window of his getaway car! Great stuff...
26 posted on 05/04/2004 10:36:23 AM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Count Petofi will not be denied!)
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To: JenB
See, this is why I read manga.

This is why I read old comics :)

27 posted on 05/04/2004 10:46:04 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
Harold Gray's Little Orphan Annie is reviled by liberal comic historians. They admire his work but strongly resent his "conservativism". I have not read LOA so I am unaware of the politics of the strip.

Al Capp's Lil' Abner is also slammed for it's later decades treatment of liberals/hippies. Remember too that Al Capp visited Lennon-Ono's "bed-in" protest. I've seen some examples of Al Capp's later work (1970s) but never in context. The run that I have read (1934-1945+ complete) is largely devoid of politics.

28 posted on 05/04/2004 10:50:46 AM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: weegee
Hee's an example I was able to find:

Maybe Commie Superman should have encountered Daddy Warbucks.

29 posted on 05/04/2004 11:01:04 AM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: Akira

"Never understood why folks get so het up over some dude wearing his underwear on the outside. Now a woman dressed like that, I understand the attraction."

"Scar? Nah, just bit my cheek on some hard candy."

30 posted on 05/04/2004 11:06:15 AM PDT by Jonah Hex (Another day, another DU troll.)
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
"In Batman #1, Bats says...."

Would that be in the Detective comic, in which he first appeared; or, literally in Batman #1, as you described?
(I have that very Detective comic, but haven't read it)

31 posted on 05/04/2004 11:26:48 AM PDT by laotzu
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To: laotzu
That would be Batman #1, not Detective #27.
32 posted on 05/04/2004 11:51:35 AM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Count Petofi will not be denied!)
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To: weegee
Capp started as a liberal, turning right as he grew older. Brilliant stuff in his strips, no matter what period!

Little Orphan Annie reads like Ayn Rand in spots - facinating comics.
33 posted on 05/04/2004 11:53:21 AM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Count Petofi will not be denied!)
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To: 7thson
Ahhh, the Howling Commandos. My favorite book as a kid! I used to have #1, and I still have a good many of the whole run...Nick, Dum-Dum, Izzy, Gabe, Dino, Reb, Junior...then Pinky and Eric, too. :)
34 posted on 05/04/2004 2:15:25 PM PDT by TheBigB ("Any moment now, unspeakable horror! Trust me!" -Tom Servo)
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To: mhking
"Message to the author: Take off the tin-foil. It makes you look foolish."

Bit harsh, considering the author's tone never goes near tin-foil. By the end of the article, he's highly supportive of "What If" type of stories.

But as far as left-wing propaganda being squeezed into comics, have you checked out the new Marvel "Ultimates" series?

Ultimate X-Men is awful. In the first graphic novel collection, we have Storm punching the daylights out of a baddie yelling "AND THAT'S FOR CALLING ME AN AMERICAN!" We have Bush (yes, Bush, not your typical comic book yet-to-be-elected President) as initially a rather insipid, passive-aggressive racist anti-mutant President, and when the X-Men is sent out to save the President's daughter from Magneto, it is with the X-Men complaining the -whole- time about having to risk their lives for some "snotty brat rich kid from an old-money surname". Wolverine wasn't experimented on by some whacked Canadian guy, he was experimented on by some massive U.S. military-industrial complex outfit full of slobbering American power-mad despots who can't do anything except wantonly kill people in their pursuit of oppressing the planet. These are just a few examples, but the monotonous tone of anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism is pretty much continuous.

Ultimate Spider-Man is a bit different. He's recast as a 15 year old kid, and Mary J knows who he is pretty much from the start. As far as -he's- concerned, it's a -great- coming of age story, well drawn and written, I've really enjoyed it.

One thing though. EVERY villain the original Spider Man ever met has been transformed into a capitalist villain advancing the corporate nihilist agenda. The Kingpin - well, he always was, so no real problem there. But Doc Oc is now just a sympathetic patsy for a rich tyrannical tycoon, who is the real villain. The Venom suit, rather than being space-born, is now an invention coinvented by Peter Parker's father, who has his suit "stolen" by (you guessed it) the greedy capitalist pigs who funded his research. Peter's father was, of course, killed by same capitalist pigs. Even Iron Man, in a cameo, is depicted as the -sole- virtuous capitalist on the planet who has little time to do anything except put other evil capitalists in their place. I have yet to see an actual, non-Fortune 500 criminal in this book yet. Apparently, the surest way to join the ranks of evil arch villains for Spidey to oppose is to subscribe to Money Magazine and vote Republican.

Yes, they're otherwise fairly well written - and I'm not sure if that's good or bad. I love a decent comic as much as the next geek, but the agenda is so blatant in these things that I'm frankly -scared- that these will become popular with kids and we'll wind up with yet another brainwashed generation.

None of those were "What-If" alternate universes, by the way. This is how all the heroes are being cast today, especially in Marvel - as heros combatting the evils of corporate capitalism.

This "Red Son" I don't find nearly as troubling, because at least it's being -explicit-. I don't think the author of the piece was particularly upset about it either. But it's undeniable that comics today, especially Marvel, aren't even -subtle- about pushing leftist propaganda onto kids anymore.

Qwinn
35 posted on 05/04/2004 4:00:12 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: Qwinn
The only "Ultimate Universe" story I've read so far is the first collection from "The Ultimates." (i.e., The Avengers) The story is pretty good; Captain America is even more of a "boy scout" than in the original; Tony Stark is the same sort of "virtuous" industrialist that you mention from Ultimate Spidey.

Nick Fury is literally Samuel L. Jackson. One real cute bit is when our intrepid cast of characters decide to "cast" themselves in a "movie" about The Ultimates. With tongue-in-cheek irony, Fury says, "Of course, I'm played by Mr. Samuel L. Jackson himself."

Actually, the story is fairly well written; at least by Marvel standards.

There's plenty of mayhem and violence (up my alley), and a fair share of storyline twists. You're left at the end of the GN (and the end of issue #6) with a decent cliffhanger, which leaves you wanting to buy the second collection -- if for nothing else but the notion of Captain America going to literally kick someone's a$$.

The violence is pretty hefty in some places (the Avengers Ultimates vs. the Hulk among other things), but it's not quite on Scott McCloud-DESTROY!! level (and I'll give a fantastic No-Prize to anyone who knows about that reference, AND has read the book in question!).

Volume two shold be out this week, and it's on my "to buy" booklist for when enough money shakes loose.

I had given serious thought to picking up Ultimate X-Men, but behind your glowing review, I'm having second thoughts.

I'll probably still grab it, if nothing else, but for completists sake.

I was a little hesitant to grab the Ultimate Spidey, but I'm going to have to give that a second thought as well.

I've noticed that Ultimate FF is finally out, so I'm wondering about it; it can't be any worse than some of the more recent angst-driven FF issues that I've seen and heard about...

36 posted on 05/04/2004 5:18:58 PM PDT by mhking (When I can't walk, God carries me and my FRiends & family support me.)
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To: mhking
Yeah, I've read The Ultimates (Avengers), about as far as you have it seems. I agree that their version of Captain America was quite well done. Yes, I was also pretty interested in seeing just how Cap would kick the crap out of a certain someone rather... larger than himself ;) I didn't like their Hulk treatment at all, but that was probably my biggest complaint, and was just a matter of personal preference.

I'll agree, the Ultimates had pretty good writing for Marvel. And if there was any significant leftist bias in the first bunch of issues, it didn't jump out at me. Only problem is, it seems like they're only putting out an issue once every several months - the series is -crawling-.

I really do like their Nick Fury :) Hell of a lot of character. And you'll see a surprising amount of him in the Ultimate Spider Man series!

Speaking of which, I -do- recommend the Ultimate Spider Man series. I thought it was extremely enjoyable, -usually- very well written and definetly very well drawn. It has by far my favorite depiction of MJ of all the versions of Spidey. I very much enjoyed it even as I couldn't help but notice a serious leftist bias - I'd be interested if you'd read it and let me know if you saw it as much as I did.

As for X-Men... I dunno. The bias was more extreme and hit-you-over-the-head. I don't think I can ever forgive that bit with Storm "And that's for calling me an American!" bit. I read the first 3 or 4 graphic novels for the series, though (lent from a friend), so I suppose the writing was good enough to get me to read them and stomach the propaganda. They've got an interesting take on Prof. Xavier - a bit more Machiavellian than what we're used to, actually. But otherwise - no, I just -can't- see spending money, the writing wasn't -that- good, and the bias was -that- bad. If you can borrow them from someone, try 'em out, but don't plunk down your money, not worth it, and it doesn't belong in -their- pockets, that's for sure.

Qwinn
37 posted on 05/04/2004 7:54:03 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: mhking
Oh, one last thing. I'm assuming you do like DC comics, as I do. Did you ever catch the -nauseating- Ressurection they did of Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)? Written by Kevin Smith of Silent Bob fame.

It was so godawful, both in writing and in the most egregious political slant I've -ever- seen in a comic. Every last panel -shrieked- leftist bias.

Queen's teamups with Green Lantern were among my favorite books as a kid (and I remember some awesome Superman/Batman/Green Arrow/Black Canary teamups pre-crisis too).

Yes, I recognize that Queen was always a bit liberal, but his newest version was so over the top he might as well have called himself "The Green Chomsky".

I don't think I can ever forgive Kevin Smith for that. He forever destroyed one of my favorite characters.

BTW - if you haven't caught the latest Justice League animated series, it -rocks-. Just as an interesting aside, I -love- their version of Aquaman the rare times he makes an appearance - the limp-wristed version we grew up with is -ancient- history, heheheh. The new Aquaman, who is not a member of the Justice League, has more in common with the Dark Knight than the old version. Pretty interesting.

Qwinn
38 posted on 05/04/2004 8:08:01 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: Qwinn
Believe it or not, I missed it. I've always wondered how they brought Ollie back to life (I saw where the plane blew up when he "died").

I'm a big DC fan, and am not as impressed with some of the more recent GA stories (I just can't get into the book). Now I hear they're gonna toss all of the recent GL continuity and bring Hal Jordan back to life (how they'll retcon The Spectre, since Hal now has that role, is beyond me).

I have enjoyed both the Justice League series and the Teen Titans series on television, and I'm looking forward to the new Batman, as well as the new Justice League Unlimited series that are due this fall.

39 posted on 05/04/2004 8:18:28 PM PDT by mhking (When I can't walk, God carries me and my FRiends & family support me.)
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To: mhking
Yeah, I found out that Hal Jordan was the new Specter in that GA ressurection plot. (freepmail me if you want a quick rundown of the plot of how it was done - rather cheesy) I was shocked at that development. Specter was also one of my favorites. I collected a good 90 issue run of Specter back in the early 90's when it was under the Vertigo trademark. I hope they haven't/don't ruin Specter with it.

I've -always- wanted to read Larry Niven's stint as a writer for Green Lantern, as he's one of my favorite sci fi authors. No idea which GL's he covered in it. Missed every last one of 'em. Dangnabbit.

Most of my post-child comic collecting was of DC Vertigo titles. I -loved- Neil Gaiman's Sandman, and I have heard he's actually going to restart the series - heard anything about that?

What DC series would you recommend these days? I should say, my favorite comic as a kid was definetly the Barry Allen Flash. I don't remember Wally West being quite the buffoon even as a teenage Kid Flash that he is depicted as today, but oh well :)

Teen Titans has been pretty good too, I agree. Thanks for the heads up on the Justice League Unlimited series, I hadn't heard about that one.

Qwinn
40 posted on 05/04/2004 8:36:57 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: Qwinn
JL Unlimited is basically the League, but with lots of "guest stars."


41 posted on 05/04/2004 8:39:59 PM PDT by mhking (When I can't walk, God carries me and my FRiends & family support me.)
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To: mhking
I LIKE IT!

Haven't seen Dr. Fate in a looong time. Always liked him, almost (almost) as cool as Phantom Stranger :)

Testing my knowledge, left to right: Etrigan, Zatanna, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Supergirl (?), Dr. Fate... and I have no clue who those last two are.

Qwinn
42 posted on 05/04/2004 8:51:18 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: Qwinn
Testing my knowledge, left to right:

You're pretty good! The last two are Captain Atom (from the old Charlton line; DC inherited them in the early 80s - Captain Atom, Blue Beetle & The Question most notably; all of which were tied to Watchmen, albeit under different names -- BTW, THAT screenplay is pretty close to getting off the ground after almost 20 years), and Orion (as in son of Darkseid, from Jack Kirby's New Gods series).

43 posted on 05/04/2004 8:55:21 PM PDT by mhking (When I can't walk, God carries me and my FRiends & family support me.)
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To: mhking
Oh, and a correction - Specter was not under Vertigo (tho a lot of people thought it should have been, heh). But it was around the time that Swamp Thing was Vertigo, that's where my confusion came from.

Qwinn
44 posted on 05/04/2004 8:56:32 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: mhking
That's Captain Atom? Freaky :) Don't feel bad about missing him. I -should- have recognized Orion though, dangnabbit. And I'm surprised - I never thought they'd introduce Darkseid characters into an animated TV series, heheh, them was pretty -dark-.

Qwinn
45 posted on 05/04/2004 8:58:43 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: Qwinn
I agree; Spectre should have been a Vertigo book, especially since both Swamp Thing and Animal Man (not to mention Doom Patrol and Hellblazer) were.
46 posted on 05/04/2004 9:00:25 PM PDT by mhking (When I can't walk, God carries me and my FRiends & family support me.)
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To: Qwinn
And I'm surprised - I never thought they'd introduce Darkseid characters into an animated TV series, heheh, them was pretty -dark-.

Don't forget the entire multi-episode arc of Adventures of Superman with Darkseid and Supes going to Apokalips. And Darkseid killing off Dan Turpin at the end of the arc - I agree, it was a bit much for a "kids" show, but well written, nonetheless.

47 posted on 05/04/2004 9:02:01 PM PDT by mhking (When I can't walk, God carries me and my FRiends & family support me.)
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To: mhking
Don't forget the entire multi-episode arc of Adventures of Superman with Darkseid and Supes going to Apokalips. And Darkseid killing off Dan Turpin at the end of the arc - I agree, it was a bit much for a "kids" show, but well written, nonetheless.

I missed that! Although, now that I think hard about it, I -do- kinda sorta remember catching a glimpse of an animated Darkseid at -some- point. Could be my imagination. Huh. Will have to look for it.

Hellblazer used to be one of my all time favorite books, especially during the Garth Ennis run. Seemed to go way downhill after he left though. Finally gave up on it around issue 100 or so (turning Ellie bad was the last straw for me). Haven't picked it up for a long time.

The Books of Magic was also a really good book - for a while, then it went to crap too. That pretty much sums up most of the Vertigo line, actually - heh.

Qwinn

48 posted on 05/04/2004 9:10:02 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: Qwinn
Hellblazer used to be one of my all time favorite books, especially during the Garth Ennis run.

From what I understand, the Constantine movie will use some of the Ennis storylines as part of the plot for it.

I can't quite stomach Keanu Reeves in that role though; I thought James Marsters or some other appropriate brooding British type would have worked better in the role.

49 posted on 05/04/2004 9:12:32 PM PDT by mhking (When I can't walk, God carries me and my FRiends & family support me.)
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To: mhking
From what I understand, the Constantine movie will use some of the Ennis storylines as part of the plot for it.

I can't quite stomach Keanu Reeves in that role though; I thought James Marsters or some other appropriate brooding British type would have worked better in the role.

CHOKE! COUGH! WHEEEEEZE!!!!!! You've -got- the be kidding me. Okay, first off, I didn't even -know- they were doing a Constantine movie, and when I read the first line of your post, I was thinking -woohoo-! And then I read the second line. KEANU REEVES?! That's got to be the singular WORST casting decision I've ever -heard- of. Hell, casting Bill instead of Ted would've been a better choice! Tell me that's not -confirmed-. Please. I'm begging here. Not only doesn't he even remotely look like him, but he is a -horrible- actor! What a lamebrain *(&#$*#&(@&*(#@&...

To me, my -first- choice off the top of my head would probably be Sting. Second choice? Hmmmm. James Marsters certainly isn't a bad idea. Hell, I think David Bowie could pull it off. But KEANU REEVES? -hurl!- I can't think of anyone -worse-.

Qwinn

50 posted on 05/04/2004 9:21:52 PM PDT by Qwinn
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