Down With Homework

I first read this issue of MAD through a reprint as a kid. I really dig the subversive cover as it was designed, as the blurb says, to be snuck into class. I imagine lots of youngsters carried this around and were successful in not getting it confiscated by fascist teachers. In the 50’s it was fake comic covers, in the 70’s it was fake coca cola covers for beer cans. Or so I heard.

This issue of MAD #20 from 1955 has a couple of classic stories in it, the first one by Wally Wood is a favorite of mine. I also put these pages on Flickr as a photo set. Check it out if you want.

Sound Effects!: By Wally Wood. Great short feature lampooning the cliches of the crime noir genre. While in comic form it is more about the era of radio. An entire story told in sound F/X. Marvel should have done that instead of ‘Nuff Said a few years ago.

Paul Revere’s Ride: Based on the famous poem by Longfellow. Stories like this were probably carefully calculated and included only to keep the howling of Congress, Werthem and uptight parents at bay. In the 50’s the comic and fluoridated water industries were under heavy attack by self-appointed morality-police morons trying to tighten the reins of power and crush free thought. It was just a bit harder to rail against comics or movies when they featured some respected culture…like Fantasia and the WB cartoons did with toons that included opera and classical music.

Cowboy!: This is a great expose of how a stereotype is depicted in film and for this story, of television in particular. The story has a great layout. The TV version (note the black and white panels) of cowboy runs parallel to the ‘real life’ cowboy, telling the same story. Of course, most real world stories end up a little different than what is shown on television and they diverge quickly. This should be mandatory reading for any teen-ager of today, followed by a book report explaining how this relates to the Real World vs Their Unrealistic Fantasies Of Being Wealthy Ravers Who Hack Computers And Drive Cool Cars.

The house ad & letters page are also good, and you can find these pages here.

Comic’s first interracial kiss?

As far as I can tell this is the first interracial kiss in mainstream comics, not counting interstellar aliens or magazines. There were probably other examples but I haven’t seen any, and they may be one-sided or the kind where people are forced to do it against their will a la Star Trek’s Capt. Kirk and Lt. Uhura.

I’d have to say that this embrace between Daniel (Iron Fist) Rand and Misty (Bionic Woman) Knight counts as the first.

Misty & Danny have been snuggling off-panel in his book for a few years, but the relationship was down-played until Chris Claremont and John Byrne wrapped up a story from IF’s canceled magazine in a 2-issue tale in Marvel Team-Up #63 & #64 (v1, 1977). Any regular reader of the Iron Fist title knew what was going on between them but it wasn’t until MTU #65 that we got the payoff. The relationship was also little creepy in a Hal & Arisa/Kitty & Collossus way since going by his story history Danny was about 17 when he and a much older Misty hooked up.

But there is more!

What? What did he say?

That’s what I thought he said. I miss 1970’s comic book activism.

I’ve looked but I can’t find the letter’s page that had a negative response about their relationship in it. Iron Fist was all over the place in Marvel around that time and I may have missed where the letter ended up being printed.

Well, in the place of that disappointing missive here’s that kiss again!

Can’t stop progress, dude.

DC made me feel stupid

Even though I was in California I still kept waiting for that comic book van to show up in my neighborhood. I thought they were a national idea, but I found out much later they only drove around crappy areas in New York. So I was stuck with getting my comics from the 7-11, and the jerk at the place wouldn’t hold my favorites when they came in.

It took me a while to find out why Johnny Storm did his hair like Ricky Nelson in that one issue of Fantastic Four and I only found out by making friends with a kid I normally would have avoided who had that issue.

NO WAY IN HELL

…will I buy Combat Zone True Tales of GIs in Iraq. If I had a comic shop I would not carry it. If I ran an animal-bukkake themed porno store I’d be embarrassed if this somehow made it to a display stand. Marvel should have left this embarrasing POS shelved.

.
God bless their dirty, heathen souls.
Thank you Lord, for allowing America to spread freedom to these foreigners…

How freaking patronizing can you get?

I’m suprised I didn’t see Sean Hannity in the preview pages waving his new book around while standing under a flag and Martina McBride belts a tune in the background.

You want propaganda? Here’s some propaganda! And it’s Jack Kirby drawn propaganda from MonsterBlog, which is the good kind of propaganda.

And here’s some more from this issue of Treasure Chest of Fun & Facts #17 endorsed by J. Edgar Hoover! This Godless Communism


Notice how ‘thinking’ and ‘praying’ are exclusive!

If you are going to publish some propaganda for the mouth-breathers, DO IT RIGHT!

I really shouldn’t post when angry…

Killdozer!

Theodore Sturgeon was a prolific science fiction author who wrote many classic SF tales. One of them, More Than Human, should be mandatory reading for anyone thinking of writing an X-book.

Famously, there is also Sturgeon’s Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crud.”

But Killdozer isn’t one of those things. The short story Killdozer 1st appeared in Astounding Science Fiction back in 1944. In the tale a WW II crew building an airstrip on a Pacific island fight their possessed bulldozer.

The very idea is a concept that hit popular cosciousness and it spawned a really bad tv movie with Robert Urich (somebody please tell me how a huge bulldozer could sneak up on people), a rock band and even a Marvel comic! Killdozer was also the name some media wits gave the modified bulldozer used in a sad 2004 feud between a business owner and the mayor and city council of some town.

Here’s all the Killdozer I could find…