Comic Book Fan-Boy's Past Comes Back To Haunt Him

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Bottle or the Gun
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Comic Book Fan-Boy's Past Comes Back To Haunt Him

Post by Bottle or the Gun »

Warning! The following attached image contains an ignorant comment.

I was re-reading some of my old comic books and came across this gem submitted by a reader and printed in the letter's page of the great Marvel comic book Tomb of Dracula #17, from February of 1973. I understand why it was printed without editing, as the editor probably wanted to give a little zen lesson to the person who submitted it, and to any others that would read it (something similar was also printed in reaction to the first inter-racial kiss in comics, that of Misty Knight and Daniel (Iron Fist ) Rand, also from the 70's).

My question is, how can we find him? I'd hate to think he is in a position where his views can negatively affect the lives of others, like a home loan manager or government employee.

The other, more serious question is, how much influence do you think comics had in positively bringing about social change? Older fans will be familiar with the 'Seduction of the Innocent' controversy, in which the negative effects of comics was proposed.

I remember the positive impact of the various story arcs like the Green Lantern/Green Arrow 'Relevancy' issues, the Spider-Man/Harry Osborne addiction sub-plot and the anti-drug and anti-Apartheid issues of the Teen Titans.
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Last edited by Bottle or the Gun on Tue Aug 17, 2004 12:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Mr Manifesto
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Post by Mr Manifesto »

Dude! You got Tomb of Dracula comics! They must be worth a fortune! Oh, maybe not, unless you've kept them in stasis and never read the damn things. I wonder why people think the comic store owner on the Simpsons is funny? Doesn't observational humour require some sort of exaggeration?

Anyway, hopefully he's had a stroke now that Blade and Blade II have been made.

Who'd guessed the little guy would've made it so big? Now we need a Power Man and Iron Fist movie. I love those comics. My guilty pleasure. They dudes were baaaaaaad.
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Quester_X
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Post by Quester_X »

Ah. So that's where Blade comes from. Given more time and resources, I think I could get into comic books... lots of interesting stuff.
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Hexxenhammer
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Post by Hexxenhammer »

I remember a somewhat similar letter in a Deathlok comic around 1990-91. Deathlok at that point was a pacifistic black scientist turned into a zombie cyborg assassin. He had a contact/sidekick named Jesus (Hay-soos, of course) who was hispanic. They printed a nasty letter where the writer said that character didn't deserve to have that name, blah blah blah. The editor explained how it was pronounced (that was news to me, being a white kid from North Dakota) and said that if that's what he thought, maybe he needed to read a little more about Jesus (the biblical one). It was a great reply and obviously had an effect on me since I still remember it.
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Post by Nyarlathotep »

To be fair in 1973, the average comic book reader was a lot younger than the average comic book reader today. Odds are pretty good that the writer of that letter was a teenager and teenagers say a lot of dumb-ass things that they regret later, when they have gained a bit more amturity. So while they guy COULD be the grand high exalted wizard of his local KKK branch today, it is just as likely he would be just as apalled at reading his own comments as anyone else today.

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Post by Bottle or the Gun »

Nyarlathotep wrote:To be fair in 1973, the average comic book reader was a lot younger than the average comic book reader today. Odds are pretty good that the writer of that letter was a teenager and teenagers say a lot of dumb-ass things that they regret later, when they have gained a bit more amturity. So while they guy COULD be the grand high exalted wizard of his local KKK branch today, it is just as likely he would be just as apalled at reading his own comments as anyone else today.
Funny, when I was a teenager I didn't say or do 'dumb-ass' things that promote racial intolerance.


Let's find him and ask.
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Nyarlathotep
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Post by Nyarlathotep »

Bottle or the Gun wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:To be fair in 1973, the average comic book reader was a lot younger than the average comic book reader today. Odds are pretty good that the writer of that letter was a teenager and teenagers say a lot of dumb-ass things that they regret later, when they have gained a bit more amturity. So while they guy COULD be the grand high exalted wizard of his local KKK branch today, it is just as likely he would be just as apalled at reading his own comments as anyone else today.
Funny, when I was a teenager I didn't say or do 'dumb-ass' things that promote racial intolerance.
Neither did I. But that's only because my dumb-assedness was channeled into different areas. My guess is that yours was too.
Bottle or the Gun wrote:Let's find him and ask.
It would be an interesting idea, though highly difficult I suspect. Good luck.

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Hexxenhammer
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Post by Hexxenhammer »

I'm guessing the guy is still an asshole.

I think comics have done some good in the social department. The whole idea of the X-Men is about discrimination. And blowing shit up.
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Post by lofgeornost »

A couple years ago I read the first twenty issues or so of Steve Englehart's 70s Doctor Strange - a book which I believe attracted much the same audience as Tomb of Dracula. It seemed that most of the letters that were printed were from college students - but then I can't say that the writers of five or six letters in a comic are representative of that book's age group. I suppose college students would write better letters than teens or kids, and have more chance of being printed.

What was the deal with "Seduction of the Innocent"? He found that reform school kids were comicbook readers, and decided they were corrupting the youth of America? All I know about it is that its repurcussions pretty much wrecked EC - with the exception of MAD.

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Post by Bottle or the Gun »

lofgeornost wrote:A couple years ago I read the first twenty issues or so of Steve Englehart's 70s Doctor Strange - a book which I believe attracted much the same audience as Tomb of Dracula. It seemed that most of the letters that were printed were from college students - but then I can't say that the writers of five or six letters in a comic are representative of that book's age group. I suppose college students would write better letters than teens or kids, and have more chance of being printed.

What was the deal with "Seduction of the Innocent"? He found that reform school kids were comicbook readers, and decided they were corrupting the youth of America? All I know about it is that its repurcussions pretty much wrecked EC - with the exception of MAD.
In the 70's I had a different view of SotI than I do now. Granted, the comic producers of the day were pretty much out of control and pushed the envelope a little more each month. Then, I had undisguised contempt for the entire controversy and what it still was doing to the industry. But now being a parent and having read a lot of 40's and 50's pulp and comics I'd say that letting a child have some of those mags back then would be today's equivalent of letting your 6 year old have un-restricted access to your DVD collection and your television remote control. Truthfully, there are just some things a child should not be exposed to until they can handle it. Also some of the images, the supposed 'subliminal' ones, were put in by artists trying to see what they could get away with, much like animators drawing Rudy Valee without pants in a Betty Boop cartoon, swear words in a school newspaper, etc etc. 99.9% of the SotI panic was silly over-reaction along with flouride in the water and Russians under the bed. A little good parenting would have taken care of a lot of the perceived problems.

I attached an example of some the images children were regularly exposed to. These days the comic would be labeled for mature readers. I would give a copy of Superman to my kid without qualms, but it would be a while before I let him read Ennis' 'The Filth'.
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Last edited by Bottle or the Gun on Tue Aug 17, 2004 12:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Bottle or the Gun »

Go here and download the Graphic Evidence zip file:

http://members.rogers.com/mattys807/soti_toc.html

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Post by Some Friggin Guy »

Mr Manifesto wrote:Dude! You got Tomb of Dracula comics! They must be worth a fortune! Oh, maybe not, unless you've kept them in stasis and never read the damn things. I wonder why people think the comic store owner on the Simpsons is funny? Doesn't observational humour require some sort of exaggeration?

Anyway, hopefully he's had a stroke now that Blade and Blade II have been made.

Who'd guessed the little guy would've made it so big? Now we need a Power Man and Iron Fist movie. I love those comics. My guilty pleasure. They dudes were baaaaaaad.
Hmmm...no Power Man, but we can look forward to Iron Fist.
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Post by iain »

Bottle or the Gun wrote:Go here and download the Graphic Evidence zip file:

http://members.rogers.com/mattys807/soti_toc.html

"Mmmmmm...Bondage."
A couple of nice piccies, but a bit disappointing to be honest. I was left wondering what all the fuss was about.

I'm just off to renew my subscription to "Reform School Girl". :D
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lofgeornost
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Post by lofgeornost »

This page has a newer version of the Phantom Lady #17 "headlights" cover. I think it looks like a Freddie fantasy from Strangers in Paradise, if any of you are familiar with that book.

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Post by Bottle or the Gun »

iain wrote:
Bottle or the Gun wrote:Go here and download the Graphic Evidence zip file:

http://members.rogers.com/mattys807/soti_toc.html

"Mmmmmm...Bondage."
A couple of nice piccies, but a bit disappointing to be honest. I was left wondering what all the fuss was about.

I'm just off to renew my subscription to "Reform School Girl". :D
Imagine it's 1946, you are 8 years old and Mom sees you reading that.

It'd be same if she walked in and the kid is watching Spice Channel.
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jkorosi
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Post by jkorosi »

Bottle or the Gun wrote:Imagine it's 1946, you are 8 years old and Mom sees you reading that.

It'd be same if she walked in and the kid is watching Spice Channel.
I can see that. When I was 11, I successfully begged my father to let me buy an Elvira poster; thanks to my mother, I was never allowed to post it. It sat rolled up in the closet collecting dust until it was sold at a garage sale.

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Post by iain »

I read all of Enid Blyton's "Naughtiest Girl in School" books when I was about 8. Does that count? (It wasn't the 1940s, before anyone asks).

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Post by Abdul Alhazred »

Bottle or the Gun wrote: Funny, when I was a teenager I didn't say or do 'dumb-ass' things that promote racial intolerance. Let's find him and ask.
Well good for you. I never wrote to the letters column of a comic book but I sure as hell said all kinds of dumb shit including racist. I never "promoted" racial intolerance, but I damn well reflected it.

No excuses, but it's not right to hold me to the stupidity of my adolescence.

I even hated homos, and I am one!
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Post by Bottle or the Gun »

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
Bottle or the Gun wrote: Funny, when I was a teenager I didn't say or do 'dumb-ass' things that promote racial intolerance. Let's find him and ask.
Well good for you. I never wrote to the letters column of a comic book but I sure as hell said all kinds of dumb shit including racist. I never "promoted" racial intolerance, but I damn well reflected it.

No excuses, but it's not right to hold me to the stupidity of my adolescence.
Why not? Long, long ago I decided one of the creeds I live by is an old one "First, do no harm." No I'm not a doctor. But it's a better code than the 10 Commandents put together, IMHO. My stupidity was limited to cliff-diving in La Jolla, California, something that I can't today believe I did when ever I visit the area.

Now you said you never promoted intolerance, but you 'reflected' it and said racist things? I'm not nit-picking, and before you respond, I get what you are saying, even though some may throw that statement right back at you. I knew a cop once who called everyone a homosexual, but used a more slang term. Run a red light, you're a homosexual. Buy pot, homosexual. Pick up a hooker...you get the idea. The way he said it, meant it, was not declaring these people were homosexual, just using the term in a generic, although demeaning way. This was also back in the day when being homosexual was believed and propogandized to be a 'choice' and not a matter of biology.

I doubt that the author of the letter was using the term he used in that way though. He was probably as someone else pointed out a college student, if not young adult. Unless he had an epiphany, which sounds like you did, then his views likely became ingrained, giving only the appearence of having changed by having it transmuted or evolve toward other targets. Wonder how he feels about immigration.
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Post by Abdul Alhazred »

To Bottle or the Gun: Point well taken, but when I say someone is promoting racism I mean a deliberate propagandist.

Yes I used racial epithets when I was a teenager, and called guys I didn't like faggots.
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