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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #202

This is the two-hundred and second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and one.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: art spiegelman was denied a passport to Poland because of his depictions of Polish people in Maus.

STATUS: False, with a nugget of truth

Reader Andre wrote in to ask about a story that he had heard involving art spiegelman being denied a Polish passport because of outrage over how he depicted the Polish as a people in his Maus.

To refresh people’s memories as to what Andre is referring to, we should probably take a quick look at Maus as a whole.

Maus is an incredibly moving comic book by art spiegelman detailing his parents (mostly his father)’ experiences during World War II. They were both Polish Jews. The work is brilliant from the get go, but as it goes on, it expands beyond a simple biography and becomes an examination upon the relationship between a father and a son and the relationship between the storyteller and the story that is being told (the latter becomes a major aspect of the comic in the second volume of Maus, written after the first volume had already achieved a high degree of attention from the national media).

In any event, to tell the story of Maus, spiegelman chose to depict various nationalities/ethnicities with animals.

The Jews are mice (hence the title)…

The Germans are cats…

The American soldiers are dogs…

And the Poles are depicted as pigs…

The key to this animal imagery is clearly shown in a pointed quote from Adolf Hitler that spiegelman posts in the beginning of Maus…

That’s how spiegelman approaches the story – the Germans considered the Jews vermin and the Poles pigs, so spiegelman chose to show them that way to get right in the reader’s face with the absurdity of the idea. It’s one thing to hear that being said about people, his theory was, it’s a whole other thing to show people that way – it has a much stronger impact that way, spiegelman felt.

The book was widely praised by Jews around the world, but Poles were not as pleased with their depiction.

This leads us to the story that I’m certain Andre is referring to. It appears in a wonderful interview in The Comics Journal in 1991, conducted by J. Stephen Bolhafner.

He and spiegelman are discussing the imagery of Maus when spiegelman relates the following story:

These images are not my images. I borrowed them from the Germans. At a certain point I wanted to go to Poland, and I had to get a visa. I put in my application, and then I got a call from the consul. He said “the Polish attache wants to speak with you.” And I knew what he wanted to talk to me about. On the way over there, I tried to figure out what I was going to say to him. “I wanted to draw noble stallions, but I don’t do horses very well?” When I got there, he gave me the perfect opening. He said, “You know, the Nazis called us schwein” (German for pig). And I said, “Yes, and they called us vermin (German for mouse or rat).”

That’s the end of the story, but I think it’s plainly clear that spiegelman was not denied the visa, but I suppose a “100% certain” answer would be nice, as well, if anyone happens to know it.

Here‘s a link to the rest of Bolhafner’s Comics Journal interview with spiegelman. It’s an absolutely fascinating piece, and spiegelman discusses the whole “animal imagery” thing further.

Thanks to Andre for the question and thanks to J. Stephen Bolhafner and especially art spiegelman for the information regarding the story!

COMIC LEGEND: Mini-Marvels is being discontinued due to Super Hero Squad.

STATUS: At the Moment, True

Reader Jacob wrote in recently (seemingly quite frantically) asking if there was any truth to the rumor that Chris Giarrusso’s Mini-Marvels series was canceled by Marvel due to the Super Hero Squad.

As it turned out, I did not have to wait very long to get an answer to this frantic plea, as Giarrusso addressed it in an interview he did with Andy Khouri for Comic Book Resources just this past Friday!

To first set up Giarrusso’s answer, let’s take a look at Mini-Marvels and Super Hero Squad.

Mini-Marvels is Giarrusso’s cute series of comic strips that first began appearing in Marvel comics…wow…it’s basically been about a decade ago, right? Yeah, I think 1999 was the first time they began appearing as little bonus strips on Marvel’s “Bullpen Bulletins” page.

They were cute takes on the various Marvel heroes as kids.

Giarrusso was not afraid to take the piss out of some of Marvel’s lesser ideas, like the goofy costumes for Marvel’s The Avengers: United They Stand cartoon/toy-line…

or the silly anti-drug series that Marvel ran in all their titles for a few months…

But Giarrusso was not afraid to occasionally have pointed commentary, as well…

The standout character from the strips was probably Hawkeye, who Giarrusso used nicely to build up a whole inferiority complex character around him.

Eventually, Giarrusso’s Mini-Marvel strip became popular enough that he had a few one-shots featuring the characters…

He then had full-page strips appear in a number of Marvel titles that were collected into books of the Mini-Marvels stories.

A recent collection of Secret Invasion themed Mini-Marvels was just recently released.

Now Super Hero Squad is a toy-line from Hasbro that depicts the various heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe in a cartoonish, sort of “happy” style.

The line began in 2007 and has become quite popular. An animated series is currently in the works to debut pretty soon.

So as you might imagine, Marvel has begun working the Super Hero Squad characters into comic strips in Marvel Comics, as well.

They even had their own comic book one-shot recently.

And they have strips on Marvel.com often (is it weekly?).

Here are some examples of Super Hero Squad comic strips from Marvel.com…

So where does that leave Giarrusso?

Let’s see what he says to Khouri’s question…

Marvel just released “Mini Marvels: Secret Invasion,” the latest Mini-Marvels collection. What else do you have in the works for Marvel?

There’s a brand new nine-page Mini Marvel Hawkeye story written and illustrated by me in the just-released “Marvel Assistant-Size Spectacular” #1. Beyond that, Marvel is turning their attention to “Super Hero Squad.” Marvel feels that Mini Marvels will confuse their Super Hero Squad branding too much, so there are currently no plans to continue Mini Marvels. Fans of my writing and art can continue to follow my particular brand of all-ages kid super-hero stories in “G-Man,” while folks who want to see their favorite Marvel heroes in the all-ages comic strip style will be plenty satisfied with “Super Hero Squad.”

So yes, Jacob, I’m afraid the Marvel Assistant-Sized Spectacular #1 is the last place you’re going to see the Mini-Marvel characters for awhile, at least (which is a darn shame, as they are a good deal more interesting than the Super Hero Squad characters).

But, as Giarrusso mentions, be sure to check out his G-Man comics at Image Comics!

Thanks to Jacob for the question and thanks to Andy Khouri and especially Chris Giarrusso for the ultra-quick answer to Jacob’s question!

COMIC LEGEND: A written and lettered issue of Adventure Comics was re-scripted and re-lettered before publication!

STATUS: True

This is a fascinating story because it a missing story that went undiscovered for almost two decades before happenstance uncovered it. Well, happenstance and the dedication of an awesome comic book fan, M W Gallaher.

Gallaher, as you may or may not know, runs the amazing web site, the Jim Aparo Fan Club.

Let me just turn it over to M W Gallaher, and an excerpt from his post on the subject here:

Back when I was first assembling the complete Jim Aparo Checklist in the early 90′s, I forwarded a copy to my pal Chris Khalaf for corrections and additions. One of his corrections was: “Aparo didn’t letter Adventure 441. Ben Oda did.” I took another look at the comic, and sure enough, Chris was right. That wasn’t Aparo lettering. (At the time, I didn’t have the skill to recognize Oda, but after this incident, it was suddenly simple to spot Oda).

But why? In this era, Aparo always did his own lettering, along with the inking! And these were Aparo’s inks…I couldn’t imagine what situation would have arisen to require his pencilling the pages, then sending them in for lettering, then getting them back for inking! (And I didn’t know it at the time, but I later learned that his usual technique was to do the lettering first!) It was a mystery.

The mystery was solved when I moved to Nashville for a year in 1992. At one of the local comics shops, I found a stack of original art that included one Aparo page: the one shown–sort of–above. The answer was simple: Ben Oda’s lettering was pasted over all of Jim’s original balloons and captions. Aparo had lettered, pencilled, and inked the entire job, but after his part was done, editor Joe Orlando had, for some unknown reason, rejected Paul Levitz’s script, and had David Michelinie rewrite the entire comic. Oda then lettered the new script and pasted it over Aparo’s work.

To get even MORE awesome, he stripped the Oda patch-job, and for the first time in decades, we can show you the original script!

The original script is first and the published version is second!

Amazing, no?

Thanks so much to M W Gallaher for this interesting insight! Be sure to check out his tireless work to the memory of Jim Aparo at the Jim Aparo Fan Club here!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

As you hopefully know by now, Plume Books (a division of Penguin Books) is publishing a collection of my Comic Book Legends Revealed columns (half expanded “best of”/half new stuff) and it is due out on April 28th.

Here is the cover by artist Mickey Duzyj. I think he did a very nice job (click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to pre-order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you next week!

63 Comments

I’m not sure what would be better about seeing “Super Hero Squad” lay an egg: more Mini Marvels comics… or the specific, wickedly-funny Mini Marvels comic that I just know Giarusso could do about the attempted replacement of Mini Marvels by Super Hero Squad.

He would hit that out of the ballpark. I just know it.

Agreed. Mini Marvels is awesome, Super Hero Squad is not.

My boss took home the FCBD Tiny Titans from last year to his kids, who love it. I recommended Mini Marvels, and they love that. I brought him Super Hero Squad, and they were tremendously disappointed.

Chris Giarusso is highly underrated. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve sold on the Mini Marvels idea simply by pestering them to read my copies of Mini Marvels stuff until they finally give in and realize that kids comics can be hilarious for adults too.

The “Tell me what you see, X-51″ strip cracked me up then and now. Loved the Warpath one as well, and I was surprised they let it run.

Mini Marvels reminds me of Hembeck’s old strips.

Bernard the Poet

April 10, 2009 at 7:18 am

I have never been comfortable with Spiegelman depicting different ethnic groups/nationalities as different species. The Holocaust was perpetrated on people by people.

By making the Nazis cats, Spiegelman is portraying them as a monstrous other – the reader can despise them, safe in the knowledge that they would never behave in such a way themselves. But tens of thousands of people were directly involved in the death camps and tens of millions more quietly turned a blind eye to what was going on. They weren’t monsters – they slept, ate, loved, went to the cinema, worried about the bills and wondered what to wear. They thought of themselves as good people – just like we do – but then they went to work and committed unimaginable atrocities.

Of course, we’d all like to imagine that, had we’d been citizens of the Third Reich, then we’d have behaved as bravely as Oskar Schindler, but statistically it is far more likely that we would have tolerated – maybe even embraced – Hitler’s ideology.

Spiegelman’s use of animal imagery shields us from that terrifying speculation.

Recently reread all the Mini Marvels strips at Chris’ site and was hard pressed to pick a favorite, there were so many great punchlines to choose from.
http://www.chrisgcomics.com/marvels.html

Then I read the Super Hero Squad strips at Marvel’s site (the archive is broken from Feb on, go fig). I think I laughe once, maybe twice, out of the entire run.
http://www.marvel.com/comic_strips/Marvel_Super_Hero_Squad.7.Burgertime~excl~

A poet has problems with the use of metaphor?

Oy.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

April 10, 2009 at 7:52 am

By making the Nazis cats, Spiegelman is portraying them as a monstrous other – the reader can despise them, safe in the knowledge that they would never behave in such a way themselves.

I’m not sure how much that criticism works when one points out that a) some decent Germans are also drawn as cats and b) everyone in the book is an animal, an “other” of some kind or another.

I’ve also wondered, often, if the choice of “cats” for the Nazis wasn’t just a Tom-n-Jerry riff but a vicious joke; the Americans aren’t dogs just for the old cartoons’ dog-cat-mouse setup, but because American infantry are often called “dogfaces.” I suspect Spiegelman was having some nasty fun with Nazis as “Katz,” too.

So… Marvel ALREADY had a successful kid-oriented version of their characters, and INSTEAD of basing their toys on them, they CANCEL it in favor of a different, untested version based on the new toys. Yeah, that makes sense.

I know, I know, it was probably something ordered from above, the Toy Line probably was developed separately. Still, if I’d been a Marvel editor (wow, that line keeps coming up,eh? ; ) ) I would’ve said, “Hmm, they want us to publish a comic based on the new Marvel toys?” *phones Giarusso* “Hey Chris, would you be interested in doing a Mini-Marvels series with redesigned costumes and a title change?” After all, what makes Mini-Marvels really cool is Chris’ writing. This is like firing Jay Leno because he’s old and therefore “not hip” despite the fact his show is still tops. Oh, wait….

Andrew From Poland

April 10, 2009 at 8:50 am

Hi.

Well, I’m from Poland, and Art Spiegelman’s MAUS is one of the best graphic novels i’ve ever read.
I and a the rest of Polish comicbook readers don’t blame Spiegelman for introdicing Polish folks as pigs.
Besides MAUS was in Poland published in 2001 first, and made at this time a big rumor in press about the pigs.

Before 2001 MAUS was known only to little bunch of people. By the way, in 1991 we got in Poland the oppurtunity to read for the first time american comics like Batman (The Jim Aparo, and Norm Breyfogle issues), Superman (John Byrne’s MAN OF STEEL), PUNISHER (with art from Whilce Portacio and Jim Lee), and The Amazing Spider-Man (Todd Mc Farlane and Erik Larsen issues).
Due the Cold War and Iron Curtain Era – comics in Poland are often ideological critized as only children stuff. That was for at least a decade said. And in 2001 MAUS and other Graphic Novels appeared in the market – like Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Neil Gaimans Sandman, Preacher, Ghost World, Will Eisners books an other works. And they changed the look on comicbooks in our country.

P.S. Forgive if I made some grammar errors, i studied english only for 2 years in high shool as a foreign languege:) This my first post:)

YOU SUCK, SUPER HERO SQUAD!!!!!!

So… Marvel ALREADY had a successful kid-oriented version of their characters, and INSTEAD of basing their toys on them, they CANCEL it in favor of a different, untested version based on the new toys. Yeah, that makes sense.

I know, I know, it was probably something ordered from above, the Toy Line probably was developed separately. Still, if I’d been a Marvel editor (wow, that line keeps coming up,eh? ; ) ) I would’ve said, “Hmm, they want us to publish a comic based on the new Marvel toys?” *phones Giarusso* “Hey Chris, would you be interested in doing a Mini-Marvels series with redesigned costumes and a title change?” After all, what makes Mini-Marvels really cool is Chris’ writing. This is like firing Jay Leno because he’s old and therefore “not hip” despite the fact his show is still tops. Oh, wait….”

Super Hero Squad toys are actually part of a greater line of mini-figures Hasbro has released for all their properties (Star Wars, GI Joe, ect), so this really wasn’t in Marvel’s hands. That said, I agree 100% with having Chris work on the Super Hero Squad comics. In that regard, they are complete boneheads.

I repeat: YOU SUCK, SUPER HERO SQUAD!!!!!

Michael Mayket

April 10, 2009 at 9:30 am

I have never read this Super Hero Squad of which you speak, but as they have not released every single Mini Marvel strip ever done in digest form and will not be making any more, Ifeel justified in agreeing with Ken Raining:

YOU SUCK SUPER HERO SQUAD!

I had no problem with Super Hero Squad. In fact, I loved the absurdity of smily versions of some of those villains. But Mini-Marvels had a sardonic wit that transcended it’s “childish” qualities.
I’ll never forget my first Mini-Marvels strip. Cyclops’ eye exam. Comedy gold. If Marvel did an Omnibus of every single strip and one-shot I’d totally buy it.

Most of us toy fans just ignore the fact that there’s a Superhero Squad comicbook, and pretend that those are Mini Marvels figures…

Loved the Warpath one as well, and I was surprised they let it run.

Why? I agree that it’s very good, I was touched by it, but I don’t see what’s surprising about letting it run in the least. This is a company that was willing to retcon the Captain America origin to make America look more racist in it by experimenting on blacks first and covering up the death of a black test subject.

Brian, here’s a suggestion I have if it wasn’t already covered. What was the deal with Jim Corrigan in the Gotham Central? Was he supposed to be the original Jim Corrigan at some point and they changed their mind? Because there are plenty of signs that it was more than a coincidence. The appearance, the cover to Gotham Central #38 with tthe words “Spectre of Death” written with the word “Spectre” written in the logo style of the old Ostrander/Mandrake series, his storyline tying him to the creation of the new Goatee Spectre. Or was it all just meant to be an elaborate red herring to trick people about who the new Spectre would be?

One thing that I find interesting about Chris G is on his Secret Invasion cover he actually makes an effort to give the Skrulls unique faces, heights and looks. I think he’s the first artist to do that. Never seen a chubby Skrull before. or a bucktooth one. Brilliant.

It looks like Joe Orlando made the right call on the script and lettering change on the Aparo stuff. The original script was terrible. It was boring, unimaginative, and down right awful. Compare it to the printed version and there is no contest. David Michelinie pulled that book out of the fire, big time. The art, of course, is fantastic. It was a cool bit of luck finding the page just so you could remove the paste-overs to see the original lettering. But I hope the guy saved them so he can reattach them to cover up that drivel of dialog that Aparo had to letter and save a great piece of original art. If this one page is any indication, then I would’ve loved to have seen Orlando’s reaction and response. “We have to have a new script NOW! It goes to press next week! Letterer, is there a letter in the house!”

“By making the Nazis cats, Spiegelman is portraying them as a monstrous other – the reader can despise them, safe in the knowledge that they would never behave in such a way themselves.”

Omar Karindu wrote: “I’m not sure how much that criticism works when one points out that a) some decent Germans are also drawn as cats and b) everyone in the book is an animal, an “other” of some kind or another.”

I think the criticism still works. (a) decent Germans are shown as clearly part of the evil group, (b) cats are more monstrous than mice (this isn’t neutral!) and (b2) we are clearly expected to identify with the mice.

It looks like Joe Orlando made the right call on the script and lettering change on the Aparo stuff. The original script was terrible. It was boring, unimaginative, and down right awful. Compare it to the printed version and there is no contest. David Michelinie pulled that book out of the fire, big time.

Wow, i totally had the opposite reaction. But then again, I’ve never liked Michilinie’s scripting at all. Especially all the gratuitious stuttering he inserts into action scenes. “W-Wait a minute Aquaman.” If someone didn’t know anything about Spider-Man before reading one of his issues you’d think Peter Parker had some speech impediment or was a brazen coward, soon as a fight started he’d be stuttering all over the place like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. He even had people stutter in their thought bubbles! And I actually like the hood’s proper speech over the street dialect Michilinie gives him, which just comes off corny in my opinion.

The Mini Marvels/Super Hero Squad thing is a huge blessing in disguise. Chris Giarrusso has received high profile exposure through Marvel, giving him the chance to build a fanbase…and now he can proceed with his own characters he can own himself and no publisher can take away from him because of some crappy merchandising tie-in. This is a good thing. Of course, people who feel that doing piecework on a corporate-owned property is the single highest achievement to which any artist can aspire may disagree.

There is every possibility that considering Chris’ “super-deformed” versions of the marvel characters pre-dates the toy line, they were afraid he might claim it was based on his books. If so, taking off the books entirely seems a poor way of handling it. Of course, no one can accuse a comics company of always knowing the right way to deal with the talent.

The dumb thing is, not only are the Super Hero Squad strips not funny, THEY don’t resemble the toy line either. The whle thing smacks of “We can do this better than some freelancer”…well, no, apparently they can’t.

Dumb move, Marvel, Dumb move.

The Mini Marvels/Super Hero Squad thing is a huge blessing in disguise. Chris Giarrusso has received high profile exposure through Marvel, giving him the chance to build a fanbase…and now he can proceed with his own characters he can own himself and no publisher can take away from him because of some crappy merchandising tie-in. This is a good thing. Of course, people who feel that doing piecework on a corporate-owned property is the single highest achievement to which any artist can aspire may disagree.

Yeah, but think of how great for him it would have been if they could have based the Toy line and cartoon off his characters? The extra dough, maybe even a royalty arrangement,, maybe a consulting job for the animated version…AND it would have been of better quality to boot than what Marvel did go with. And Chris G. could have still gone on to do creator-owned stuff anyway, except his fanbase would be even bigger after having been attached to a successful toy line and cartoon. I don’t think creator-owned stuff is the highest achievement an artist can aspire to, but I do know the right creator owned work can really make your popularity skyrocket. For example Frank Miller’s Sin City and 300 would not have been as wildly successful as they are without the fame he first got from his DC and Marvel work.

I’m really disappointed about the cancellation of Mini-Marvels. Dumb move, indeed.

Now I’m sad and no longer have a reason to read Red Hulk.

I remember a series of one-panel comics that ran for awhile in the old Marvel Age from back in the 80s, focusing on The X-Men, called “It’s Genetic” by a young Kyle Baker that I always wished Marvel would have collected back then. Granted, they were not in what I would refer to as “super-deformed” style, like these Mini-Marvels, but they were very funny, nonetheless. Like Magneto freaking out because his compass refused to point North, for instance…yeah, like that ^_^.

Mini-Marvels are awesome. I’ve bought every 1-shot and both digests.
And yeah, it’s the writing, mostly, but also Chris G’s pacing. G-Man is the same way. Chris Giarrusso deserves more exposure.

The criticism of “Maus” (that making the Nazis and Jews different species, and natural enemies–predator and prey, respectively–on top of that, invalidated the story as a depiction of the horror of the Holocaust) is not the least bit new. I read it in a 1980s review of one of the collections, probably in “Amazing Heroes.”

It seems to me that the Aquaman story’s Aparo-lettered dialogue and captions were replaced in an act of de-politicalization. The SECOND version strikes me as dull comic book cliche.

The posting by “T.” about the “Gotham Central” version of Jim Corrigan surprisingly downplays (however inadvertently) the strongest evidence about the original intention of thic character. His sentence listing the “signs that it [the name] was more than a coincidence” begins, “The appearance…,” then goes on to the other items. The fact of the matter is that THIS Corrigan is a dead ringer for the original alter ego of The Spectre, at least once the 1960s revival added the white streak to his hair.

Joseph Rodrigue

April 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Jim Aparo is still the Greatest Artist of All Time…

I remember a series of one-panel comics that ran for awhile in the old Marvel Age from back in the 80s, focusing on The X-Men, called “It’s Genetic” by a young Kyle Baker that I always wished Marvel would have collected back then.

Ah, yes, I remember one in particular, where someone shows up at Xavier’s Mansion asking to see Jean Grey. Angel, who has answered the door, tells the guy “She’s dead. Come back next week.” Yeah, that about sums up the character :)

Oh man, memories! I forgot about Kyle Baker’s “It’s Genetic” strip. That was hilariously funny. In general, I like Baker’s style better back then, it was like the best parts of Klaus Janson and Bill Sincwiecz, but better. So underrated as an inker, I’d love to see him occasionally do a straight up superhero inking job in his 80s inking style. His inks over Marc Silvestri in Spider-Man and over Jackson Guice in New Mutants I remember fondly.

Super Hero Squad is not a bad idea, but it isn’t Mini Marvels, maybe they could get MM online, that way it could live again, an even get published in Astonishing Tales or Spider-Man Family.

MINI MARVELS ROCKS!!

Peace.

Mini Marvels rocked and I have all the (few) books that collected them. The Super Hero Squad I thought at first was some sort of them ‘revised’ or something, only after some time I found out it was supposed to be something different. Sadly, they don’t only look worse and not that cute, they also, as noted, aren’t particularly funny. If at all.

Iron Man with big blue pupils creeps me the hell out.

MINI MARVELS = IS. teh. SHIT.

SUPER HERO SQUAD = CRAP. Plain and simple.

I’m surprised there weren’t any of the little “daily” strips from the Marvel web-site here to show just how insanely BAD that crap is.

The TOYS are cute, the comics are monumentally lame.

~P~

Art Spiegelman never being capitalized makes me feel like I’m missing an in-joke.

He spells his name lower case.

Ridiculous affectation, then. Even better than an in-joke.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

April 10, 2009 at 7:25 pm

I think the criticism still works. (a) decent Germans are shown as clearly part of the evil group, (b) cats are more monstrous than mice (this isn’t neutral!) and (b2) we are clearly expected to identify with the mice.

I dunno about your (b), especially since the original Hitler quote Spiegelman is riffing on makes the opposite assumption…one reinforced by a simple comparison of the number of people who own cats and tose who own mice. (I’ve had mice in my house, but not as pets; trust me, mice aren’t cuter than cats when they’re leaving infectious doody all over the garage floor at night.)

More problematic is your a), since Spiegelman does a helluva lot to make his father seem like, well, a racist jackass. Identification is nowehre near as simple in Maus as I think you’re making it out to be; why d’you think Book II has that sequence with a human Spiegelman in the mouse-mask, or the bit with Francoise and Art discussing whether or not he should draw her as a frog until she converts to Judaism?

I don’t know if it was intended, but the Mini Marvels strip with Warpath telling the story of Thanksgiving was very reminiscient of Maus itself. and yes by comparison Super Hero Squad Super Sucks

That’s horrible news. Make mine Mini-Marvels!

I don’t give a toss about Super Hero Squad, but I prefer Mini-Marvels to regular Marvel any day.

COMIC LEGEND: art spiegelman was denied a passport to Poland because of his depictions of Polish people in Maus.

STATUS: False, with a nugget of truth

—————————–
Um, no. Absolutely False. spiegelman was NOT denied a PASSPORT “to Poland” for any reason. If spiegelman is an American citizen, then his passport would be issued by the United States Government (via the USPS). The only thing that any foreign country can do to an American citizen is to deny a VISA (or, refuse admission to that country). Not all countries require Americans to obtain a visa (which is attached to the passport and presented upon entry to the foreign country). But, NO foreign country can deny an American citizen a passport; only the US government can deny an American citizen a passport (such a denial is extremely rare).
Furthermore, US passports are not issued for admission to any specific country.

The story Andre sent in was based on an actual incident, just not one that played out the way he suggested it (visa instead of passport, etc.), hence “false with a nugget of truth.” This is all addressed in the piece, so I don’t get why you felt it needed a correction.

Mini-Marvels is pretty entertaining. What is Super-Hero Squad? A square-ass, dumb-ass marketing plot. What a stupid move.

The Super-Hero Squad was licensed before 2007, those characters have appeared on diapers and infant clothes for at least five years.

But they only caught on recently and were named “Superhero Squad”.

What a stupid move, but Marvel is in the licensing business, not the comic business.

The Mini-Marvels thing strikes me as being similar to DC cancelling the JLU and Teen Titans titles in favour of Tiny Titans and Super Friends. Don’t get me wrong, I like the new series as well and try to buy copies for my niece whenever I can remember to, but I don’t think the former needed to be cancelled so that the latter could start.

This may be worse, though – Mini Marvels was based on a lot of inside humour and targeted at the typical comics reader, and was only rarely its own book. Killing off a bullpen strip to avoid confusing the marketplace? That’s just cold.

Sad to see Mini-Marvels kicked into the long grass. I had a quick squint at Super Hero Squad in the LCS t’other week and it’s a much inferior product. So basically, SUPERHEROSQUAD SUPERSUCKS!!!

The Thunderbird Mini-Marvel strip is interesting because the way it is presented, in can be interpreted different ways: A child might see it and laugh because he would think the joke is about Thunderbird not knowing what Thanksgiving is about, making up a story and then crying because he got an F on it. Older, more informed people will see an allegory to the way the White Man conquered America. Both visions are correct, and one doesn’t intrude in the other. That’s pretty sweet writing, right there. ; )

>> (b) cats are more monstrous than mice

> I dunno about your (b), especially since the original Hitler quote Spiegelman is riffing on makes the opposite assumption…one reinforced by a simple comparison of the number of people who own cats and those who own mice. (I’ve had mice in my house, but not as pets; trust me, mice aren’t cuter than cats when they’re leaving infectious doody all over the garage floor at night.)

Bernard’s point was that “By making the Nazis cats, Spiegelman is portraying them as a monstrous other – the reader can despise them, safe in the knowledge that they would never behave in such a way themselves.” In the context of a mouse story, a cat is definitely the monster. :)

> More problematic is your a), Spiegelman does a helluva lot to make his father seem like, well, a racist jackass. Identification is nowehre near as simple in Maus as I think you’re making it out to be

You have the advantage over me. All the pages I’ve seen encourage the reader to identify with the mice, so I didn’t buy the book (for the reasons Bernard gave). Are you saying that a reader is just as likely to identify with the cats?

I enjoy Chris Giarrusso’s Mini Marvels strips, but does anyone else remember the Mini/L’il Marvels strips by Steve “Ribs” Weissman that ran in (IIRC) Marvel Vision 25- 30? They were quite similar to Giarrusso’s work, but a little more subversive. If anyone has copies of Marvel Vision packed away, dig them up and reread Weissman’s strips. They’re pretty great.
I haven’t seen any of the Super-hero Squad stuff other than what is reproduced on this page, but it looks to be pretty much published as product. There’s none of the inspiration you find in Mini Marvels.
But as Richard Evans says above, “Marvel is in the licensing business, not the comic business”.

“Mini-Marvels” is funny and clever. “Super Hero Squad” is a horrible, uninspired marketing attempt. It reminds me of that “Simpsons” episode about Poochie the Dog.

It think it’s inappropriate that Marvel and DC want to market cute versions of their characters to little kids when the regular comics featuring those characters are full of violence and sexuality.

“It think it’s inappropriate that Marvel and DC want to market cute versions of their characters to little kids when the regular comics featuring those characters are full of violence and sexuality.”

I disagree. Adult readers are able to enjoy comic books with a more realistic/ hyper-realistic tone/ darker tone and also enjoy a more light heartedness with the all ages comics — Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures … and Tiny Titans are great examples of this that have a lot of humor and a lot of nods to the characters’ history, as well as just someplain ol’ fashioned fun. The all ages comics are a way that comic book readers are able to share their passion with their children or children around them and keep the interest in the medium alive. It also is a great way for parents who aren’t schooled into comic book lore to find something safe for their kids to read.

Again referencing Supergirl or Teen Titans, it’s great that there can be comic books that are aimed for a more mature audience and ones that are all ages. I may want my niece or nephew to get to love Kara Zor-El or Raven but I have an option as to what level I want to expose them to. I read all sorts of comics as a kid, and there were a few times the violence bothered me, but for the most part I didn’t understand or care about some of the more adult situations in front of me, and I loved Spider-Man and Spider-Ham equally. Today I lke a nice gritty story, but sometimes I want something more lighthearted … and so it’s nice when there’s that balance available.

In today’s world, it is difficult not to have a child see a superhero somewhere and wnat to emulate them. Recently I heard a toddler go on about his hero Peter Parker, and so it’s nice that there are comics that are geared for more their levels in both reading and maturity. It means everyone can enjoy their favorite hero!

I do agree that Marvel is more about licensing than actual comic books anymore … and it’s sad that there couldn’t be room for both Mini-Marvels and Superhero Squad. Why could they not simply have Mini-Marvels as Direct Market only if they are so concerned that children and parents may get confused and buy one instead of the other? I can understand that when series like The Batman has been off the air for some time, it makes more sense to go with the new ‘toon version instead, but Mini Marvels is more of a Fred Hembeck style than simply “All Ages,” so it just seems like another lame excuse from Marvel. Hmmm … I wonder if there will be “hidden” Nike ads and “Join the U.S. Army” ads placed in Superhero Squad? They might as well start young!

In the Aquaman page, I find myself wondering about the replacement of “dirt farmer” with plankton farmer. At first it seems to make more sense for an undersea farmer, but dirt farmer probably wasn’t meant in the literal sense, but as a phrase that has a meaning of its own.

Alas, there’s also an obscene meaning to it (a habitue of anal sex), and if that usage is as old as this story, that may be why it was changed.

Let me point out that art spiegelman and Chris G have something else in common: they both went to SUNY in Binghamton! spiegelman while it was Harpur College in the late 60s, Chris G in the late 90s around when I went there, where it’s now Binghamton University.

That’s my dork contribution of the week:)

As a huge fan of Chris Giarrusso, I didn’t know that Mini-Marvels was going away.
Well, that sucks. I hope it is temporary as these things can turn out to be.

I am, however, delighted that the Mini Hulk one page stories he does in the
back of HULK will continue (and are collected in the two HULK trades that
have been published — unabashed plug, True Believers!).

They are written by the most talented writer in comics these days (imho),
Audrey Loeb, who just happens to be my daughter. ;)

I look forward to anything Chris does — he’s enormously talented and
a great guy.

Yeah, Aubrey and Chris’ Hulk back-up stories are really great.

I’m glad to hear that they’re continuing. Thanks for the info, Jeph.

Well, at least some good news, it seems Hulk will continue in my pull list.

Peace.

if you haven’t read MAUS yet…shame on you!!! It rightfully deserved its Pulitzer award…

“Why? I agree that it’s very good, I was touched by it, but I don’t see what’s surprising about letting it run in the least. This is a company that was willing to retcon the Captain America origin to make America look more racist in it by experimenting on blacks first and covering up the death of a black test subject.”

I’m sure the Tuskegee Experiments [url]http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/jul/tuskegee/[/url] was the basis for that plot/story in Captain America: Truth in Red White and Black mini-series. Also consider that for WWII, Negro/Black/African-American troops were not initially slated for combat (though there was Th 442nd RCT Japanese-American Combat Unit in Europe and (ironically enough) The Tuskegee Airmen aka The Red Tails Air Force unit.

Mini Marvels Rocks!

Why? I agree that it’s very good, I was touched by it, but I don’t see what’s surprising about letting it run in the least. This is a company that was willing to retcon the Captain America origin to make America look more racist in it by experimenting on blacks first and covering up the death of a black test subject.

True, but that was its own book, with the subject matter clearly solicited. The Mini Marvel strip was included in every Marvel comic that came out that month.

For Odin’s Sake, what is an infinity fractal??
I have read some Super Hero Squad strips at marvel.com. I have liked some, but sadly they tried to make a general story, like a parallel universe or a bigger concept, with the characters and it is hard to understand.
Marvel should use Giarusso and his simpler plots on this “new” enterprise, unifying the both concepts and not nullifying one of them in favor of the other.
Besides, I like the toy line and the Galactus figure is one of the best!!!

The different animals thing in Maus helps me as a reader understand how Vladek, and some other characters in that book, saw the world.

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