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Comic Book Legends Revealed #229

Welcome to the two-hundred and twenty-ninth 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 twenty-eight.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is now part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out this installment of TV Legends Revealed, which features the Lawrence Welk Show’s performance of “One Toke Over the Line.”

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: The District Attorney of New York arrested the business manager of EC Comics over the release of Panic #1.

STATUS: True

As I noted in a recent installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed, the first issue of EC Comics’ follow-up to Mad, Panic, caused quite a stir upon its release in 1953.

I already told you how it was banned in Massachusetts, but the issue ALSO led to the arrest of both the business manager of EC Comics as well as EC Comics’ receptionist!!

The first time around, in Massachusetts, it was the Will Elder Santa Claus parody that was at issue.

This time, it was a great Mickey Spillane parody by Jack Davis, titled “My Gun is the Jury,” specifically the depiction of women in the following pages…

A group of New York City police officers went to the EC Comics offices and purchased a copy of Panic #1 from the EC receptionist. Now with proof of sale, they went looking for Bill Gaines, the publisher of EC Comics.

Lyle Stuart was the business manager of EC Comics at the time. When he and Gaines heard cops were looking for Gaines, Stuart had Gaines hide in a restroom while Stuart welcomed the police in and offered himself up for arrest in place of Gaines.

They took Stuart up on his offer, and when they got to the station, they realized they also needed to arrest Shirley Norris, the receptionist who actually sold them the copy of Panic. So they went back and brought her to the station, as well.

As the pair awaited their hearing in front of a judge, Gaines was given a chance to quietly settle the case before it got that far. Gaines was willing to do so (after all, we’re talking about a guy who gave himself up for Gaines, naturally Gaines felt responsible for him), but Stuart insisted on taking it all the way to the court.

When the hearing took place, the judge dismissed the case quickly, as the argument that the above shots of women’s legs were pornographic were, well, quite ridiculous.

Still, while Stuart and Norris were released and the case dropped, the publicity certainly did not help EC Comics at all when the US Senate Hearings took place a few months later.

Thanks to Digby Diehl’s great book, Tales From The Crypt: The Official Archives Including the Complete History of EC Comics and the Hit Television Series, for the information about these arrests!

COMIC LEGEND: Dick Giordano had a page of Teen Titans colored blue to help sort of “sneak” the first interracial embrace in mainstream comics through.

STATUS: True

Dick Giordano took over editing Teen Titans in 1968…

It was during his tenure that Bob Haney was basically phased out as the writer of the title.

Giordano was also behind one of the more famous (or infamous?) periods in the book’s history, when the group indirectly led to a peace activist being killed, so the group decided to abandon their costumes and fight for social justice in plain clothes.

In the first issue with this new dynamic, writer Robert Kanigher and artist Nick Cardy debuted Mal, who was the first African-American hero in a DC Comics superhero book. This issue was only a few months after Teen Titans #20 (which was meant to be the introduction of DC’s first black superhero before the issue was squelched by editorial), so you can bet that Giordano wanted to get past #20′s issues as soon as possible.

We meet Mal when Wonder Girl is being accosted by some hoodlums…

Later, Mal boxes (and defeats) a representative of the bad guy’s gang in some sort of 1970′ version of a duel.

The bad guys don’t take kindly to losing, so Mal’s in trouble, but his new friends, the Titans, help him out…

Mal thinks he knows what the score is, but he is wrong…

So anyhow, Mal is offered a spot on the Titans, but he feels unworthy at the moment (I guess because of his lack of powers?), so he takes off on a secret mission, but first, he says goodbye to Lilith (the telepathic Titan, who was also a recent addition to the team at the time).

In the scene, Mal and Lilith embrace, and I guess it is sort of kind of meant to be Lilith kissing Mal on the cheek.

Whatever the case, Giordano was told by editorial to nix the scene, but instead, Giordano had the whole page colored blue…

He still ended up receiving a good deal of hate mail (and even a death threat or two) over the issue.

As it turns out, Mal decides to sneak off on a mission to space to “prove” himself…

He’d eventually return and join the team for real when the Titans started up again in 1976 (after the first series quietly ended in 1973).

Pretty amazing the stuff that had to be done in the SEVENTIES, even, to work black characters into comics.

Thanks to Michael Eury and Dick Giordano’s book, Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day At A Time, for the information!

COMIC LEGEND: Kurt Busiek followed Marvels up with Astro City.

STATUS: False Enough for a False

There are many ways in which a “legend” gets started. This whole column started when something said in a letters column of Walt Simonson’s Fantastic Four was misconstrued (see this installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed to see what said misconstruing led to), so it can happen in the most innocent of fashions.

In this case, a bit of a legend has sprung up based on a self-deprecating joke Mark Waid told about his career many years ago.

Now do note that I’m pretty sure Waid’s used this same line a few times, but the only concrete example I’ve found is from an interview ten years ago on a Jesse Quick fan site by Aeia Leilani…

Leilani: Looking back, what are your thoughts on the success of your work to date? Is there anything you would have done differently?

Waid: I would have capitalized better on the success of KINGDOM COME. Kurt Busiek used MARVELS to launch ASTRO CITY; I followed KC with such stellar works as X-O MANOWAR. Nothing WRONG with it, but I would have, in retrospect, been much better served to use that momentum to launch a creator-owned series.

Clearly, the intent of this comment is to say that, upon further consideration, Waid thinks he should have followed the success of Kingdom Come with creator-owned work. And he just points out that Kurt Busiek used the fame he received from the success of Marvels to launch a creator-owned work, Astro City (a work that continues to this day).

However, the way the quote has been preserved over the years has simply been “Kurt Busiek followed Marvels with Astro City. I followed Kingdom Come with X-O Manowar.”

In THAT context, Waid appears to be self-deprecatingly making fun of his work on X-O Manowar, which was never the actual case. On the contrary, Waid is proud of his work on X-O Manowar.

But the other interesting thing is that that said quote has become so indelible, I think it gives a false impression of Busiek’s career, as well.

It is true that Waid essentially followed Kingdom Come with X-O Manowar.

At the time Kingdom Come was ending, Waid was still writing Flash for DC Comics, but his Marvel Comics work was coming to an end (for a time), with Captain America ending due to Heroes Reborn and Waid’s X-Men run cutting short.

So the next ongoing series he did after Kingdom Come was, in fact, X-O Manowar, as part of Fabian Nicieza’s relaunching of Valiant Comics.

Kurt Busiek, on the other hand, was a different story.

First off, it seems as though folks occasionally have the wrong impression on Busiek. He is really the proverbial case of the seemingly “overnight success” who was actually working to that point in his career for years.

Before Busiek had his breakthrough comic work with Marvels in 1994, he had been working in comics, in one capicity or another, for over a decade after graduating from college in the early 1980s!

His first professional story was a back-up in an issue of Green Lantern Corps.

His first ongoing gig was a year-long stint as the writer on Power Man and Iron Fist, working alongside fellow young comic book creator, the great Denys Cowan (who had a bit more experience at the time, as he had been working in comics professionally since he was still in his teens) as well as later, the veteran artist Ernie Chan.

For the next ten years, Busiek kept working in comics professionally, which is impressive in and of itself.

But Power Man and Iron Fist remained his last sustained ongoing series for Marvel or DC.

Until 1994, that is, when he wrote Marvels alongside comic artist, Alex Ross.

The comic launched Ross’ career as a superstar comic book artist and also firmly put Busiek’s name on the map.

However, if you were Kurt Busiek, and you were just working for a decade on whatever assignments you could get a hold of, how could you know how this comic would affect your career one way or the other? How could you really change your approach of doing whatever work you could get?

So the comic that Busiek literally followed Marvels with?

Spider-Man/X-Factor: Shadowgames

Next, he took on as writer of Valor from Mark Waid for the conclusion of that title’s run…

And his first real ongoing comics project after Marvels?

Following Fabian Nicieza as the regular writer on Night Thrasher.

(By the by, the writer who did a fill-in between Nicieza and Busiek was Dan Slott…

That has no real importance except it’s amusing that Night Thrasher had as its three writers Nicieza, Slott and Busiek – not a bad pedigree for Night Thrasher!)

Busiek worked alongside co-writer Steve Mattsson (who also co-wrote Superboy and the Ravers with Karl Kesel) on Night Thrasher until the title ended with #21.

It was a few months later that Busiek did, indeed, launch his excellent creator-owned work, Astro City.

Do note that at almost the same exact time he launched his excellent Marvel comic series, Untold Tales of Spider-Man.

As I note at the very beginning, we’re basically talking semantics here. Busiek certainly did use Marvels to launch Astro City, in the sense that he never would have had the opportunity to make such an impact with Astro City had it not been for his work on Marvels (heck, Alex Ross’ involvement alone was a big deal). However, since almost a year and a half (and two ongoing series) lapsed between the end of Marvels and the beginning of Astro City, I don’t know if you can really say that Busiek followed Marvels with Astro City.

It’s totally a semantic point, but I think it’s one that demonstrates a mistaken impression that people have with Busiek’s career, so I felt that it was worth pointing out.

Thanks to Aeia Leilani and Mark Waid for the initial quote!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

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 likely know by now, at the end of April, my book finally came out!

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

If you’d like to 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!

75 Comments

I think you misconstrued the whole point of the “Kurt Busiek followed Marvels with Astro City” legend. Sure , I think we all know that that literally didn’t happen, but the point is that Kurt took a lot of ideas for a Marvels 2 that he was working on at the time (not to be confused with the still unfinished Marvels: The Eye of The Camera), and when relations broke down between him and Marvel, he used them in Astro City. For example, I’ve heard Kurt say that his original idea for Marvels 2 is now the most recent Astro City series: The Dark Age.

I think we all know that that literally didn’t happen

The whole point of the legend is that many folks expressly do not.

I don’t think Mal was “the first African-American hero in a superhero book.” He was the first for DC, but Marvel already had Black Panther and Falcon.

Dick Giordano had also been the TEEN TITANS editor for the troubled issue #20, which was supposed to introduce a black hero named Jericho. He’s called the smash-up that followed “my blunder”, so he might have felt a special responsibility to push this story through.

Is it 299 or 298?

Neither. ;)

I don’t think Mal was “the first African-American hero in a superhero book.” He was the first for DC, but Marvel already had Black Panther and Falcon.

Of course, you’re correct. It was just a typo (or whatever the equivalent word for when you mean to write something but don’t) for me to omit the DC Comics qualifier. Panther had him beat by four years!!!

Dick Giordano had also been the TEEN TITANS editor for the troubled issue #20, which was supposed to introduce a black hero named Jericho. He’s called the smash-up that followed “my blunder”, so he might have felt a special responsibility to push this story through.

Agreed.

Y’know, I was going to snark about “X-O Manowar…” And then I see that “Night Thrasher” reached 21 issues.

At that point, I was going to snark about the 90s… and then I recalled that next week, Marvel will be releasing not only “Dark Avengers” and “Dark Wolverine,” but “Dark Reign: The List – Hulk.”

Very sneaky, comics industry: making yourself essentially immune to satire by making your own real products consistently ridiculous… I bow to you, sirs. ;-)

Not sure if it’s a legend that’s been covered, but isn’t Busiek also created with coming up with the idea of how to bring Jean Grey back from the dead (the first time, anyway)?

I’m going to find my Titans issue and check out the blue movie inside :-)

Cheers,

B

Not sure if it’s a legend that’s been covered, but isn’t Busiek also created with coming up with the idea of how to bring Jean Grey back from the dead (the first time, anyway)?

Ta da!!

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2005/12/15/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-29/

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 16, 2009 at 10:27 am

Sadly, the notion that Mal and Lilith coilnd’t kiss chastely in a comic isn’t so surprising when you consider that this just happened yesterday.

Sadly, the notion that Mal and Lilith coilnd’t kiss chastely in a comic isn’t so surprising when you consider that this just happened yesterday.

Fair point.

Also a pretty freakin’ depressing point.

Just what I was thinking, Omar.

I do believe that’s a dog with boobs on the cover of “Spider-Man/X-Factor.” Man, the ’90s were crazy.

Brian, you said “Panther had him beat by four years!!!” but technically (at least the way you worded it), it would be Falcon who had him beat by a year or so as the first African-American hero in a superhero book. Though maybe splitting hairs to some, I think it’s fairly important to note that T’Challa’s African and not African-American.

I may be missing the point, but on what grounds did the police arrest the EC employees…the depiction of women?

Check out the next issue box of that Teen Titans issue: “Don’t miss the new Teen Titans in their next probe into the startling depths of the human soul!”

That’s one heck of a comic!

Depressing, but racism isn’t quite dead yet in the US.

I remember when HEROES started (by the way, remember when HEROES was good?), and I’ve seen more than one post in blogs and message boards bashing the show for the many interracial couples depicted.

Usually some of the same people also criticized the evolution theme of the show.

And the most depressing idea of all is that the US is one of the culturally advanced countries.

Busiek’s Power Man & Iron Fist is probably the best the title was post Byrne/Claremont – especially issue 100 which is just fabulous.

Wow, considering I’ve been in an interracial marriage for 9 years, with our fifth child on the way, this completely blows my mind.

That’s actually Wolfsbane on the Spider-Man/X-Factor cover, but “dog with boobs” was pretty much her characterization at the time.

I have a legend for you: Would the Defenders technically be considered the first all female super team?

Funny story about Busiek and how prolific his body of work actually is– I was at a con two years ago and brought him a copy of (New) Shadowhawk #1 to sign. When I plopped it down on his table, he looked up at me, confused. He opened it up to read the credits page, smiled and said, “Oh, I did write this, huh?”

Yes, Mr. Busiek, you did. And thanks for signing. :)

(p.s. I have that What If? #13!)

Having just read Essential Powerman & Ironfist vol 2 a couple of weeks ago, I was really surprised to see Busiek’s name. I had no idea he had been around that long. I knew it was longer than when I first saw him popping up, if for nothing but that Phoenix legend alone, but I didn’t know it went THAT far back.

Issue 100 is pretty good, but my favorite was the one with Unus there. A great villain to pit against the two of them, and really just a very well done issue overall.

From one of the featured Teen Titans issues…
“Lets cream these hoods, with sour cream!”
HAHAHA..that rules.

“The Untold Tales of Spider-Man’s Missing Neck”

Sadly, the notion that Mal and Lilith coilnd’t kiss chastely in a comic isn’t so surprising when you consider that this just happened yesterday.

The idea that America is tragic until we can 100% get rid of all racism is simply unrealistic. No culture will ever, ever be 100% free of racism. But in a country as heavily populated as America. which still had officially recognized segregation as recently as 4 decades ago, the fact that we can only point to one case of this happening is a damn good thing in my opinion. The fact that it’s so newsworthy and shocking to us at all is a testament to how good America is now and what an anomaly such an occurrence is, not a testament to how bad America remains.

Depressing, but racism isn’t quite dead yet in the US.

Racism will never be 100% dead anywhere in the world. It’s an unrealistic standard. But America’s probably the best majority-white country for blacks on the whole planet.

You are correct, T.

Is Mal going to space an homage to EC’s Judgment Day story?

What Mark actually ays in that quote is that I used MARVELS to launch ASTRO CITY, which is partly true in the way you say it — that we used the sales and critical reputation of MARVELS as a springboard to launch ASTRO CITY. But Mark also knows that I used the royalties from MARVELS to pay for those first six issues of ASTRO CITY, to hire Brent and Comicraft and Alex and Steve Buccellato. So the success of MARVELS directly lead to affording to do ASTRO CITY.

Oh, and the best POWER MAN?IRON FIST was post-Claremont was when it was by Jo Duffy and Kerry Gammill. What I did was a pale imitation of Jo’s work, and just as I figured out how to make the book my own, I got dumped from it. But Jo and Kerry’s issues are great — and their double-sized #75 is better than my double-sized #100.

But thanks, Philip. And glad you liked my first Marvel job, Ian!

kdb

Reading that Panic story, I kept thinking that Mike Hammerschlammer kept coming across as gay, up until I got to the actual shock ending. But I guess not even EC was brave enough for a gay story back then. They probably would’ve gone to prison if they had done it.
I have those Busiek Night Thrashers (as well as the Slott and Nicieza issues); all except for the last one, which I hope to get soon. It was actually a decent enough series, although not great.

I’ve been reading comics since the sixties, and that shot of Mildred Muckle’s ass on page five of Panic is one of the sexiest I’ve ever seen. No wonder they got arrested!

I recently read about the story of the arrest of the business manager of EC Comics, but I’ve never seen the sources you list. Can anybody refresh my rapidly failing mind as to where I might have possibly read it?

Ian said:

“…I was really surprised to see Busiek’s name. I had no idea he had been around that long.”

Yeah, Busiek has been around for a long time. A long, long, long time. ;)

Alan, you may have read about it in a book called ‘The Ten-Cent Plague’. I can’t remember who wrote it, but I read it a few months ago and I think it’s where I first read about the arrest. Although I can’t be certain. It’s possible I read about it somewhere else on this ‘Comics Should Be Good’ site. I do know there isn’t anywhere else I would’ve read it.

Waid: X-O Manowar :: Busiek: Ninjak

I liked the Acclaim X-O.

“But in a country as heavily populated as America. which still had officially recognized segregation as recently as 4 decades ago, the fact that we can only point to one case of this happening is a damn good thing in my opinion.”

This is a very naive statement; basically, as long as we don’t see it, it isn’t happening?

Yes, we can point to one specific judge who still, forty years after segregation was completely banned, still believes that he is morally and legally correct to flat out state that he refuses to marry interracial couples and that his decision is based solely on the fact that they are interracial couples… but most racists have learned how not to sound as racist. Ten other judges refusing to marry interracial couples are smart enough to just refuse without giving a reason.

“But America’s probably the best majority-white country for blacks on the whole planet.”

I like this, because it doesn’t even bother to come up with a fake statistic to justify it. We also have the best healthcare, the lowest crime rate, and the highest literacy rate in the whole world too, right?

I like this, because it doesn’t even bother to come up with a fake statistic to justify it.

Okay, here’s a statistic. America is the only majority-white country to elect a black leader. Not just any black leader, one that has a remarkably flimsy resume for the job. It’s not like he had to be twice as qualified for the job, he got it while being LESS qualified on paper than his opponents.

I can’t think of another majority white country that’s done the same.

Brian, you give the impression that Mal never joined the Titans until the revival. Wasn’t he actually around all through the spooky run?

This is a very naive statement; basically, as long as we don’t see it, it isn’t happening?

No, that wasn’t my point. My point was the opposite actually, that not only does it exist, it will ALWAYS exist to some degree. If the only way to say America is good is to have it achieve absolutely zero, zilch, nonexistent racism in any form, that’s an impossible standard not only for America but for ANY country. You’ll never weed out every Italian hater, there will always be some Jew haters, there will always be some Polish haters, name ANY group and there will always be a few people alive in every country hating that group.

If simply pointing out that some racist occurrence is happening somewhere in the country is enough to say the state of race relations is horrible in that country, there is not a single country on earth in the history of existence that can pass that test. There will always be haters in existence for every ethnic group.

To live in a country that just elected a black president yet somehow downplay that in order to claim that it’s not that much different than the 1970s America described in the legend above because of a single judge’s actions is not being able to see the forest for the trees.

Yes, we can point to one specific judge who still, forty years after segregation was completely banned, still believes that he is morally and legally correct to flat out state that he refuses to marry interracial couples and that his decision is based solely on the fact that they are interracial couples… but most racists have learned how not to sound as racist. Ten other judges refusing to marry interracial couples are smart enough to just refuse without giving a reason.

The fact they even HAVE to keep their racist views to themselves for fear of legal and social repercussions is a hell of a lot of progress. How racist can a society be if racists that do exist are afraid to be racist openly?

If the only way to say America is good is to have it achieve absolutely zero, zilch, nonexistent racism in any form, that’s an impossible standard not only for America but for ANY country.

That wouldn’t make it impossible, that would only make it very, very hard. I don’t get this idea that it should be easy to be good. I seem to remember something about camels and needles that speaks to this point. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with saying that there are no good countries on Earth, and very few good people (not myself, for instance).

The US isn’t that racist. Fine. We could argue about which Western nation is the most or less racist, but that doesn’t get away from the idea that all of them could be bad. By saying that the US, or any other country, is good enough seems to reek of complancy. If one is good, why bother being better? It seems to be that the most patriotic of people, who can’t believe that their country could be bad, actually hurt that nation, by not wanting it to get any better.

The thing about being the city on the hill is that you can never be good enough. Maybe America is good, but America can’t just be good. America has to be better.

<>

Yes, Mal was a member with TEEN TITANS #26. And despite some self-doubts, he WAS a member until the hiatus with TEEN TITANS #43. Of course, Mal became a more “super hero proper” as the Guardian and later, Hornblower….

I’m thinking it’s probably easier, or at least there’s less baggage, to be black in Canada. Or Australia.

I was under the impression that comics were still considered kid stuff in the 1970′s, so I can’t imagine children writing hate mail to DC editors over the Mal/Lilith page, let alone death threats.

But adults or parents of children reading said books? That, I can see. It’s the kind of thinking that also had people writing to NBC when Star Trek first aired to complain that Spock looked too much like Satan.

It’s also surprising that E.C. and Will Elder didn’t into into trouble for having a male character turn out to be a woman, even on a satire title.

As for Kurt Busiek, I remember Power Man/Iron Fist #99 being my first issue and loving the work done by Kurt and Ernie Chan. Luke and The Fist had a great supporting cast in Misty, Colleen, El Aguila, and all their other friends and associates. I, too, wish that Kurt could have stayed on for much longer or be given another shot at them someday.

Not just any black leader, one that has a remarkably flimsy resume for the job. It’s not like he had to be twice as qualified for the job, he got it while being LESS qualified on paper than his opponents.

Well, he might be less qualified if the presidency had any actual listed qualifications. Anyone can run for president, to be elected on the qualities and policies they present, not their political pedigrees. Quite a few men have been elected president with little or no experience in the federal government, including Andrew Jackson (one year each as Representative and then Senator from Tennessee), Zachary Taylor (no elected office at all), Abraham Lincoln (one term in the House), Ulysses Grant (no elected office at all), Rutherford Hayes (two years in the House), Chester Arthur (appointed by Grant to customs office in New York City), Grover Cleveland (no federal office), Woodrow Wilson (no federal office; had been Governor of New Jersey for two years before election as president), Calvin Coolidge (two years as vice president), Herbert Hoover (no elected office but had been Secretary of Commerce), Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Asst Secretary of the Navy, Governor of NY for three years but no elected federal office), Dwight Eisenhower (no elected office at all, but had been president of Columbia University), and George W. Bush (two terms as Governor of Texas but no federal office). Several of the above served in the military and/or state legislatures, as did Obama (three terms), who also served a full term as a US Senator — but none of the above makes them more qualified or likely to be a good president. With all respect, T, I would suggest that your assertion is a both a little desperate — “hey, we’re not racist! we just elected an unqualified black guy!” — and a little historically uninformed.

Deron, since when is FOUR years of a SIX year term, “a full term as a US Senator”, especially when he spent half those 4 years constantly on the road campaigning for President? You hurt your argument by making a major mis-statement of fact.

I agree, there are no listed qualifications other than being 35 years old and born in the United States (why he just doesn’t provide the birth certificate and silence the “Birthers”, I can’t figure, as their idea is about as plausible as the “October Surprise” that was used to malign Bush-41), being a governor or cabinet member (the Executive Branch of state or Federal government) has always been seen as much more applicable experience for the job of running for president, than being a congressman, senator, or state legislator.

Compare the list of presidents that had been Governors (and Lt. Governors) or Vice presidents before being elected President – to the list of those that had served in Congress, but not as a State governor or executive figure, or had no such experience.

JFK was the last before Obama to not been a Governor or vice-president.
Eisenhower had no political experience, but one could make the case that his role in running events in WWII were of an executive type role at least as difficult, as he was commanding more troops than the population of some US States!
Hoover & Taft were the only other two without experience as a Governor, Lt. Governor or VP in the 20th century, and frankly, were pretty bad at the job.
(Truman & Ford’s short tenure as VP also could be questionable, but they too are better known for being themselves, than their presidency, and we’re still seeing people argue over Truman’s war policy decisions in 1945 and the early 50s, to this day!).

So, no, there isn’t a job qualification for being the president – but history has shown that being a state executive or vice president for a significant time REALLY helps.

Folks,

let’s end this silly aspect of the conversation now:

There are exactly four criteria one needs to satisfy in order to be U.S. President:

1. is a natural-born citizen;
2. is at least 35 years of age;
3. has resided in the US for the past 14 years; and
4. wins the election.

Since Barack Obama has satisfies all four criteria, he has the proper qualifications. qed

btw the US has the largest incarceration rate of Black citizens (both in actual and percentage of total population) than any other country with a substantial Black population. The total percentage of Black prisoners is alsomuch larger than the actual percentage of crimes committed by African-Americans.

Sorry, meant to say “…another country with a substantial minority Black population.”

That Spider-man/ X-Factor cover reminds me how much I miss the Morrison era on X-Men. A time where Marvels comicbook heroes mainly wore black and/ or normal clothes (as do the X-Factor heroes now) instead of these silly fruity fresh colored costumes.
(that they dealt with issues that were more accessible to me then now, is a different story)

But, this leads me to a another legend: Is it true that these costumes are that colorful so that the heroes would be more “recognizable” due to limitations in printing in those days?

“America’s probably the best majority-white country for blacks on the whole planet.” Why? “America is the only majority-white country to elect a black leader.”

America has done its fair share of killing black leaders too. We don’t mind arresting them at their own residence if they don’t answer the white policeman’s questions in the time and manner demanded, either. And we don’t mind implying that the President’s wife is a chimpanzee, or that the President himself is a witch doctor either because we’re better than people in other countries who obviously are far more racist than us.

I know black people who have left the U.S. because of the state of interracial relations here so, obviously, some people would disagree with your opinion.

Finally, I live and work in an area of the Midwest that is 98% white. My female co-workers have told me of a palpable fear they feel when they have to drive through the ‘black section’ of the nearby city, which has a total population of less than 50,000 people. There is no extraordinary crime rate or anything associated with this, but I couldn’t convince the women they had nothing to fear. Also, while watching CNN during lunch, one of the corporate executives made blatantly racist comments about the black men and women who appeared in one of the CNN news segments. (It’s not directed only to blacks either.) I do not know what it is like in your neck of the woods, but to me, racism is alive and well, and does not bother to disguise itself.

Basara, I stand corrected on the Senate issue. He also has provided the only extant birth certificate (officials in Hawaii have said that it is all they have and as far as they are concerned, it is proof that he was born in Hawaii). Birthers might claim it is a forgery but they have actually been caught brandishing an actual forged document. McCain has at least a shaky claim to eligibility as Obama (he was born in a hospital in Colon, Panama, outside of the Panama Canal Zone, to parents who were stationed at the US Naval Base in the PMZ). Yet his eligibility has not received the same scrutiny as Obama’s.

My larger point was that past experience is not a qualification, has not been a serious issue in the past, and is not necessarily a good predictor of success as a President. Woodrow Wilson is considered to be one of the 10 best presidents and he had held political office for far fewer years than Obama. Franklin Roosevelt, who is considered the best president by some, had one term as Assistant Sect’y of the Navy and used the governorship of NY more or less as a springboard for the presidency. Those considered among the worst — Harding, Pierce and Buchanan usually bring up the rear — had extensive experience in public office. As did Nixon, who clearly thought that being president meant being above the law.

Well, he might be less qualified if the presidency had any actual listed qualifications.

My point is this: if this country was anywhere near asconsumed by racism today as it was in the 70s, for a black person to be elected president he’d need to have a LOT more experience than his white opponent in order to have a shot. It’s not about whether white Presidents in the past have had resumes as flimsy in the past or even whether much experience is necessary. The question is whether he has been held to a higher standard for election than a white candidate would have been. He hasn’t. The black man got elected with WAY less experience on paper than the white opponent had, whereas in a truly racist country he’d have needed to be twice as qualified as his white opponent in order to even have had a shot.

Woodrow Wilson was one of the ten best presidents???? Are you insane? He was almost certainly the worst! Wilson was the closest thing to a Fascist dictator the United States has ever had. He pretty much tossed out the Bill of Rights. He had people arrested and sent to prison for criticising the Government, questioning his war policies, even expressing doubt that the war was going well was a Federal offense. He led a witchhunt against Communists and Socialists far more extreme than anything McCarthy ever did. Lots of people were imprisoned for their political beliefs and nothing more. He kicked the last remaining Black civil servants out of the Federal Government. He invaded several Latin American countries, as well as Russia, without Congressional approval.
And yet, few people these days seem to know about any of this, even though you can find it all in countless popular history books. He was deified a generation after leaving office by the more extreme social scientists, the ones who worship power, and who also praised Mussolini and Stalin around the same time.
Wilson did nearly everything Bush has done only more successfully. (Even ‘freedom fries’ dates back to Wilson’s administration– back then it was ‘liberty cabbage’– although I don’t think Wilson himself was responsible.)

I’m thinking it’s probably easier, or at least there’s less baggage, to be black in Canada. Or Australia

If you listen to liberal propaganda in this country about how every single other western country is more enlightened than the US, sure. But if you objectively judge evidence I’ve never seen any evidence that Canada is any better to blacks than the US currently is. Not any worse either, but nothing to show they treat them any better. And no black politician to my knowledge has come close to Barack’s heights in Canada.

And as for Australia, have you been following the news lately?

A talent show in Australia recently had Harry Connick Jr on as a guest judge, and one of the performances they had was a bunch of impersonating Michael Jackson in full blackface and afro wig attire and they called themselves “The Jackson Jive.” And do you know what? The Australian audience was loving it and saw nothing wrong with it. When Harry Connick Jr, the only American on panel, found it disgusting and tasteless and “gonged” them, many in the audience even BOOED.

http://www.dlisted.com/node/34259

The best is what Harry said next:

Harry said, “I just wanted to say on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but we’ve spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that, we take it really to heart. I know it was in good fun, and the last thing I want to do is take this show to a down level—because you know how much I love this show and this country—but I feel like I’m at home here, and if I knew that was going to be part of the show, I probably—I definitely wouldn’t have done it.”

Harry Connick threatened to quit the show on the spot backstage and had to be soothed into returning on the condition that he was allowed to openly speak out against it. Even afterwards, the people partaking in it still didn’t feel it was racist at all. The host dismissed it as a “storm in a teacup” and defended it later. And best of all, if you check the link below, a MAJORITY of people polled by Australian media felt the skit was totally fine and not racist or tasteless in the least:

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26182444-952,00.html

An overwhelming 69 per cent of readers who voted in online News Ltd polls across Australia said the skit – which featured four men with blackened faces wearing afro wigs miming to the Jackson Five’s Can You Feel It – was neither racist nor tasteless. The strongest reactions came from readers of PerthNow.com.au, where 81 per cent said the skit was not racist, and adelaidenow.com.au, where 80 per cent supported the skit…

Results from other News Ltd sites were:

• News.com.au – 72.2 per cent said the skit wasn’t racist/tasteless
• Dailytelegraph.com.au – 77 per cent said the skit wasn’t racist/tasteless
• Heraldsun.com.au – 76 per cent said the skit wasn’t racist/tasteless
• Couriermail.com.au – 53 per cent said the skit wasn’t racist/tasteless.

So basically, if an American wasn’t there to get offended and turn it into world news, chances are the skit would have just aired in Australia, laughed at and life would have just carried on and it wouldn’t have been made into world news. And one last thing, one of the participants of the blackface skit, who was avidly defending the skit and saying he didn’t think it was racist? Check out what he said below:

Asked if he would have done the same skit in America, Dr Deva replied, “Absolutely not”.

Think about it, after all his defending of his own skit, even he admits without hesitation that he’d never have the nerve to even think of trying such a stunt in the USA.

I don’t suppose you guys could swap emails and we could talk comics?

@ Mary Warner: I never said he was one of the ten best; I said he is considered one of the best. Several rankings of U.S. presidents over the years have placed him in the top ten; a recent CPAN poll of presidential historians put him at ninth, and many other polls place him in that general range. Wilson was no doubt a racist; many African Americans voted for him to their eventual regret in 1914, and he fairly well flipped them off when they complained about being forced from their jobs after he was elected. And while he did encourage the passing and enforcement of the Espionage Act of 1917 and Sedition Act of 1918, he did work with socialists who supported the war — unlike McCarthy who considered socialist beliefs to be prima facie treasonous. Wilson did invade the Latin American countries but it is a stretch to say he invaded Russia; rather, American troops (along with troops from fourteen other nations fighting on the same side in World War I) were sent into Russia after the October Revolution and subsequent Treaty of Brest-Litovsk caused the collapse of the Eastern Front in WWI. The goal of the Allied troops was to secure the free passage of Czech troops to the Western front and prevent the usage of materiel sent to Russia to aid its war effort did not fall into the hands of the Bolsheviks. Troops remained in Russia after the end of WWI, but Wilson pulled the Americans out in 1920; it was not the last nation to do so. It is not a good moment in our nation’s history but hardly an act of imperialism.

Wilson also created the Federal Trade Commission, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Revenue Act of 1913 (the first progressive tax in the country), supported and promoted the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment (women’s suffrage), and tried to create a world body that would prevent future world wars (the League of Nations). His Fourteen Points are about as far from fascism as one could get, and he actively believed in and fought for them; he wasn’t merely paying lip service to peaceful ideas. He also created Mothers Day. In short, he is a very difficult president to fairly gauge; many of his policies were abhorrent but he did do a great deal of good and was successful in achieving most of his goals.

Oh, and acts similar to the anti-free speech laws passed during WWI were also passed by John Adams (at a time when the U.S. was not in a war though it feared one). Lincoln suspended habeus corpus, blockaded the South and imprisoned 18,000 on suspicion of Confederate sympathies without Congressional approval, too.

@ T: Your point is understood. My point is that the issue of qualifications is itself suspect. No one questions the qualifications of most white candidates — the experience, maybe, but not the qualifications. Furthermore, you have gone out of your way to suggest that Obama is at best underqualified. As such, your assertion that his election demonstrates we aren’t consumed by racist amounts to: “hey, we can’t be racist, we just elected an un(der)-qualified black guy!” Had you said, people looked at McCain and Obama and decided between them without going out of your way to argue that Obama was “on paper” less qualified, you’d be on stronger ground.

@ Martin: OK. What’s up with Green Lantern’s hands?

No, really, this is one of the most wonderfully trivial columns around and its focus is meant to be comics. Long arguments about US politics, not so much.

I apologize to all comic fans for adding another political comment but, if you can’t figure out why Obama doesn’t “satisfy” Birthers as one commenter asked, you should ask your mom before writing.

1. The certificate would not satisfy them any more than NASA’s photos of the “face on Mars” satisfied UFOlogists. They’d declare it fake but celebrate that the president bowed to their demands.

2. There is no reasonable doubt about the issue. Even if you believe every single authority in the U.S. entered into a conspiracty to lie about the certificate, public records show Obama’s birth announcements in Hawaii. Unless his mother could see the future or had access to a time machine, she would have had no reason to submit it.

3. If Obama bows to the Birthers’ demands, he sets himself up for the rest of the loons. One of the claims against him involves a detailed description of his penis. The office of the president should not have to jump to the demands of the Birthers much less the rest of the pack.

Experience didn’t matter much to voters in the 2008 US Presidential campaign. People were so frustrated with the government that having a lengthy record in public office could actually be seen as a liability. Barack Obama’s closest competitors in the Democratic primaries, Hilary Clinton and John Edwards, hadn’t served in the US Senate much longer than he did. Obama actually had more experience than Clinton and Edwards in elected office when you include his time in the Illinois Senate. Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, and Dennis Kucinich all had more experience than Obama, Clinton, and Edwards, but it didn’t help their campaigns much. Sarah Palin didn’t have much experience either before being selected as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate.

I think the “Panic” story might have been considered objectionable not just because of the transvestism but because the violence could be seen as being of a sexual nature. A woman is shot in the chest and a man dressed as a woman is shot “a little below the belly-button”.

Hey, just thought I’d draw attention to T.’s 3:24 p.m. post. It’s quite interesting, he makes some good points, and it took a while to actually show up (probably because it has so many links and therefore needed to be approved by someone at CBR). I had actually read the next six posts before it showed up, which is why I’m pointing it out now . . . enjoy!

T: I’m not going to try and defend the Hey Hey skit, although I will point out that Australia never had a tradition of minstrel shows, and so a large portion of the Australian population are ignorant of the difference between blackface and black make-up.

What I will say, though, is that many of the people who answered that they didn’t find the skit offensive weren’t actually answering about the skit. What they were concerned with was that an American called us racist. It’s one thing for someone from a country to call that country racist, for a foreigner to call a country racist is something that many people will not take.

I will point out that, while they Hey Hey skit was performed by private citizens aired by a private network, which caused huge emotional offence but no direct legal or economic harm, the denial of a marriage licence was performed by a government official and caused direct legal and economic harm.

Was the skit better or worse than the denial of a marriage licence? It’s a pointless question. Is Australia more racist than America? Maybe. I would say that there is probably more low-level racism, which the poll results show, but less extreme racists. It’s fairly academic question anyway, they both have come a long way and both have a long way to go.

When you mention your favourite target, the liberal media, you seem to be missing that Canadians think that Canada is the least racist and Australians think Australia is the least racist and, yes, Americans think that Americans are the least racist. My question is this, T. Had our positions been reversed, would you be pointing at the denial of a marriage licence as uncontrovertible proof of America’s racism, and be saying that the Hey Hey skit was bad but could have been worse? When discussing how racist America is, are you more concerned with the truth, or protecting your ego?

T.: “And no black politician to my knowledge has come close to Barack’s heights in Canada.”

No black Canadian has ever been Prime Minister or led a federal party, but Canada’s current Governor General, the appointed representative of Queen Elizabeth II, is a black woman.

Canada has different demographics than the United States. Blacks are about 2.5% of Canada’s population while they are 13.4% of the US population.

Kurt Busiek, thanks for info. I love it when a creator comes along and gives his side of the story.

“for a black person to be elected president he’d need to have a LOT more experience than his white opponent in order to have a shot.”

Not if his only credible white opponent is a woman… (you’re crazy if you think the republicans had any chance after 8 years of Bush).

Also, “we elected a (half)-black president, so we’re not racist” sound like those comments about black friends that judge was making there….

I’d almost forgotten about Shadowgames, which for my money was some of the best Marvel superheroics of the 90s. I wonder if that’s out in trade? I’m not really going to search through my longboxes for it, but it’d be good to reread!

[...] Comic Book Legends Revealed #229 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) [...]

[...] week’s Comic Book Legends Revealed has a discussion on Mal, Teen Titans, & 1970s interracial politics…. complete with some [...]

Mike Hammer-Schlammer was a spoof of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer; the name “Stella” and Mike’s last words (“Stella! Stella!”) were a reference to the Marlon Brando play A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE.

“But I guess not even EC was brave enough for a gay story back then.”

… Or that just wasn’t the story they were telling.
Wtf? I thought there might be a school shooting, but I guess they weren’t brave enough.

“we elected a (half)-black president, so we’re not racist”

Except nobody is arguing that position. The only people expressing that sentiment are T’s opponents, ascribing it to him so his actual, original point is easier to dismiss.

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