web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #258

Welcome to the two-hundred and fifty-eighth 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 fifty-seven.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is 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 Basketball Legends Revealed to learn about a felon who asked for a LONGER prison sentence to honor his favorite basketball player!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: An Alabama printer refused to print Alias #1 because of “offensive material.”

STATUS: True

A couple of weeks ago, in an installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed, I noted that Marvel decided to change Black Panther’s costume so that his face was not visible on the cover of his first appearance, Fantastic Four #52.

And I noted that while I do not know definitively WHY the change was made, the odds lean pretty heavily towards it being some concern on the part of either Marvel upper management (or even Stan Lee) that having a readily identifiable black superhero might cause too much controversy for Marvel at the time (1966).

At the time, I noted that such fears (whether they were well-founded or not) likely would have revolved around the distribution system at the time, as distribution of comics at the time was, while coordinated on a national level, was carried out on a local level. So Marvel might have worried about a Southern distributor. However, I also noted that a reader suggested that Marvel was worried about the PRINTER side of things.

And in response to that, a number of readers wrote in to note that there might have been cause for Marvel to be worried, at least in relation to a fairly recent situation involving a printer and Marvel Comics…

First, Jay Potts (writer/artist of the awesome World of Hurt web comic, which you can – and should – check out here) wrote in to say:

Although I don’t dispute that distributors in the 1960s may have had concerns about moving books that featured Black characters, as recently as 2001, there was one high-profile incident of suspected racism on the part of a printer. The first issue of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ “Alias” had to change printers from American Color Graphics in Sylacauga, Alabama to Quebecor Printing after American Color Graphics refused to print the issue due to what it alleged was “offensive” content. The printer didn’t indicate what part of the issue he found offensive, but bear in mind that this was the issue that featured the much-discussed interracial sex scene between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. I hate to ascribe ACG’s reluctance to print the book to some lingering prejudice, but I shook the Magic 8-Ball and it said “All Signs Point To Yes.”

Jay is correct, and it’s something I’ve been meaning to feature in Comic Book Legends Revealed for awhile, so now is as good of a time as any!

As Jay noted, American Color Graphics refused to print Alias #1.

Alias #1 had the following labeling on the cover…

So here is the aforementioned “offensive” scene (WARNING – As this is the scene that has the “explicit content,” you might not want to keep reading if you don’t like seeing, you know, explicit content)…

Now, when Jay notes that the scene includes interracial sex, obviously he is correct. But the scene also highly suggests that the characters are engaging in anal sex.

And as reader Jim Stamford wrote in to note that Alabama has very strict rules when it comes to content involving sodomy.

Heck, they were one of the states where sodomy was illegal (before the United States Supreme Court overruled all of those laws in 2003)!!

So it very well could have been the sex itself that made the printer wary.

Thanks to Jay Potts and Jim Stamford (and also Andrew Collins) for writing in about this one! Here‘s Bendis being interview on the topic (he doesn’t make a guess as to why the content was deemed “offensive”).

COMIC LEGEND: Two Golden Age characters named Captain Wonder managed to be take offs of other, more popular characters without actually being influenced by each other!

STATUS: True

Reader Hope wrote in to get the lowdown on the two Captain Wonders, so here you go, Hope!

Our story begins in Canada around the beginning of World War II.

From the moment that Canada declared War on Germany in 1939, Canada began rationing foreign currency.

But as 1940 came to a close, Canada found its trade deficit with the United States growing, so they decided to implement more drastic changes, including, in December of 1940, the War Exchange Conservation Act.

This Act involved the banning of importing any non-essential products from the United States. For instance, why import baseballs from Rawlings when Canada could produce their own baseballs and not further their trade deficit with the U.S.?

One major casualty of this were pulps, and by virtue of that, comic books, as well.

Comic books had become very popular in Canada by the end of 1940, with Superman, Captain Marvel and Disney comics being especially popular sellers.

So now with U.S. comics banned, Canadian comic companies sprung up to deal with the demand for comic books.

The first four were Maple Leaf Publishing, Anglo-American Publishing, Hillborough Studios, and Commercial Signs of Canada (the latter three were in Toronto, Maple Leaf was in Vancouver).

Hillborough was formed by a group of artists working together.

In 1941, they came out with their first book, Triumph-Adventure Comics #1.

Eventually, they teamed up with a new company called Bell Features.

Bell put out their comic, now called Triumph Comics…

Both Triumph and Bell’s other notable series, Wow Comics, were noted by their black and white interiors to save money (Wow actually originally tried to get by with just cheap coloring – that did not last long).

One of the characters from Triumph was created by Ross Saakel and he was called Captain Wonder.

Captain Wonder was a young man who was raised by a yogi from youth after his parents were killed. The yogi eventually turned to the Gods of Old and asked: “Oh, Gods, may I present a young Canadian who has lived with me for the past twenty years! His parents were killed by a criminal! And now he wishes to return to Canada to exterminate all such malignant doers! Will you aid him in his task?”

After this, a dazzling flash of lightning transforms the young Canadian. Standing there clad in a colorful costume he now has the three gods’ gifts – the strength of a hundred men, great wisdom, and speed, the power to fly like a bird and swim like a fish.

Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, in 1943, Timely Comics introduced a brand-new hero in the pages of Kid Comics #1 – Captain Wonder!

While saving the life of a scientist, Jeff Jordan was exposed to chemicals which gave him superhuman strength.

Teaming up with a young sidekick named Tim (whose codename was, well, Tim) – he donned a colorful costume and fought the Nazis and the Japanese in World War II.

Sound familiar?

Both Captain Wonders certainly evoke OTHER classic Golden Age heroes (Captains Marvel and America, respectively), but they are also not tied to EACH OTHER.

Pretty strange.

The Timely Captain Wonder, by the way, was recently brought back for J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston’s The Twelve series…

So there ya go, Hope! I hope this info helps you out!

COMIC LEGEND: The tagline for the film Barb Wire originated as a shot against another Dark Horse Comic.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

When the film adaptation of Dark Horse Comics’ Barb Wire came out in 1996, starring Pamela Anderson…

barbwire2.jpg” alt=”” />

one of the taglines for the movie was “Don’t Call Me Babe.”

This is a reference to the cover of the first issue of Barb Wire’s ongoing series, by the great Adam Warren…

(Barb Wire debuted in 1993 as part of Dark Horse Comics’ “Comics’ Greatest World” project…

)

Many, many places (including the Wikipedia page for the Barb Wire movie which I am about to quote – but it is really LOTS of places) state:

The entire “Don’t call me Babe” leitmotif of Barb Wire comes from the original advertising for the Barb Wire Dark Horse comic book, in which she said those words to differentiate herself from a buxom, slightly airy comic book heroine named “Babe” created by John Byrne.

Only problem, of course, is that not only did Barb Wire debut in 1993, but the specific comic where she makes the “Don’t Call Me Babe” line ALSO came out before Byrne’s Babe made her comics debut (a few months later).

So it is extremely doubtful that they are making a joke reference to a character who had not yet actually appeared in a comic book. Heck, even if it DID come out after Babe, I think it’s a bit of a reach to presume its intent was to take a shot at the comic Babe.

I’m pretty darn certain that the joke is a fairly standard bit where Barb Wire is meta-fictionally taking issue with how Dark Horse is promoting her.

And the film’s producers undoubtedly liked the line so used it in advertising for the film.

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics 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, last 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 all next week!

75 Comments

shenanigan -inc

April 30, 2010 at 11:55 am

it had to be the Anal. that’s the first thing I thought reading those panels. the subtext is even in the narration in the post-coital panel which is more aftermath than after-glow.

Man, I really wish some of the old Canadian Superhero comics would come back. I mean I’ve never read them, but there are enough characters to be able to launch a new comic company with a few ongoing books if their rights were bought. ANd I’d be proud to have my own line, and company of “Canadian” Superheroes.

Okay, now I REALLY don’t want to read about Jessica’s date with Iron Fist.

Good stuff, Brian. A few random comments:

1.The ALIAS anal sex vs. interracial sex controversy: I also tend to go along with the idea that the printer balked over the issue of anal sex. Heck, I still recall being shocked that MARVEL, even under the MAX umbrella, would publish such an extreme scene. For that matter, didn’t Bendis/MAX try to retcon the scene at a later date? I seem to recall something like that, but I could be wrong.

2. Captain Wonder: Weird case of synchronicity.

3. Barb Wire: Damn you, Brian, for making me recall, even for a moment, that truly lousy film.

I’m told that the movie version of Barb Wire is pretty much a scene by scene remake of Casablanca. But I haven’t seen Barb Wire, so I’m reluctant to say the claim has any merit.

I’m told that the movie version of Barb Wire is pretty much a scene by scene remake of Casablanca. But I haven’t seen Barb Wire, so I’m reluctant to say the claim has any merit.

Barb Wire is, indeed, basically a re-envisioning of Casablanca set in the future (with additional action sequences, though, naturally).

Personamanx: Some of them have come back, Nelvana has been featured in Alpha Flight as the mother of Snowbird, and Doc Stearn is the father of the Dark Horse superhero Mister Monster! I wouldn’t count out a complete revival unlikely in the next few years either
Thanks again Brian for answering my question about Captain Wonder

Canada declared war???!!!

I think THAT’S an urban myth…heh heh heh…:-)

and Captain Wonder #2 didnt feel at all peculiar fighting crime in those short shorts?

I’m feeling more than a bit uneasy looking at him in them…I’m thinking I’d have refused to print that instead…

He put what WHERE?!

OK, I may need to rescind my implication of racial prejudice on the part of American Color Graphics. I remembered the sex scene and the controversy, but it had been a while since I read that issue. I forgot how…rough it was. ACG’s objections could have been about the type of sex involved, not the parties engaged in it. Even for a longtime comics reader the scene is rather intense, so that wasn’t completely fair on my part.

Brian,
Thanks for for featuring my question and the mention!

Willie Everstop

April 30, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Wow, I thought people were joking when they said Bendis fantasizes about Luke Cage.

Yup Canucks have been known to declare war..sometimes two years before the US…at least with the justifiable wars.

heh heh heh

Reading about Captain Wonder, I couldn’t help but think of the “Wonderman” superhero takeoff cartoon from TV Funhouse. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_IQ44VNQ64
“Wonderman! Fights a constant crusade to stop crime…and get his alias laid!”

Brian from Canada

April 30, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Todd: don’t knock Canada — they got into World War II before the British did! (Unlike, say, the US, which started off selling ammunition to both sides.)

Regarding the Canadian banning of comics, is there any proof it was a complete ban? I know there was an issue with the plates at one time, which forced Canadian printers to make copies based on already printed materials, but I’ve never heard that Canada banned American entertainment. Especially not Disney, since it was Disney that produced the first National Film Board short: a cartoon for war bonds starring the Seven Dwarfs.

Wasn’t there an illustrated GRENDEL novel by Matt Wagner that also had problems with a printer? I’m afraid I don’t remember the details.

The Alias scene does look like it’s supposed to be anal sex, but this is where their daughter was conceived so maybe not.

It’s a long night, Mark. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Regarding the Canadian banning of comics, is there any proof it was a complete ban?

I don’t think there ever was a specific banning of comics, but rather that people lumped comic books in with the ban on pulps. So the ban was more an effective one than a literal one. So if someone had pushed for the argument that superhero comics technically were not banned, then I think they probably would have had an argument, but no one ever pushed the issue (it being war-time and all).

@Buttler
Oh I know, I’m more wondering was it an attempt to retroactively hush the matter up.

@trajan23: I think I remember Bendis confirming the Luke/Jessica scene was intended to be anal sex, rather than retconning it. But my memory may predate whatever you’re remembering.

I’ll never read my beloved Power Man & Iron Fist comics the same way again. I’ve got to steal a phrase from the Transformers fanatics: Brian Michael Bendis just raped my childhood.

Pretty funny about the mutually exclusive. At the time when it came out it seemed pretty clear it was Anal in regards to the something different and “do anything”

Its good to know thats how Cage gets down people..keep it in mind for the new Thunderbolts series.

It’s true, what I valued in Power Man & Iron Fist was its wistful air of innocence. Like that time ROM: Spaceknight vaporized a prostitute while her pimp looked on in horror.

I was a little disappointed to see Luke using real cuss words in Alias, though. I would have loved it if Jessica kept cussing like a sailor while Luke stuck to his classic “holy spit” and “sweet Christmas.”

Willie Everstop

April 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Bendis is sitting on a Luke Cage: Origins story about Luke’s time in prison.

Was ALIAS 1 the issue that had a full page panel* of her sitting on the toilet? and started out with the F word being repeated a half dozen times?

If I’m remembering those correctly, I can see the cumulative effect making someone reconsider whether they really wanted to print that.

*Yes, I know a full page panel is called a splash, but I didn’t want to go there . . . .

Was ALIAS 1 the issue that had a full page panel* of her sitting on the toilet? and started out with the F word being repeated a half dozen times?

No bathroom scenes, but it did open with “fuck” as half of the first six words in the comic (including being the very first word in the comic).

Andrew Collins

April 30, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for the mention, Brian!

I’ve always had my own special enmity reserved for the Barb Wire movie. I’ve never seen it, but it was produced by the same studio that produced the Mystery Science Theater movie that came out the same year. However, the MST3K guys have been vocal in talking about how the studio (Gramercy, IIRC) devoted something like 90% of their budget to advertisements for Barb Wire and practically nothing for MST3K, with the studio barely even distributing it. The result? Both movies flopped at the box office. As a longtime MSTie, that always rankled me…

The MST3K movie wasn’t that good, was it?

Bendis is sitting on a Luke Cage: Origins story about Luke’s time in prison.

Well, if he can still sit on it, it can’t be that bad.

So you run a story about the Alias sex scene, Barb Wire, and…

A COVER THAT SAYS “TANG”!

Excellent. Yes, I am 13 years old.

“I was a little disappointed to see Luke using real cuss words in Alias, though. I would have loved it if Jessica kept cussing like a sailor while Luke stuck to his classic “holy spit” and “sweet Christmas.””

I have to admit, if those two pages above were exactly the same, except for a balloon from off-panel that said “SWEET CHRISTMAS!!” in the last panel of the first page, it would go from making me feel creepy and a bit disgusted to thinking it was the greatest two-page sequence in comic book history.

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm

@Alan Vickers:

Yup. A prose novel written by Greg Rucka and illustrations by Matt Wagner. Grendel Prime

Anyway, the story goes like this, the printer that backed out did so, because one of the employer felt offended by the materials in the book. So Dark Horse had to find another printer and the book got printed.

I think the offending parts were about a lesbian character having sex with another lesbian.

Kind of ironic tho’, that Rucka wrote the book and ends up creating a very famous lesbian character named of Kate Kane (aka Batwoman) years later.

Andrew Collins wrote:
I’ve always had my own special enmity reserved for the Barb Wire movie. I’ve never seen it, but it was produced by the same studio that produced the Mystery Science Theater movie that came out the same year. However, the MST3K guys have been vocal in talking about how the studio (Gramercy, IIRC) devoted something like 90% of their budget to advertisements for Barb Wire and practically nothing for MST3K, with the studio barely even distributing it. The result? Both movies flopped at the box office. As a longtime MSTie, that always rankled me…

This is true. I heard the story from Michael Nelson himself at a convention the summer the MST3K movie came out.

Brian Cronin wrote:
The MST3K movie wasn’t that good, was it?
It was a damn sight better than BARB WIRE. But then, most things are.

I’d move to Alabama if it would mean getting issues of New Avengers with Jessica Jones blacked out.

The MST3K movie was basically just another episode of the show, so if you like the show I’d think you’d like the movie.

The problem with the MST3K movie was that the movie they were watching was too good.

…as distribution of comics at the time was, while coordinated on a national level, was carried out on a local level.

Extra “was” there.

Wow, so nobody really knows what went on in the bedroom in Alias #1, yet y’all infer just one thing about Luke Cage. Man, I think you need to get laid, preferably with someone who knows a li’l something about kink (or at least cunninglingusim).

And somebody gets giddy over the word “TANG” on the cover of a comic, but misses the big phallic boat thrusting out of the water with “SPEED” and “SAVAGE” written boldly just below it? Wow, those censors allowed ANYTHING up in Canada!!

And it’s amazing Barb Wire made it past the cover of issue #1. Aiming her gun at someone in back of her while driving a motorcycle– that’s gotta be worse than texting while driving! I can only imagine how much easier it is when she whips out that shotgun in the back while going a good 60-70 mph or more…

All in all, though, interesting stuff….

oops, the words were above the boat….. my memory failed me– far too occupied with other things. hehehe.

That first panel of Alias has some sort of Cro-Magnon cave woman.

To be fair folks, the ALIAS issue could be It doesn’t have to be

“A-it was about race”
or
“B’-It was about anal sex”

it could be
“C-Both of the above”

It’s quite possible that the implication of anal sex was seen as a negative, and the fact it was a black man doing it with a white woman made it ‘worse’.

A double whammy if you will.

I’d love to think that race was definitely not an issue, but considering I know firsthand how some folks still react to the concept of interracial relationships, I’d certainly wouldn’t rule it out as a factor.

They call him Captain Wonder, as in ‘I wonder if the Twelve will ever be finished’.

Don’t know if the dudes were racists, prudes, or both. Any way you look at it, it’s depressing.

BTW, I don’t know if I ever found a concept as absurd as “sodomy laws” before. Authoritarian laws usually make me angry (and this one does), but it’s also so silly as to be hillarious.

I have nothing to add to the discussion except to say it’s been about 30 minutes since I read it, and I still can’t stop giggling about Ritchard’s comment.

DetectiveDupin

April 30, 2010 at 7:02 pm

The Alias controversy is pretty stupid, and I bet it’s a mix of both issues.

@The Mutt:

“Okay, now I REALLY don’t want to read about Jessica’s date with Iron Fist.”

That, sir, is the funniest thing I have read, heard, or imagined all week. You win.

Well, it’s clearly unpleasant for Jessica, so I’d say that definitely makes it anal, or possibly iron fisting.

And I do think the printers almost certainly objected to the sex. If they were refusing to print something due to an interracial relationship in 2001, they would’ve missed out on a lot of business. It was just too commonplace by this time.
(By the way, last I heard– and I think the figures I saw were from the late ’90s– interracial marriage was more common and more accepted in the South than in the Northeast or the Great Lakes area. And it was most accepted in the West.)
(I know nobody here even brought up the topic of racism as a Southern thing, but I see that so often that I thought I’d state the facts prophylactically.)

So Luke likes to hit it from behind and he’s “gifted down there” what’s so wrong with that?
I mean damn he’s like 9 feet tall and he’s a man. What do you expect?

What is it with all the kid sidekicks named Tim?

There’s Captain Wonder and Tim

The Black Terror and Tim

Superman and Tim http://dialbforblog.com/archives/83/

And then, of course, there’s Tm Drake, who unlike the others, at least has an alter ego…

@Mary.

More may happen in the South, but I wouldn’t say they’re more accepted.

My parents are from Mississippi, dads black, moms white, they got together in the late 70s, had me in 81, and to this day we still aren’t invited to any family functions. (and that’s ignoring the fact my parents were, almost literally, run out of town. Hence me being born & raised in New Orleans and not Mississippi)

Another relative who married a black woman a few years ago is treated much the same, just effectively written out of the family.

So in other words…yeah, that very racist attitude still definitely exists, I’m not saying it exists more in the South than anywhere else…but I have no doubt that if some of my relatives run a publishing company, they would refuse to publish that issue no matter WHAT kind of sex Luke & Jessica were having.

You know, I’ll never understand John Byrne. The guy now keeps saying superhero comics should be for kids, etc.

But years ago, when he was younger and less uptight, Byrne said something in an interview that I never forgot. It’s freaky how many major superheroes have such sexual names, or at least names that you could oh-so-easily imagine as nicknames for porn stars.

Iron Fist. Power Man. Superman. Iron Man. The Hulk. The Thing. She-Hulk. Wonder Woman. Mister Fantastic.

So yeah, John Byrne raped my childhood.

Andrew Collins

April 30, 2010 at 8:34 pm

The MST3K movie wasn’t that good, was it?

It was always a favorite for me and my friends in college, but yeah, it wasn’t their best work. Not necessarily their fault though. The studio heads were constantly asking for re-writes because they “didn’t get” the riffs the MST3K guys were doing in the early takes. In retrospect, I wish they had skipped the movie and just done a full season 7 of the show. The six episodes they did were some of the best of the entire show…

Looking at the cover of Triumph Comics #9, I can’t help but wonder who the hero is at the top of the list of characters appearing in the issue.

I’ve never heard of “JOHNSTON the Druggist before.

Tony– More accepted doesn’t mean accepted by everybody. There are families like your in the North as well. My statement was based on surveys taken at the time, that showed more opposition to interracial marriage in the North than anywhere else. This doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot in the South as well. And still is, I’m sure.

I only live on the edge of the South myself, but I do know that around here most people accept it, even if they don’t like it. And I see a lot of White mothers around with Black kids.
By the way, my grandfather kicked my aunt out of his house when she dated a Black guy around 1970 or thereabouts (back when it was really shocking). I don’t think he would’ve done such a thing twenty years later (although of course, by that time all his kids had moved out anyway), but it’s possible he might have.
I am certain that today, everyone in my family would be accepting of such a situation, or at the very least, keep their feelings to themselves. But I know other families that would put up a fight about it.

Strangely enough, some White girls I’ve known who’re quite racist in a lot of ways have had Black boyfriends.

Neil Robertson

May 1, 2010 at 7:13 am

Barb Wire vs. “Babe”: I always assumed that was something of an in-joke reference. That when the name ‘Barb Wire’ (short for ‘Barbara Wire’?) was first proposed at Dark Horse, maybe someone hastily misread the name as ‘Babe Wire’. It would be very in character for a tough woman to object to such an error and the creators ran with it.

Here’s the skinny on Canadian comics…

Around 1940, the Canadian government placed a ban on ‘non-essential’ goods shipped from the US. It was a trade bill that (as I read it) embargoed items to prevent competition in a wartime economy. It included a whole host of items, which included comic books.

This left a gap in the market. Enter Cy Bell, a Toronto sign-maker who quickly became Canada’s premiere comic book publisher of what became known as Bell Comics. The imprint was cheaply made in every respect. The comics were printed in black-and-white and the strips were mostly created by kids still going to high school. Many of Bell’s features were amateurish, bordering on outsider art, and often were plagiarized from ‘banned’ American comic books obtained on the black market (I’ve seen stories lifted from Quality and DC comics of that era) or newspaper strips like Flash Gordon. There were a couple of exceptions to this– artist Adrian Dingle, who created the two great characters of the era Nelvana and The Penguin (not the Batman villain) who was art director of Hillborough, which as Brian pointed out published the first Canadian comic and was subseqently bought out by Bell) was a bona fide commercial artist (who became a landscape painter).

As Brian says, the range was printed in black and white, mostly because they didn’t have the sophisticated 4 colour presses of the US. They printed Wow Comics 1 in colour (a lot of it off register) but it cost too much and took too much time on the existing equipment– they printed in 2 colour and 1 colour before settling on black and white.

Bell’s range of comics, which tended to have a lot of features coming and going (Captain Wonder I think barely made more than a handful actually) was a modest success. With the war ending and the non-essential goods ban being lifted, Bell’s plan was to expand the line and start printing in colour and try and compete in the US. He bought a colour press from a newspaper in the US, announced new books featuring solo adventures of characters, even changed the name of The Penguin to the Blue Raven… and then disaster struck. Wartime rationing was still in effect and the Canadian government wouldn’t grant Bell the paper necessary to compete, the expansion halted and the line effectively folded. For a while Bell just reprinted stuff from Timely and other publishers and then he got out of the comic book business altogether.

In the 1970s the characters and the Bell comics were bought by the two men who went on to found the animation studio, Nelvana (who used the character Nelvana for its name). Nelvana has been subsequently bought by Corus Entertainment and they own the characters and the comics. (While Byrne’s Alpha Flight certainly references the characters, they’re never seen)

I’ve read just about all of the Bell comics range (the National Library and Archives in Ottawa have a complete set). The work by Dingle really deserves to be reprinted as his art is gorgeous and Nelvana does Grant Morrison weirdness 50 years before Morrison and The Penguin, in spite of the ridiculous costume, is a noir masterpiece. The rest of it is somewhat formulaic and amateurish but fascinating to read as its wish fulfilment art on the part of the teenagers doing it. I wish it would be reprinted because it is a fascinating period in Canadian history.

I live in the South, and not even the Deep South. Just the middle South.

I can see lots of ways in which my neighbors would find Alias (the whole series, not just #1) immensely offensive.

It should be remembered, the sexual and racial aspects of Jessica Jones’ life aside, that the first storyline is particularly dicey material for many conservative Southerners. Jessica is asked to locate a missing woman who is very quickly revealed to be Captain America’s lover. The story deliberately puts a hint of illicit scandal on the relationship. In later issues, a president who is obviously George W. Bush is presented as glad-handing superheroes in order to built political support among the public at large. The story suggests at one point that Captain America might be the murderer.

There’s also profanity, sexual content, and general nastiness that an Alabama printer could find ‘offensive’ even without the racial and political content. After all, Alabama is not just the South. It’s also the Bible Belt.

Personally, I’m sure the interracial scene was a factor. I also think the political content was a factor. I also think a conservative printer in the Deep South might have refused to print the book without the interracial sex and the political content as well, just because of all the swearing.

In case the above is too critical, I personally think ‘Alias’ is the best thing Bendis wrote and suited his character-heavy, decompressed, sometimes plotless, occasionally ponderous style much better than straight superhero comics. One expects to see an emphasis on character-driven stories and slow building tension in a hardboiled PI story.

Adam Weissman wrote:

‘What is it with all the kid sidekicks named Tim?

There’s Captain Wonder and Tim

The Black Terror and Tim

Superman and Tim http://dialbforblog.com/archives/83/

And then, of course, there’s Tm Drake, who unlike the others, at least has an alter ego…’

This deserves a column. – I suggest calling it ‘A Brief History of Tim”.

Lewis from Great Britain

May 1, 2010 at 11:18 am

Brian from Canada: don’t knock Canada — they got into World War II before the British did!

‘Fraid not selfriend, Canada entered WWII on September 10th 1939; Britain entered on September 3rd.

Yes, it would be awfully odd to have Canada enter the war before GB, especially since we were still flying the Union Jack and singing God Save the Queen at that point.. GB entered first, either with or shortly followed by the Commonwealth countries

Sorry, what’s problematic about the word ‘tang’?

Tang, in the sense referred to by the poster above, is a shortened form of poon tang, which is sexual slang for the lady parts downstairs. The pussy, if that’s not clear enough.

Thanks Jack. Nope, that one’s new to me.

Tang, tang, tang!

Alan,

You’re right. I’m almost positive it was the same printer. They basically have a policy that if any one is offended by the material they are printing, they won’t print it. I believe in the case of the Grendel book they had actually started the printing when an employee complained about the content. It was the lesbian sex scene in question there.

-Wasn’t the WHOLE point of “Alias” that it was an adult comic? “Adult” in this case meaning sex. Remember that the protagonist was supposedly turned into a sex slave by the Purple Man. So the sex scene should not have surprised anybody. Not that I ever cared for the comic, I have a somewhat better impression of what being an adult is supposed to be.

-The only Captain Wonder I knew about was the one that was a male Wonder Woman, a fantasy of Steve Rogers that was turned real by Dr. Psycho. So thanks for the info. And yeah what happened to “The Twelve?” Now that’s a mistery!

-And people actually wonder if a line as generic as “Don’t call me Babe” is a slight towards an existing character? Geez, comics fans (and pros) DO overthink things sometimes. :P

Every time someone mentions that Alias scene and balks at it’s “graphic” nature, I wonder where they hide the time machine they used to get here from the 1890s.

James Woodcock

May 11, 2010 at 1:13 am

I didn’t leave my time machine anywhere. I question the use of characters created for kids to read being used in those settings. By all means write those stories but JJ was an invented character so just invent all the other characters as well.

“By all means write those stories but JJ was an invented character so just invent all the other characters as well.” I hate to break it to you, but Luke Cage is an invented character also. He’s not a real person. When you get over the shock, we’ll discuss Santa Claus.

Overheard in a line outside a movie theatre, next to a poster for Barb Wire, in NYC in 1996: “I didn’t know RuPaul had a new movie coming out!”

I always wondered why Barb Wire wasn’t called Barb Dwyer (you know, barbed wire)? Not obvious enough a pun?

FWIW, I’m pretty sure JJ being used as a sex slave by the Purple Man was retroactively written out (though I don’t think it was ever explicitly stated to begin with). Her reacting by saying “people always ask if he raped you; like if he didn’t, it wasn’t a complete violation”. Maybe because they didn’t want her to be the “raped superhero”. But in the original story it did seem like she at least had to watch a lot of PM’s debauchery.

Which was all a retcon anyway because the Sub-Mariner killed Killgrave in Emperor Doom.

[...] put boobies in these like Game of Thrones. Although, Jessica Jones’ debut did feature Luke Cage doing her in the butt. True story, and I just outed myself as a comic book nerd who reads about superhero ass sex. [...]

[...] put boobies in these like Game of Thrones. Although, Jessica Jones’ debut did feature Luke Cage doing her in the butt. True story, and I just outed myself as a comic book nerd who reads about superhero ass sex. [...]

[…] @writerserenyty Here are the pages in question… goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/04/29/com… […]

Excronimuss:–
You’re right, that is better.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives