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Scott’s Classic Comics Corner: Damn Yankees

Here we are at the end of June, and the Yankees sit atop the American League East and my beloved Blue Jays slide back down towards mediocrity. Not only have the Yankees dominated major league baseball over the years, but they have also made an impact in comic books. This week is dedicated to our fearless leader Brian, as I take a look at those Damn Yankees!

yankees

A good place to start is The Thrilling True Story of the Baseball Yankees (1952), as it has a great photo cover. You’ll notice that Mickey Mantle’s first name was misspelled. The script is by Charles Dexter, who wrote many of Fawcett’s sports-related comics. There is also a New York Giants version of this title.

BerraRiz

Fawcett produced some player biography comics, featuring a variety of major leaguers. Among those chosen were Yankee greats Yogi Berra and Phil Rizutto. Both were written by Charles Dexter and I believe that Kurt Schaffenberger provided the artwork. These are tough to find and in very high demand.

gehrig

Magazine Enterprises also produced a number of sports and biographical comic books during this era. Pride of the Yankees (1949) features a terrific photo cover and interior artwork by Ogden Whitney. While this one is also valuable, a G/VG copy sold last year for $56 so it is within reach for Gehrig fans.

nuts3

Fans of other baseball teams may get a kick out of Nuts! #3 (July, 1954). The cover pokes fun at Joe DiMaggio’s rather tumultuous relationship with Marilyn Monroe. It should also appeal to those who collect racist covers and/or covers featuring severed hands. That’s a select group.

littlearchie137

More readily available and more affordable is Little Archie #147 (October, 1979) which would have hit stands in the summer of ’79. The Yankees were once again a hot commodity, coming off back to back championships. I guess the Little Archie curse was in effect, as the Orioles easily won the division that year, with the Yankees finishing 4th. My Blue Jays were a remarkable 50.5 games out of first place. I never knew that the stands at Yankee Stadium were pink.

1960ad

In addition to be the subject matter for comic books, Yankee players were often seen as spokesmen for all sorts of products. Here’s a full page ad from 1960 featuring both Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. The fact that he was chosen as headliner over Joe Louis that really says something about Mantle’s popularity at the time.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks. Those Damn Yankees are in comics all over the place. There are also a lot of other terrific baseball related books, but that’s a topic I’ll tackle another day. How’s that for poor choice of metaphor? For more comic book chatter, check out my blog: Seduction of the Indifferent

21 Comments

Congrats! I’m a long-time Phillies fan and we are having our problems. Hopefully, we;ll get back into first by mid_july and then go on a hot streak.

Couldn’t swear to it, since I wasn’t exactly taking notes at the time, but I’m pretty sure I came across some usual early ’60s Yankees suspects — Mantle, maybe Moose Skowron, etc. — in a period story in one of the SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERMAN volumes a few weeks ago.

*sigh* Not a Yankees fan by any means, though at the moment I have 3 of the suckers on my fantasy team (2 of whom, true to form, are having really off years — Alex Rodriguez & Mark Texarkana). As a kid I rooted (for no particular reason that comes to mind) for the likes of the Twins, Royals, Phils & Expos, & over the years I’ve followed the Red Sox more than I have anybody else, though anymore I don’t particularly favor any team.

Yankees Rule, Blue Jays and Mets suck.

June 29, 2010 at 10:43 am

Sorry, just gotta say that the Blue Jays just suck… get over it. I will give them credit where credit is due though… they (usually) display a genuine knack at developing young talent. Talent, which I might add, is usually utilized to fullest effect by some other team.

On the other hand, there’s a reason the Yankees franchise (or more precisely, their players) are featured on so many comic covers over the years… they’ve been consistently good over the years at creating a winning team.

Talent, which I might add, is usually utilized to fullest effect by some other team.

Who is this even referring to? Roy Halladay? Alex Rios? This doesn’t make sense as an insult against the Blue Jays.

Yankees Rule, Blue Jays and Mets suck.

June 29, 2010 at 11:00 am

Hey, I’m just trying to find something nice to say about the team… if you want to take even that away… well.

Hey, it took four hours for the first douchey Yankees fan to post a comment. That beats the over/under by at least four hours.

Yankees Rule, Blue Jays and Mets suck.

June 29, 2010 at 11:44 am

Look, all I’m saying here is that there are just some things one must come to accept in life… like the Yankees being a dominant force in the sport of baseball… and yes, douchey Yankee fans that will point that out to you.

Hell, I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that (like the Mets) the Knicks will never cease to disappoint, but I don’t go around bashing the Lakers.

Btw, I actually DO expect more from the Mets in the coming years now that they’ve got pass that whole “curse of Shea” thing.

@ Yankees

Well, you could mention the Jays are leading the league in home runs currently with 115. That would be 31 more than the Yanks by the way.

GO JAYS GO!

Well, you could mention the Jays are leading the league in home runs currently with 115. That would be 31 more than the Yanks by the way.

How weird is it, by the way, that they’re leading the AL in homers but are 7th in runs scored? So strange….

That’s a whole lot of solo home runs, Brian.

I didn’t intend for this to become a ‘state of the AL East’ kind of thing. It was really just a way to showcase some interesting Yankee-related comics. I know that Brian is a big Yanks fan, and a baseball nut like me. Let’s not get all ‘so & so sucks’, because the only thing that kind of talks sucks, is the fun right out of comic book talk.

I’m actually surprised that Reggie Jackson didn’t get himself a comic book deal in the 70s. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing even an ad featuring Jackson (except for baseball cards with Twinkies). Johnny Bench for sure, and Pete Rose as a Phillie – but no Reggie. Am I wrong about that?

The thing that gets me about the Yankees is that many of their fans believe that the Yankees’ success over the years is a function of a) the favour of God and b) the virtue of the city and fans themselves, when really it’s because of a) New York’s huge size and consequent financial power, and b) generally astute management. The real problem with the Yankees winning as much as they do is that their fans think they deserve to be able to watch all this success when, of course, they don’t.

The Blue Jays don’t suck, of course; they’ve been a quite decent team over the past few years, although that’s been camouflaged by some bad luck and by playing in the AL East. They’ve got some good young talent, and more on the way, and are doing some smart things. I don’t think it’s enough, and I don’t expect them ever to play a postseason game again, but that’s different from being a bad team.

(Brian: it’s because they don’t have anybody who can get on base. The home runs don’t help that much when you only get one run every time you hit one.)

(Brian: it’s because they don’t have anybody who can get on base. The home runs don’t help that much when you only get one run every time you hit one.)

Yeah, but that’s still got to be close to some record, right? 349 runs with 115 home runs?! You’re obviously right about the OBP (last in the AL – even lower than the Mariners!!), but it’s still pretty weird.

Here’s an interesting positive thing about the Blue Jays (it even came up in Rob Neyer’s ESPN chat today). People used to make fun of them for picking Ricky Romero over Troy Tulowitzki. Not really anymore! Romero has been great.

Yankees Rule.

June 29, 2010 at 1:12 pm

@Matthew E

I am well aware that it is a function of financial power and astute management… and those factors are partly due to they’re being a NY team and partly due to the “legend” that has amassed over the years from past glories (thus making them more attractive to play for). I won’t mention God’s hand in it since that goes without saying. ;)

But perhaps you’ve raised an interesting point in this regard… despite the fact that there are many avid fans of the sport in Canada, it’s still a more “hockey centric” nation IMO. And perhaps that’s just one reason why the team has had consistent difficulty in capitalizing on it’s talent (as well as better management… at the front office where the big decisions are made).

Yankees Rule.

June 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm

@Matthew E

Oh, and as far as the fans thinking they deserve to watch all this success… well yeah, I do deserve it… I was once more considerate of other teams and their fans. But I’ve learned at a very young age… the hard way (over and over)… that there’s only one thing in the world that’s hated more than the Yankees, and that’s their fans. So excuse me if I don’t buy into your self righteous bullshit.

Jesus god. I hop off Baseball Think Factory just a few seconds ago & *here* I subject myself to reading a typical mouth-breathing Yankee fan’s paean to himself & his wondrousness?

Please, Scott — no more baseball topics, much as I love the game.

Scott, please ignore Dan’s advice against further baseball topics. I would like to see more articles about baseball in comics, and your column is the perfect place as it was a common motif in the Golden Age, but is almost never referenced in modern comics.

By the way, how do you know Little Archie isn’t pitching for the Mets?

P.S. I hate the stinkin’ Yankees! Go Tigers!

Yankees Rule.

June 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm

@Dan Bailey

Too bad you weren’t around to tell that shit to the drunkard punk Met fans who heckled a young fan out of the stands back in 80 for wearing the wrong cap… maybe my whole outlook would have been different… but then again, I was kinda glad I left. They were losing… as usual… and the whole place reeked of vomit anyway.

Okay, we’re done with this now. No more of this back and forth.

As a life-long Dodgers fan who was pretty much raised to loathe The Yankees, its nice seeing an article covering comics and baseball. Another niche collecting aspect but a very fun one. I have a couple of Jackie Robinson comics..while the artwork was decent at best, the scripts are pure schmatz

I love that Mantle ad…’Muscle Power of a Champ’…yes, the Mick tells all the kids to drink and carouse and spy on women through hotel windows.

Oh, and I HAVE to find that issue of Nuts! That’s all kinds of wrong, its right

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