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Comic Book Legends Revealed #269

Welcome to the two-hundred and sixty-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 sixty-eight.

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 Music Legends Revealed to learn of the musical hoax perpetrated by one of the hosts on American Idol prior to their tenure on Idol, plus discover whether the Association’s “Windy” was written about a guy!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook. As I’ve promised, at 2,000 Twitter followers I’ll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week we hit 2,000. So go follow us (here‘s the link to our Twitter page again)! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: A 1950’s children’s comic book changed its name over fears of getting caught in the middle of the anti-Communist fever in the United States at the time.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

At the height of the anti-Communist era in United States history, some pretty out there stuff was going on. In the past, I have written about how the Cincinnati Reds baseball team actually changed its name to the Cincinatti Redlegs for a number of years during the 1950s over fears of a fan backlash due to the team’s name seemingly evoking Communism.

So when St. John Publications came out with a Little Joe comic book in 1953…

and then changed the title of the book to Little Ike with the second issue…

The good folks at New England Comics’ Extinct #1 stated that it was likely because of fear of Communism, with the book changing from Joe (as in Joseph Stalin) to Ike (as in President Eisenhower).

And reader John McDonagh wrote in a few years past to tell me this one for a legend, using Extinct #1 as his reference.

However, in the SECOND issue of Extinct, they basically retract the point, as readers Joe Fitzgerald and Steven Rowe both wrote in to point out that…

A. Even in the headiest days of anti-Communism, the name “Joe” was not tainted. It wasn’t like it was “Adolf” or whatever. Joe was still a prevalent name in popular culture and, as commenter thok points out, Joe was the first name of the biggest name in anti-Communism, Senator Joe McCarthy!

but even more importantly,

B. There was ALREADY a comic out called Little Joe!

Little Joe was a long-running comic strip that, while it never starred in a comic book (it was featured in back-ups, but never as a lead in a comic), was still a nationally syndicated comic strip that ran from 1933 until the late 1960s/early 1970s and WAS featured on the first issue of Dell’s long-running Four Color series…

Little Joe was drawn by Ed Leffingwell (and when he died in 1936, his brother Robert took over and drew it until it ended decades later) and initially written by Leffingwell’s cousin, Harold Gray (of Little Orphan Annie fame, which is why Little Joe looks so similar to Annie), until Robert Leffingwell also took over the writing chores upon Gray’s departure from the strip in 1946.

I think the combination of those two things is enough for a false here.

Now, as to the Ike thing, that almost certainly WAS inspired by the President, but it doesn’t seem to be because of Communism or anything like that, just because the name was popular, and St. John liked three-letter names, like their more popular Little Eva…

Thanks to John for the suggestion and thanks to Joe and Steven for the information!

COMIC LEGEND: Marv Wolfman and Mike W. Barr created Terra and Geo-Force at the same time – independent of each other!

STATUS: True

The Teen Titan (and secret enemy of the group) Terra was created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez and debuted in the pages of the New Teen Titans #26, in late 1982…

Geo-Force, of the Outsiders, was created by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo, and debuted in the last issue of Brave and the Bold (#200), in early 1983…

The two heroes were later revealed to be siblings.

Reader Frank wrote in a few years back to ask:

Is it true than way back when that both Marv Wolfman and Mike W. Barr basically came up with the same character (Geo-Force/Terra) at the same time yet independently of each other – then wove their story together as a brother/sister combo??

Yes, that’s pretty much the exact story, Frank.

Wolfman and Perez were looking for a new character to be a new Titan (while secretly being a villain the whole time – read this past Comic Book Legends Revealed to learn which popular Marvel character Wolfman and Perez created Terra almost as a parody of) while Barr and Aparo were creating characters to be members of Batman’s new superhero group, alongside established characters like Black Lightning and Metamorpho.

Both Wolfman and Barr came up with the idea of having their characters have the superpower of controlling the Earth itself – this is not too surprising, considering Wolfman had already created a character with that power, Terrax, back when he was writing Fantastic Four for Marvel in the late 1970s…

Wolfman has spoken about this in a few places, but I’m specifically taking this quote from a 2003 edition of his old Silver Bullet Comics’ column…

One last note: I came into DC with Terra the same day Mike Barr came into DC with Geo-Force. Both had earth-shifting powers. It would have been unfair for one of us to get rid of our character, so we decided to make them brother and sister.

In a really cool piece of timing, less than two months ago, George Perez posted the following sketch on the George Perez Fan Page on Facebook, along with some extra background:

Here’s an historic find. This was the design sketch I did for Terra and Geo-Force back when both characters were introduced. When OUTSIDERS writer Mike Barr and TITANS writer Marv Wolfman found that they each had created a character with Earth-moving powers, they decided to have them be related to each other and I was asked to design costumes for both (replacing Terra’s debut outfit). Jim Aparo modified Geo-Force’s costume, but this was the original. Sorry that the pencils are so light.

Amazing!

Thanks so much for sharing that sketch with your fans, George!

And, of course, thanks to Marv Wolfman for the information and Frank for the initial question!

COMIC LEGEND: A small in-joke from the first issue of G.I. Joe #1 was put into “continuity”…twenty-four years later!!!

STATUS: True

Reader Ethan suggest I feature this one (a popular one among G.I. Joe fans) awhile back, and he’s right, it’s an interesting one.

In G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #1, writer Larry Hama and artist Herb Trimpe introduce the world to the G.I. Joe squad – a specially trained action force designed to fight against a terrorist group known as Cobra.

Most of the characters had really straightforward codenames, like Breaker (the communications expert), Clutch (the vehicle expert), Stalker (the infantry expert), Short Fuse (the explosives expert), etc.

Well, Hama figured that Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Jim Shooter, had a last name that would fit in perfect alongside these characters, so in the first issue of G. I. Joe, when the dossiers for the various characters are displayed…

And that’s the last time the character “Shooter” appeared in the series.

Fast-forward twenty-four years, and Hama was recruited by Devils’ Due to do a mini-series called G.I. Joe Declassified, showing how each of the various members of the original G.I. Joe team were recruited.

While he was doing that, Hama worked in the first (and last) appearance of Shooter, showing her in action and showing why we never saw or heard of her again…

1. She was a sort of “back-up” operative – the other members of the team did not even know she was ON the team. A sniper, she was held in reserve and secretly assisted the team, even stationed on their base under their noses…

2. She died on their first mission.

Here’s the ending of the main story from G. I. Joe #1…

And here it is from Shooter’s perspective…

Pretty neat, huh? Go seek out G. I. Joe Declassified! I reviewed it here on the blog – it was really quite good. Hama did a wonderful job on the characters.

Thanks to Ethan for the suggestion!

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. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

As you likely know by now, in April of last year my book 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!

88 Comments

Even in the headiest days of anti-Communism, the name “Joe” was not tainted.

It probably helped that the most virulent Anti-Communist of the day was Joseph McCarthy.

Exactly.

Little Eva had her own series? Before she did ‘Locomotion’?

Little Eva had her own series? Before she did ‘Locomotion’?

And after she was Little Lulu.

I always wondered what the deal with Shooter was when I was a kid. That’s pretty awesome.

” Even in the headiest days of anti-Communism, the name “Joe” was not tainted. It wasn’t like it was “Adolf” or whatever.”

That’s true, but it strikes me funny that if you pronounce “Little Eva” not as Little Ee-va but as Little A-va, it could refer to Eva Braun Hitler. :b

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 16, 2010 at 11:10 am

I remember reading the new teen titans and batman & the outsiders when they both introduced the characters Geo-force and Terra..

It was interesting seeing how both turned out differently back then, one for good and the other for evil.

Richard typed what I wanted to.

Solid stuff, as always, Brian. Some comments:

Little Joe: It’s pretty strange that someone would think that so “all-American” a name as Joe could be tainted by the fact that it was Stalin’s first name.

Terra:
Frankly, I always thought that the Terra and Geo-Force are siblings thing never really worked, as Terra just seemed too American to be connected to Continental Europeans like the Markovs . Even with the caveat that she was his half-sister (and presumably raised somewhat apart), it always seemed rather artificial.

>>Even in the headiest days of anti-Communism, the name “Joe” was not tainted.

>It probably helped that the most virulent Anti-Communist of the day was Joseph McCarthy.

Does that mean that after McCarthy was exposed as a loudmouthed witch-hunter preying upon idiots’ fears, “Joe” *was* tainted?

Watch what you say before Ethan Van Sciver comes in to talk about the ‘great’ Joe McCarthy. No one wants to hear that tripe again.

Did they ever follow up on that Atari vs Changeling storyline in Teen Titans? I want to know what became of that.

Watch what you say before Ethan Van Sciver comes in to talk about the ‘great’ Joe McCarthy. No one wants to hear that tripe again.

Whoa… I must have missed that. Backstory?

Comb&razor – I assume this is the reference….
http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/showthread.php?t=153368

Thanks, Onion3000!

(Wow… EVS is really deep into this stuff! Makes me feel like I gotta read up on it myself…)

Watch what you say before Ethan Van Sciver comes in to talk about the ‘great’ Joe McCarthy. No one wants to hear that tripe again.

God forbid anyone go against popular opinion and speak their mind. Why people want to live their life in opinion echo chambers is beyond me.

Oops, anonymous above is me.

But “popular oppinion” go through cycles. Nowadays, being conservative is cooler than it has been in decades (or, at least, there are more vocal conservatives out there), and it’s becoming “popular oppinion” that McCarthy was a great man, and the New Deal was an evil thing, and Reagan was amazing, etc.

>>God forbid anyone go against popular opinion and speak their mind.

I’m thinking that every now & then — god knows, it doesn’t happen very often, but it *does* happen, in the same sense that a broken clock (non-digital version, anyway) is right twice a day — popular opinion is correct … as in the matter of Joe McCarthy being a drunken exploiter of paranoiacs, for instance.

If some John Bircher who happens to draw comics thinks otherwise, tough.

Rene —

>>it’s boecoming becoming “popular oppinion” that McCarthy was a great man, and the New Deal was an evil thing, and Reagan was amazing, etc.

Hell, maybe you’re right. Living as I do these days in Alabama, where the lunatic fringe=the mainstream, I’ve admittedly lost track of such things. Wouldn’t be the first time the nutjobs have gained sway (see also: the last 40-odd years, pretty much).

Ethan Shuster

July 16, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Cool, that G.I. Joe bit was my suggestion. Thanks for including it.

Rene wrote:

“But “popular oppinion” go through cycles. Nowadays, being conservative is cooler than it has been in decades (or, at least, there are more vocal conservatives out there), and it’s becoming “popular oppinion” that McCarthy was a great man, and the New Deal was an evil thing, and Reagan was amazing, etc”

It’s always strange to me that liberals are constantly attacking Mccarthy for his “Communist witchhunts” but they continue to lionize Roosevelt who actually set up internment camps for people of Japanese descent. Which of the two is worse?

“God forbid anyone go against popular opinion and speak their mind. Why people want to live their life in opinion echo chambers is beyond me.”

You’re becoming a caricature of yourself. You’re defending McCarthyism now? When will you be sticking up for that poor underdog Strom Thurmond?

McCarthy was a piece of shit. The reason this opinion is popular is because it’s true. It’s not surprising to hear that some people are defending him, because his style of fear mongering is more popular than ever with extremists, as is his xenophobia and the kinds of lies and deceit he used to gain power. If people want to argue against the merits of the New Deal or for the merits of the Reagan era, hey, no problem. But McCarthy as a great man? That’s a crock of crazytown.

Next thing you know people are going to be claiming that Green Lantern / Green Arrow #76 has no artistic merit.

Scott Harris: “Next thing you know people are going to be claiming that Green Lantern/ Green Arrow #76 has no artistic merit.”

Except that that statement is true. Barring Neil Adams’ art, Green Lantern/Green Arrow # 76 is devoid of aesthetic merit

God forbid anyone go against popular opinion and speak their mind. Why people want to live their life in opinion echo chambers is beyond me.

Do you really believe this? If someone came on here with any opinion you would mind? If I were to launch into a virulent racist rant, you wouldn’t mind? Or do you only support people going against popular opinion when they happen to say what you agree with.

And do you really not know why people would want to “live their life in opinion echo chambers?” Have you never been frustrated by someone else expressing an opinion that you don’t agree with? Because it certain seems like you have. People, generally speaking, don’t like to be frustrated. Therefore, they like to live their life in opinion echo chambers. For someone who claims to study the human condition, I would have thought that was a pretty easy one to explain.

Finally, as a side note, when you said “opinion echo chambers”, do you know the first thing that popped into my head. Conservapedia. Now there’s an opinion echo chamber.

but they continue to lionize Roosevelt who actually set up internment camps for people of Japanese descent. Which of the two is worse?

People lionize Roosevelt for the things he did aside from the internment camp fiasco, and I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a liberal (or anyone else) who would defend that. From what I can tell, the lionization of McCarthy always seems to center around defending or justifying those Communist witch-hunts.

Maybe it’s just liberals, but we’re able to recognize that a person or a country can be lauded even if not everything they did was laudable. Just as they can be criticized even if they do good things in addition to bad things.

Except that that statement is true. Barring Neil Adams’ art, Green Lantern/Green Arrow # 76 is devoid of aesthetic merit

Well, syon… Considering the fact that you admitted that Neil Adams’ art does have aesthetic merit and Neil Adams’ art is in fact a part of the issue, then it is untrue that the comic is completely devoid of aesthetic merit, not so?

To be fair, Roosevelt did more bad stuff than just the internment camps. The first peacetime draft, for one. (It wasn’t peacetime for long, but that doesn’t matter.) And Wilson, who is also lionised by many Liberal-types, authorised anti-Communist witch-hunts which were possibly worse than McCarthy’s. A lot of people went to prison. (I realise it was Palmer who conducted the witch-hunting, and much of it occured after Wilson’s stroke, but he was still responsible for starting the whole mess.)
But I’m not going to defend McCarthy, or any of his ilk. I just get annoyed by one-sided political battles. (I’m aware few people who’ve commented here have been partisan about this. This is more a general complaint against arguments like this that I see many places.)

Oh man, I just realised the most obvious point.

Who wanted to live in a opinion echo chamber more than McCarthy himself. The CPUSA went “against popular opinion and speak their mind”, and McCarthy did everything he could to try and stop them. McCarthy was anti-free speech, so it’s pretty absurd for you T to get on your free speech high horse to try to defend him. That anonymous commenter was doing exactly the same thing to Van Sciver that McCarthy did to the CPUSA . To defend one by criticising the other seems pretty hypocritical.

Also, “People lionize Roosevelt for the things he did aside from the internment camp fiasco, and I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a liberal (or anyone else) who would defend that.” There is one person who praised Roosevelt for the internment camps – Ann Coulter.

comb & razor: As my statement was that the issue is, barring Adams’ art, devoid of aesthetic merit, I fail to understand your point.

syon, if you don’t like the writing in Green Lantern/Green Arrow #76, maybe it’d be easier to just say “I don’t think the writing in this comic is any good.” Because it’s rather silly to say that the issue is devoid of aesthetic merit “barring Adams’ art.” Why WOULD you bar Neal Adams’ art? It’s a part of the comic, isn’t it? Either the comic is devoid of artistic value or it isn’t… Make your choice.

(How about the lettering? The coloring? Are those utter rubbish too?)

Roosevelt did a hideous thing (and an extremely racist thing to boot), but you know, I enjoyed reading those issues of The Invaders when Bucky visited the internment camps. I am a liberal, but I am not opposed to the sins of liberal historic figures being explored in fiction. I don’t feel threatened by it, or angry, or start clamoring that politics must be kept out of my funny books. If you want to set more stories against this background (and I confess they are much rarer than “McCarthyism against superheroes” stories), I’d be all for it.

Regarding Joe McCarthy:

1.A balanced account of the man can be found in Richard Gid Powers’ NOT WITHOUT HONOR: THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN ANTICOMMUNISM.

2. Balancing the scales: It is rather interesting to note the tremendous posthumous fame that Joe McCarthy enjoys; mention his name in a multitude of languages, and the opprobrium will flow. In contrast, how many Pavlovian responses does the name Nikolai Yezhov engender (apart from Russian speakers)?. McCarthyism and McCarthyite are universally understood terms of abuse, but what about YEZHOVSHCHINA?

3. Yezhov was the head of the NKVD during the period 1937-38. That period, known in Russia as the Yezhovshchina, saw the murder of 681, 692 people (according to the official NKVD tally; the true figure is higher). Strange, isn’t it, how Yezhov remains so obscure today. One might almost imagine that political bias is at work.

comb & razor:

“Because it’s rather silly to say that the issue is devoid of aesthetic merit ‘barring Adams’ art.”: Really? People do it all the time. For example, it is generally held that John Huston’s adaptation of MOBY DICK, apart from Orson Welles’ stunning turn as Father Mapple, is an inferior piece of work, far below such films as THE MALTESE FALCON.

“Why WOULD you bar Neil Adams’ art?: For the very simple reason that claims to the issue’s artistic importance hinge on Denny O’Neil’s “groundbreaking” script.

It’s one thing to say that apart from Orson Welles’ performance that Moby Dick is “an inferior piece of work”… On the other hand, if you say a work is DEVOID of aesthetic merit, then it either is or it isn’t.

It seems to me that you have a problem with Denny O’Neill’s script, and that’s fine. Just say that. I would say it’s untrue that the claims to the issue’s artistic importance hinge SOLELY upon O’Neill’s script, but ultimately the script WAS groundbreaking, whether or not you think it’s artistically sound.

“It seems to me that you have a problem with Denny O’Neil’s script….” Seem is an unnecessary descriptive. If you are curious as to the nature of my objections to O’Neil’s script, go and read my comments in the 75 MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN DC COMICS HISTORY post.

Without aesthetic merit: As this phrasing seems to really bother you, how about this: The issue, containing a shockingly bad script and excellent art, is an inferior piece of work, and is best viewed with the words blotted out.

Without aesthetic merit: As this phrasing seems to really bother you, how about this: The issue, containing a shockingly bad script and excellent art, is an inferior piece of work, and is best viewed with the words blotted out.

Fine… I have no problem with that. My issue was the fact that you initially claimed that the issue was completely devoid of aesthetic merit and then you contradicted yourself by praising the art.

Beyond that, I’m really not that interested in reading your objections to O’neill’s script; I’ve heard it all before.

Strange, isn’t it, how Yezhov remains so obscure today. One might almost imagine that political bias is at work.

Yes, the fact that the head of the secret police who conducted a series of many largely secret murders during a regime that valued secrecy over almost everything else should be so poorly known is a real surprise. Especially compared to a major public figure who valued publicity over almost everything else (keep in mind that next to no-one had a television in 1930’s USSR, but everyone had a television in 1950’s USA.)

mention his name in a multitude of languages, and the opprobrium will flow…McCarthyism and McCarthyite are universally understood terms of abuse

I have to call bullshit on that one. What languages, other than English? You honestly telling me that I could go to any village in Africa or Asia and they’d know all about Senator McCarthy? Now I’m sure that they wouldn’t know about Yezhov, but if we were to mention one of the more public figures of the USSR, like Stalin or Molotov, I reckon that there’d be a good chance they’d know who we were talking about, much more that McCarthy anyway. And if we’re talking about opprobrium, nothing is said with more distain in Anglosphere politics than ‘gulag’.

And can we agree that blaming everything on ‘liberal bias’ or ‘political correctness’ is as much of a buzz-word, thought-ending cliche as the communists blaming everything on the ‘capitalist bourgeois’.

comb & razor:

“My issue was the fact that you initially claimed that the issue was completely devoid of aesthetic merit and then you contradicted yourself by praising the art.” This is incorrect. If I had said that the issue is devoid of aesthetic merit, and the art is excellent, that would have been a contradiction. Instead, I stated that the issue, barring Neil Adams’ art, is devoid of aesthetic merit. The qualifier “barring” eliminates contradiction in the sentence.

[…] Comic Book Legends Revealed #269 investigates the following legend: “Marv Wolfman and Mike W. Barr created Terra and Geo-Force at the same time – independent of each other!” […]

Scott Harris: Next thing you know people are going to be claiming that Green Lantern/ Green Arrow #76 has no artistic merit.

syon: Except that that statement is true. Barring Neil Adams’ art, Green Lantern/Green Arrow # 76 is devoid of aesthetic merit

Uh-huh. I’m sure I don’t have to spell it out here.

Ted :Yes, the fact that the head of the secret police who conducted a series of many largely secret murders during a regime that valued secrecy over almost everything else should be so poorly known is a real surprise. Especially compared to a major public figure who valued publicity over almost everything else (keep in mind that next to no-one had a television in 1930’s USSR, but everyone had a television in 1950’s USA.)

Head of the secret police: Yezhov was a publicly known figure.

Secret Murders: Not so secret. Such a large undertaking did not go unnoticed. People who were willing to look (George Orwell, Arthur Koestler, etc.) were quite aware of what was going on.

So poorly known: Things are known and discussed in relation to political biases. Many key figures from the 1950s have faded into obscurity: Kefauver, Dean Acheson, John Foster Dulles, etc. All of these men were quite famous in the 1950s, yet relatively few would recognized their names today, especially in comparison to the legions who know of McCarthy. McCarthy is better known because the arbiters of opinion have decided that people should know of him. Conversely, the same arbiters have opinion have decided that Yezhov should languish in obscurity.

Television ownership: In 1955, the year after McCarthy’s fall from power,tv ownership stood at about half of all US households.

I have to call bullshit on that one. What languages, other than English? You honestly telling me that I could go to any village in Africa or Asia and they’d know all about Senator McCarthy? Now I’m sure that they wouldn’t know about Yezhov, but if we were to mention one of the more public figures of the USSR, like Stalin or Molotov, I reckon that there’d be a good chance they’d know who we were talking about, much more that McCarthy anyway. And if we’re talking about opprobrium, nothing is said with more distain in Anglosphere politics than ‘gulag’

Languages other than English: I have encountered the terms in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The leftist professors and students that I encountered were quite fond of it.

Africa and Asia: I don’t recall specifying that people speaking every language are conversant with the term, merely that many are.

nothing is said with more disdain in Anglosphere politics than ‘gulag.': Really? In my experience, terms like “racist,” “Nazi,”and “concentration camp” are all spoken of with more disdain than “gulag.” These terms are also far better known, as well. Try going out on the street and asking people to define the words “Nazi” and “gulag.” I have a feeling that a much higher percentage will be able to define “Nazi.”

comb & razor: You seem to not understand the function of the qualifying phrase. Compare and contrast the following statements:

1. Except that that statement is true. GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW # 76 is devoid of aesthetic merit. Neil Adams’ art in the issue is excellent.

2. Except that that statement is true.Barring Neil Adams’ art, GREEN ARROW/GREEN LANTERN # 76 is devoid of aesthetic merit.

Statement one, devoid of a qualifying phrase, contradicts itself. Statement two, due to the presence of the qualifying phrase, is coherent and not self contradictory.

Incidentally, I wish to thank you for this conversation, as I intend to discuss it with my students in the Fall Quarter. I hadn’t realized that awareness of the qualifying phrase was so rare.

(gawd… I can’t believe I am even going here…)

syon, what you did was essentially pull a bait and switch. You initially said that Scott Harris’ hypothetical statement (“GL/GA #76 has no artistic merit”–no qualifying phrase) was true. And then you sought to reinforce it by introducing a slightly different statement, appending a qualifier that changes the statement’s meaning–acknowledging that there ARE in fact aspects of the comic that DO have significant artistic merit, while attempting to single out the aspect that you find disagreeable.

Again: if you don’t like the script in particular, just say that. Or you can go on contorting yourself trying to justify a fairly dumb statement; I’m done discussing this either way.

I don’t recall specifying that people speaking every language are conversant with the term, merely that many are.

Let me remind you: “McCarthyite are universally understood terms of abuse.” Universally means, at least to me, everyone. Not just people from rich European nations. And not just people at that, but leftist University students and lecturers, who are hardly a representative sample. Yes, in some areas McCarthy is better known, but in others Yezhov is. Still not surprising.

McCarthy is better known because the arbiters of opinion have decided that people should know of him. Conversely, the same arbiters have opinion have decided that Yezhov should languish in obscurity.

Whether or not Yezhov was known, he eschewed publicity. People had to be “willing to look” to find out what he had done. In contrast, McCarthy, like all politicians, tried to get as mush publicity as he could. He made himself synonymous with anti-communism because it helped his political career, which backfired when his brand of anti-communism became tainted in public opinion. Yes, McCarthy is a figurehead for things that we’re really his responsibility. But he is a figurehead due to his own actions, not some shady group of ‘arbiters of opinion’.

The person that probably should get most of the blame is J Edgar Hoover, yet no-one speaks of Hooverism. Surely the ‘arbiters of opinion’ should be all over that. Yet no-one speaks of Hooverism, and while Hoover mightn’t have the best reputation, it’s hardly equal to that of McCarthy. This is because Hoover, like Yezhov, kept things hidden (like COINTELPRO).

There are plenty of reasonable reasons why, in the English and European world, McCarthy is known better than Yezhov. When it comes down to it, Yezhov’s popularity is probably hurt most by the fact his name is hard for English speakers to say. I can’t see why we should create some conspiracy theory about some all-powerful cabal of ‘arbiters of opinion’, unless the “Things are known and discussed” by you are “in relation to political biases”.

In my experience, terms like “racist,” “Nazi,” and “concentration camp” are all spoken of with more disdain than “gulag.”

Fine. Gulag is one step down from Nazi, therefore people mustn’t think that McCarthyism is worse that the Great Purge. Talk about condemnation by faint praise.

I assume you meant to say ‘McCarthy is a figurehead for thing that WEREN”T really his responsibility’.
That is true, and although it isn’t essential to this ongoing discussion, it’s nice whever anyone points it out. McCarthyism had been building for some years before McCarthy ever got involved. He was primarily an opportunistic bandwagon-jumper. Of course, that doesn’t lessen his offences any, but it’s good to keep in mind. I’ve actually seen history books that said McCarthy started the anti-Communist witch-hunts, which is patently false. You can make a much better claim for Nixon getting the ball rolling, but you can find examples predating him as well.
Hoover, of course, deserves a great deal of blame, possibly more than anyone else, if for no other reason than that his paranoia, hunger for power, and disdain for basic Constitutional rights went on for so long, and he set precedents that are still followed today.

Travis Pelkie

July 17, 2010 at 1:20 am

Well, about the legends here, in reverse….

What I’m wondering about the GI Joe one is who decided the Shooter character was worth exploring? Did Hama have the back story ready for ages and finally got the chance to tell it, or did Joe fans demand the story be told, or did the Devils Due people suggest it (or did the Joe people want another action figure out of it?)

In an issue of Comics Interview from relatively early on in that mag’s run, there was an article discussing the plotting of B&B 200. Didn’t remember that Geo-Force was involved. And was that comment by Changeling about the Atari games a deliberate product placement (I’m guessing DC was starting to license Atari games right around that time)?

And I was about to question Little Joe being the first Four Color comic, but I took a look over at comics.org and see that I just learned something. (I thought that FC just cover numbered all their books separately [as in, the Little Lulu issues would have been series number, say, 83, but actually on the cover, it would say Little Lulu number 1], but I may be wrong.) How that got picked is odd.

good stuff this week.

Atari was owned by Warner in the ’80s, just like DC, so deliberate product placement is possible. But I don’t recall DC doing product placement for other Warner products at the time (but I was only reading DC occasionally by this time), so I’m not much convinced that’s what it was. It seems quite likely the Atari name was mentioned because that was by far the most popular game system at the time.

Travis Pelkie

July 17, 2010 at 1:42 am

Oh, I’m sure that that was part of it, that Atari was super popular, but I think the second panel mentioning Swordquest specifically is what made me think it was product placement. I don’t remember that game, even, and I have an old Atari (I actually have a sampler system that was used in a department store that has 40-some games in at least demo form. cool stuff). I didn’t realize that Atari was owned by Warner though.

Glad to see GI Joe get some space here, but I wish I had never read this one. I have to bash Hama over this. A classic example of a pointless self-serving retcon. I loathe the idea of going back to past stories and dig more out or insert more in when there was clearly no intent for that in the original writing. Why is taking a throwaway gag and making a story out of it years later a good thing? I know folks here seems to enjoy this type of thing, and I seem to be in the minority. It comes off to me as a poor excuse for creativity. The writer has no new ideas, so they literally have to rewrite old ones. I cite Greg Burgas’s Kurt Busiek column from a few months ago on this. This one isn’t even executed well. She’s a long range sniper sighting the Cobras through her scope and gets into hand to hand range in one panel.

That’s a great history lesson about the creation of Geo Force and Terra right there; really interesting as usual, Brian!

I assume you meant to say ‘McCarthy is a figurehead for thing that WEREN”T really his responsibility’.

Yes, my mistake.

Thinking about it, what Trajan seems to be saying is that, not only is Yezhov not remembered (in certain areas) for Yezhov’s crimes, but that no-one is remembered for Yezhov’s crimes. Thus, presumably, we can pretend that the USSR was better than it was and this will help leftists in the US somehow. This would explain why the ‘liberal media’ have perpetrated this lie.

But it isn’t true that no-one has been blamed for Yezhov’s crimes. Stalin has been blamed. Just like McCarthy became a figurehead for the Second Red Scare, Stalin was a figurehead for the USSR during his rule. Just like McCarthy (and all politicians) Stalin was concerned with his own publicity. In fact, he took it to extreme, creating a personality cult. So if we want to blame anyone for Yezhov being forgotten, we should blame Stalin.

So if we say that Yezhov’s crimes haven’t been forgotten, but Yezhov has, then forgetting Yezhov does not help the Left. In fact the only person that is being helped his Yezhov personally. It’s one thing to call the media liberally biased, but to claim that the media is being manipulated by descendants of Nikolai Yezhov merely to protect his name is a pretty ridiculous claim.

1. Did the original Little Joe strip have any connections to the TV show Bonanza? I doubt it, but just curious.
2. I remember Mike Barr writing a really funny article about the connection between Geo Force and Terra, about he and Marv Wolfman were eating lunch together and Marv mentioned he’d created a character just like Geo Force for Titans. Mike Barr wrote, “So, I knew what had to happen: I had to kill Marv Wolfman. As I grabbed my salad fork to do the job, Marv said, ‘Hey, we can make them brother and sister.’ Thus, Marv Wolfman saved his own life.” Admittedly, this is all from memory, and I bet you could find the original article.
3. So, do you think the character of Shooter was killed off in the first issue as a way of the writer stating how much he hated Jim Shooter, since a lot of creative people in Marvel at the time did?

1. Did the original Little Joe strip have any connections to the TV show Bonanza? I doubt it, but just curious.

Not directly, but there’s a very decent chance that the name did influence the naming of the Bonanza character.

2. I remember Mike Barr writing a really funny article about the connection between Geo Force and Terra, about he and Marv Wolfman were eating lunch together and Marv mentioned he’d created a character just like Geo Force for Titans. Mike Barr wrote, “So, I knew what had to happen: I had to kill Marv Wolfman. As I grabbed my salad fork to do the job, Marv said, ‘Hey, we can make them brother and sister.’ Thus, Marv Wolfman saved his own life.” Admittedly, this is all from memory, and I bet you could find the original article

Hilarious! Thanks for that.

3. So, do you think the character of Shooter was killed off in the first issue as a way of the writer stating how much he hated Jim Shooter, since a lot of creative people in Marvel at the time did?

No. Hama and Shooter were on good terms. Shooter did not actually exist as a character until 2006. She wasn’t killed off in the original comic because her inclusion in the comic was just a joke (heck, “she” didn’t even have a gender in the first issue – the code name was just a sight gag).

I don’t see the point of all this talk about Yezhov? It’s strange to assume that there is political bias at work to save the “good name” of a secret police commander from the USSR. Except for a very few lunatic fringe, everyone today accepts that the USSR was a repressive and (many times) brutal regime.

Where is the liberal bias whitewashing Soviet crimes? Every time a Soviet official is depicted in a comic book written by “liberal” writers, said official is depicted as a brutal, pragmatic, manipulative, cold-hearted monster. John Ostrander and Steve Englehart are as liberal as can be, but their depictions of the Soviet Union in Suicide Squad, Firestorm, and Green Lantern Corps were of a brutal dystopia.

Maybe we don’t know names of specific Soviet agents and officials like we know McCarthy’s, but we know that anyone that closely associated with the USSR will probably be a bad guy.

um..the PoFlaWa here is sweet?

and..damn…if i had paid some sort of attention…um…eh…

OBSCURE RUSSIAN SCUM BAG!!!

/runs out, slams door.

The Swordquest game were f-ing terrible. I have a fairly decent collection of Atari 2600 carts and man, those Swordquest games are some of the worst. There were actually DC comic created mini-comics done by Perez and Giordano that were included with the games and they are probably now worth more than the carts themselves. There were supposed to be four games made but the final one never was released. It was obviously some type of product placement at that time.

So no one else noticed that Shooter started out as a white male on the screen, but died a young black woman?

Being a Joe really takes its toll on a guy i suppose…

yowza

comb & razor: I think that you need to brush up on your basic grammar. Please try to read the following sentences:

I do not like this BLT. However, the tomato is good.

Huston’s MOBY DICK is a boring film, although Welles’ performance as Father Mapple is quite good.

Jill’s statement that LADY IN THE WATER is a bad film is correct. Barring Giammati’s performance, the film is listless.

Try not to be embarrassed by your lack of grammatical knowledge. One should never be afraid to admit not understanding something. Why, I once had a student who did not know that “different than” is not standard English.

Ted:So if we say that Yezhov’s crimes haven’t been forgotten, but Yezhov has, then forgetting Yezhov does not help the Left. In fact the only person that is being helped his Yezhov personally. It’s one thing to call the media liberally biased, but to claim that the media is being manipulated by descendants of Nikolai Yezhov merely to protect his name is a pretty ridiculous claim.:

Yezhov’s crimes: Actually, I would argue that they are being forgotten. Again, go out on the street and ask people to define both the Great Purge of 1937-38 and the McCarthy period. If you don’t live in Russia, I would wager that considerably more people would be able to define the McCarthy period than the Great Purge.

“Stalin was a figurehead for the USSR during his rule”: A strange way to characterize one of the most brutal tyrants of the 20th century. Do you really feel that Stalin was not the actual ruler of the Soviet Union during the period 1937-38?

Media being manipulated by the descendents of Yezhov: I don’t recall making such an assertion. What I did say is that the arbiters of opinion in our society have decided that Yezhov is unimportant. For that matter, they have also decided that such bloodstained figures as Yagoda and Beria are similarly unimportant, at least as compared to such world-historical actors as McCarthy and Roy Cohn.

“Yes, in some areas McCarthy is better known, but in others Yezhov is. Still not surprising.” : Actually, outside of the former USSR (where his name is a byword for terror), Yezhov is virtually unknown. Again, poll average citizens in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, etc., and you will see that vastly more people are familiar with McCarthy. Why should the citizenry of these nations be so well acquainted with a figure like McCarthy? Perhaps it is because the arbiters of opinion have decided that Germans, Spaniards, Italians, etc., should know about McCarthy but not about Yezhov?

Pronouncing Yezhov: I’m sorry, but this is a silly argument. If Anglophones can cope with Mao, Goebbels, and Hirohito, then they can cope with Yezhov. For that matter, McCarthy does not exactly come trippingly off a Frenchman’s tongue, yet McCarthy is well known in France.

Denying the Great Purge; If you are curious as to how many members of the Left attempted to distort this period (H.G. Wells, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Walter Duranty, etc.), I Strongly recommend Robert Conquest’s THE GREAT TERROR.

I do think people whould be allowed to criticise McCarthy, or anyone else for that matter, without having to add that Yezhov, or Stalin or Mao or anyone else, was much worse. If one has to list everyone who was worse everytime one criticises somebody, nobody will ever get criticised.

Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.

Also, Larry Hama’s pretty awesome.

“I do think people whould be allowed to criticise McCarthy, or anyone else for that matter, without having to add that Yezhov, or Stalin or Mao or anyone else, was much worse. If one has to list everyone who was worse everytime one criticises somebody, nobody will ever get criticised.”

Perhaps those people are less different than I thought… Hold on, is that standard English?

Perhaps those people are less different than I thought… Hold on, is that standard English?

*rimshot*

Actually, I would argue that they are being forgotten. Again, go out on the street and ask people to define both the Great Purge of 1937-38 and the McCarthy period.

Yes, the Great Purge by itself isn’t so well known (in America). But those crimes haven’t been forgotten, they’ve been subsumed into Stalin’s crimes in general. If I was to go out on the street, and ask people about Stalin, I imagine that most would say that he was an evil dictator who killed millions of people. Those millions include Yezhov’s victims. Still not forgotten.

If you were to say that Lenin’s crimes have been forgotten, you’d have an argument.

Do you really feel that Stalin was not the actual ruler of the Soviet Union during the period 1937-38?

Being ‘a figurehead’ is different from being ‘merely a figurehead’. He was the ruler, but not everything that happened at that time was his decision. He didn’t sign off every murder personally, he wouldn’t have had time for anything else. Yet he gets the blame for everything, because (by his own actions) he was the central figure at the time.

If you don’t live in Russia, I would wager that considerably more people would be able to define the McCarthy period than the Great Purge.

What street? Street where, other than Russia? If I were to ask that question in Africa or Asia, I imagine that I’d be lucky to find someone who knew either of them. “poll average citizens in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, etc.,” Do you not see what is in common with all those countries? That they are all countries in Western Europe? Your definition of the world seems to only include Europe and North America.

Yes, McCarthy is well known in Western Europe. Here are a list of things that are well known in Western Europe:
American Politicians
American Movies
American Music
American Celebrities
American Cities
and I could go on. So is it that Western Europeans and North American (because we have established that we aren’t talking about the world) have been manipulated by some secret cabal into forgetting Yezhov, or is it just that they know the US better than Russia, because they watch American movies and listen to American songs etc. And if we are wondering why McCarthy is better known in American than Yezhov, what explanation is needed other than he’s American

Here are some more names: Videla, Pattakos, Stroessner, Mengistu, Marulanda. Now all of these people have committed atrocities, although not to the extent of Yezhov, but much worse that McCarthy. Now do you know any of these people? Because I had to look them up. Have they been ignored by the all-powerful arbiters of opinion? Or can we take the much more reasonable answer, and say they are unknown because most people are profoundly ignorant about other countries.

Hanlon’s Razor goes: ‘Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.’ Yezhov’s obscurity can be adequately explained by stupidity. To introduce some conspiracy, with absolutely no evidence, it to make the same accusations baced on rumour, circumstance and innuendo that both Yezhov and McCarthy engaged in. If you can provide some evidence that Yezhov is being whitewashed then I’d like to see it (and I mean whitewash it now, not decades ago like Wells and Duranty) then I’d like to see it. Otherwise you’re just engaging in a witch-hunt.

Looking at it again, figurehead may have been the wrong word. I mean ‘public face of’.

Some of the arguments were just getting petty/personal/etc. so I dumped some. Avoid being mean for no reason.

Just to clear one thing: Terra and Geo-Force did NOT have the same powers. Geo-Force controlled the energies of the Earth (gravity and heat) while Terra controlled soil and rock. Two very different abilities. Now, for all I know Geo-Force was originally meant to be an earth-mover as well and they changed it so he wouldn’t be an exact copy of his sister, and I *think* that later GF actually gained the ability to control the Earth. But at least at first, their powers, as seen in the comics, would hardly make each others’ redundant. So I think it was more a case of writers of different comics working together to build a larger picture (*Gasp!* What a concept! :D ) than a resolution to an apparent redundancy.

@Todd, It doesnt’ appear to me that the shooter character started off as a white male. The original face is mostly obscured by the hand pointed at the screen, but does appear to be dark skinned. With the way the face is obscured, it could be a male or a female with short hair, as later shown.

McCarthyism is a well-known concept in many European languages other than English.

@Logan & Todd
I made the same mistake – the curled fingers between index and thumb look like Shooter’s face in the original in-joke panel. (Thanks for clearing that up, Todd!)

This is one of the most bizarre threads CBLR has had in quite a while.

Syon and Comb & Razor both blew their semantic argument completely out of proportion.

yeesh, I haven’t seen a thread derail this badly in years…

I just want to say thank you for the Terra legend. I’ve always enjoyed her character and that era of the Titans book so finding out more about her behind the scenes creation and development makes me happy. You are the man Brian.

Didn’t DC also publish an Atari Force comic at some point? I’m not sure if it was a regular monthly comic or a drop-in-box item you got when you bought a game. Definite product placement there, but it’s fair to note that Marvel was experimenting with computer game tie-ins in the 80’s too, with their, what was it called, “Computer Quest” one-shots featuring Spidey and the Hulk. These days, 30 years later, both companies are still trying to merge the two media, and in some ways it doesn’t look so good for printed paper comics.

Also, except for the games and the design of the console itself, the Atari 2600 was completely devoid of artistic merit. Though the packaging was nice.

Questworld? Compu-Quest?

@trajan23

Answer me this, you think that if you ask ppl about other people in McCarthy's camp at the time they would recognize who they are?!

This seems to have disappeared:

>”comb & razor: I think that you need to brush up on your basic grammar. Please try to read the following sentences:

I do not like this BLT. However, the tomato is good.”<

Actually it should say: "This BLT has no good parts, except the tomato!" And then saying that the guy saying that the BLT has some good parts is wrong…

Or someone says: "Film X has some redeeming qualities." and you answering "No it doesn't… except redeeming quality Y!"

Just admit you didn't word it as well as you could. Yes, the sentence makes sense on it's own, but in the context it was in you where contradicting your argument against his statement. Logically it does not follow ("No X's are Y's, but one Y is an X" is not possible).

Also, common usage always overrides standard language eventually.

Forget it, Random… It’s Chinatown.

Do you really believe this? If someone came on here with any opinion you would mind? If I were to launch into a virulent racist rant, you wouldn’t mind? Or do you only support people going against popular opinion when they happen to say what you agree with.

This is not a fair comparison because Ethan Van Sciver from what I saw was never being virulent, deliberately hurtful and mean-spirited in his arguments. Also, he was incredibly well-researched and level-headed. This is not to say he was right, as I have not enough information to make a judgment on McCarthy. All I know is the popular opinion that he was a bully. What I’m saying is the Ethan Van Sciver has a right to make the argument.

If someone made a virulent, racist rant I wouldn’t want that in a message board either. But if someone made for example a calm argument that had a racist conclusion, say for example that blacks have a right to be racially profiled because per capita they commit 5 times the amount of crime as whites, complete with meticulously detailed proof, I’d let them make the argument and engage them on the merits no matter how distasteful the conclusions they made were to me.

Far as I could see, Sciver wasn’t being insulting or mean-spirited, so I don’t see why people had to gang up on him for making the opinion. The ones who disagreed but chose to engage him intellectually on the topic I have no problem with. It’s more the people who felt like they had to shout him down without engaging him intellectually at all that bother me.

You’re becoming a caricature of yourself. You’re defending McCarthyism now? When will you be sticking up for that poor underdog Strom Thurmond?

Or do you only support people going against popular opinion when they happen to say what you agree with.

You both misunderstand me. I don’t agree with Ethan Van Sciver. I don’t DISagree with him either. I know little about McCarthy outside of what the media and education system has taught me. All I know is that I am not well-versed in the subject enough to categorically and summarily smugly dismiss all his mitigating evidence out of hand. He is arguing in good faith and respectfully, he is detailing his arguments, he deserves the right to engage people with his opinion rather than be shouted down for expressing it.

Everyone in the US but McCarthy could have been a communist spy and he’d still be an arsehole. It’s easy to tell, just watch some videos of him interrogating people or making statements… i mean hell, his popularity started fading once people saw how he conducted his interrogations on TV.

And hell, even just the name “House Committee on Un-American Activities” should be enough to judge the stupidity.

“”Forget it, Random… It’s Chinatown.””

Frankly i would have shot the old guy and dared them to trial(sp?) me.

It’s probably just because I’ve been reading through all the Doonesbury books – but Shooter’s mom makes me think of Lacey Davenport…..

All this arguing…and what stuck with me from the article was Terra’s headdress looks like she was the lovechild of Mantis and the Grim Reaper….

“All I know is that I am not well-versed in the subject enough to categorically and summarily smugly dismiss all his mitigating evidence out of hand. He is arguing in good faith and respectfully, he is detailing his arguments, he deserves the right to engage people with his opinion rather than be shouted down for expressing it.”

That’s my word, son.

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