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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #329

Welcome to the three hundredth and twenty-ninth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn about the Donald Duck comic book story that Disney wouldn’t let you see! Discover what would have been the ending of the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon series! And marvel at what comic book creator coined the famous Lone Ranger/Tonto joke, “what you mean…we?”

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and twenty-seven.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: E. Nelson Bridwell coined the famous Lone Ranger/Tonto joke “what you mean…we”?

STATUS: Apparently True

A very popular joke during the 1960s involved the Lone Ranger and Tonto. The joke goes as follows (this is a quote):

The Lone Ranger and Tonto are watching a horde of Indian braves bear down on them in full battle fury. “Looks like we’re in trouble, Tonto,” says the Lone Ranger to his pal. “What you mean ‘we,’ white man?,” Tonto responds.

It has become very popular in recent years as a rhetorical device for essay writers who wish to write about situations where someone takes for granted that someone is his/her ally.

And amazingly enough, this joke appears to have been coined by a classic Silver Age comic book creator.

However, you’d be hard pressed to imagine WHICH one, as it was written by E. Nelson Bridwell, longtime assistant editor to Mort Weisinger at DC Comics! Before Bridwell went to work for DC (where he helped introduce a number of innovations when it came to the world of comic book continuity), he wrote gags for Mad Magazine. And the Lone Ranger joke was one of them.

Reader Matt L. wrote in to ask me if this story was true. I’ve seen it before (our own Greg Hatcher mentioned it in a piece a few years back), but I’ve never looked into it.

As it turns out, in 1958′s Mad #38, Bridwell did a bit on things you’ll never see on various popular TV series. Joe Orlando did the artwork.

Here is the one for the Lone Ranger…

I’ve examined this pretty heavily (and I’ve seen other people at etymology sites do so, as well) and I have yet to find any other published version of this joke anywhere else that predate 1958. Mad certainly was a very popular magazine at the time, so the notion of the joke becoming so prolific from the pages of Mad is not so hard to believe. That said, I would not be shocked at all if the joke predated Bridwell’s usage. Still, since I can’t find any other published reference to it that predates Bridwell’s, I think it is fair to give him the credit. I also asked Mark Waid (who knew Bridwell late in Bridwell’s life when Waid was just starting in comics) what he thought about it, and he said he believed that it was Bridwell’s gag, noting that Bridwell was a gifted gag writer. So if it is good enough for Mark Waid, who am I to disagree?

Thanks to Matt L. for the suggestion! Thanks to Mark Waid for his thoughts and a big shout out to Greg Hatcher for his previous mention of this fact!

COMIC LEGEND: Disney had another artist change the ending of a Carl Barks story because the story ended with Donald as an arsonist.

STATUS: True

In 1945′s Four Color Comics #108, Carl Barks wrote and drew an enjoyable tale called “The Firebug.”

After Donald becomes an arsonist, someone else starts stealing his unique fires (Donald can make t-shaped fires, square fires, etc.). A fire cop keeps running into Donald until Donald and his nephews discover that the arson cop is an impostor who has been stealing Donald’s fire ideas!

As you can see, the story ends as a dream. The last two panels, however, were produced by another comic book artist, Carl Buettner. As Barks explains it, “The editors objected to the last couple of panels of that story because I had Donald set fire to the judge’s wastebasket. [It] accidently burned down the courthouse, and he wound up in jail. Western couldn’t have a Disney character looking out from behind bars in the final panel of the story, so they changed the ending. They didn’t usually redraw my art like that; the editors would often suggest that the artist do the changing himself. But these two panels would have been done by one of the staff artists, either Carl Buettner or Tom McKimson.” Later research shows that it was almost certainly Bruettner.

Sadly, Barks’ original panels appear to be lost for good.

What is so strange about Disney’s decision is that just a year earlier, in Walt Disney Comics and Stories #50, Bruettner had a comic that ended like this…

Weird, no?

Thanks to Anthony Durrant for the suggestion for this piece! Thanks to the great Daniël van Eijmeren for the Barks quote!

COMIC LEGEND: Had the 1990s Spider-Man Animated Series continued, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson would have gotten married.

STATUS: False

Reader Andy K. wrote in with this one, and I’m afraid to say, Andy, that it was a bit of a case of the telephone game, or in other words, two different stories got mixed together.

The Spider-Man animated series during the 1990s was popular, despite all the seemingly silly rules that story editor John Semper had to deal with (like “no blood,” “no vampires,” etc.). The series had a bit of a premature ending, though, as it finished while Peter Parker’s girlfriend, Mary Jane Watson, was still trapped in limbo (she ended up there because the show could not have characters die, so in their version of the death of Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane was knocked into “limbo”).

Peter’s friend Madame Web promised him that he would eventually find her, but we never see it resolved (the show was still doing well in the ratings, but the economics of animated series have always been strange – producers are typically more willing to end earlier than expected and try to launch a new series). When a sequel series came out a little while later called Spider-Man Unlimited, Peter and Mary Jane are reunited and are married. Well, Andy told me they were married – if you look at the actual scene in the episode it is not clear, and honestly, I think I would tend towards “not married.”

However, Andy’s take (that they are married in Unlimited) matches the popular belief, and that led to a rumor that had Semper been able to do another season of Spider-Man, he would have had Peter rescue Mary Jane and they would have gotten married (just like Peter planned to do in a fifth season episode where it is revealed that the Mary Jane Peter was marrying was a clone).

However, Semper set the record straight in a great interview with DRG4 where he explained his actual plans for the next season of the show (a season that never came). It would involve Spider-Man entering limbo to go find Mary Jane:

I wanted to do a mini-series in which he would end up chasing Mary Jane through the past, trying to find her. Not a big thing, just four or five episodes. I thought it’d be interesting to see Spidey deal with certain historic moments in time {one place would be Victorian England during the time of Jack the Ripper, being portrayed by the real Carnage}, not just the nation’s history, but his own personal life, too. And somehow, this would lead back to the present. I had more specific ideas, but that’s where it was headed. But then again, I really didn’t want to go any further. Everything had been wrapped up neatly. All the important stuff…Spidey now liked himself, he’d met his creator and said, “You know what, I beyond you now…I’ve grown.” That’s really the end of Peter Parker’s story. He’d saved all reality. You can’t really top that. If we had continued, I’d just have been doing it for the money. My real saga was done.

In a separate interview with Marvel Animation Age, Semper’s views on the idea of the characters marrying was made clear:

Marvel Animation Age: Why was the decision made to make Mary Jane a water clone towards the end of the series? When Turning Point was originally conceived, did you actually intend to bring her back?

Semper: It was a way for us to do the marriage of Peter and M.J. without having it actually stick. I mean, Peter can’t ever get the girl for real, now, can he? And, yes, I always intended to bring the real M.J. back.

So no, the events of Spider-Man Unlimited had no ties to Semper’s original plans, Andy! Thanks for the question!

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!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! 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!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Legends Revealed, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at legendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(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!

63 Comments

That “Firebug” story was reprinted in one of the very first comics my mom bought me. A very weird introduction to comics, Disney, and Carl Barks.

An alternate version of the Barks story that restores the original ending of Donald in jail can be found in the second volume (first slipcase) of the “Carl Barks Collection” that was at least published in Germany and the Scandinavian countries. It was written by Geoffrey Blum and pencilled by Daan Jippes.

Why would you complain that a children’s cartoon couldn’t show blood or vampires? You sound like the comic-book company president in the movie “Artists and Models”: “62 pages of drawings and no blood? Not even an itsy-bitsy nose bleed? Suffering catfish, do you call this a book for kiddies? With no stranglings? No decapitations?”

The “classic” version of the Lone Ranger joke closes with Tonto saying “What (do) you mean WE, white man?” That certainly has more punch, so I’d wonder if it’s a later improvement or if Bridwell or his editor toned dow the racial reference from an existing bit.

That version (which I do agree is the “classic” version of the gag) began popping up in print around 1962.

And that’s another thing, really – the joke began popping up in a print a lot during the early 1960s but nowhere before Bridwell. Which I imagine would lend support to “Bridwell coined it.”

@Matt Bird: The ’94 Spidey toon really DID have to deal with ridiculous S&P notes, though. Never mind the blood; there are LOTS of children’s cartoons that have vampires. Whereas the Spidey toon had Morbius sucking “plasma” through the palms of his hands.

Spider-Man wasn’t allowed to punch anybody, guns didn’t fire bullets, and purportedly they weren’t even allowed to have windows shatter.

All that, and do feel free to explain Spider-Man’s origin story without using the words “killed” or “dead”.

Gerson King Combo

August 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

That Lone Ranger joke is so famous it was translated to portuguese. It´s pretty well known here in Brazil.

I’m fairly certain Spider-Man Unlimited didn’t have Peter & MJ married, or at least, it never said they were. She only appeared in the first episode for one scene (and ironically was voiced by Jennifer Hale, who voiced the SM:TAS Black Cat). Peter never called her his wife, even when trapped on Counter-Earth.

Manos (the Freshmaker)

August 26, 2011 at 10:23 am

The “white man” addition is needed only when the joke is removed from the visual setting. I doubt its absence in Mad was an attempt to tone down the racial humor, as it’s still the same gag.

I’m guessing the ending to the Donald story was changed, not because of him ending up in jail (that was a common gag in cartoons for many characters at the time) but a hesitancy to have a popular children’s character be seen setting fires in “reality” (as opposed to a dream).

That does make sense, Hank. I figure, though, that Barks must have been speaking with some authority when he said it was the jail reason.

Yeah, Frank, after watching the scene from Unlimited, I tend to agree with you. I’ve edited the piece accordingly.

I loved the 90s Spider-Man cartoon. I also think the idea of having Carnage has Jack the Ripper is pretty interesting, but I don’t know how they could have pulled it off with the restriction of not being allowed to have Carnage kill.

As for Spider-Man Unlimited, I don’t remember if it was explicitly stated if Pete and MJ were married, but if I remember correctly they did live together. There was also a subplot where it seemed Peter was falling for his landlady on Counter-Earth, which I guess would have different implications if he and MJ were married.

The reasons for the strong restrictions on the 90′s “Spider-Man” series has to do with “Batman: The Animated Series”. While FOX loved Batman, they hated the level of violence that came out of that show. It was already an uphill battle to have the content in those first four years of the show, by the time Spider-Man rolled around, FOX began putting tighter restrictions on newer animated action shows. That’s why when B:TAS moved to Kids WB, they had more freedom to tell the stories that they wanted and one of the first ones they created was the episode that introduced Firefly. Someone that they couldn’t use over at FOX, due to his arsonist background. This is ultimately why Cartoon Network has been able to get away with the stuff that they’ve done, since standards and practices aren’t as strict as it is on network television.

Yeah, not being able to show punches or breaking glass (or refer to offscreen killings) is a little silly. And it drives me nuts that the bad guys in the Captain America show (or even the recent movie) couldn’t have swastikas. But cutting out the blood and vampires I don’t mind. Neither is exactly key to the Spider-Man concept.

I will always remember the Spider-Man cartoon for this Spider-Man cartoon maker program I had on a crusty old PC back in the day. All of the character designs were based off the cartoon and each had its own cheesy little theme music that would play whenever they came on screen. You could create crude little animated “shorts” with different backgrounds and stuff.

It was cheesy and terribly low-tech but my buddy and I had a blast messing around with it.

Anyways…

Watching some of Spider-Man TAS again fairly recently, I realized that while the censorship was draconian, later episodes also suffer from Semper’s unwillingness to work within the confines of what he was allowed to show. So, for example, he knows that vampires and blood are out, yet half of the second season is devoted to a plotline involving Michael Morbius and Blade. Many more episodes center on Spider-Man’s brushes with the mob (in fact, I would say Kingpin is the main villain of the series). So you’ll have scenes where Spider-Man comes up against Hammerhead and a gang of thugs, and they’re all firing these ridiculous laser weapons at him, and it just doesn’t work at all. Or when they bring in the Punisher, and he’s been completely neutered by the censors, shooting criminals with nets from his gun instead of bullets, it’s terrible.

I understand that fighting street-level crooks and “killers” like the Punisher is a part of Spider-Man’s history, but by the 90s, there were thousands of published Spider-Man stories to cull from, most of them not involving gunmen or the mob. I get the sense that Semper didn’t have much interest in writing classic rogues like Mysterio and the Vulture, who work great within the censorship rules. Even Doctor Octopus was benched for much of the show, if I remember correctly.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’ll always think fondly of Spider-Man: TAS. I just think it could have been a stronger series if Semper stuck to the short-arc, Spider-Man-against-his-rogues formula from the first season, which is more like the Ditko run, rather than what he did, which more resembles comics from the 70s, but with stricter censorship. Heh, I guess what I’m really saying is Spider-Man: The Animated Series could have been a better show if it was actually The Spectacular Spider-Man.

That Spider-Man show… I dunno, man. Rewatching it now, it’s not as bad as I remember it. Like it’s not as sloppy as X-Men: TAS. But it’s still really odd.

But cutting out the blood and vampires I don’t mind. Neither is exactly key to the Spider-Man concept.

“Is he strong? Listen, bud. He’s got radioactive [bleep].”

I’m with Cass you would think they’d just do stuff differently to go with their limitations.

Of course those limitations don’t explain the awful character design, art direction, writing, or reuse of animation. I’m very surprised to hear the driving force of the show had creative integrity and a vision for the show because it always seemed like jumbled hackwork to me.

Hi! I sent you an email some weeks ago about the 2001 Marvel title “Brotherhood”, written by ‘X’, an author whose identity was never revealed by Marvel. Do you have any clue?

Nope, no idea who X is.

Wasn’t “X” really Howard Mackie?

A lot of people believe so, but no one has ever revealed it one way or the other.

Can’t you ask? I mean, Mackie was kind of on the outs with Marvel when that series was launched. He was wrapping up Spider-Man, Mutant X.. and then he fell into a 5 year limbo. Now he’s doing rethreads of comics he once wrote; a clone saga mini here, a Darkhawk mini there. There has to be some dirt on this story, right?

Donald Duck sure had an edge to him. I always assumed he had some sort of rage issues stemming from his unloved childhood.

The second I found out that MJ was a Hydro-Clone was the second I lost all interest in that cartoon.

You know, I wasn’t a huge fan of the 90s Spider-man cartoon, but I never even realized they never showed him punching anyone.

“Semper: It was a way for us to do the marriage of Peter and M.J. without having it actually stick. I mean, Peter can’t ever get the girl for real, now, can he?”

YES!

HE!

CAN!

Is that all Spider-Man is to writers? A failure in everything but crimefighting? Because that was NEVER my interest in Spider-Man.

The one thing I’ll say about ’90′s Spider-Man cartoon is that the kid from the Brady Bunch movie made a pretty good Spider-Man voice.

“The one thing I’ll say about ’90?s Spider-Man cartoon is that the kid from the Brady Bunch movie made a pretty good Spider-Man voice.”

I respectfully disagree; that was just one of the problems I had with the show…

“You know, I wasn’t a huge fan of the 90s Spider-man cartoon, but I never even realized they never showed him punching anyone.”

Well, he did punch at least one villain, but a big deal was made of it. When he fought the Spot, he guided a punch through the Spot’s portals using his spider-sense to do so.

People harp on the show but I always loved it and the X-Men 90s show. I watched them before I ever read any comics, and don’t think subsequent adaptations have been nearly as good.

Ave, I enjoyed them too (though I also enjoyed the recent Spectacular Spider-Man.
The stories about No Punching, No Shattering Glass don’t startle me at all–this has been an issue in cartoons since the seventies at least. There was one cartoon episode where the censors ruled a character couldn’t hide a cat on a plate of spaghetti because (what else) kids might do that to their pets! Plus the whole Herbie-for-the-Human-Torch silliness.
Or Christy Marx’s comment on Conan the Adventurer and the difficulty of writing a Conan who can’t drink, kill people or have sex.

I know I watched the SpiderMan cartoon, but I don’t remember it. Only vague stuff, so I can’t say whether or not it was any good.

I would guess the Donald thing was more for the arson than the jail, as the jail bit doesn’t resolve Donald’s pyro tendencies, but this shows it was just a dream. I seem to remember other stories like the one you show where the main character ends up in jail at the end, but it’s known that he’s just in briefly, not that he’s an unrepentant criminal.

That is awesome about “whattya mean WE?”. The idea that a comics creator came up with a gag that can be traced like that…way cool. There are gags like that that have to be created in a certain time frame (the Batman version of “Jingle Bells”, f’r instance) that can’t be traced back to an origin, but it’s cool that this one could be. And I agree with Manos that the gag gets the extra punch from “white man” when it’s divorced from the visuals — here we see that they’re all ganging up on the Lone Ranger, while someone just telling the joke or writing it out loses a bit without that extra emphasis.

“Plus the whole Herbie-for-the-Human-Torch silliness.”

As I believe a previous CBLR reported, the Human Torch/Herbie thing was because Johnny Storm had been licensed elsewhere and they couldn’t use that character, not because of the censors.

Batman: TAS had many fewer restrictions than other cartoons, like Spider-Man. (This is one of many reasons why the show was so great.) But, one of my buddies pointed out that we never see Batman hitting a female villain in the entire show. I wonder if this was a specific rule that they followed? They later solved this problem when Batgirl showed up. She did hit female villains.

Plus the whole Herbie-for-the-Human-Torch silliness.

Well, remember, that was strictly a rights issue not a censorship one.

Plus the whole Herbie-for-the-Human-Torch silliness.

Man, now I really wish they’d replaced the Torch with Herbie instead of H.E.R.B.I.E. That would have been awesome.

“COMIC LEGEND: Disney had another artist change the ending of a Carl Barks story because the story ended with Donald as an arsonist.”

Not Disney. Barks’ firebug story was produced by Disney’s American comic book licensee Western Publishing. It was most likely Western’s art director Carl Buettner who wanted the artwork changed.

“The last two panels, however, were produced by another comic book artist, Carl Buettner.”

That was believed to be correct for years, yes, but the artwork looks nothing like Buettner. If I had to guess I’d say Dan Noonan was visiting Western’s offices that day and was asked to redraw those two panels.

“Bruettner”

Buettner, not Bruettner.

I would guess that part of the reluctance to have swastikas has to do with international sales – I have read that you can’t have swastikas in entertainment in Germany – pretty much the strongest European economy. I’m not sure that you’d want to cut out Europe from your sales potential.

I would guess that part of the reluctance to have swastikas has to do with international sales – I have read that you can’t have swastikas in entertainment in Germany – pretty much the strongest European economy. I’m not sure that you’d want to cut out Europe from your sales potential.
——–

Not true. Yes, the swastika as a symbol is illegal here (and in Austria as well) BUT there are a lot of exceptions. You can use it in a cultural/historical context, parodies (such as Walter Moer’s comic book “Adolf” or Helge Schneider’s movie “Der Führer”) or in works of art. And that’s were it gets tricky. Movies, even the most crappy ones, are regared as art here. So swastikas in “Indiana Jones” or “Romper Stomper” lead to zero problems. Swastikas in comic books such as “Maus” won’t cause problems as well. Swastikas in “Captain America” might lead to problem – but only MIGHT. But most publisher self-censor their publications to avoid any problems (because of an incident in the ealy 90ties that forced a publisher and a distributor into bancruptcy), even on comic books such as “Il etait un fois en France” (Once upon a Time in France). It’s also the reason why “Blade of Immortal” wasn’t published in Germany for some time because the publisher had to remove the symbol from the main character’s back (it’s a samurai manga BTW) and the artists didn’t want any changes to his artwork until the problem was obviously explained to him.
Some German publishers don’t care though either because changing the artwork would be too difficult (Sin City) or they are too lazy or don’t care and publish the comic books unaltered. It’s still a little bit like walking on fire but comic books are probably so much under people’s radar that the ones that would make a ruckus don’t even notice them.
It’s the same with “Lost Girls” – it shows underage people having sex with adults. The depiction of it is illegal here but the comic was not only openly sold but it was also lauded by many critics.
Or “Boys: Herogasm” – in one panel a woman has sexual intercourse with a dog. The depiction is also highly illegal here but Panini published the volume without alterations even after I brought it up beforehand to them.

So yeah, leaving out all swastikas in the current “Captain America” because of fear the movie might not be released in Germany would’ve been a rather stupid decision – if that actually WAS the reason.

For me, Spider-Man had nothing on Batman:TAS or X-Men, but I watched it all the same. And that arc where he was flipping through alternate universes and met his creator Stan Lee blew my nine-year old mind.

“That was believed to be correct for years, yes, but the artwork looks nothing like Buettner. If I had to guess I’d say Dan Noonan was visiting Western’s offices that day and was asked to redraw those two panels.”

In a pinch it might be Buettner pencils with a heavy-handed inker? but it is true that those don’t particularly look like Buettner’s own drawings…
And indeed the more disturbing part would probably have been that Donald was thrown in jail as a real arsonist, not just being thrown in jail…that is still one disturbed comic even with the “it was only a dream” resolution.
In a similar fashion I think Donald the Milkman story was kept from being published for quite a while because it too ended up being quite outside accepted morals…

Hey, Brian Cronin, sir. did you get the one I sent you from Grant Morrison’s Supergods?

“Is that all Spider-Man is to writers? A failure in everything but crimefighting? Because that was NEVER my interest in Spider-Man.”

This. This this this this this this this.

Captain Librarian

August 29, 2011 at 8:10 am

Wow, interesting find on “What do you mean we?” Would never have guessed it had an origin you could trace so directly.

That Carl Barks cartoon is crazy! I suspect it wouldn’t be allowed at all in a children’s show these days.

“Semper: It was a way for us to do the marriage of Peter and M.J. without having it actually stick. I mean, Peter can’t ever get the girl for real, now, can he? And, yes, I always intended to bring the real M.J. back. ”

Sigh…

Ed (A Different One)

August 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Wow – now I know what always bugged me about that damned 90′s Spider-Man cartoon – no punching! Hell, when I first got into Spider-Man back when i was 7 or 8, the punching was some of the stuff I loved the most (let’s face it, he usually spent about half the issue punching bad guys, the other half musing about bills, women, Aunt May, etc.). For some reason that never really clicked with me back when I was watching it, but I knew something vital was missing. I just couldn’t think what it was.

It’s funny, I was watching an episode of that new Looney Toons show on Cartoon Network (which put me off at first but then started to grow on me). They just had an episode where just about every character on the show got into a fist fight with each other – and it was HILARIOUS! They didn’t skimp on the visuals either. And to think of what Fox did with a street-level hero like Spider-Man and not let him punch the bad guy – I’m amazed the show lasted as long as it did.

(And before anybody flames me – no I don’t think that the punching and violence is the most compelling or important part of that character by a long shot – but come on, how can a street level superhero come across as “heroic” if they’re not going to bruise their knuckles a little bit).

Oh, and while I”m ranting about the 90′s series, their visual portrayal of Peter Parker never looked like any of his comic incarnations that I can think of. He looked more like Lance Bannon than Peter . . .

I’ll back up Lars Jensen on accrediting Dan Noonan with that artwork.

As seen in the Donald/José Carioca story, Buettner’s natural style looked nothing like the two new “Firebug” panels; and while one might accredit this to Buettner trying to mimic Barks, history doesn’t doesn’t beat this out. When Buettner drew or lettered new paste-overs for other Barks stories in the same era (“Porky of the Mounties,” “Ghost of the Grotto”), one sees that he made no effort to disguise his style. Buettner Bugs Bunny heads and Buettner voice balloon lettering stick out in the otherwise Barks-drawn stories like tomatoes in an onion patch.

I wrote about this subject some years ago, too:

http://nafsk.se/pipermail/dcml/2003-June/017580.html

“Oh, and while I”m ranting about the 90′s series, their visual portrayal of Peter Parker never looked like any of his comic incarnations that I can think of. He looked more like Lance Bannon than Peter . . .”

I likened him to Nicholas Hammond, the guy who played him in the live-action series.

About the Lone Ranger gag, it had been around since at least the 1950′s when Black Comedians such as TIMMIE ROGERS, NIPPSY RUSSEL and DICK GREGORY (who among Black Comedians is credited with this joke) told it as a part of their act. In fact Gregory used it on one of the classic PLAYBOY AFTER DARK shows. Though in thier version it was “What you mean we pale face!”

“‘Oh, and while I”m ranting about the 90?s series, their visual portrayal of Peter Parker never looked like any of his comic incarnations that I can think of. He looked more like Lance Bannon than Peter . . .’

I likened him to Nicholas Hammond, the guy who played him in the live-action series.”

This is true. I read in an interview with the Animated Series creators that Peter Parker was actually modeled after the guy who portrayed him in the short-lived live-action series, because they reasoned that’s who people would remember when they heard the name Peter Parker.

Also, while I loved the series and the censorship was preposterous (Spidey can’t punch, but a couple of characters commit suicide and there’s no problem with that!) what got on my nerves once in a while was the ABUSE of reused footage. It became specially infuriating in the episode with the time tablet, in which, among other things, to show Spider-Man freeing himself from fallen rubble, they rolled backwards the footage of the rubble falling on him. They didn’t fool anyone.

One of my particular favourite MAD Magazine jokes is in the second frame of the second page of their adaptation of STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The text goes something like this:

BEN KENOBI: Use the Force, Lube.

LUKE SKYWALKER: It’s OLDIE VON MOLDIE! Oldie, what are you doing upside down?

BEN KENOBI: Lube, you idiot! YOU’RE the one who’s upside down!

“the show was still doing well in the ratings, but the economics of animated series have always been strange – producers are typically more willing to end earlier than expected and try to launch a new series”

The economics of this are somewhat arcane but make sense when you know what they are. The 1990′s Spider-Man got a 65-episode run before getting converted to Spider-Man Unlimited. 65 episodes is the magic number for a syndication package. If you take that show’s entire run and air it once a day, 5 days a week, you’ll run through the whole show in 13 weeks. 13 weeks * 4 = 52 weeks, so the entire run of a 65 episode show can be aired exactly 4 times a year in syndication. The broadcasters have decided that this was long enough that you weren’t running the same episodes over and over but not too long for…uh…whatever gauge they use for that.

BTAS was also initially ordered for a 65-episode run (or it was 52 and then got a renewal for 13 more), and a lot of Disney cartoons from that period ended after 65 episodes as well. Disney got a LOT of flak from fans at the time who complained that there were lots of viable shows that were killed off by bean-counters after 65 episodes. I think there’s even a joke about it in an episode of “Kim Possible” where you can see a “No on 65″ poster on someone’s wall.

[...] Comic Book Legends Revealed #329 [...]

[...] years ago, I was moved to ask George W. Bush that famous question from E. Nelson Birdwell’s “The Lone Ranger”: What do you mean [...]

[...] Vol. 8. (Spring, 1979), pp. 30-44. 2. “What you mean ‘we’, white man?”: A 1958 comic in Mad magazine by E. Nelson Bridwell depicted The Lone Ranger and his companion Tonto surrounded by hostile [...]

Why was Electro made the son of the Red Skull in the SPIDER-MAN Animated Series?

[...] start, who are we calling “we”? There’s a history of dominant-group practices being asserted as natural [...]

[...] Factoid Dept.: Both Archer and Armstrong #7 and Comedian #5 make use of the old “We, white man?” joke in the same [...]

[...] Seventeen parents, three administrators and separate parking for the egos, all in a crowded basement conference room at 9pm. As we filed in, someone I didn’t recognize grabbed my shoulder and invited me to sit next to her, so we could “band together.”  I happened to be wearing a tank top, and it didn’t occur to me until an hour later when epithets began streaming from her mouth that she had identified me as a secular “ally” in the fight against “them”.  Why must it always be “us” vs. “them”?  If I had the balls, which I didn’t, I would have turned to her and pulled a Tonto. [...]

“Batman: TAS had many fewer restrictions than other cartoons, like Spider-Man. (This is one of many reasons why the show was so great.) But, one of my buddies pointed out that we never see Batman hitting a female villain in the entire show. I wonder if this was a specific rule that they followed? They later solved this problem when Batgirl showed up. She did hit female villains.”

They also couldn’t show anyone being shot (lots of guns fired, nobody ever gets hit. Also they were prohibited from showing a gun firing directly at camera), and after the first episode (Wings of Leather) they were told never again to show the hero bleeding (they were able to have Bats bleed in the theatrical feature). There were lots of other arbitrary restrictions the creators were forced to work around, most stemming from the hypothesis that kids are idiots and will compulsively imitate ANYTHING they see on TV.

People, think back to when you were a kid. Would blood and vampires have had that profound an impact on your psyche? You never scraped your knee?
Hell, vampires are MOST appealing to a kid. Why take it away from them until they’re of age?

Thanks for the info on the Bridwell/Orlando origin of the Lone Ranger / Tonto joke.

Interestingly, there is an even earlier MAD implementation of the joke’s essence, albeit with much less economy : a full page of classic Kurtzman/Davis from MAD # 8 :

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JYsdou-iR1Y/ThHZ-kUT2jI/AAAAAAAARZc/jP-tYOlwnK8/s1600/Mad%2B008%2BJack%2BDavis%2B007.jpg

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