web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #399

Welcome to the three hundredth and ninety-ninth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, it is a special theme week! All comic strip related legends! Is there really a famous Peanuts strip featuring Snoopy complaining about the IRS? Did the FBI seriously investigate Pogo for hidden messages? Finally, did DC Comics really try to block an Australian comic strip named Swamp from getting a trademark because of Swamp Thing?

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and ninety-eight.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: There was a notable Peanuts comic strip about Snoopy asking to be removed from the IRS’ mailing list.

STATUS: False

There is a popular story about a Peanuts strip about the IRS that routinely pops up in posts about the IRS (just do a search and you will find plenty of references).

Here is the strip in question…

This is not a real Peanuts strip.

Here is the 1997 strip that it was adapted from…

I presume it originally appeared as a joke but then the “joke” part was omitted and it just began to be passed along as an actual Peanuts strip.

Thanks to reader Randall M. for the suggestion and thanks to Derrick Bang and Scott McGuire’s great Peanuts page, FiveCentsPlease.org, for the confirmation!
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Did Chinatown Originally Have a Much Different Ending?

Was a Scene Removed From the Film “The Program” Because People Were Killed Reenacting It?

Did Fritz Lang Change the Name of His Film “M” Due to Fear of Nazi Persecution?
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

COMIC LEGEND: The FBI examined Pogo comic strips searching for hidden messages.

STATUS: True

Walt Kelly’s Pogo was always a political strip and Kelly certainly did not shy away from controversial topics.

Kelly also mocked J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI, on a few occasions…

Hoover was always a bit prone to look for subversive tactics where there was none and when you actually poked the bear by making FUN of Hoover, then he was even more likely to investigate.

So Hoover decided that there was a chance that Kelly was using the distinct fonts of Pogo to send coded subversive messages.

Here are some examples of Kelly’s distinct fonts…

Here, from an FBI document, we got the results that Hoover likely did not want to hear…

Efforts were made to interpret specimens Q1-Q10 according to purported meaning supplied [but] examination did not reveal any technical basis to establish validity of interpretations of the submitted ‘Pogo’ cartoons.”

You have to love how delicately the FBI worker phrased his report.

It is too bad that this did not make it into the recent Hoover film!

Thanks to Cyrus Highsmith for the font samples!
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check out some classic Peanuts and Pogo-related Comic Book Legends Revealed!

Len Wein came up with an amusing tribute to Snoopy’s Great American Novel in a Batman short story he did with Walt Simonson.

Charles Schulz’s first published drawing was in a 1937 Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Walt Kelly forced a band that named itself in honor of Pogo to change their name.

Walt Kelly did a Pogo comic as a Primer for Parents.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

COMIC LEGEND: DC tried to block the Australian comic strip Swamp from getting a trademark on the name Swamp because of their Swamp Thing.

STATUS: True

Gary Clark’s comic strip Swamp began in 1981. Similar to Pogo, it depicts the misadventures of various creatures in the swamps of Australia. Some of the characters include: Ding Duck, Wart & Mort Frog, Old Man Croc, Bob the Crayfish, The Dung Beetles, Air Traffic Controller, The Ants and The Bludgerigar.

It is is a very popular strip not only in Australia but in the surrounding area of the world. Clark also licenses the characters for various products.

Here are some recent strips from the Swamp website:

Anyhow, in 1987, Clark tried to get a trademark for his Swamp strip. DC Comics actually objected to the trademark, on the basis that it was in conflict with their own trademark in Australia for Swamp Thing, which had been on sale in Australia since the early 1970s…

In 1992, the decision went Clark’s way, as the judge ruled that Swamp and Swamp Thing were not confusingly similar marks.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Discover the secret origin of Cookie Monster!
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

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, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.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!

25 Comments

Even if the IRS strip was real, why would people think that was what Schultz really believed rather than think it was a joke about how clueless Snoopy is?

Maybe I just misunderstood what you meant by that sentence actually.

I just edited it to clear it up, T!

The Peanuts strip was an obvious fake, and a second’s glance would tell you why.

Sparky didn’t letter Peanuts using Comic Sans. :)

There is a computer font that replicates Schulz’s lettering, and I believe that BOOM! is using it for their Peanuts comics and graphic novels to make them feel more authentic.

But Comic Sans? Really not authentic.

From what I’ve seen, Allyn, it seems most people referencing the strip aren’t bothering to actually post the strip itself (and thus seeing the fakeness of it) but rather just quoting it.

The fake must have been around for quite some time, as a commenter in CNN’s coverage of Schulz’s death mentioned the strip as one of his favorites!

But… what happened to Andy and Olaf?!

They’re currently being investigated by the FBI.

Did Schulz really redraw those panels every time he did a “Snoopy at the typewriter” strip? [Which is to say, can you pinpoint which one it is that specifically?]

Yes, he redrew them each time. That is to say that each Snoopy typing strip is unique.

Andy and Olaf were fine. They just got lost.

Yeah, when seeing the strip it is pretty obvious it is fake, font is wrong and clearly added with computer, and the strip omits signature, date and syndicate mark…
Or maybe those mundanes don’t notice such matters on comic strips?

I must admit, I wouldn’t have noticed the font being wrong if someone had presented it to me as an authentic Schultz strip.
I remember seeing the Swamp Thing comic when it came out. I didn’t read horror comics, but the Wrightson cover of that one just sucked me in.
I remember reading the FBI also spent two years trying to decide if “Louie, Louie” violated obscenity laws. They decided the words were so indecipherable, they couldn’t really accuse the Kingsmen of singing anything specific.

That Peanuts strip is profoundly depressing in isolation.

P.S. — I can hardly wait for #400 next week!

I sure hope those “Swamp” strips are not representative of the comic’s typical quality. Geez, the depressing Peanuts strip shown here is funnier than any of them…and that’s the least funny Peanuts strip ever published.

I can’t believe DC’s nerve. As if anyone would confuse Swamp with Swamp Thing.

For a start, Swamp Thing is actually good.

“I sure hope those “Swamp” strips are not representative of the comic’s typical quality. ”

Unfortunately, that’s about as good as it gets for that sorry excuse for a comic strip.

The Swamp used to be really good. but the quality has droped lately.
Even now though it is still better than Peanuts which always has make me yawn.

"O" the Humanatee!

December 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm

You’d think that if DC was going to go after anything for trademark infringement on Swamp Thing it would be this Dutch comic of the same name: http://www.stripturnhout.be/2012/10/9789088130021/.

I predict that for #400, in order to get another legend from it, Brian will fixate his mind on Charles Addams’ ski cartoon, resulting in his mind getting switched with the late Addams’, resulting in the new column “Superior Comic Book Legends Revealed”. Too soon ? :)

The other thing about the Snoopy strip is that Schulz wouldn’t waste that second panel for that “beat” between the salutation and the body of the letter.

That Swamp strip looks nice but is pretty dull. Is it because it’s so “biology” oriented humor? And why didn’t the creator go for the TM until 6 years into the strip? That said, it’s absurd that it took 5 years to rule in his favor, since it is plainly obvious that the 2 have no connection beyond being set in a swamp. Ah, the law!

The most interesting bit about the Pogo one is this part of the quote you feature: “according to purported meaning supplied”. Which if I’m reading it right means that Hoover thought certain fonts meant specific things, and told the agent to look into them. Like the High Gothic meant riot on Tuesday, or something. Wow.

Travis- That’s what I was thinking. I’d love to know what sort of “purported meanings” Hoover supplied.

How many times has Brian covered that Charles Addams ski cartoon here? At least five, I think.

Hey, Brian, your Pogo samples don’t use any fonts. Those words were hand-lettered in imitation of classic typefaces.

Walt kelly died in 1973. Cartoonists didn’t begin to use “fonts” until decades later, when computers came into use.

You’re arguing semantics, Mr. Earlewine. I’m sure he just used “fonts” to mean “types of letters”. He could have easily said “scripts” or “lettering” or, as you mentioned, “typefaces”, but the word “fonts” is instantly recognizable by most people in the modern age as a word for different ways that lettering can look.

Also, Travis, “riot on Tuesday”? That’s just silly. High Gothic meant “bring snacks to the next meeting”.

And why would the Sons of Pogo start a riot on a Tuesday? There’s no way we could have gotten any kind of turnout on a weekday.

@TJ: a true Son of Pogo wouldn’t so cavalierly reveal the REAL meanings.

I sentence you to go sit on Porkypine!

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

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

Browse the Archives