Archive for March, 2012

Racism in the Funny Pages, Episode 3,768

March 14, 2012

But everyone was racist back then...

Yes, that’s Little Orphan Annie in blackface. On the left is Pee Wee, her elephant pal from her adventures in the circus; Sandy on the right, of course; and just visible is the “native” hut where Annie lives from 26 November to 20 December 1935. That’s a panel from the Sunday strip on 1 December. Here’s two panels from the daily for 10 December:

Context: Annie is living on a film set. She thinks she’s merely an extra; unbeknownst to her, her every action is being filmed for a fictional film about the life of a jungle princess. The footage of her antics is “great stuff”, “going to make a corking picture”, “marvelous”, “a sensation”…and, indeed, once the film is released, it’s “a smash hit” and “a riot”, with audiences “going wild”. Once again, Annie reveals herself a showbiz natural — as well as her turn in the circus, she has already been a music hall sensation with her renditions of sentimental standards.

She adopts a stage name for the release of the film. That name?


But, you know, different times, everyone was racist back then, the strip also has some positive portrayals of non-whites, etc. etc. etc.

Anyway, it’s okay because she has a good reason for donning blackface and calling herself Inkey. It’s so she can hide from hatchet-wielding Chinamen who want to murder her.

(detail from 16 September 1935)


Also, I’m fairly sure that that’s not what happens when you have unregulated monopoly pricing:

(detail from 15 June 1935)


UNRELATED POST-SCRIPT: This will be cryptic right now, but a propos something else entirely I predict that someone will accuse it of tending to political conservatism, pretty early on in the thread. Let’s say within ten comments (assuming it gets that far!).


That’s entertainment!

March 7, 2012

Let’s You and Him Fight Exclusive:

Let’s You and Him Fight can today report exclusively¬† that DC is digging up Neil Gaiman’s dead grandmother, and publishing a fumetti series about her posthumous sexual escapades. Jim Lee has told Let’s You and Him Fight that everyone at DC is totally psyched for the new project, which will showcase some of the industry’s hottest writers, including Micah Wright, Laurel K. Hamilton and Grant Morrison.

‘We’re taking the property in a bold new direction. You’ve never seen Neil Gaiman’s dead grandmother like this before — this ain’t your granddaddy’s Neil Gaiman’s dead grandmother.’

Dan DiDio added, laughing, ‘This comic brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “splash page”!’

You can find the full press release, as well as previews and concept art, here.


PS: Apologies to Mr Gaiman’s grandmother. Also to Mr Gaiman himself, subtlety, good taste, so-called humour

PPS: What’s striking about the Mazzuchelli thing is that it looks like such an unforced dick move. Watchmen Babies, you can at least understand the logic of — a curse be upon them and their children, sure, but it was probably going to happen eventually, just as it was going to happen eventually that Mr Burns would try to blot out the Sun so he could squeeze a few more pennies from the poor. This thing, though…maybe those spells Alan Moore has been casting at DC are finally starting to work, and they’ve all gone completely fucking insane?