Sunday, July 20, 2014

Comic-book indoctrination

Comic books are apparently a SWPL (swipple) pastime now, and they're being rewritten to fit their doctrine. I understand Captain America's being turned black, Thor (the manliest of the Norse gods) into a woman (dyke?), and golden-era all-American Archie in some forecast storyline is martyred for... homosexualism. Get them when they're young, I guess, if kids still read them as opposed to yuppie nerds. By the way, who else remembers the Christian Archie comics? (Preaching evangelical Protestantism with some hippie Jesus freaks mixed in with golden-era main characters.) Got one by accident as a kid. Story is someone who worked at Archie Comics decades ago got religion and asked his boss's permission to use the Archie characters. The company's Jewish owner at the time thought religion generally was a good thing (at least for utilitarian reasons) so he not only let him make the Christian Archies but let him do it for free (while I guess the real Archies didn't preach). That was the America we've lost.

4 comments:

  1. I feel it only fair to point out that Captain America isn't being "turned" black and Thor isn't being "turned" into a woman. Steve Rogers (the '40s thawed and unthawed Cap) will still remain the Aryan ideal that Jewish creators Kirby and Simon used so well to attack Nazi ideologues with their own weapon. The black Cap will be the 70s era sidekick Falcon taking on the costume.

    Pretty much the same deal with Thor. The Norse god character Thor will still remain male and Nordic, he'll just end up losing his hammer due to being declared "unworthy" for some reason and a female character will get the hammer along with the powers and the "title" of Thor.

    This isn't the first time something similar has happened to either character, though it will be the first time a chick will be taking on the Thor role. An easy way for comic book companies to get a quick boost in sales is to have someone else take on the role for about a year or so before returning the original character. Heck, Peter Parker just got back into the Spiderman costume after over a year of having his nemesis Doctor Octopus in the suit (well, technically Parker got back into his own body- typical comic book hijinks).

    Nothing new here. Even the pandering to SWPL appeal to drum up controversy has been around for a while. For most of the 80s Iron Man was black. Across the street at DC they had another black man as one of the contenders for a new Superman after Clark Kent's brief demise. Robin was a female both in the 80s The Dark Knight Returns and during a period in the mid 00s.

    These types of shenanigans happen a lot more often thanks to the rise of the internet. Posts such as this one are exactly what the suits want- along with the corresponding "well it's about time" one will find in the comments sections of SWPL sites. Agenda itself doesn't control these decisions (the agenda happens under-the-radar, gay characters are quite frequent in the titles that wouldn't make front-page on the Times), it's the quick boost in sales (which start flagging in the period between movie releases- by the time of the next Avengers movie, expect Cap and Thor to be back to the originals) they get by creating controversy over replacing the characters.

    Completely right about Archie, though not in the way you wrote. They've been playing catch-up since 2000 in introducing gay characters and other SWPL bait. But Archie's "martyrdom" isn't happening in the traditional kiddie Archie. It's happening in an alternate universe aimed at adult readers where Archie's all grown up and married to either Betty or Veronica (more comic book shenanigans- instead of finally making him do the adult thing and choose they created a multiverse where readers could have it both ways). The kiddies get spared seeing a tale of Archie being killed to protect a gay friend in the little books that are sold (or more likely flipped through by bored 9 year olds waiting for their mom to check out and then replaced) next to the register at the supermarket. It's aimed squarely at the yuppie nerds (who find regular Archie comics to be boring in their mostly wholesome- again, there is a gay cast member in the kiddie comics- humor) who are pretty much the only people you find in actual comic book stores these days and placating their sense of "moral" superiority with about as much subtlety as an anvil to the head.

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    1. I don't read comic books so I didn't know much of this. I did dimly know that Archie has been playing SWPL catch-up. Thanks.

      From Facebook:

      It is weird what is happening with comic books now. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that in the 1990s they moved from being popular entertainment for kids to being too expensive for that regularly. As you point out, a pastime for SWPL nerds. I have a cousin who owned a comic-book store back in the 1990s, and he described the transition with a lot more "adult" material (sex, graphic violence, etc.) moving into comic books lines that were traditionally not that violent (one of the reasons, he said, that many superheroes were basically gods is that it made lots of violence less objectionable because it couldn't really hurt them -- that started changing in the 1990s). FWIW.

      He also noted that the price started moving up too. Graphic novels, special paper, etc. helped with that push.

      Now a comic can cost upwards of $4! When I was a teenager, they cost between 25-50 cents! Yow. Plus, there is more competition now, with video games, etc. I know for myself, I shifted away from comic books when I was a mid-teenager because my computer was more interesting.

      My cousin is a wealth of info on the comic-book business -- on the selling end. He still is a collector and he sells on the private market quite a bit. He is very observant about the larger comic market, and has been an observer and participant in the market since the 1990s.

      The stuff with Archie Comics is crazy. I was never that big a fan of the Archie stuff, although I did read them as a kid and I do remember the Christian Archie comics too! Too bad to see that they have gone so far away from the kind of entertainment that was big back in the day.

      Who ever would have thought that we'd look back on the '70s and say "wow, what a wholesome era"??????


      That struck me as far back as the '90s. Made the decadent '70s look good in comparison! Even though it was when what's commonly thought of as the '60s hit Middle America. Most of the real '60s still looked like me - "Mad Men" gets that right. I remember the transition, at the beginning of the '70s, and have been chasing the golden era in one form or another ever since.

      I don't have a problem with changing characters around in a rotation where a particular title is really more like an office. There has been a black Green Lantern, for example (Jon Stewart), and there has been more than 1 Capt. America (not just Steve Rogers). Reworking a character like Thor is trickier -- I have to think that is more of a gimmick that won't last long.

      Google Green Lantern. It hasn't just been Hal Jordan. There have been a bunch of human Green Lanterns over time, including a ginger one, a black one, a crazy one, etc.


      I understand in the rest of the world, comic books are still mass/prole entertainment for all ages. Europeans read Disney comics, for example. Mickey, Donald et al. Just like in the '40s.

      Reminds me. The Green Hornet was the most pathetic superhero. Basically me with a green eyemask. Other than that, a Batman wannabe. The show that gave Bruce Lee his break. Theme song was a ripoff of "Flight of the Bumblebee"; maybe then, people got the classical reference.

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    2. Regarding the price- it about keeps up with inflation. Comics were 10 cents when Marvel first started reinvigorating super-hero books in the early '60s. They were up to 12 and 15 cents in the mid to late 60s. 25 and 30 cents in the 70s (which is when my dad was purchasing them in his adolescence, it's an inherited hobby for me, like pipe smoking). The books my dad brought home when I was a kid were between 50 cents to a dollar. Once they reached the dollar point he refused to buy anymore on the grounds that they were only 50 cents when he was a kid (this at a time when the candy bar or bottle of soda he would have bought for 10 cents was going for 75 cents). True about the special paper driving the cost up- as comic collecting (and, hopefully, reading) became more of an adult hobby, the industry switched to more durable paper (which actually killed comic collecting, which is dependent on a title being rare).

      It's sad about the transition of the mainstream titles to a more "adult" audience. The companies can claim that sales drives the titles, but really it's the rare parent that would want to take their child into a traditional comic-book store these days. The covers alone of more than half the titles each month are downright pornographic (strips of costume being the only thing ensuring that the books don't need to be brown-bagged on the shelves)- ensuring that both conservative parents and the more feminist friendly liberal parents (when they exist) avoid the stores like a plague. Discerning parents either subscribe or get their kid-friendly comics on digital stores, but much like other traditional media, the comic book companies either aren't equipped or are unwilling to equip themselves to track digital sales.

      Though the Christian Archie comics came out in the 70s, I had most, if not all of them, growing up in the 80s or 90s. They found their way to me, along with other Spire (I believe that was the name of the company that published the Christian Archie line) and Chick (as in rabid anti-Catholic Jack) comics, from my super Evangelical grandparents who never met a book they didn't like (actually a great cure for the young Evangelical who likes to read- the changing nature of Evangelical thought from the 40s to the 90s was well-documented on their book shelf). Oddly enough, I remember that the blend of preachiness and corn-ball humor as being not all that different from the titles of the late 80s - only instead of being that peculiar Evangelical preachiness the regular Archie catered to middle-of-the-road liberalism. FWIW, that was never really any sort of a change- Archie was pretty much always a middle-class liberal title, going back to the 40s. We were supposed to root for Archie and Veronica only insofar as it allowed Archie to scandalize the rich father; middle-class Betty was supposed to be the girl we really wanted for Archie (and by extension, for ourselves).

      I hope you're not confusing the Green Hornet and the Green Lantern. Oddly enough, the Hornet pre-dates Batman by a few years. Batman was a fairly direct rip-off of the Shadow. The Green Hornet certainly had elements of the Shadow (wealthy man fights crime by night) but was actually a spin-off The Lone Ranger. Fun trivia fact- in the original radio series, the Green Hornet was actually the Lone Ranger's grandnephew.

      The TV series was done by the same network that did Batman, hoping that lightning would strike twice. Similar aesthetic, but Green Hornet wasn't played for laughs.

      Also, the radio program used Flight of the Bumblebee, the '60s show used not exactly a rip-off, but a jazz version. Even if the adults didn't get the classical reference as such, they still would have recognized it from the radio show, much like how the generations since the 40s recognize other classical pieces as being the accompaniment to the old Looney Tunes shorts.

      It occurs to me that I have entirely too much pop-culture trivia stored in my head.

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    3. You jogged my memory: yes, Spire published the Christian Archies as well as comic books of "The Cross and the Switchblade," "The Hiding Place," and "God's Smuggler" (sneaking Bibles into a Communist country if I recall rightly). Got my Christian Archie when it came out, at a church fair in the early '70s.

      I wasn't confusing the Green Lantern and the Green Hornet; mentioning the Lantern just reminded me of the Hornet. I know little about either; figured Hornet was a Batman ripoff. Didn't know it was the other way around or about the Lone Ranger connection; thanks.

      Thor Losers.

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