More vintage comics

More from Samuel Warde’s “Vintage Politically Incorrect Comic Book Covers” site, divided into two large categories: covers with details of linguistic interest, and those of primarily social interest. (When a comic has features of both types, I’ll discuss it in the first group.)

(Hat tip again to Don Steiny.)

Of linguistic interest:

First, the ethnic slur Jap (for Japanese), in a World War II-era Superman:

Then an inadvertent double entendre in an Archie, involving two senses of transitive beat off:

Here’s another suggestive one, where the effect is mostly visual:

(Note the Yiddish-influenced so hurry up already.)

Hard to believe this was innocent, but I see no evidence suggesting that it’s not an Alf comic book by Marvel.

Then two covers whose wording suggests penis size: giant man-thing (big), wee males (little):

Of social interest:

First, two that prominently feature swastikas: one that’s patriotically American (Master Comics) and one that turns out to be a Christian tract (Hansi, from Spire Christian Comics in 1976):

On Master Comics, from Wikipedia:

Master Comics was a monthly ongoing comic book anthology series that began its 133-issue run (cover dated March 1940 – April 1953) during the 1930s and 1940s period known as the Golden Age of Comic Books. Published by Fawcett Comics, it contained features starring superhero characters including Master Man, in the first six issues only, Bulletman, Minute-Man, and its best-known character, Captain Marvel, Jr., part of the lighthearted Marvel Family.

(Note that Captain Nazi is World Enemy No. 1.)

Here’s the remarkable story of Hansi, as re-told by Bradley Mason Hamlin:

Hansi is the story of a young woman from Sudetenland who experiences the coming of the Nazi party to her homeland. She is given a free education and learns that there are scientific alternatives to learning that are not found in the Bible. Gosh, so far, so good. Hansi becomes very loyal to the Nazi party and actually never relents in her devotion until Hitler commits suicide.

Hansi is then sent to an East Germany labor camp run by the Russians. She soon learns that Russian soldiers rape women, but Hansi doesn’t get raped because she’s “too skinny.” Hansi then bribes a ferry pilot to guide her to West Germany and the American camp. She is told that Americans are “all bubble-gum chewing gangsters” but even that is better than remaining with the Russian rapists. Hansi finds the American camp and is indeed met by a solider chewing bubble-gum, however, Hansi learns that this soldier does not want to rape her because he is a good American and reads Archie comic books.

Well, after gaining entrance to the United States, Hansi becomes an elementary school teacher and ends up reunited with her long lost German boyfriend whom we now know didn’t die when his U-boat sank.

They get married, but “something was missing” in their lives. Luckily, the husband (obviously desperate and about to get kicked out) brings home a Bible. Soon Hansi decides, “I’m going to take God at his word,” and becomes an American Christian, despite the presence of a hippy culture in America that obviously does not take pride in their country of abundant food supplies and saving accounts.

Hansi’s epiphany moment comes when she leads a class of children in the pledge of allegiance. At first she feels conflicted in giving her loyalty to another country, you know, since things didn’t work out so well with the Nazis. Yet, when she gets to the “one nation under God” part she realizes everything is okay. She thinks (via thought balloon): “Those words [one nation under God] make all the difference! It’s all right to love what God has blessed!” The mind control kicks in and Hansi decides to truly commit to her love for Jesus and America, despite the presence of so many hippies, because after all, they did give her that teaching job.

Then, two comic books with ethnic/racial themes:

Big Chief Wahoo was published from 1936-1947. See this site on “The Ignoble Savage: The Buffoon”, about this comic book.

The Captain Marvel of course features phallic weaponry, but also the figure of a subservient monkey-like big-lipped black man.

And finally a phallic bonus: Superman, Robin, and Batman astride big naval guns:

(See a similar scene, but from real life, here.)

One Response to “More vintage comics”

  1. Usual John Says:

    “Jap” was the standard term to refer to Japanese people in World War II-era comics. The Superman example is unusual only because it involves Superman, who generally was only a domestic character – for obvious reasons, since it would have been hard to explain how the war was continuing with Superman on the job. The publisher explained his absence from the front with a story in which Clark Kent failed the eye test, because he mistakenly used his X-ray vision and read a chart in the next room.

    It’s hard for us, with our current perspective, to realize how thoroughly innocent words and even actions could be in an earlier time. Man-Thing was a regular and highly regarded character, and Archie meant only that he had to fight off other boys for the privilege of rescuing Betty. But I share your incredulity that the Alf cover was entirely innocent.

    Steamboat was an obscure supporting Captain Marvel character from 1942 to 1944 or 1945, when Fawcett executive editor William Lieberson got rid of him. He is rarely mentioned in later discussions of the Marvel family and is missing, for example, from the Wikipedia article on Captain Marvel. Steamboat was the valet of Billy Batson, a 12-year-old orphan boy radio reporter and the alter ego of Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel lead artist C.C. Beck, in an interview archived at http://web.archive.org/web/20070607180359/http://cagle.msnbc.com/hogan/interviews/beck/home.asp, said:

    “Steamboat was created to capture the affection of negro readers. Unfortunately he offended them instead and was unceremoniously killed off after a delegation of blacks visited the editor’s office protesting because he was a servant, because he had huge lips and kinky hair and because he spoke in a dialect. He was always a cartoon character, not intended to be realistic at all, but he was taken seriously by some, sadly enough.”

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