Sunday, July 25, 2021
Friday, July 9, 2021
Here's a recent Twitter thread that I'm archiving here.
The big problem here is that Cap has ALWAYS been political. This is a character who PUNCHED HITLER IN THE FACE on the cover of his debut issue in 1941... 80 FRIGGIN' YEARS AGO!!
So the stunning cover of Cap #1 was, in fact, a powerful political cartoon by a pair of Jewish kids from New York, maybe THE most influential political cartoon of WW2... and it was aimed at America's youth!
It's obvious neither of these FoxNews nitwits know shit about Cap's history. But I do.
Here's the first issue I read (above), when I was 10 in 1970. In it Cap goes on TV to preach tolerance, and is attacked by Nazi Baron Zemo's supergoons in an attempt to silence him. Note also the use of "Up Against the Wall!" as the title, the favorite battlecry of leftist protestors in 1970. Yeah, nothing political there, 51 years ago.
Thursday, July 8, 2021
I was informed today that KENT STATE is the top-selling book in the entire 39-year history of Macs Backs, my indie bookstore HQ here in Cleveland that has been handling all my mailorder signed copies.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
It's not terribly well drawn, but is brutally hilarious. It was conceived by writers Marc Rubin and Chris Miller (who later co-wrote Animal House) and drawn by Francis Hollidge, a pseudonym of veteran comics artist Frank Springer. Frank took over for Jim Steranko on Marvel's Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD. Guess Frank felt he needed to use a fake name, to avoid trouble.
The Kent State piece is a comic book ad that spoofs the cheap Army Playsets that were always advertised in comic books. There were sets for World War 2, the Revolutionary War, the Roman legion, etc.
The Kent State ad ran on the inside cover of a larger spoof comic book, G. Gordon Liddy, Agent of CREEP, a highlight of this issue of NatLamp. CREEP was Nixon's infamous Committee to Re-elect the President... and creeps they were, being responsible for a long list of illegal "dirty tricks," as well as the bungled Watergate break-in, which was blowing up in 1973 and would bring down Nixon less than a year later. That operation was led by Liddy, who was uncooperative and unrepentant. He was sentenced to 20 years (commuted by Jimmy Carter, for some reason). he was released after 4 1/2 years in the pen, the last of the seven convicted Watergate conspirators to be freed.
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
As a result, all the on-the-ground reporting, all the incredible photos, had no place to be published! The Ohio governor effectively muzzled The Kent Stater. Some of the photos found their way to mainstream publications, be it the wire services or magazines like Life and Time, but much of it would have never seen the light of day, if not for the yearbook.
This special report was produced by a Knight-Ridder Newspapers team working out of the Beacon newsroom. Knight-Ridder was the parent company of the ABJ, Akron press baron John Knight being the owner of both the ABJ and of Knight-Ridder. The team was mostly reporters and editors from the Detroit Free Press, another Knight-Ridder paper, although they relied heavily on the Beacon reporting. They were not exactly welcomed with open arms in the Akron newsroom, where staff felt they were elbowing in on the Beacon's story, but it's an excellent report. It ran in all Knight-Ridder papers, a dozen or so, on May 23, 1970. It was a Pulitzer finalist.
The special report was met with fury by Akron readers, because it blows holes in most of the National Guard's excuses for opening fire on a parking lot full of students, most of whom were not protestors. Jack Knight later joked that this report cost him $1 million in lost subscriptions and advertising.
Sunday, July 4, 2021
The author of Titans #31 is Steve Skeates, one of youngest DC writers, only 28 here. The Titans were one of DC’s “relevant” titles, tailored to appeal to progressive youth. Skeates also wrote Aquaman at this time, who became an environmental crusader, and Hawk & Dove, a wacky concept about the country’s political divide. He wrote a lot for DC’s wonderful gothic horror line and then became one of Warren’s busiest writers in the 1970s, penning dozens of stories in Eerie, Creepy and Vampirella, before burning out and leaving the biz.
Note, however, that the plot in all these comics stories I’ve been examining is always the same, no matter the publisher, Marvel or DC. It’s never a portrayal of legitimate protest over the Vietnam War. It’s always misguided students being manipulated, or mind controlled, by insidious villains. Over and over comic book writers use that cheap plot device, because God knows no student in 1970 could have a REAL beef with the government, right?
Friday, July 2, 2021
But I did find a few examples. Let's start with one that appeared in The Cleveland Press the day after the Massacre. Cleveland is a mere 38 miles from Kent and the student body was full of Cleveland kids. This cartoon is by longtime cartoonist Bill Roberts, age 56 in 1970. He was right-of-center on most issues, in keeping with the politics of the big afternoon daily. The Press, like most afternoon papers, was a "working man's paper." It certainly wasn't psycho rightwing, like media is today. Perhaps "traditional" would be a more apt description. Certainly, the paper was no fan of student radicals, or of the Woodstock Generation in general. If 20somethings were written about at all in 1970, it was dismissively, or with outright mockery.
This cartoon, well, doesn't really say anything at all. Yes, students are dead and, yes, that's a tragedy. The problem with the Kent State story, of course, is that it unfolded piecemeal over those first few weeks, and a lot of the official statements and assertions were either wrong or outright lies. The first 20 statements by Guard leadership, for example, were all lies, as they desperately tried to cover up their crime. Pretty tough to draw a cartoon about something when you have no clue what actually happened.
The point being, cartoonists in these parts had to tread very softly.
This one reads, and looks, like ol' Cy scrawled it out in 5 minutes, which is probably exactly what happened.
Mauldin cuts right to the heart of it. Heavily-armed soldiers shot and killed students who were armed only with words.
Well, he's certainly making a statement here, placing the blame squarely on "violent" student protestors. The problem was, of course, that the protestors on May 4 were peaceful. It was the Guard that was violent. The 400 protestors on the Commons that day were merely chanting, as was their right of free assembly in a public space on a public university that was open. The Guard gassed them, and marched on them with bayonets and batons, beat anyone who didn't move fast enough, and then shot them.
Details, details, right L.D.?
Cincy was a pretty conservative place in 1970. I'm sure the readers nodded their approval at this one.
Thursday, July 1, 2021