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Friday, July 3, 2015

American Comic Book Propaganda Versus Japan - 17

Published in September of 1944, we receive this little gem dandy of American comic book propaganda used to fuel the hatred of the dread enemy, Japan.

The first thing that strikes me about the cover to USA Comics #14, published by Timely Comics (now Marvel Comics), is just how crappy the art work is.

This shows Captain America being shot at by a Japanese soldier in a bunker as he leaps over the buzzing blades that seek to decapitate his partner Bucky Barnes, just so he can kick an alien in the right shoulder. 

Kick a what-now?

Okay... the 2015 me is kind of interested now... I had only previously seen Bucky stuck in some elaborate trap with a maniacal Japanese officer at the controls... and since I never understood the need for a Bucky Barnes character except as a desperate plea to try and match the awesomeness of Robin (of Batman fame), I am really pulling for Japan in this one.

But... a fricking alien? You'll notice he's grey with big eyes.... the classical standard... only I had always thought that until the Roswell Incident of 1947 (of course), the standard alien was a little green man! This is 1944.

So... the Japanese are apparently working with REAL gaijin with REAL round-eyes.

Is it just me, but don't you want to read the damn book to find out WHY there are aliens working alongside the Japanese trying to thwart the U.S.?

(Hunh!) You don't think that the real reason Japan attacked the U.S. was because the aliens made them do it?

Japan: "If there was anything bad done by the Japanese in WWII, aliens made us do it."

Captain America and Bucky star in "The Riddle of the Stolen Buddha"; the Whizzer stars in "The Death Singer"; Jap Buster Johnson stars in "Invitation to Death"; the Destroyer stars in "The Jap Serpent Strikes"; Sergeant Dix stars in "The Ghost Zero."

While we can all laugh at the unfortunate name given to the speedster—Whizzer—WTF is up with Jap Buster Johnson? Invitation to Death ?? Uh... I'm busy that night. What a nasty-sounding, and thus impressive superhero.

The fact that I've not heard of him since then implies that when comic book superheroes petered out in from 1946 through 1954, a kindlier, gentler world deemed Jap Buster Johnson unnecessary.

Because I can't make it any funnier, check out this cool blog for good fun at Jap Buster Johnson's expense - HERE.

Apparently an artist named Alex Schomburg did the cover to this comic book... and for the life of me, I have no idea why the comic book world considers his work to be 'classic'... I mean it is good, but classic? It doesn't JUST mean old.

We can all say that for the era, his stuff was great, but no... no it wasn't. Hal Foster could fart rainbows that had more life to them than the stiff 2-dimensional poses of Schomburg 's art.

And even if Schomburg was one of the better artists during that period (it's true that a lot of the artists during the early days of the Golden era lacked polish), that doesn't mean he needs to be honored for his greatness, if it still pales compared to 'good' artwork.

Matt Baker, Wally Wood - both gentlemen who excelled in the 1950s; Will Eisner's Spirit and Phantom Lady, for example.

Here's a standard 1940s Wonder Woman cover (below)... everyone knows Wonder Woman. I got through puberty get all star spangled thinking about Lynda Carter as played the great heroine on TV back in the 1970s.
Wonder Woman #28 - April 1948.


And here's a cover of Phantom Lady... done at the same time. April 1948.

Phantom Lady #17 - April 1948.
Are you kidding me? If I'm a kid in 1948, I know which one of the two I want to read under the bed covers!

And yet Wonder Woman survived in the subconscious of America? The stories weren't all that great, but Wonder Woman did have the cool back story, neat bullet-deflecting bracelets and she liked to tie up men daring them to lie to her. William Moulton Marston who created WW is also the guy who created the Lie-Detector - seen here in all its golden lasso glory.

And Phantom Lady... known best by young comic book collectors who can't afford the books for its bondage and 'headlight' covers - yes... her boobs. Although created by Eisner, the best of the best artwork was done by Matt Baker... a terrifically talented young man who just so happened to be Black. A real rarity in the world of comic books, working on a book featuring a scantily clad White woman... if the haters only knew...    

Jap Buster Johnson - I can only hope his name was Buster. Art? Enh...

Anyhow... USA Comics #14... another reason to hate the Japanese kiddies... they are working with ugly aliens who want to destroy your truth, justice and American way of hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet-way of life. Where's Jap Buster Johnson when you need him? He better be busting Japs.

Comic books too violent for kids? Probably. It's a good thing that nowadays comic books are made for adults... specifically the 18-35-year-old, white male who lives in his parent's basement.

In my defense, I'm not white and I lived on the main floor and upper floor for a few years apiece, and only spent 10 years in the basement. I no longer actively collect comic books, but I do pull out large swathes of the 35,000 O own to read every once in a while.

I do not own any copies of any of the Timely Comics titles, but wish I did only so I could retire now.

Really... space aliens working with the Japanese? Propaganda, baby!

You? You're just a Captain!

Take me to your leader!
Andrew Joseph

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