Another lazy post.

§ September 29th, 2023 § Filed under publishing § 15 Comments

So another night where things got away from me…I do plan on the next installment of the Final ’80s Countdown, which I’ll try to get to next week. But in the meantime:

Sean asked about the alternate history Spider-Man comics published in Mexico, post-Gwen’s death. Apparently Mexican fans, and the folks making the comics, weren’t having it, so they continued along with new stories where Gwen didn’t get thrown off a bridge by the Green Goblin and then get killed when Spider-Man grabbed her in mid-air, snapping her neck. This article in the Guardian tells you all about it (and even interviews the original artist of those stories).

It’s brought up in the article, but it is very surprising to me that an English translation hasn’t been released in the U.S. But then, Marvel has so much Spidey stuff produced in the U.S. to pull from for trades and hardcovers, the added expense of hiring a translator to redo all the text may be enough to put them off. So I guess y’all better start hunting the back issue bins to put together your own run. I think in the 35 years I’ve been selling comics, I’ve seen an issue from this series…maybe twice. So good luck!

Mike Loughlin notes that Wizard said about pricing foreign edition comics

“…The UK edition of the ’60s Avengers comic was worth less than the US edition.”

…and that was likely true at the time. But Wizard died off before the weird, almost frantic drive to find “hot” comics that afflicted collectors starting not all that long ago, and driven to extremes during the height of society actually acknowledging a pandemic was happening. Things not as hot before were a lot warmer now, including international “variants” of American books. It was, and still is, a weird time, what can I tell you.

Sean also asked if I could get into the alternate version of various characters like the Captain Atom and the Shadow published in Australia. I didn’t have to resond, but in swoops Chris B with some Aussie comical info.

Here’s one, as s sample:

I don’t know…Casual Day for the Shadow isn’t really that great of a look.

15 Responses to “Another lazy post.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    What’s really kind of surprising is that there are at least three different iterations of Captain Atom and Cat Man. A company called Nationwide Publications had a character called “Captain Atom–the science hero,” who rated several issues of his own comic in the early ’50s, prior to the more well-known Charlton/DC character, and in addition to the Aussie Captain Atom. Then, with Cat Man there’s the Golden Age Holyoke Comics character by Charles Quinlan–whose comics fetch a pretty penny, the DC comics villain, and the Aussie iteration. Even with The Shadow there’s the odd situation of the classic pulp character, Archie/Radio Comics licensing that character and throwing him into a superhero costume for several campy issues in the ’60s, and the Aussie iteration.

    Brainstorming with Wayne the other day, DC should release a one-shot special with Ambush Bug, Insect Queen, Forager “the Bug” (New Gods hero), Alias the Spider, Tarantula, and Bumblebee vs Queen Bee, Mr. Mind, Killermoth, the Black Spider, the Bug Eyed Bandit, and Mantis (New Gods villain)…with a cameo by H.I.V.E.

    Also, James Gunn should be tapping into DC characters from various eras for film projects …like a late 1930s based Indiana Jones-type adventure film that could have Doctor Occult, Crimson Avenger, Sandman, Slam Bradley, and Hop Harrigan in some globetrotting story…maybe they have to prevent Hitler from acquiring the Spear of Destiny or something.

    Or how about a Martian Manhunter film noir/sci fi/cold War paranoia film set in the ’50s or early ’60s …The Big Sleep meets the Invasion of the Body Snatchers type thing … maybe Ralph and Sue Dibny could cameo as the charming Nick and Nora Charles-esque couple…or maybe Martian Manhunter and Elongated Man could be superpowers detectives in a semi-comedic buddy film…”Dibny and Jones, PIs.”

    Or how about a film using adventure-type characters like old man King Faraday (imagine Clint Eastwood in the role), Christopher Chance the Human Target (George Clooney?), and The Challengers of the Unknown?

  • Matthew Murray says:

    There are also Captain Marvel comics printed in Canada during WWII. Same scripts as America, but new art. Really odd!

  • Patrick Gaffney says:

    I think TwoMorrows may be reading the 80’s countdown based on the cover of the feb 2024 issue:

  • Snark Shark says:

    “The Shadow: Casual Friday”.

    “The weekend is coming… who knows how to relax? THE SHADOW KNOWS!”

  • Donald G says:

    “Who knows what evil lurks in the depths of Lamont’s closet? The Shadow knows! *sinister laughter*”

    “And so does the rest of the world now, Lamont.”

    “Zip it, Margo.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Apparently The Shadow was the second longest running comic series in Australia.

    The character was a London-based crime fighter named Jimmy Gray who also had an underworld alias as “Limpy Olsen.”,a%20member%20of%20the%20underworld.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Matthew Murray’s comment about the so called “Canadian Whites” black and white comics from the WW II era featuring redrawn versions of American comics characters got me wondering…to what extent were pre-WW II American comics characters in general–and superheroes in particular–popular outside of anglophone countries? I’m guessing that American comics characters including Superman and maybe Batman were translated into Spanish, and possibly Portuguese, by 1940 or 1941 and comics featuring them were licensed to various companies and sold in Latin American countries and maybe Spain and Portugal as well–but what about the countries America was soon to be at war with? Did Germany, Italy, and Japan actually license and publish translations of any American comics characters prior to America entering WW II? I’m guessing not, because even in the disposable pop culture of American comics there was already a lot of criticism directed towards those countries dictatorships by the late ‘3Os, but it would be interesting to know. And if Superman, Batman, the original Blue Beetle, Sheena, Namor, the original Human Torch, or other pre-1941 American superheroes stories were being reprinted in any Axis nations, was there a situation similar to that in Great Britain, where, after Captain Marvel ceased publication Marvel Man was created? For instance, did Italy under Mussolini have bootleg Superman or Batman rip-off characters? Or even popular newspaper strips from the 1939s like Flash Gordon or Tarzan…did those get reprinted in any Axis nations during WWII?

    Lastly, I think most of us tend to think of comic books as a distinctly American popular culture creation/art form from the early twentieth century which then blossomed and became global, but if one thinks about Penny Dreadfuls from the UK going back to at least the Victorian Age (with characters like Spring Heel Jack, and also characters in France including the Nictolope, and Fantomas–all published before American pulps with The Shadow or Doc Savage), and if one thinks about satirical political cartoons going back at least as far as the 1700s, are comics really an American invention? And if one thinks about the propaganda machines the Axis powers had churning during the ’30s and throughout WWII, did Germany, Italy or Japan print their own propaganda comics? And when did manga first begin in Japan? I seem to recall hearing about an old Japanese character called the Golden Bat.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Okay, I did manage to find these cool homage covers using Japanese comics characters Golden Bat and Prince of Gama instead of Batman and Superman…but these were not actually done during the Golden Age…

  • Snark Shark says:

    I can’t imagine Germany letting any of it in, considering how many characters were created by Jews, and so much of it was clearly anti-Fascist. And they were very strict about what WAS allowed and what wasn’t, even before the war.

  • Chris B says:

    Tintin was produced in German occupied Belgium during WWII, though Herge was careful to stay away from too much politicking – its cited as one of the reasons Tintin changed occupations from a ‘reporter’ to an ‘explorer’.

  • Matthew Murray says:

    Sean: The “Canadian Whites” also (mostly) featured original Canadian characters as well. A few of them (like Nelvana of the Northern Lights) have been reprinted.

    Golden Bat and other characters were popular in Kamishibai street theatre. These featured illustrated boards that were narrated by the storyteller. These were popular in the 1930s until the 1950s I believe. I saw a performance of a Golden Bat story when I visited the Manga Museum in Kyoto years ago.

    I tried to find out what the first non-English reprint of an American superhero comic was and found a page discussing Action Comics #1 being reprinted in Mexico and Brazil in 1938, just a few months after it was printed in English! Super-Hombre! It also discusses some pre-superhero reprints in other countries.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Matthew Murray

    Cool! Thanks! I scrolled further down in that link you provided and another person mentioned Pif Paf magazine also started reprinting pre-Robin Batman stories in 1939 in Spanish…check it out:

    Also, it seems that Golden Bat–named after a cigarette brand–and Prince of Gamma both pre-date Superman…so perhaps Japan had superheroes first, but they weren’t necessarily being mass-produced in maga/comic books in Japan in the ’30s, perhaps? Maybe instead they were featured in Kamishibai Street Theatre? But that also begs the question, did Japan have pulp magazines back in the ’20s…or do The Shadow and Doc Savage predate Golden Bat and Prince of Gamma? Also, did Japan have its own Sci-Fi authors dating back to at least the 1800s, or did European authors like Jules Verne and H.G. Welles works get translated to Japanese and helped birth sci-fi as a genre in Japan?

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Tintin was produced in German occupied Belgium during WWII, though Herge was careful to stay away from too much politicking – its cited as one of the reasons Tintin changed occupations from a ‘reporter’ to an ‘explorer’.”

    Interesting! And that last bit certainly makes sense.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Snark Shark

    Yes, I did more research and you are basically correct.

    In the early 2Oth century Rudolph Dirks immigrated to America from Germany and created the Katzenjammer Kids. And various American comics strips were translated and reprinted in Germany, along with Germany’s own comic strips in the early decades of the 20th century.

    However, comic books were not published in Germany during the Third Reich era as they were banned. There was also a negative reaction to Superman and in April 25, 1941 a Nazi SS propaganda magazine published in Germany ran a hit piece on Jerry Siegel and claimed that Superman had an “overdeveloped body and an underdeveloped mind.”

    Meanwhile, in Italy, going back to 1908, there, was Il Corriere dei Piccoli, which translated and reprinted Bringing Up Father, The Katzenjammer Kids, Felix the Cat–renamed “Mio Mao,” and other American comic strips as well as coming up with original material. From 1932 to 1938 there was Jumbo, an eight page weekly comic magazine publication (no relation to Fiction House’s Jumbo Comics) which included Tarzan and Ace Drummond comic strip translated reprints from America (unfortunately I couldn’t find out if Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Terry and the Pirates or other popular comic strips got reprinted in Italy during the 1930s) and had a circulation of over 300,000 copies a week. Begining January 1, 1939 up until the end of WW II, the publication of foreign comics was forbidden in fascist Italy, which sought to propagandize it’s own culture and fascism through it’s own ultra-nationalist propaganda comic strips. so Jumbo shut down. So, Batman and other American Superheroes heroes from 1939 and the early 1940s definitely were never printed in Italy until after WW II ended…but perhaps a few early Superman stories did get reprinted there? Or maybe the fascist government injected to the character. Oddly, Mickey Mouse renamed “Topolino” was the only exception to the rule and his comic strips continued to get translated and reprinted –because Mussolini’s children loved the character.

    It seems that Japan had the most intriguing situation going on with its original characters presented through Kamishibai Japanese street theater including Golden Bat (who predates Batman and Superman) and Prince of Gamma…who, as a street urchin who becomes super powered is sort of like Captain Marvel Jr. …yet predates all DC and Fawcett superheroes. I haven’t been able to discover yet if Japan actually used Golden Bat, Prince of Gamma or other original characters as propaganda tools during WWII or ever depicted them fighting enemy forces. I kind of wonder if those two characters are in the public domain? If so, it could be interesting to use public domain Golden Age American superheroes in a story along with those two characters.
    I still haven’t found out to what extent–if any– Japan might have been reprinting translated American comic strips during the 1930s…although I would bet they would ban strips like Terry and the Pirates because Japan was busy invading Manchuria by then…any they might have banned Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and the like because Ming the Merciless was essentially a “yellow peril” character. But I’m still intrigued to know if Superman or Batman ever got translated and reprinted in Japan prior to December of 1941.

    Here are some interesting links about Japan’s manga and Kamishibai during WWII.