Thursday, July 02, 2009
Naked except for the felt hat.
Oh what in the Sam Hill is this?
This is from the Xena Warrior Princess parody in Betty and Veronica Double Digest #172, new this week. I'm assuming this story is a reprint. Surely Archie isn't doing a Xena parody NOW. (Given that this is Archie we're talking about, you can never be quite sure.)*
Anyway, drink in the Jughorse, who certainly takes his place in the ranks of Disturbing Archie Pictures, along with this.
Speaking of this week's comics, I had a couple of variations of this discussion (which ties in what I've been going on about over the last couple of days):
Customer (looks at Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #1): "So, is this a new Deadpool one-shot?"
Some people bought, some people didn't. But most people who commented on it demonstrated varying levels of disbelief.
Which, just as a tangent here, reminds me of something else that occurred to me today. our sales on the current version of the MAX-line Punisher and the sales on the created-pretty-much-just-to-tie-into-events Marvel Universe Punisher series together equal about what the MAX Punisher series on its own sold under Garth Ennis's tenure. Of course, as it was pointed out to me, this is Garth Ennis writing the Punisher we're talking about, so it may be a bit of an unfair comparison. But still, thought it was interesting to note.
Oh, and that Captain America: Reborn thing started this week, and while we did get our anticipated upsurge in interest from our regular clientele, Marvel's hoped-for repeat of high demand from the general public for Cap's death didn't materialize. Which is why we don't base our orders on the potential of media coverage, because 1) it may not happen, and 2) it may turn out nobody cares. I seem to recall talking a lot about this on the site around the time of Cap's alleged death. Don't really want to repeat myself, but I'm pretty sure you get the gist.
But our customers want it, and I got enough for them, and everyone's happy. Looks okay, too, as these things go...I'm not really a Cap fan, and I can count the number of his comics I own on the fingers of one hand, if I use the hand with the extra pinky, so it's not like I'm the target audience for this anyway. Hopefully the people who do read it enjoy it, and if it does generate some new Cap readership beyond the stunt aspects of this particular saga, even better.
Some good stuff that came out this week includes Muppet Robin Hood #2 (not the exercise in perfection that the Muppet Show comic is, but still amusing and well-drawn), Batman and Robin #2 (a streamlined machine of a comic, not a word or an image wasted and absolutely wonderful), Fantastic Four #568 (penultimate chapter of the Millar/Hitch run, with a guest-scripter over Millar's plot...the build-up of what seems to be a truly menacing villain continues, though with one issue to go, I suspect the defeat will be relatively prosaic compared to what came before), Tales Designed to Thrizzle hardcover (the first four issues, now with the black and white bits in color, but still just as fantastic and funny), Prince Valiant Volume 1 (a new and gorgeous hardcover reprinting the Hal Foster original strips from 1937 and 1938), and Solomon Grundy #5 (sorry, my "Swamp Thing in the DCU" need is still not fulfilled, though this isn't a bad read by any means).
In other news: well, I won't bother with the bullet point formatting, this time, since I'm just sending you over to Doctor Strange fan Neilalien's essay on what Marvel is doing with the character. Hint: he's not terribly happy about it, and I can't blame him.
* I suppose a quick Googling would resolve the query, but it's not like I really care all that much.
Labels: archie, captain america, don't bother clicking on the tags since they don't really go anywhere yet, retailing
Sunday, July 22, 2007
More racial sensitivity in comic books, plus more '90s stuff.
I don't normally buy current publications from Archie Comics, and when I do, it's almost always books that reprint their work from the '60s and earlier. Such was the case with last week's Archie Digest #236, which reprints Archie's first appearance from Pep #22, along with a full reprinting of Archie #1 from 1942.
One of the stories from Archie #1 has Archie involved in a series of mix-ups on a train with another passenger, and the poor railroad porter gets caught in the shenanigans as well. The porter looks and talks like this:
I realize it's no shock to anyone familiar with comic book history that racist caricatures of black people (and Asians, and Native Americans, and so on) were common in early stories (and this isn't even the worst example from this particular story, with other panels including dialogue like "I done thought..." and "Mus' be dat bump on yo' had!"). Not having an original Archie #1 lying around the house, I'm going to assume the porter has been recolored slightly for the reprint, even though all his stereotypical dialogue appears to have remained intact.
I'm not saying this shouldn't have been reprinted as is. If you're going to reprint your old material for historical purposes, it should be reprinted as it was, warts and all*. And that's what folks have been doing...a glance through your Shazam Archives and your Golden Age Wonder Woman Archives, among others, will show you examples of political incorrectness similar to that bit of business with the porter. But these are high end reprints, aimed at comic collectors, who are presumably familiar with the poor way minority groups were portrayed. Disclaimers aren't uncommon, noting the usage of such caricatures were typical of the time, and left unchanged for historical reference.
This Archie digest, however, is aimed at a young, general audience. It's one of the few modern comics actually sold in places where people who aren't comic fans shop. At my grocery store, they're right up there at the checkout line, next to the TV Guide and the Weekly World News. How will kids take the porter's portrayal -- how will the parents? -- particularly since there is no disclaimer that I can find noting the historical reasons for that portrayal.
I'm very curious as to the response Archie Comics will receive.
Okay, one last round of "Mike Remembers Barely Making It Through the 1990s:"
* As far as story content goes, anyway...I realize the comics in question have been recolored and (it seems) relettered for clarity.
Labels: archie, market crash, publishing, question time, racial sensitivity, retailing