Archive for Censorship

Hit the Bricks

I’ve got plenty of excellent stuff to review right now, but I just can’t get interested in writing up any reviews. So I ain’t gonna.

I will note a minor change here on the blog — I’ve deleted my link in my blogroll to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. I did it for the following two reasons.

First: The past week has been a rough one for comics fans as we deal with the fact that a lot of comics creators, both prominent and obscure, have spent years abusing women, particularly creators trying to break into the industry. And one of those abusers is Charles Brownstein, the CBLDF’s longtime executive director.

And they’re not new or obscure accusations either. They date back to at least 2005, and were updated by the Comics Journal article in 2018. CBLDF has largely shrugged this all off. It’s not a good look for any organization that’s supposed to be focused on protecting comics creators, either back then or today.

Second: This is something that has irritated and mystified me for the last three years. The CBLDF defended neo-Nazi Milo Yianopoulos.

Wait, you say, was this related to a comic book he made? Nope, it was just a book he was getting a generous advance for writing. It had nothing at all to do with comics.

But wait, you say, was he being censored? Was his book seized by police or banned by the government? Nopers, friends, what was happening was that common ol’ private citizens and advocacy groups, unhappy that any publisher felt comfortable giving an abusive neo-Nazi — best known for trolling, doxxing innocent people, and giving winking approval to pedophilia — a generous advance for writing a shitty book, began organizing boycotts of publisher Simon & Schuster. And the CBLDF decided that was an unfair infringement on the sacred rights of a multi-national publishing corporation.

And no, it didn’t make a lick of sense to anyone else either. And the organization has never bothered to explain themselves to all the folks asking why. Frankly, it felt like they were offended that anyone was talking back to them, or maybe just hoping it’d blow over quickly before any comics creators decided to stop letting them sell autographed comics…

It took me longer than it should have to remove the link in my blogroll, partly because I only started blogging again just a few months back, and partly because I was privileged enough that I’d managed to forget both these incidents.

So give money to your favorite creators’ Patreons, drop money in your favorite bloggers’ tip jars, and contribute to the Hero Initiative. But let’s allow the CBLDF to fade away, hopefully to be replaced by an organization that doesn’t approve of Nazis and doesn’t assault women.

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Ban the Book Banners

Didja know it’s Banned Books Week? Well, it is. Of course, there are banned comics out there, but they’re dwarfed by the numbers of banned books.

Book banners, book burners, and other knowledge-hating censors have always been some of the things that were most likely to make me good and mad. I don’t know — there’s just something about prigs and bluenoses that make me wanna dig out my consecrated shovel and knock some ignorant twit’s block off. So go out and read some banned books this week, just to spoil a censor’s day.

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Stand Up for your Rights

Liberty Comics

Here’s one of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s periodic fundraiser comics, designed to both raise a little scratch for the organization and educate readers about the continuing need to support the CBLDF and oppose censorship of comics, graphic novels, etc.

This one features a number of different stories by a number of different creators, but the real standouts are Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s short vignette about The Boys and the horrible, violent things they do to super-people, Darwyn Cooke and Dave Stewart’s tribute to “The Deadly Book,” Mark Millar and John Paul Leon’s modern re-telling of “House of Dracula,” Art Adams’ great pinup of Monkeyman and O’Brien, Ed Brubaker’s “Criminal” story about pressuring the press, and the short strips on “Tales of Comic Book Censorship” by Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragones.

Verdict: Thumbs up. You’ve joined up with the CBLDF, haven’t ya? Twenty-five smackers is all it costs to get a membership, and you help support efforts to stamp out comic censorship.

Birds of Prey #121

The Joker is moving in on the Silicon Syndicate in Plantinum Flats; the Birds get acquainted with Infinity, their newest operative; and Misfit enrolls in a new school. That’s pretty much it.

Verdict: I’m thumbs-downing it. It’s a place-saver issue. Worse, it’s a fairly dull place-saver.

She-Hulk #32

Shulkie and Jazinda have captured the Nogor, the Skrull’s “Talisman”, or spiritual leader. So they, umm, keep him tied up. With ropes. In their RV. She-Hulk rescues a bunch of humans captured by the Skrulls, and then they get attacked by Jazinda’s dad, the original Super-Skrull himself.

Verdict: I’m turning thumbs down on this one, too. The main problem is that it’s just not interesting.

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Torches and Pitchforks


Via Blog@: Here’s a nice long excerpt from a new book called “The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America” by David Hajdu. It’s about, obviously, that pretty dang weird period in the ’40s and ’50s when comics were scapegoated for every bad thing in the universe. The conventional wisdom held that crime comics turned kids into juvenile delinquents, horror comics turned them into thrill killers, Superman made them jump off buildings, Wonder Woman turned them into lesbians, and Batman and Robin turned them gay. Some cities actually banned them, and Congress held hearings about them, which definitely didn’t turn out the way the comics industry wanted.

Here’s a short sample from the book:

The hearings on comic books and juvenile delinquency, like the earlier sessions on organized crime, came across as judicial proceedings rather than legislative inquiries. (At the 1951 crime sessions, one senator, Herbert R. O’Conor of Maryland, had accidentally referred to one witness as “the defendant.”) Not just Bill Gaines but the whole of comic books appeared to be on trial, and the phantoms of the crime hearings seemed to incriminate them by association. Foley Square, Estes Kefauver, cameras and lights, talk of murder and bloodshed and vice. Gaines soon realized what had happened. “It was a difficult experience, because all of a sudden you find that everyone you know kind of regards you as a criminal,” he recalled. “There had been the famous Kefauver hearings before this, with criminals and the Mafia, and they were very big. So all of a sudden we comic publishers, and me in particular, find ourselves classed in with Frank Costello and all the other crooks dragged up before Kefauver. Kefauver technically was not the head of the comics committee, but Kefauver was pretty rough on me.”

Gaines, bedridden with stomach pains for days after the hearings, did not return to work until Monday, April 26. Having lost a good ten pounds during the previous week, he invited Feldstein to lunch and found an unexpected benefit of his Foley Square ordeal. The waiters at Patrissy’s seemed especially attentive, and they brought a full plate of biscotti for dessert, on the house. Feldstein supposed that word of the hearings had spread around Little Italy, and Gaines was now presumed to be in with the Mob.

Much more at the link, of course. Go read it all.

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