Apr 29, 2017

Herstorians hersteria.

This is another one from the archive of uncompleted snippets...

Two of the blogs I follow (Pen-E and Ragnell) are written by what one would consider very militant feminists and though I can agree with some of the things both women write, there are times I find myself completely at odds with them. I am put off by the fact they choose to view the world (and comics) through a very narrow and specific lens, in so doing making conclusions I cannot agree with, often find totally off base or just plain wrong.

I read Vd’O (a woman whose name I refuse to promote) rail at great length about the injustices she faced in her sojourn in the world of comics when at the end of everything, the conclusion I came away with was not only was she a very unhappy person but, quite often she causes much of the problems she complains about by her approach to the world.

This winds up getting into a discussion about another sore spot of mine which is this kind of helpless bs that has overtaken our society in the sense people want to remove themselves from the equation when things don’t go their way. Vd’O totally lost me with one throwaway statement she wrote about her gender lacking its own Grant Morrison or Alan Moore and in so doing taking a swipe at a slew of women who had toiled away producing some great work (just not of idiot Vd’O’s preference, liking or recognition).

But this is not about Vd’O.

Instead, let’s look back for a second to comics history or maybe we should be talking about comics little known history. People look fondly back on the Silver Age of comics, the halcyon days when Marvel had this great thing called a bullpen and the place really seemed to live up to its name as The House of Ideas as Spider Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Hulk, the X-Men and a whole host of other characters issued forth that are still very popular today.

As a matter of fact, prior to that heyday the thing that had been driving the industry just a few short years earlier was the genre of romance comics and it wasn’t boys who were buying them either!

But, I want to talk about the black sheep of the family, the forgotten cousin of all those superheroes of the Silver Age:

(I just want to say as bad as that image may be, that is actually the TAMEST one I could find, other covers and materials were so graphic even I wouldn’t put them up here!)

Right about now you may be wondering what I’m getting on about.

Maybe, it’s about the fact I keep hearing a lot of sturm and drang about comics not being female friendly...
 So, here’s the thing... I started this something like ten years ago. Really my life is full of unfinished shit.

Anyway, so the dirty little secret of comics which in light of their popularity today is this jewel that is often overlooked. We look back on the sixties as this magical time when Marvel created all these wonderful characters and everything, when Stan Lee’s uncle Martin Goodman was the publisher of this amazing world changing wave in four color fiction but here’s a little jewel about the House of Ideas (now Disney of all things) you may not have known:
Around 1954–1955, it was relaunched by Martin Goodman, the founder of Marvel Comics, and ran spicy adventure or suspense fiction by the likes of Ian Fleming, Graham Greene, Norman Mailer and Arthur C. Clarke. Humorist Bruce Jay Friedman was an editor in the late 1950s.

According to its current owner, Magna Publishing Group, Swank has been established for “well over 65 years.” A men's lifestyle title called Swank was launched in the early 1940s, by Victor Fox. In a 2002 article for The New York Times, Matthew Flamm wrote of the magazine's genesis: “[Swank] can even draw a line to the same pulp publishing outfit – Martin Goodman's Magazine Management Company – that in 1939 started the comic book publisher that eventually became Marvel Comics, and that in the 1950s and 1960s employed future novelists like Mario Puzo and Bruce Jay Friedman as writers and editors.” Beat poet John Fles also wrote for the magazine. In keeping with its connection to Magazine Management, in the early 1970s Swank ran a three-page comics section that was created by Vaughn BodÄ“, and continued by Bernie Wrightson and then Jeff Jones.
The Magna Publishing Group bought Swank, along with titles including Stag magazine, in 1993. The previous owner was Charles “Chip” Goodman, the son of Martin Goodman. At the time of the purchase, the company was known as Swank Publications and was part of the GCR Publishing Group, which also published non-pornographic magazines such as New Body and Victorian Accents.
And just so you know ‘Chip’ was also related to Stan. So while comics definitely has gotten better about appealing to women the House of Ideas was at one time built on smut.


Elayne said...

You lost me at about your second sentence, I'm afraid. You pretty much invalidated the lived experiences of people who aren't at the top of the societal heap. Sorry.

PJ said...

Well, I’m sorry you didn’t read further. I wouldn’t expect you to agree with me on many things.

I don’t buy into the narrative of women not being on top of the societal heap though, I don’t buy into victim mentality and considering I've been accused of mansplaining things in the past I have to imagine slights are not gender exclusive.

As a matter of fact I think in many ways women have far more advantages and options than men do in our society, you may not feel that way but I don’t feel the need to get into a drawn out argument.