What you mean “we?”

... white man?

… white man?

Like “African-American” and “person of color,” “Native American” was not a phrase of my childhood, simply because they weren’t invented yet. I’m using “Indian” here for the earlier parts, not on principle but as a matter of memory in tune with the times I’m talking about. The term was a constant set of images for me, mostly positive which I think was relatively new in the culture.

alivietnamA lot of Indian-ness was appropriated as a symbol for other groups. The narrator of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was the breakout in 1961 (the novel was a hit long before the play/movie), officially transforming the embarrassment, loser, and perennial victim into the powerhouse hero of dissenters everywhere. Black and Indian civil rights were often combined although never really allied as movements, and the former used a lot of Indian imagery to make its point. Everyone knew Bill Cosby’s Lone Ranger and Tonto sketch from his 1964 album, and Cassius’ Clay’s famous draft resistance quote was immortalized in Hair (1967).

I remember this song by Oscar J. Brown, Jr. from Top 40 AM radio in 1974.

There I was, reading Captain America and the Falcon at the same time, and you can bet I turned my head a bit to the side, squinted a little, and went “h’mmm …” This connection wasn’t always abstract, either, as a lot of people with shared Native American and African ancestry were now becoming vocal about it for the first time.

hippiesandindiansSherry L. Smith’s Hippies, Indians, & the Fight for Red Power captures the moments in a way only an honestly reflective participant could, and I highly recommend it. She shows in detail how the influences went both ways: Indian activism reached into antiwar and leftist techniques, and counter-cultural and other activism reached into Indian symbolism. Genuine contact was limited, some of it terribly naive and some pretty solid, and most of was in-between. Probably most familiar now is the confounding of psychedelic drugs with shamanism – my personal jury is still out on how many people became shamans in part to get high, and how many people got high thinking they’d become shamans (cough). I remember very well the counter-cultural emphasis on Indians, whether dressing up like them or learning romantic accounts about “harmony with nature,” and also being perhaps the only generation in U.S. history who learned a non-heroic account of Columbus’ journey and related events … I was stunned as a teen to find that only I and a handful of other kids even knew why Native Americans are called “Indians.” Even today I discover college students proudly lecturing others about it because they just learned it for the first time at age 20.

Remember this?

I loved Schoolhouse Rock, being the on-target age group, and I still do; my kids watch it. But I don’t let them see this episode, and even then, still a pre-teen, I was shocked to see the American/Nazi terminology right in the middle of the other material which was all much more street-friendly, hip, people-centered, diverse, and even politically a bit edgy. This was the same year my class was visited by the Holocaust survivor with the numbers on her arm. I mean, we have “Tyrannosaurus Debt,” still one of the finest animated segments in the medium’s history, and then … “Elbow Room?” I know now that this segment had everything to do with the feature’s funding and with the Bicentennial, but you want to talk about selling your soul, shit.

Sneer if you like (this is getting a lot of play currently), but back then, at least this counter-cultural contact meant some little white kids took their own time to read Black Elk Speaks, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and I Will Fight No More Forever, got heavy into Coyote mythology, and eventually checked out the real political and cultural history behind these popular accounts. Some of us even understood that Indians were much more acceptable targets than black people in the 70s, that this was wrong, and that even attempts to be inclusive were usually ham-handed, in their saintly or otherwise equally-still-wooden portrayals.

There were also the civic protests which are generally not well-remembered, like the occupation of Alcatraz in 1968 and the events at Wounded Knee in the mid-70s. In isolation, they may seem classically quixotic and full of genuinely head-thumping screw-ups … until you look at it in the long haul and consider that maybe the Native American effort has walked a really hard line between gaining political clout and resisting full assimilation, and its arc isn’t easily understood without a lot of personal legwork. In retrospect, the American Indian Movement laid the foundation for quite a lot.

Uh … you do realize that Mount Rushmore is not on U.S. land, right? Not even a little. Not even sort of. If the Lakota wanted to dynamite the largest piece of tasteless graffiti on earth off their mountain tomorrow, then by our very own laws, they absolutely could.

OK, I’m supposed to be blogging about comics, in this case from the late 60s through the early 80s, and the usual odd, variably effective, hard-to-parse presentation in the Marvel comics that I knew so well. The first being of course Wyatt Wingfoot, who in inimitable Lee-Kirby style refused to conform to “honest Injun sidekick” tropes even when he was an honest, Indian, sidekick guy. Even given any number of gratuitous mentions of his ethnicity (including racist ones from Ben Grimm), or his “uncanny” tracking abilities, we are talking about one of the simply coolest, most decent guys ever written in Marvel Comics, who had the guts to hang with the Fantastic Four at the height of Kirby’s trippy action extravaganza phase, and if sometimes pummeled, was never punked. All those whiners with issues, lightin’ up the sky with their powers, and Wyatt never got any, go figure. He was also fortunate later to be liked by John Byrne which means he was never mutilated, brain-fried, or retconned into, I dunno, a child molester or something when Byrne went through his axe-murder-all-heroes phase at Marvel in the late 80s-early 90s.

Talking about Byrne is distracting and it just bumped me out of my sequence. Plus, I don’t want to run down every last character, as Wikipedia has done that, and I want to stay focused on the 70s.

Coolest mask in comics.

Coolest mask in comics.

One might say Red Wolf was a bit too Indian at his first appearance in 1970, almost to the point of assless chaps, but hold up, think about how easy it would have been to make the guy white “raised by Injuns,” and give some credit for not doing that. Besides, I really envied this guy’s mask. I made up all sorts of rip-off variants to be my superhero costume, you know, when the day came. (Silver Wolf. Black Wolf. oh the choices!) Nor did I miss my chance at relevance; as a devotee of Ranger Rick, I threw my heart into a report on the (actual) red wolf in sixth-grade, with at least one thumb on the comic at the same time. Looking at the stories now, I realize the primary Native American conundrum in them is the token issue, using a single concept-character as nearly the total of Marvel Indian-ness. It’s not like they could have a whole cast of various such characters; no, they had to keep using the same name and hero-lineage for it, as with nine issues of the same-named series featuring his predecessors, one in a late 19th century character and some other 70s guy. The original (William Talltrees, meaning in real-life publication, not fictional chronology) didn’t do much more, showing up with Tigra a few times during her extremely weird run in the black-and-white Marvel Chillers. That’s different from what I see with black characters of the mid-70s and the following decade, in which the various details jumped all over the cultural-political map, but usually through making new characters.

The only good one, I guess.

The only good one, I guess.

Wyatt and William Talltrees were pretty much it then, until look! Another unambiguous Native American guy in the mid-1970s, great! Thunderbird: (pause for horror-stricken horror) oh man, what a pure and embarrassing travesty. Feathers in his hair, fringes on his arms, well, OK, but worse by far: completely inarticulate, chip on his shoulder, inferiority complex beyond all reason. Pouty, pissy, simply and thoroughly useless – even explicitly so when compared to white Canadian Wolverine (pause for loud groan). He existed solely to provide the most cynical and yes, I’ll say it, exploitative kill-off in Marvel history, dying unheroically in what appears to be some kind of fuck-you suicide, unnecessarily as the Banshee could have solved the immediate problem without his butthurt butt in the way. Then we get a couple of obligatory “oh we loved him so” moments, despite that fact that no one else in the team ever once liked or talked nicely to him, and after that, nothin’. Not even a mention. The memory hole goes zoop, closed.

Seriously, in the 70s, when the black guy dies, it’s extra-special tragic because y’know slavery and all, and now this … but when the Indian gets it, everyone breathes a sigh of relief that that shit is out of the way, the incompetent load is finally gone, we get to sniffle once and feel “concerned” or something, and we don’t have to listen to his constant guilt-trip any more. Do I even have to go into the whole Thunderbird’s lookalike brother thing? At least that guy didn’t have an absurdly stereotyped name … oh wait. Or include absurdly stereotyped details like being a knife-wielding revenge-obsessed manaic … oh for God’s sake, Marvel, please, just stop.

Good enough to be your totem.

Good enough to be your totem.

The coin might show its other face with I Am Coyote: a confirmatory and exciting book for me in the early-mid 80s, speaking of the collection with the depicted cover, by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers. It’s best described as more sex and tripping and gore against the establishment than a Native American hippie blend could hope to bear in one spot, as written by two white guys with lysergic acid diethylamide possibly deserving a co-creator credit. It’ll get a whole post of its own with some relevant autobiography, including why the incredible self-indulgence of the whole thing was a plus … uh, for me anyway. I could see why someone else might recoil from it as strongly as I do from Thunderbird and Warpath. It’s the whole Hippies & Indians yes/no good/bad respect/appropriation issue in triplicate. It spoke hard to me on a number of levels in part because of its confusion, and in that it comes down barely on the right side of that line.

I’ll tell you a little more, I guess. One of my mentors in my teen years was a counselor at the camp I posted about before, named Jim – an outspoken black and Native American guy, whom I still recall as the first genuinely kind, anti-bullying authority figure I met, and certainly the first who treated me as a younger man instead of as a kid. A lot of my regard for I Am Coyote is rooted in my friendship with him, not with abstractions, and so when I talk about the comic’s extremist social activism, Indian rights, wilderness, and peyote, my enjoyment of its excess is grounded in real people who were not “stupid hippies,” and in their concrete actions which I respect.

The issue remains all kinds of dicey, with the only virtue to its presence being that it demands attention. There’s a hell of a lot politics and policy to review before I can do that. The larger sweep of Cheyenne characters written by Chris Claremont in the 80s deserves a look, especially Cable, who was introduced right at the time I quit reading Marvel superhero comics again, approximately 1990. For the 90s comics, there’s Garth Ennis’ presentation in Preacher, and in the last few years, Jason Aaron’s and R. M. Guera’s Scalped. So much to blog!

kinda trippy!

kinda trippy!

Here’s one last thing for this post: I learned from Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story that in 1984, J. M. DeMatteis was writing a story in which the Red Skull is (really) killed, that Steve Rogers (really) quits being Captain America, that he’d then be killed by Bucky Barnes, and wait for it … that the Native American superhero Black Crow would become the new Captain America. For real, no reversals, no dial-it-back gimmicks, that’d be the character now. Holy shit!

This didn’t happen, needless to say, and Black Crow instead became an intermittent character to say the least, but still, holy shit! If I had the money, I’d pay DeMatteis my own self to write that this minute, with thinly-disguised expy characters as a unique publication. What might that character go on to do! (Mount Rushmore …)

Links: The X-Men are a little racist

Next: How did I get these mutton chops?

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About Ron Edwards

Game author and publisher via Adept Press / Biology author and former professor

Posted on July 12, 2015, in Heroics, Politics dammit and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. epweissengruber

    I am married to a horsey person from out West. All chaps are assless. Otherwise they are leather pants. I have been corrected on this multiple times so I am just saving you the hassle. Did more recent 1st Nations events get echoed in comics? Québécois nationalism pops up as mildly exotic “foreign disorder of the month” sometimes. But I was wondering if the Oka standoff at the end of the 80’s ever got refracted into comics.

    Like

    • Yes, yes, pedant, I know. Your wonderful spouse, whom I respect with every fiber of my being, as well as whoever else may have provided the correction to you, is pissing in the wind of a simple axiom which may not be denied. This axiom states that in U.S. children’s imagery of “Indians,” they were both psychologically and physiologically incapable of wearing pants, thus assless chaps, as a phrase, actually indicates the absence of said pants beneath them, and therefore, the exposure of one’s muscled, prominent, bronzed, and shameless buttocks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. epweissengruber

    Now that the buttocks and not the chaps are at the centre of discussion, I am satisfied.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. epweissengruber

    Some tropes from decades past. Canada had its own little pulp fiction and comics industry that got overwhelmed when protectionist policies were lifted. It took your Gene Days, Dave Sims, and the Drawn & Quarterly crowd to show you what could be done independently.

    Nelvana of the Northern Lights:
    http://nelvanacomics.com/history/nelvana/
    * Inuit demigoddess
    * came out just a little before Wonder Woman
    * “Known Villains: Toroff, Hitler, Vultor, Ether People, Queen of Statica”
    Toroff must be pretty bad if s/he comes ahead of Hitler. Cripes, what if they are given in ascending order of badness!? That Queen must be something else

    Brok Windsor
    http://brokwindsor.com/
    * the square-jawed lead lands on a magical island in Ontario
    * the sidekick is a 7 foot tall Ojibwe named Torgon
    Torgon and his people have hovercars and nuclear power plants, so he is a figure of exotic futurism and not primitivism, despite his sidekick role. He is an ace pilot instead of being the local tracker or gun-bearer for the protagonist.

    Hope Nicholson’s promotion of Brok and Nelvana are acts of restoring cultural memory. They weren’t “live” images or traditions when I was growing up in the 70s. In the nationalist tide of the 1970s sometimes WWII pulp action propaganda hero Johnny Canuck was pulled up for a little dose of nostalgia. But the less said about his Indigenous characters, the better. Also, the anti-Japanese racism peddled at the same time of the internments of Japanese Canadians is really hard to look at now.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/canadian-superhero-johnny-canuck-is-back-in-reprint-of-1940s-comic-1.2691233

    Liked by 1 person

    • Man, I hadn’t realized that Canada had its own Japanese concentration camps. That’s really sad. The horrific legal reasoning behind that in the States was so spectacularly stupid, hysterical, and racist that it never even occurred to me that Canada would get up to the same shit.

      Like

      • Oooh boy. What went down in Canadian elite culture was a promotion of the idea that the British Empire was kinder to her subjects than the Americans. Now, the displacement of the indigenous population, the internment of Ukranians in WW I (never mind that they had immigrated to get AWAY from the Austrian Empire), the Japanese internment, etc. should put paid to that myth. 19th Anglican bishop Strachan calls out the leaders of the American Revolution who participated in naked land grabs during the War of Indepence for personal gain. The idea is that the Empire can govern all subject peoples, from Ireland to India to Upper Canada, in a wise and benevolent manner. And the myths filter down to popular culture. That’s why the natives in Johnny Canuck are usually in the role of loyal subaltern. A different dynamic from what Ron talks about in American comics. A more historical look at the displacement of the indigenous can be found in Chester Brown’s Louis Riel comic http://www.amazon.ca/Louis-Riel-A-Comic-Strip-Biography/dp/1894937899.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Man, we were just talking about Native American appropriation yesterday during Super Saturday, and how cool an “Indian” Captain America would be. I knew that Black Crow was originally intended to be kind of a big-deal member of Cap’s supporting cast, but I didn’t realize they wanted to go full-on Who Will Wield the Shield with him. (That said, the character didn’t exactly set the world on fire in his first appearances, but still it would definitely have been ballsy.)

    American Eagle
    Black Crow
    Emmett Proudhawk / Psi-Hawk (New Universe world)
    Espirita (“God told me to pity-fuck Hank Pym so he wouldn’t commit suicide”)
    Forge
    Harpoon
    Mirage II (Dani Moonstar)
    Red Wolf
    Redstone (Squadron Supreme world)
    Scalphunter (holy shit)
    Shaman
    Talisman
    Thunderbird
    Tomazooma, the Living Totem That Walks
    Warpath
    Wyat Wingfoot
    (Just . . . just . . . whew. Whew. Dude is named Scalphunter. Fuuuuuck)

    versus

    White Tiger (Hector Ayala)

    Like, seriously, that is a LOT of Native American / First Nations folks, probably equal to the number of Marvel’s black characters around the same time period. And it’s easy to see why: this is a culture that’s almost perfect to be appropriated by well-meaning white comics dorks . . . Culturally alienated + tragic history + embittered anti-hero + mystical cosmic hoo-ha + nifty visual iconography / costumes + totemic weaponry.

    (Seriously, White Tiger, the writers can’t even give you any Puerto Rican themed powers? How’s anybody gonna know you’re a well-meaning Latino stereotype without Puerto Rican powers? Oh, wait…. they made you a super-addict??? Umm. Umm. WTF MARVEL?!?)

    I only read the Thunderbird death issues for the first time a few months ago. You’re right, that is a really wild sequence. Giant Size X-Men #1 ends with a line like, “What are we gonna do with so many X-Men??”, and the answer is

    (1) Sunfire tells everyone to eat a bag of flaming dicks

    (2) Havok and Polaris remember that they are boring as hell

    (3) Thunderbird seemingly has a moment of meta-fictional awareness when he realizes, “Oh fuck, I am a comic book Indian! I’d rather die! Hey, on that note–”

    I hadn’t realized that the art on Coyote was by Marhsal Rogers. He and Englehart had some really nice issues of Silver Surfer, so I’ll try to track that down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome post. Same reaction to that name I refuse to type.

      Careful with the I Am Coyote investigation, as there were different sequences, publishers, and artists. I never did figure it out at the time, or how they were or weren’t continuous, but will be presenting the full info in the eventual Coyote post. The Rogers part is available with the depicted cover.

      Liked by 1 person

    • OH my GOD there are two!! One’s the Marvel guy you mentioned, who boasts a surprising porn ‘stache for an allegedly Native American person:

      And there there’s the DC one:

      Liked by 1 person

      • James Nostack

        Wikipedia indicates the DC Scalphunter debuted in 1977, which is awfully late in the day for such a thing–but Marvel’s version was in ’86, which is even later.

        In my head-cannon, Scalphunter–a Native American dude with a mustache with the “mutant power” of being able to create high-tech weapons–is some kind of clone or alternate dimension version of Forge–a Native American dude with a mustache and the “mutant power” of being able to create high-tech weapons. But that’s never been established anywhere.

        Perhaps the best issue of the Marvel Scalphunter is when he confronts a Nigerian mutant with shrinking powers and “darkforce control” – that’s right, Scalphunter vs. Little Black Sambo. (I’m making that up. But only barely. In a 1987 plot-line, the United States government recruits a black man to become Captain America’s sidekick, and apparently writer/editor Mark Gruenwald was unaware that calling a black man “Buck” would be offensive.)

        Like

        • Yes! One of my big points was Indians/Native Americans remained acceptable targets all the way along, and in tandem with that, token, martyr, remarkably ham-handed, or generally beta-level heroes. It’s a whole different trajectory from the black characters’, which I see as at least somewhat more positive, or from the Arab characters’, which I see as even more unacceptable. (Kamala Khan is a fine move … but she is not Arab.)

          You are frighteningly good at incredibly racist superhero ideas. Perhaps there is a completely balls to the wall, no holds barred series concept waiting to happen – not as “snicker snicker we’re politically incorrect,” which as a media concept can be shot and die, but the “crossing the line twice” idea, pie-ing racism in the face with its own damn pie.
          (pause)
          C’mon, you know you want to.

          Like

  5. In this context I come to wonder about Alpha Flight in comparison to the X-Men: it seems to be the case that in Chris Claremont’s mind indians are more of an on-going mythic reality for Canadians than they are for United Statians. About one quarter of the official Canadian superhero crew being directly shamanic and native in their background, for starters, and many of their more memorable adventures (at least to my mind) seem to revolve around native mythology and the issues of the white man living on borrowed land. Maybe Canada was less urban and more of an indiany place than the United States in the minds of the Marvel authors of the time.

    Or maybe this is just an effect of the early internationalist concept of the new X-Men vs. the vigorously nationally typecast nature of the supporting cast, including the Alpha Flight. They could drop the token indian in X-Men (until Danielle Moonstar and Forge became a thing in the early ’80s, anyway) without compromising the concept of supposedly-international super team, while a national stereotype team needs to play the demographics in a more preordained way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Important addendum/mod: Alpha Flight was very much a John Byrne creation. Byrne was born in England and moved to Canada as a child, and at least as far as my comics fandom was concerned, was frequently billed as and emphasized as Canadian. His semi-appropriation of Wolverine, creation of Alpha Flight, and incorporation of Wolverine’s past partly into Alpha Flight, was all generally presented as “now by a real Canadian.”

      None of that diminishes your point but it removes it from being a Claremont issue and more into a literal national(alist) one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Also, I should add that I like the Alpha Flight indians like Snowbird and Shaman, insofar as superhero fantasy goes; they’re not that different from what you’d get by throwing a bunch of Finnic folklore and ethnic romances into the mangler. I’ll believe it if they disappoint American ethnic dialogues in some way (I wouldn’t know one way or another, really), but from the viewpoint of this Eurasian animistic culture they seem like positive and valiant heroic figures the way they were conceived.

        In fact, thinking about it, this Alpha Flight stuff is not different at all compared to our on-going Doctor Xaos campaign. The north-western Russian milieu of the game is in some ways pretty similar to Canada, which might have subconsciously affected the way we have very Alpha Flight-esque characters popping up here and there. The campaign’s plot seems to be shaping into a weird remix of the Great Beasts story arc from Alpha Flight with the considerably more recent Marvel Civil War, for instance. I think one NPC was literally named “Shaman” in the last session, too 😀

        Like

        • Are there any analogous representations of the Sami in Finnish pop culture?

          Like

        • Not really. The kind of brute romanticism evidenced by superheroes is a fringe interest in Finland, and generally strongly associated with America and American tropes. A “Finnish superhero” will generally be depicted as a savage parody of the superhero genre and/or Finnish stereotypes. It’s illustrative how creating superhero lore (and pulp adventure, etc.) that actually fits aesthetically in a credible way in a Finnish environment has long been an interesting intellectual challenge for me – it is not easy for such a humdrum nation with its inferiority complexes 😀

          The closest one gets is with fantasy literature, particularly the subgenres of historical fantasy and historical romance, where the ethnic imagery of myths, shamanism and wizardry is prevalent. I could discuss this to boring depths, but the nutshell of it for American readers is that Finnish pop culture does not generally externalize and mystify the Sami ethnic traditions in the same way European-descended Americans do with indian lore: for Finns the traditional and still dominant perspective on the Sami/Finn relations is that we are both native peoples of this land, there is no colonial history distancing us from each other, and while there may be racism, there is no need to exoticize Sami in the way Americans do with e.g. indians. It’s more like WASPs vs. Irish than WASPs vs. natives – or better yet, like Creek vs. Seminoles.

          What the above amounts to in pop culture practice is that both Finns and Sami get to be “magical” in fantasy storytelling, and the idea that the “white” man needs to get initiated by the “native” gets applied to an urban/rural divide more often than a Finn/Sami divide. Interestingly old Finnish folklore (as in, pre-modern) tends to depict Finns as “Christian” and Lappis/Samis as especially magically potent shamans in comparison – you’d get stories of Finnish wizards traveling to Lapland to learn magical secrets, exactly like the American who goes to the reservation to learn Real Magic. Nowadays this perspective seems like sort of wishful thinking for Finnish identity narratives, I think, as Finns have tended to have a sort of naturalist-mystical bend to our national Romanticism for the last couple hundred years; add the prevalent non-religiousness of today, and Finns find it easy to consider themselves a more “magical” people than the average. Sort of like how Ireland is identified as a particularly magical place.

          Thinking about it, I wouldn’t mind seeing some prominent, specifically Sami heroic protagonism in Finnish pop culture. Part of the problem is obviously that we don’t make as much romantic literature as I’d like, so there aren’t many contemporary Finnish pop culture heroes either. Certainly something to look into fixing when opportunity comes along…

          Liked by 3 people

  6. Where’s my Wendigo at? The persona had a lot of incarnations, from a trapper who committed canibalism to a sad sack who bit off his own fingers and was struck with the Wendigo curse, to being tamed by Alpha Flight member Snowbird. And the mythical figure provided the name for a psych-soul band from Toronto that threw down an aggressive version of “Gimme Some Lovin'”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1BLyYN0RKs

    Like

  7. James Nostack

    Apparently in ’66, Wyatt Wingfoot was supposed to get his own series.

    At the time, Marvel Comics was contractually limited to publishing only 8 titles (through a distributor ultimately connected to DC comics), but Martin Goodman thought he’d found an out. He told Lee and Kirby to whip up some new characters because there’d be some new magazines available for them, and supposedly Wingfoot, Black Panther, the Inhumans, and the Silver Surfer (all of which burst out in about 6 issues of Fantastic Four were developed for this purpose. In the end, the deal fell through and none of that happened as planned. The contract expired two years later in ’68, by which time a lot had changed, most notably with Kirby, who supposedly had decided that since Marvel was fucking him pretty royally, he was no longer gonna create new characters for them.

    Anyway, yeah: potential Black Panther solo series in 19-effing-66! Heads explode.

    But I have no idea what the heck the Wyatt Wingfoot series was gonna be about.

    P.S. If you look at what was actually being published at the same time as the Galactus saga, it looks like late 1965 was an incredibly fertile time, creatively. Inhumans-Galactus-Black Panther in FF; the Master Planner arc in Spider-Man; the Sentinels arc in X-Men; Thor battles Hercules for the first time; Dr. Strange’s humongous arc with Eternity and Dormammu enters its final act; the Hulk vs. Leader arc concludes; the Kooky Quartet Avengers battle Doctor Doom… Like, that was cover-date January ’66 to maybe March ’66. All of that–basically the high point of each series’ Silver Age run–was happening simultaneously. It’s crazy. Something must have been going on in the real world that just made these dudes do the best mainstream work of their careers, but it’s not clear what it was: a love affair, discovery of acid, newborn kid, huge pay raise, but it must have been something. (Haven’t gotten to this in the Howe book yet, if it’s addressed.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • My catchphrase for it is paraphrased from Warren Ellis’ line, “Something in the water in that building,” all these weird middle-aged men who could barely grunt at each other, not even really working in the same office much, somehow catching cultural lightning in a bottle in these goddamn cheap newsprint funnybooks, with every political or dissenting nuance becoming clearer and more gutsy every time you look again.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: Who is Coyote | Doctor Xaos comics madness

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