Calling All Legionnaires: The Great Thesis Project Continues!

[Note: I accidentally posted this under the "Newsboy" login I use for PR, so I'm re-posting under my correct name. I've also added the one response before I caught the error, from Luke Blanchard. Mea culpa!]

Hail, Legionnaires! The Emergency Signal shines forth once again!

As most of you know, I'm pursuing my Master's degree in Journalism at the University of Memphis -- and my thesis combines journalism and comics. But I've narrowed down the topic, and need your help to make it as comprehensive as possible.

The topic is still how journalism is portrayed in the comics, but I've narrowed it down to one decade: the 1960s. I needed to narrow the concept down to A) an era where I had most of the texts, and B) an era where there was some (but not too much) diversity. The 1960s seem to fit best, a decade where I own most of the material (or it is available in reprint) and where I can. at the very
  east, compare the Daily Planet staff vs. the Daily Bugle folks.

My primary interest is journalism ethics, but in general I'm interested in any story that features a journalist or the role of journalism in a significant role.

Still, that's a lot of comics! So if the Legionnaires can help me pinpoint the major stories or storylines, without re-reading hundreds of books, I'd be most grateful. Where I've focused on so far, and where I need help:

* Amazing Spider-Man
   -- the ethical issue of Peter Parker selling photos of Spider-Man without revealing they are one and the same. There's the issue where he faked being Electro (I think), which even in the book was treated as a serious ethical breach. But I need to find a few instances where he evades JJJ's questions or outright lies to him -- or instances where JJJ says he doesn't care how he got the pix, which is also an ethical issue.
   -- J. Jonah Jameson violating just about every ethic in sight in his vendetta against Spidey. (Anyone remember some particularly juicy scenes?) Isn't there a scene somewhere where he admits he's jealous of the wall-crawler?
   -- Frederick Foswell, going back and forth as undercover good guy (Patch) and undercover bad guy (The Big Man).
   -- Anybody remember anything about Ned Leeds from the '60s? I seem to remember Parker referring to him as a "good guy," but that's it.

* Harris Hobbs blackmailing Thor in Journey Into Mystery #120-123.

* Action, Superman, Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen and World's Finest from Jan 60-Dec 69. I'd rather not re-read ALL of those, so if anyone remembers any particularly newspaper-heavy stories, or just some representative ones (of Clark Kent being super-honest, or Lois pulling some cheesy trick, or Jimmy dressing up, or Perry White being editor-ish) I'd be grateful. And when did Lana Lang become a TV reporter? (And should I really bother with Lois Lane? All I remember from that book is conniving, not reporting.)

* Jack Ryder, Showcase #73 and Beware the Creeper #1-6.

* Vic "The Question" Sage, Blue Beetle #1-5.

* Anybody remember any '60s Vicki Vale stories? Or was she all in the '50s?

* Speaking of Batman, wasn't there a reporter in the Gotham City Mystery Club? (Or whatever it was called.) Seems to me she and Bats had a near-miss in the romance department, but I don't remember where or when. Were there any other Bat-related reporter stories?

* Did Iris West ever do anything reporter-ish in Flash, or did she just nag Barry about his tardiness?

Anybody remember any others? I'm excluding comic strips for now (I'll save that for the dissertation), but there must be more. And it doesn't have to be superheroes -- I just don't remember any non-Spandex books that involved reporters. There were probably dozens of short stories in the mystery books that featured unsavory reporters, but since they would all be one-shots, I can safely write them off as minor. Still, I wouldn't mind one or two for completeness' sake.

Anything else? I've got to have a rough draft by June 1, so the clock's ticking!

(And thanks in advance!)

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Luke Blanchard said:
-Spider-Man fakes shots of himself fighting the Sandman in Amazing Spider-Man #4. His dialogue excuses this as like shooting an action replay.
-He fakes shots of himself changing into Electro in #9.
-JJJ admits to himself that he tries to tear Spider-Man down because he's jealous of him in #10.
-Foswell actually was the Big Man in #10. Jameson gave him a second chance later.

In “The Death March!” from Jimmy Olsen #76 Perry enters into a bet with another editor to prove the loyalty of his staff to the Planet. Their plan involves Perry’s leading Clark, Lois and Jimmy on a march through a desert in Civil War-era costume while heaping abuse on them.

I think you’ll find quite a number of Lois stories involve Lois’s being sent on assignment, doing something outrageous to get a story, or trying to catch a criminal for the story. Tales that leap to my mind include:
-“Lois Lane’s Other Life!” (Lois Lane #35, reprinted as “The Day Lois Lost her Mind!”), in which (from memory) she disguises herself as reporter “Sheila Dexter” to get an interview with a man she knows would refuse to be interviewed by her real self
-“Lois Lane, Super-Telepath!” (Lois Lane #56), in which she and Jimmy perform a mentalist nightclub act in order to get her abducted by a gangster as part of a scheme to capture him
-“The Amazing Hydro-Girl!” (Lois Lane #60), in which she drinks an experimental serum that allows people to breathe underwater so she can write about it.

Incidentally, it's easy to think of Lois Lane as an also-ran title, but according to the statements of ownership average circulation figures complied by John Jackson Miller at Comichron it was a top-selling title in the 60s: also, in the years in which it reported, the reporting female-lead title with the highest average tales (with Betty and Veronica just behind it in 1969). The reporting romance titles had lower average sales too.

In “Miss Jimmy Olsen!” (Jimmy Olsen #44) Jimmy disguises himself in drag and joins a chorus line as part of his investigation of a criminal.

In the first Olsen-Robin team story from World’s Finest #141 Jimmy and Robin don’t think Superman will believe them because of bum tips Jimmy has recently given Superman.

My recollection is Iris does some reporting in “The Man Who Mastered Absolute Zero!” in Flash #134. She goes to a jail to report on Captain Cold’s recent escape, and learns he’s now infatuated with a dancer called Miss Twist.

The fan website www.dcuguide.com lists 60s appearances by Vicki Vale in the following stories (text copied from the website):
Detective Comics #309 (November 1962): "The Mystery of the Mardi Gras Murders"
Batman #155/2 (May 1963): "The Return of the Penguin"
Detective Comics #316 (June 1963): "Double Batman vs. Double X"
Batman #157/2 (August 1963): "The Hunt for Batman's Secret Identity"
World's Finest Comics #136 (September 1963): "The Batman Nobody Remembered"
Detective Comics #320 (October 1963): "Batman and Robin, the Mummy Crime-Fighters"
World's Finest Comics #156 (March 1966): "The Federation of Bizarro Idiots"
I have no clue as to what issue it was, but the first time I recall JJJ soliloquizing on his jealousy of Spider-Man was during Marv Wolfman's run as writer on Amazing. He and Spidey were chained together in some comicbooky way by Professor Smythe, the creator of the Spider-Slayer robots. Spidey kept his head throughout the ordeal while Jonah was freaking out, and after Spidey frees them both and saves the overall day. Jonah announces to himself that he knows he can never be the hero Spider-Man is, and that's why he feels he must ruin him.

This was in the 70s though, so it wouldn't fit the thesis as you describe it.
Rich Lane said:
I have no clue as to what issue it was, but the first time I recall JJJ soliloquizing on his jealousy of Spider-Man was during Marv Wolfman's run as writer on Amazing. He and Spidey were chained together in some comicbooky way by Professor Smythe, the creator of the Spider-Slayer robots. Spidey kept his head throughout the ordeal while Jonah was freaking out, and after Spidey frees them both and saves the overall day. Jonah announces to himself that he knows he can never be the hero Spider-Man is, and that's why he feels he must ruin him.

This was in the 70s though, so it wouldn't fit the thesis as you describe it.

I remember that one! It was Amazing Spider-Man #192, May 1979. Not only were Jonah and Spider-Man chained together, the shackle had a bomb in it set to go off after 24 hours, so Spider-Man not only had to figure out how to get it off, he had to do so with Jonah fighting him, and whining, while he fought Smythe's machines. (Cover here.)

I don't know how much help I can be with this stage; I haven't read all that many 1960s Marvels or DCs.
Yeah, it sounds like a fascinating idea, Skipper, but I know next to nothing about the comics of that era.
Ned Leeds was pretty much a cipher throughout the 60's. Typical square-jawed good guy. That's about it.

I would swear that Jameson/Spidey being chained like that occurred back in the Lee/Romita days, or perhaps a similar story. Also, I'm pretty sure Jameson had a monologue about his hatred of Spider-Man very early in the Lee/Dtiko run, in the story in which Spider-Man rescued John Jameson.

Art Saddows was the reporter with the Mystery Analysts of Gotham City, presumably first appearing in Batman #164.

Specifically from the 1960's. I recall very little attention or effort paid to journalistic ethics. Certainly the prevailing attitude in the Superman Family books was whatever got you the story was okay.

There was an Elongated Man story in which a DJ pretended to be a victim of a serial mugger in order to promote a song he'd written. I don't know if that counts.

That's all I can think of for the moment.
Oh, and I forgot Peter's decision not to expose Curt Connors as the Lizard. Considering Jameson sent him down to Florida specifically to get photos of the Lizard, that was probably not the easiest choice for him.
Anytime Clark had a Superman *exclusive* or Peter with Spidey photos, they were not journalists but self-promoters. If they felt bad about that, it never showed. Any Lois-written, Superman related story was not due to her work ethic but what he decided to give her as opposed to keeping it for himself. Granted, any super-hero in the newspaper business always said it was because it let them know where they were needed but it allowed them a great latitude in what and how they published!
I have a notion that the deception Superman's secret ID involves fits the early Superman better than the later versions. The early Superman was a guy outside the system who acts as a law unto himself. The Schwartz Superman, in contrast, was more high-minded.
Thought of a couple of other things.

* I do remember once that Robbie called Jameson on attempting to print his editorials as news.

* At one point, the Daily Bugle did an opinion poll on Spider-Man, and somehow convinced people to say negative things about him,

Really Cap, you could almost do your entire thesis on Amazing Spider-Man alone.
Randy Jackson said:
I would swear that Jameson/Spidey being chained like that occurred back in the Lee/Romita days, or perhaps a similar story. Also, I'm pretty sure Jameson had a monologue about his hatred of Spider-Man very early in the Lee/Dtiko run, in the story in which Spider-Man rescued John Jameson.

Yes, that would have been within the first 10 issues of Amazing Spider-Man (and I know that thanks to the magic of reprints). There, Jonah declares that superheroes are phony glory-seekers taking attention away from the astronauts and firefighters and police officers and soldiers and non-powered people who he thinks of as true heroes.

Randy Jackson said:
Specifically from the 1960's. I recall very little attention or effort paid to journalistic ethics. Certainly the prevailing attitude in the Superman Family books was whatever got you the story was okay.

There also was a prevailing attitude that Superman was good and the Daily Planet was good, and whatever was good for Superman was good for the Daily Planet and vice versa. The Daily Planet was practically Superman's public relations firm and there was many a time when he would help the paper in some kind of circulation drive or charity drive or contest.
As all these great comments come in, and as I pull together my Bibliography (until 5:30 this ayem, thankyaverramuch, and still not done), it's kinda shaping up in my head that what my thesis really almost has to be is: Superman vs. Spider-Man.

While the Daily Planet crew were gaily disregarding ethics and often the law in their quest for "scoops," they were treated as heroes, and the readers were expected to think of them that way. By contrast, J. Jonah Jameson is the first prominent journalist in the comics I can think of who was an out-and-out jerk -- not quite a villain, but certainly no hero. And, while the Planet staff had no problem acting as Superman's PR firm (although they should have), it was Peter Parker who first realized that he was acting unethically (at least when he pretended to be Electro), and therefore first asked the reader to consider that maybe not all reporters were all that cool. With advent of JJJ and the Daily Bugle, journalism in the comics kinda grew up, where reporters could be jerks as well as heroes, fuzzy gray instead of black and white. An argument could be made -- and I will certainly make it -- that the door was kicked open for characters like Jack Ryder later in the decade. (Sure wish I had more than one example. I guess I could stretch with Vic Sage -- and I can draw a line to unpleasant Planet people like Morgan Edge, Cat Grant and Steve Lombard.)

That's the direction my brain is heading at the moment. Not necessarily a decade, but a sea change in the use of journalism as a story device. Spider-Man's Daily Bugle vs. Superman's Daily Planet.

Thoughts, anyone?
The Creeper, Mr. A. and the Question are all further Ditko characters. I've not seen Creeper's earliest appearances, so I don't know how Ryder was originally portrayed. Is there a divergence between how he was portrayed by Dikto and how he's been portrayed by other creators? Ditko returned to the character in the 70s for an issue of First Issue Special, a series in World's Finest, and an unpublished issue of Showcase (in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade). (In between the Creeper appeared in stories by others, including a few solo stories in Adventure Comics. In the 80s he held the back-up feature in Flash for a short while.)

The more positive take on reporters is present in Marvel's treatment of the Daily Bugle too, as with Robbie Robertson and later Ben Urich. From memory, there's a bit in #105 (really 1971, but cover-dated for the next year) where Jameson gets into an argument with a demonstrator and tells him the Bugle has been fighting for liberal causes since before he was born.

In the later 60s Spider-Man's feature had a topical element, with stories about campus riots, corrupt politicians etc. I think the issue where Doc Ock commits a skyjacking (#88, 1970) reflects the skyjackings of the period.

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