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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Captain Comics said:
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?

Sounds good to me. One time when we had a similar conversation on the old board, I noted that, with the Peter Parker and Daily Bugle, Stan Lee created a fun-house mirror version of Clark Kent and the Daily Planet.

And, of course, the two Superman vs. Spider-Man crossovers would provide excellent fodder for this, what with the second one featuring each man working for the other's newspaper! I still well remember the scene where Peter Parker tries selling photos to Perry White:

White: "The angle's not the best on some of these, son, but you got in close. That shows guts. Reminds me of me when I was your age.

"I don't dicker, Parker. I'll pay $500."

Parker (thinking to himself): "That's THREE TIMES what J.J.J. would have paid!" (aloud) "S-sure!"

That says a whole lot about Perry White and J. Jonah Jameson, without Jameson even being there!
Good points both, CK and Luke -- and referencing elements I couldn't have used when I was artificially limiting myself to a single decade. Now that I'm prepared to move beyond December, 1969 -- reluctantly, and not TOO far, because I don't want to get into multiple Spider-titles -- I can use the things you mention in the way you mention to make those points. I'd forgotten about the role reversal in Superman vs. Spider-Man, Luke, and that is certainly an exclamation point to my thesis.

And CK, I've had some doubts about The Creeper too. It's been 30 or 40 years since I've read those books, but I'm pretty sure that in The Creeper's first appearance (in Showcase in 1967 or 1968) Jack Ryder was a security guard of some sort. Possibly for a TV station, but whatever his position he played detective and went after some foreign spies (as all rent-a-cops do, right?). It was only later that he became "on-air talent," as it's called in the industry, and I'm not sure there was any explanation. Nor am I positive that happened during Ditko's tenure (although, given his philosophies, I'd bet money on it). That's one of the thousands of things I have yet to look up, and to make it easy on myself I simply ordered The Creeper by Steve Ditko from Amazon. If by the end of that book Ryder isn't yet a TV personality, I'll have to dive deeper into the '70s.

Incidentally, Amazon has a third-party seller offering Showcase Presents: The Creeper Vol. 1 for $2,500! I'm guessing that was one of the Showcases that was canceled last year? Perhaps a few ashcans were printed, and this guy got hold of one, and is demanding absurd sums for it. Whatever, that's an eye-opener.

Incidentally, CK, "fun-house mirror version of the Daily Planet" is a great phrase. If you remember what thread that's on from the old board, I'll find it and attribute to you. (Well, I'll attribute to you anyway, but it would be nice to see the context in which you used it, and to be able to footnote it.) Yes, the old board is still there -- the host has inexplicably let it disappear (and not for the first time, which is one of the reasons we moved here) and I haven't gotten around to the three-hours-on-customer-service routine to get it back up. Believe it or not, that's not my highest priority at the moment ... :)
I only have time to give your individual queries a light dusting, Cap, but here are some informational odds-and-ends and some amplification of other answers.

1. As Randy Jackson pointed out, the first time a reason for Jonah Jameson's hatred for Spider-Man was presented in a Jameson monologue in Spider-Man # 10 (Mar., 1964):

All my life I've been interested in only one thing---making money! And yet, Spider-Man risks his life day after day with no thought of reward! If a man like him is good---is a hero---than what am I?? I can never respect myself while he lives!

Spider-Man represents everything that I'm
not! He's brave, powerful, and unselfish! The truth is, I envy him! I, J. Jonah Jameson---millionaire, man of the world, civic leader---I'd give everything I own to be the man that he is.

But I can never climb to his level! So all that remains for me is---to try to tear him down---because, heaven help me---I'm
jealous of him!


Spidey's first battle with Electro wasn't the first time the old web-slinger falsified photographs to sell to Jameson. Back in "Nothing Can Stop the Sandman", from Spider-Man # 4 (Sep., 1963), he indulged in some questionable journalism ethics.

After defeating the Sandman by trapping the villain in a vacuum cleaner, Spidey realises that he could make some cash selling photos of his fight to Jameson. After triggering the automatic setting on his camera, Web-Head grabs a couple of handfuls of sand from a near-by fire bucket, and . . . .

"I'll just toss a mess of sand into the air, like this! And then I'll dive through it, as though I'm attacking Sandman while he's in his sand-grain form! Since this really happened a few minutes ago, it can't be unethical! It's like shooting a re-take of a movie!" (My guess is, that rationalisation wouldn't pass muster with most editors outside of The National Enquirer.)


2. The adult Lana Lang debuted in "The Girls in Superman's Life", from Superman # 78 (Sep.-Oct., 1952). Perry White brings her to Metropolis and hires her to write a series of articles under the umbrella title "I Remember Superboy". At the end of the tale, Lana takes a job with the "Federal Syndicate" (the Earth-One version of AP or UP). The Federal Syndicate sends her to Europe as an overseas reporter.

In "The Girl in Superman's Past", from Showcase # 9 (Jun.-Aug., 1957), we learn that Lana has left the Federal Syndicate and has returned to Metropolis, looking for work. Lois Lane procures her a job as a television reporter. (The station isn't mentioned, but presumably it's WMET, with which Lana's TV work was always identified throughout the Silver Age.)

In Superman # 317 (Nov., 1977), Lana was lured to WGBS and assigned as Clark Kent's co-anchor on the evening news.


3. Yes, Vue Magazine photographer Vicki Vale appeared in the 1960's. Following her debut in "The Scoop of the Century", from Batman # 49 (Oct.-Nov., 1948), Vicki appeared frequently throughout the 1950's and into the '60's. Her last Silver-Age appearance came in "The Federation of Bizarro Idiots", from World's Finest Comics # 156 (Nov., 1966).


4. As Randy Jackson also mentioned, the journalist member of the Mystery Analysts of Gotham City was newspaperman Art Saddows, "winner of the Front Page Award for his successes in cracking unsolved crime cases". The bespectacled, pipe-smoking Saddows appeared in every Mystery Analysts tale from the group's introduction in "Batman's Great Face-Saving Feat", from Batman # 164 (Jun., 1964). But he provided solo assistance to the Gotham Gangbuster on at least one occasion---in Batman # 225 (Sep., 1970).

You were probably thinking of Kaye Daye, authoress of a string of successful mystery (fiction) novels.


Hope this helps, buddy.
Morgan Edge, Steve Lombard and Cat Grant (I think) were based on TV news which is something very different from press journalism. They cared about image and ratings and wouldn't hesitate to bash Superman if it benefitted their shows. However, when Clark became a TV anchorman, he morphed from reporter to celebrity, against his wishes. But again, he had to manipulate the truth in order to safeguard his secret.

J. Jonah Jameson crossed the line many times. He falsely accused Spider-Man of crimes to further his agenda and sell papers. He financed the construction of the various Spider-Slayer robots, becoming the vigilante he opposes. He also helped to create the Scorpion (now Venom II) which took him years to publically admit. I believe he also abetted in the origin of the villainous Human Fly/the Fly.

Jack Ryder was always portrayed as a shock-reporter. He would fit in well on cable news today!
Yes, both Ryder and I believe Vic Sage were Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh types before they existed IRL. One of them had a show at some point called You Are Wrong! I need to get an example of that, because it illustrates some of my points.

You know, finding instances of JJJ being unethical are pretty easy (funding Spider-Slayers, front-page editorials, fixing the news to make Spidey look bad, creating the Scorpion, hiring Kraven and Ka-Zar, etc.). Finding instances of JJJ being ethical seems to be my challenge now. I know Marvel has played JJJ both ways, and that "gray area" is part of the concept that I need to illustrate. Anybody remember a time when JJJ was on the RIGHT side of an ethical issue?

I've never been clear on whether the Bugle is a real newspaper or a tabloid, either. Again, Marvel seems to play it both ways. I intend to ask Roy Thomas and Danny Fingeroth that very question, instead of speculating. Then I can find examples to back up (or refute) whatever they say.

I do intend to physically re-read the Stan Lee issues of Amazing Spider-Man, so I may find most of this stuff myself. The Kilimanjaro is the Super-books, though, because there are so many (Superman, Action, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, World's Finest) and journalism was woven into the very concept -- so any issue, regardless of what's on the cover, could provide a perfect example of whatever it is I'm looking for. That's going to be hard to research! I may come on here with specific questions, if that's all right with everyone.

And was Steve Lombard really TV-oriented? I thought he was introduced as a sports writer for the Planet, and later made the move to WGBS-TV with Clark. Ditto Cat Grant. And I'm nearly certain Morgan Edge was introduced as a Ted Turner type who already owned a media conglomerate -- Galaxy Broadcasting -- when he bought the Planet, so he wasn't specifically TV either at first, especially since his main function was "interfering publisher" for the first few years. But I could be wrong. Dang it, I'll have to look all that up, too!
Edge was introduced in Kirby's first issue of Jimmy Olsen as a millionaire who has bought the Daily Planet. He was portrayed as a member of Inter-Gang, and villainous.

Clark was assigned to TV in Superman #233 and Action Comics #398 (both issues have sequences in which he tells Clark he'll be a TV reporter from now on). In Action #398 Clark is given a "rolling newsroom" van to report from. That's also the issue in which the globe was removed from the Daily Planet building (later known as the Galaxy Communications building). I don't know when Clark became an anchorman (local anchor, as I recall).

Evil Edge was revealed to be a clone in Lois Lane #118. (There was some foreshadowing before this in the non-Kirby titles involving a room in Edge's penthouse with a mysterious occupant.) Real Edge claimed his life back post-Kirby in Jimmy Olsen #152. The back-up story "My Son, the Orphan" from Action #468 filled in his background a bit.

If memory serves, in "Right Down My Alley", the back-up story from Superman #289, there's talk of Lombard writing a column.

The Brainiac story in Superman #271 involves industrial action at Galaxy. Several 70s stories have sequences set in the Galaxy cafeteria. Lola Barnett was introduced in Superman #275. In Action #458 (the first Blackrock issue) she was depicted as having moved to WGBS's competitor UBC.
" I don't know when Clark became an anchorman (local anchor, as I recall)."


That happened in "The Electronic Ghost of Metropolis", from Superman # 244 (Nov., 1971). At least, Clark Kent appeared here for the first time as the evening news anchorman for WGBS-TV. His actual promotion to the job from roving television reporter was never shown; it happened "off-camera".
"And was Steve Lombard really TV-oriented? I thought he was introduced as a sports writer for the Planet, and later made the move to WGBS-TV with Clark . . . And I'm nearly certain Morgan Edge was introduced as a Ted Turner type who already owned a media conglomerate -- Galaxy Broadcasting -- when he bought the Planet, so he wasn't specifically TV either at first, especially since his main function was 'interfering publisher' for the first few years."


Steve Lombard was introduced in "The Secret of the Phantom Quarterback", from Superman # 264 (Jun., 1973). Always depicted as somewhat resembling former real-life New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, Lombard was never drawn more so than in this, his debut.

At the beginning, and for most, of the tale, Lombard is the star quarterback for the Metropolis Meteors. By the end of the developments, Lombard has used powers gained from a treatment for his weak knees (another nod to Namath) to win a football game. Truth to tell, Lombard's cheating was somewhat unwitting, but it had been within his power to prevent it.

At the conclusion, a guilt-stricken Lombard holds a press conference at which he discloses what he did and, consequently, retires from professional football. (He may have been a jerk, but he was an ethical jerk.) Morgan Edge is so impressed by Lombard's honesty that he offers to former footballer a job as the sports announcer for the WGBS Evening News. From then on, he becomes a permanent bane of Clark Kent's professional existence.

Like Jonah Jameson, Lombard was largely a blowhard but, also like Jameson, he was capable of surprising decency and courage. On one occasion, he threw himself between an attacking super-powered menace and Clark Kent, figuring that his chances were slim, but Kent had no chance at all. And when Morgan Edge was forcing Perry White to retire at the mandated age of sixty, Lombard was one of the WGBS/Daily Planet staffers who threatened to quit if Edge gave Perry the boot. And Lombard meant it.

You're pretty much spot-on in your estimation of Edge's position and purpose, though.
Thanks, Commander.
You mentioned Cat Grant, Cap, so I have to ask -- did she exist in the era you're examining? I had the impression she was introduced in the Byrne years...
Captain Comics said:
Yes, both Ryder and I believe Vic Sage were Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh types before they existed IRL. One of them had a show at some point called You Are Wrong! I need to get an example of that, because it illustrates some of my points.

The Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh types back then would be Wally George and Morton Downey Jr. They had the exact same schtick. Everything old is new again.

Captain Comics said:
You know, finding instances of JJJ being unethical are pretty easy (funding Spider-Slayers, front-page editorials, fixing the news to make Spidey look bad, creating the Scorpion, hiring Kraven and Ka-Zar, etc.). Finding instances of JJJ being ethical seems to be my challenge now. I know Marvel has played JJJ both ways, and that "gray area" is part of the concept that I need to illustrate. Anybody remember a time when JJJ was on the RIGHT side of an ethical issue?

Go through Frank Miller's second run on Daredevil, with David Mazzuchelli. Those were the strongest moments when Jameson and the Bugle were presented as totally serious, and willing to go toe-to-toe with the Kingpin. One issue in particular had Jameson and Ben Urich alone in Jameson's office. Urich was sporting a cast on his arm, because of broken wrist suffered in an attempt to inimidate him -- which worked; he was nearly catatonic as Jameson told him he's got the power of 5 million readers ready to take the Kingpin down, but I can't do it unless you, Ben, deliver the goods.

What issue was that in? You would have to ask ...

Captain Comics said:
I've never been clear on whether the Bugle is a real newspaper or a tabloid, either. Again, Marvel seems to play it both ways. I intend to ask Roy Thomas and Danny Fingeroth that very question, instead of speculating. Then I can find examples to back up (or refute) whatever they say.

I've never had any doubt that the Bugle is a tabloid, on a par with the New York Post or New York Daily News, where the Daily Planet is the DC Universe's New York Times or International Herald Tribune.
For a very complete illustration, there's Daredevil #136, Aug. 1976. This is the second part of a three-part story in which The Joker The Jester plots to defeat Batman Daredevil first by discrediting him. He plants phony news stories on the radio and TV saying things like the Vietnam War was really fought in South America; that the Kennedy brothers, John and Robert, survived their assassination attempts and are alive and in hiding; and that Daredevil took a machine gun and shot and killed three police officers on the front steps of City Hall.

The issue cited above opens with the front page of a typical issue of the Daily Bugle, and pages 2 and 3 of the comic show pages 2 and 3 of the paper, with articles about the "stories" cited above; the "Conover's Corner" column written by Jake Conover (this was years before Ben Urich was introduced to the Marvel Universe); a J. Jonah Jameson editorial, with his picture, in which he notes the allegations about Daredevil and states that he has always questioned the motives of these masked vigilantes; and, to top it off, a Page Three girl! (Photo by Peter Parker, of course!)

(Now, why is it that I can specifically cite THAT Daredevil issue and not the other one? Because I remember the cover, and can look it up on the Grand Comics Database, that's why. Here's to the days when they made covers you could remember three decades later!)

By the way, the moral of this three-part story is to tell us not to rely on one source for all your news; a truly informed citizen gets his news from several sources. There's a lesson worth repeating!
You're right -- she was introduced in 1987. But there was another gossip columnist in the '70s, I think already mentioned on this thread, and that's who I was thinking about. Thanks for the save!

Rob Staeger said:
You mentioned Cat Grant, Cap, so I have to ask -- did she exist in the era you're examining? I had the impression she was introduced in the Byrne years...

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