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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ClarkKent_DC said:
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.

Or Joe Pyne. Go back further, it's Father Coughlin. American history is littered with this particular schtick. Maybe uniquely.
Also Lana became Clark's co-anchor in the late 70's or early 80s. And both Jimmy and Lois were no strangers to TV news. And Clark became so well-known that he filled in on "The Johnny Nevada Show", a take off of "The Tonight Show" in the Johnny Carson era.

Jack Ryder was so controversial and imflamatory that he was suspended and fired on several occassions which led to his security jobs.
Philip Portelli said:
Also Lana became Clark's co-anchor in the late 70's or early 80s. And both Jimmy and Lois were no strangers to TV news. And Clark became so well-known that he filled in on "The Johnny Nevada Show", a take off of "The Tonight Show" in the Johnny Carson era.
Jack Ryder was so controversial and imflamatory that he was suspended and fired on several occassions which led to his security jobs.

Ahhh .. OK. That explains a lot. Thanks!
Captain Comics said:
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...

The Daily Planet/WGBS gossip columnist back in the '70s was Lola Barnett, a take on the Earth-Prime Rona Barrett. I don't recall that we saw all that much of her; she certainly never got the emphasis Cat Grant did.
Captain Comics said:
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 ... :)

Well, I don't remember what thread it was on, but I did save several threads, and found one titled "The Daily Bugle," begun by Doctor Hmmm? on Dec. 8, 2004, that begins thusly:

Title: The Daily Bugle
Post by: Doctor Hmmm? on December 08, 2004, 04:32:17 PM Yesterday on another thread, ClarkKent_DC made some very interesting comments re Spider-Man's life as a fun-house mirror reverse image of Superman's life. The following caught my eye: QUOTE(ClarkKent_DC @ Dec 7 2004, 12:58 PM)
Unlike the Daily Planet, the Daily Bugle is a second-rate tabloid.
[snapback]82429[/snapback]

Is that true?

I was always under the impression that the Bugle, while not The New York Times, was a perfectly respectable newspaper. JJJ may have a burr under his saddle when it comes to Spider-Man, but I never thought of him as Rupert Murdoch. And I wouldn't have thought that Robbie Robertson would be working for a "second-rate tabloid."

If I recall correctly -- and I freely admit that I'm doing this off the top of my head -- when Clark Kent met Peter Parker in Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man, Clark knew Petey by reputation as the recipient of some photo-journalism award or other. (Not conclusive of the Bugle's status, of course, but perhaps indicative.)

Am I just out of touch with current continuity?

So that would indicate that I said it on Dec. 7, 2004. Hope that helps. (By the way, "The Daily Bugle" thread goes over much of the same ground we've discussed here; I even told several of the same stories then.)
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?

Look to the inaugural storyline in The Pulse. It begins with the discovery that a young reporter for the Daily Bugle has been murdered, and we quickly learn that she has run afoul of Norman Osborn.

This is what I said in that thread, "The Daily Bugle":

Title: The Daily Bugle Post by: ClarkKent_DC on December 10, 2004, 12:41:41 AM Certainly, J. Jonah Jameson is capable of exhibiting great loyalty, and he can have a fierce commitment to exposing wrongdoing, even in the face of punishing costs. This was shown very recently, in the first story arc in The Pulse. A rookie Bugle reporter is murdered, and Jameson rallies the staff to declare that every resource at the paper's command will be devoted to catching the killer. Which is somewhat preposterous, as the good Captain once pointed out here (http://www.captaincomics.us/forums/index.php?act=ST&f=6&top...), but it does show Jameson's strength of character. (But I digress.)
We readers know what Jameson and the Bugle staff, at that point, do not -- that the killer is Norman Osborn, once again gone mad. But we readers learn that Ben Urich once wrote a book detailing Osborn's criminal past, and that Osborn sued for libel -- and won.

Jameson backed Urich all the way through the lawsuit, although they are both embittered by the outcome. They're both 100 percent sure they were right that Osborn is crooked, and they're both 100 percent sure that Jameson did the right thing in backing Urich through the suit. However, Jameson is NOT 100 percent sure he wants to do it again, absent more and better proof. He's maybe 99.5 percent sure, but not 100 percent. By story's end, however, Osborn becomes The Green Goblin in public, and Urich and the paper are vindicated.
Regarding Miller's treatment of Jonah, I have to say that he never once treated him as the clown or antagonist that he'd usually been portrayed as. Miller's Jonah was a man who cared about the truth more than anything, and that showed.

If you're going to go beyond the 60's, I know you'll find many more instances of journalistic ethics coming to the forefront. For instance, I recall that a fairly major story had Robbie going to jail because he sat on evidence that Tombstone had murdered someone.
Thanks, CK. I'll see if I can get the old site back up Monday. Having the dates and specific nouns you provided above should make it easy to find.
Captain Comics said:
Anybody remember a time when JJJ was on the RIGHT side of an ethical issue?

Just in case that wasn't a rhetorical question, J.J. did resign as editor after Hobgoblin attempted to blackmail him by revealing his role in the creation of the Scorpion. The plot failed, but Jameson still resigned (although he remained publisher).

I don't think anyone else has yet mentioned Ben Urich spiking his story revealing Daredevil's secret identity for the greater good. The same holds true for Lois Lane and Superman, but that's late '80s if not early '90s.
I loved those Lois Lane mag stories of the early Seventies, around the time she went freelance - I don't recall any particularly ethical issues coming up, though.
I never thought of J. Jonah as a bad man, just a stubborn one. He was thick-headed, thin-skinned, miserly, egotistical, ill-tempered, slightly gullible and very dense. He had an all-consuming prejudice against costumed heroes or "vigilantes", especially, of course, Spider-Man. He feels that he is right and is doing the right thing. I can see him as a crusader for civil rights or liberal causes. He's not the spokesman I would pick but he would fight the good fight as well as any Daily Planet reporter. Spider-villain, no! Spider-antagonist-YES!
This is a bit off the point, but do you think 'Jolly' J Jonah Jameson might have been a veiled portrait of 'Smilin' Stan Lee?

True, Stan actually wrote the dialogue, but Ditko supplied the plots and drew the tone of the interactions Jonah had with his employees, including that cheesy grin Jonah would put on when he was considering how magnanimous and beloved by everyone he thought he was.

Some of the interviews I've read about Stan's relationship to the young artists that he worked with shows someone given to megalomania and ungenerous behaviour.

For Ditko to draw a Stan Lee caricature and get the subject of the satire to dialogue it is quite a trick though! Then again, maybe one of the reasons Jameson seems so authentic and real to us is that Stan didn't have to dig deep to put words in the mouth of this tinpot despot. Subconsciously Stan knew Jameson as well as he knew his own self ...

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