Instead of starting a new thread each time a random topic occurs to me, it seems like a better idea to have one discussion thread wherein i can grumble or pontificate as needed.
So, here we are...
In my ongoing Comics Archeology projects, a lot of ... let's say "cultural artifacts" turn up, often disturbing to today's eyes.
The basic reaction i see most often when folks run across these things is usually "Oh, hell, no. Let's bury this." And it's an understandable reaction.
But is it a good one?
In my current Supersnipe expedition...
Let me just excerpt from an upcoming blog entry:
"...and the oddest of the bunch, Wing Woo Woo. Reading now, this is quite cringe-worthy as a horribly racist caricature of a person, especially to someone like myself who grew up in Asia. But viewed in historical context, it was actually considered progressive at the time. While we were rounding up Japanese Americans and tossing them into our own concentration camps, a large percentage of Americans were completely unable to differentiate between Japanese & Chinese and would gladly have lumped them in together. (You know, much the way too many modern Americans will gladly lump all Muslims together) If you'd asked most about the Rape of Nanking, they'd wonder whose grandma you were talking about.
Showing a 'Chinee' who was a patriotic American helping the war effort was an attempt at positive depiction of Chinese Americans. It was definitely a "one step at a time" kind of thing, where they had yet to really grasp that by depicting the character as they were was inherently demeaning - to them that was just how you showed someone was Chinese. It was more a matter of ignorance than malice, and while perhaps disquieting to view, it should be remembered that Gruskin was trying. Hell, he may even have had military contacts with the Flying Tigers* for all we know. Our history my be uncomfortable, but forgetting it only serves to make us feel better, and prevents learning the lessons of the past.
So, as a general policy, you won't find these sort of strips censored or glossed over on an automatic basis here at The Voice Of ODD! But you may have to suffer through one of my rambles."
Since the blog is young and has few regular readers, i thought i'd post this part here where i could hope for more than one thoughtful reply to help fuel my contemplations on the subject.
Because, y'know, contemplate is what we do in hermit caves. When not grumbling.
3, this post has appeared four times (so far), probably because of the weirdness with Ning post acknowledgment these past few days. Rest assured it's appeared, and you can stop posting it now. I'll go use my mod powers to clean the others up.
OK, looks like we're down to just one, now. Sorry about the technical glitches. Cap's trying to get to the bottom of it. They're happening for everyone.
My advice is to select all of your text and copy it before posting. Then hit the post button, and then in a moment, refresh the page. More than likely your post will be there already (it always has been for me) -- but if not, you've got all the text on your clipboard to try again.
Three pre-Code features I can think of with positive depictions of Chinese people are "Fu Chang" from Pep Comics, which was about a detective who fought fantastic threats in San Francisco with the aid of a set of magic chessmen; "The Green Turtle" from Blazing Comics, about a Chinese superhero fighting the Japanese; and "The Fantastic Dr. Foo" from Crime Mysteries, about a Chinese magician.
"The Green Turtle" was drawn by the Chinese-American artist Chu Hing. "Fu Chang" was initially written by Manly Wade Wellman.
In 1944 DC published two "East-West Story" stories in Comic Cavalcade that promoted respect for Asian peoples. The feature continued as "Johnny Everyman".
Wing Woo Woo reminds me of Chop-Chop from Blackhawk. Chop-Chop's comedic solo stories depict him as a dope and are very racist. In the main stories he was sometimes a joke, sometimes capable, but when he was capable he still had a caricature appearance and manner of speech. Quality dropped his caricature appearance in the later 50s, but he wasn't costumed like one of the other Blackhawks until mid-way through their DC run, when they switched to their red uniforms in 1964. From that point, I believe, he was the equal of the others. Blackhawk #203 (1964) had an origin story which depicted him as already a very capable fighter before he joined the Blackhawks.
I have to mention, in case you don't know, that Street and Smith was reportedly careful to maintain its copyrights.
There was Charlie Chan, of course. His stories started back in the mid-to-late 20s, and he had a comic book that came out in the late 30s. But that got dropped in the months following Pearl Harbor. His influence was widely spread enough that i grew up often referred to as "Number One Son"
I had no clue about them keeping up copyright on these old strips.
So why aren't they doing anything with Supersnipe?!?