Welcome to the two-hundred and twenty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and twenty-four.
Comic Book Legends Revealed is now part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out Pulp Fiction Legends Revealed #1 for an interesting bit involving future DC Comics editor Mort Weisinger.
COMIC LEGEND: The first issue of EC Comics’ Panic was banned in the state of Massachusetts for making fun of Santa Claus.
STATUS: True Enough for a True
In 1952, EC Comics debuted a parody comic book called Mad…
It became quite popular.
So much so that at the end of 1953, EC launched a slightly more risque spin-off called Panic (think of Mad as PG and Panic as sort of an R, or at least a PG-13)…
This issue lived up to its title, as it caused quite a panic in the state of Massachusetts, over the last story in the comic, drawn by the great Will Elder, who adapted Clement Clarke Moore’s classic (in public domain) poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” as only someone like Elder could.
Here are a few pages…
Responding to a number of complaints received over the issue, Massachusetts Attorney General George Fingold announced that Panic #1 was to be banned in the state of Massachusetts because it “desecrated Christmas.”
Now here’s where the “True Enough” part comes in.
As you might imagine, the Attorney General doesn’t actually have the power to just announce the banning of random periodicals because they “desecrated Christmas,” and Fingold acknowledged as much, instead saying that what he was asking was for retailers to VOLUNTARILY “ban” the issue, and in great numbers that’s exactly what retailers in Massachusetts did.
I guess you don’t mess with Santa Claus in Massachusetts.
And as you might imagine, none of this publicity helped EC much when the The Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency held their hearings a few months later in the Spring of 1954.
COMIC LEGEND: Walt Kelly picketed Walt Disney during the 1941 Disney Animators Strike.
After a short time working in journalism, Walt Kelly moved to California in the mid-1930s (when he was in his early 20s) to work in animation.
He got a job at Walt Disney and worked there for about six years, helping to animate some film classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
During this time, he also began to do his first comic book work, with a little work here and there for the comic company that would eventually become National (DC) Comics.
In 1941, many of the animators at Disney had joined the fairly newly formed Screen Cartoonists Guild, and they attempted to unionize at Walt Disney Studios, who naturally were not in favor of their cartoonists being in a union. Eventually, a strike occurred.
According to a number of sources (including this one):
Kelly was one of many Disney animators, including Art Babbitt, Bill Tytla, and John Hubley, who picketed Disney during the 1941 Disney animators’ strike, after which he left the studio.
This is not true.
Kelly did not want to choose a side during the debate, so he actually took a leave of absence from Disney, citing a family illness.
He would never return to the Studio (but there did not appear to be any hard feelings – Disney apparently even recommended Kelly to do some Disney comic book work at Dell).
Instead, he got work drawing comic books for Dell Comics, including Animal Comics #1, which introduced a fellow you might have heard of called Pogo…
Eventually, Kelly would take Pogo to a syndicated comic strip and worldwide renown…
Here’s a picture of Kelly from some time in the 1950s…
While folks can’t seem to agree on the relative merits of the inking of Vince Colletta, one thing we all can agree on is that people seem to love to talk about Vince Colletta!
Just recently, in another blog entry where Colletta’s inks became a topic of conversation, a reader sent me a question.
Reader Randy asked if there was actually an issue of Fantastic Four where Colletta erased a Kirby drawing of Mr. Fantastic.
Yes, Randy, that actually did happen. It’s actually one of the panels that Mark Evanier often cites when he discusses the relative merits of Vince Colletta.
Now listen, you rabid Colletta-lovers out there, all I am doing here is answering a question from a reader about Colletta. This is not “Colletta-bashing” or whatever. Randy asked and I’m answering.
The panel in question appeared in the classic Fantastic Four storyline where Doctor Doom takes over the Baxter Building and the Fantastic Four (and Daredevil) have to take it back.
Here is the panel, mixed in the context of a four-page sequence…
Now here’s the panel by itself…
And here’s what Kirby originally drew…
So yeah, Colletta chose not to ink the Reed figure and instead erased it.
Here’s the next panel, in sequence, where Reed reappears…
That’s it – that’s your answer, Randy, sans any possible “Colletta-bashing”!
Thanks to Mark Evanier for the original panel, which he posted here, in a piece on Colletta. And thanks, of course, to Randy, for setting me up for the ire of Colletta-defenders.
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you likely know by now, at the end of April, my book finally came out!
Here is the cover by artist Mickey Duzyj. I think he did a very nice job (click to enlarge)…
If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…
See you next week!