Welcome to the three hundredth and ninety-ninth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, it is a special theme week! All comic strip related legends! Is there really a famous Peanuts strip featuring Snoopy complaining about the IRS? Did the FBI seriously investigate Pogo for hidden messages? Finally, did DC Comics really try to block an Australian comic strip named Swamp from getting a trademark because of Swamp Thing?
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and ninety-eight.
COMIC LEGEND: There was a notable Peanuts comic strip about Snoopy asking to be removed from the IRS’ mailing list.
There is a popular story about a Peanuts strip about the IRS that routinely pops up in posts about the IRS (just do a search and you will find plenty of references).
Here is the strip in question…
This is not a real Peanuts strip.
Here is the 1997 strip that it was adapted from…
I presume it originally appeared as a joke but then the “joke” part was omitted and it just began to be passed along as an actual Peanuts strip.
Thanks to reader Randall M. for the suggestion and thanks to Derrick Bang and Scott McGuire’s great Peanuts page, FiveCentsPlease.org, for the confirmation!
Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!
Did Fritz Lang Change the Name of His Film “M” Due to Fear of Nazi Persecution?
COMIC LEGEND: The FBI examined Pogo comic strips searching for hidden messages.
Walt Kelly’s Pogo was always a political strip and Kelly certainly did not shy away from controversial topics.
Kelly also mocked J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI, on a few occasions…
Hoover was always a bit prone to look for subversive tactics where there was none and when you actually poked the bear by making FUN of Hoover, then he was even more likely to investigate.
So Hoover decided that there was a chance that Kelly was using the distinct fonts of Pogo to send coded subversive messages.
Here are some examples of Kelly’s distinct fonts…
Here, from an FBI document, we got the results that Hoover likely did not want to hear…
Efforts were made to interpret specimens Q1-Q10 according to purported meaning supplied [but] examination did not reveal any technical basis to establish validity of interpretations of the submitted ‘Pogo’ cartoons.”
You have to love how delicately the FBI worker phrased his report.
It is too bad that this did not make it into the recent Hoover film!
Thanks to Cyrus Highsmith for the font samples!
Check out some classic Peanuts and Pogo-related Comic Book Legends Revealed!
Walt Kelly did a Pogo comic as a Primer for Parents.
COMIC LEGEND: DC tried to block the Australian comic strip Swamp from getting a trademark on the name Swamp because of their Swamp Thing.
Gary Clark’s comic strip Swamp began in 1981. Similar to Pogo, it depicts the misadventures of various creatures in the swamps of Australia. Some of the characters include: Ding Duck, Wart & Mort Frog, Old Man Croc, Bob the Crayfish, The Dung Beetles, Air Traffic Controller, The Ants and The Bludgerigar.
It is is a very popular strip not only in Australia but in the surrounding area of the world. Clark also licenses the characters for various products.
Here are some recent strips from the Swamp website:
Anyhow, in 1987, Clark tried to get a trademark for his Swamp strip. DC Comics actually objected to the trademark, on the basis that it was in conflict with their own trademark in Australia for Swamp Thing, which had been on sale in Australia since the early 1970s…
In 1992, the decision went Clark’s way, as the judge ruled that Swamp and Swamp Thing were not confusingly similar marks.
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Discover the secret origin of Cookie Monster!
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. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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