Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Happy 80th birthday, Donald Duck

Donald Duck

Donald Duck

Pop culture | Eighty years ago today, Donald Duck was introduced as a supporting character in the animated short “The Wise Little Hen,” part of Walt Disney Productions’ Silly Symphonies series. His comic strip debut came a few months later, in an adaptation of the short by Ted Osborne and Al Taliaferro that ran in Sunday newspapers between Sept. 16 and Dec. 16. To mark the milestone, the National Turk publishes “a love letter to the duck,” while The Telegraph offers 10 surprising facts about the character. [National Turk, The Telegraph]

Political cartoons | The South African cartoonist Zapiro, himself no stranger to controversy, said the Eyewitness News cartoon depicting the South African legislature and the people who voted for them as clowns (and calling the voters “poephols,” or idiots) was a mistake. “I think the EWN cartoonists made a big error in the way they depicted the voters, what they called them and the shadow in the bottom corner, which could be misconstrued as meaning black voters,” he said. “They should have – and the editors of EWN should have – picked it up. But, they have apologised and anything that goes beyond that now is just bandwagoning by politicians.” Meanwhile, a fake Zapiro cartoon made the rounds on social media over the weekend. It’s based on a real 2002 cartoon that showed doctors finding the brain of then-president George W. Bush while giving him a colonoscopy; the fake cartoon substitutes South African President Jacob Zuma, who went into the hospital over the weekend. [Times Live]

Roy Thomas

Roy Thomas

Creators | In an video interview (partially transcribed) done at Comicpalooza, former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas talks about various titles he worked on, the evolution of Marvel and DC, and what it was like being editor-in-chief of Marvel. [Geek Sushi]

Creators | Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel) and Matt Fraction (Sex Criminals) talk about their marriage, their work, and how they manage both. [Oregon Live]

Creators | Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, paid a visit to Charles Vess’ studio, and he took lots of pictures. [CBLDF Blog]

Creators | Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche write about “modern comics’ descent into political correctness, moral ambiguity and leftist ideology,” apparently blaming the decline of the Comics Code: “A new code, less explicit but far stronger, replaced the old: a code of political correctness and moral ambiguity. If you disagreed with mostly left-leaning editors, you stayed silent.” They end the column by calling on conservative creators to take back comics. [The Wall Street Journal]

Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels

Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels

Creators | Wrestlers Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian talk about their appearance in Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani’s Aw Yeah Comics. The two wrestlers met the creators a couple of years ago at Comic-Con International, and they kept in touch. Last year, Baltazar and Aureliani ran a Kickstarter for Aw Yeah Comics. Says Daniels, “The first couple of issues they sent to Frankie and I and that’s where I found out about Action Cat and Adventure Bug and Awesome Bear, and then I just decided, “Well, what if I wrote a story about Frankie and I going to this dimension and meeting these characters? Even though we are professional wrestlers, we decided to go out there and fun and cut up and be ridiculous, so that spirit sort of flowed into the comic book story. I literally sent it unsolicited to Art and was like, ‘Hey, would you like to make this?’ To my sheer delight they said yeah.” [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Creators | Shawn Perry interviews Braden Lamb, who together with his wife Shelli Paroline illustrates the Adventure Time comics. [Bleeding Cool]

Creators | Indian creator George Mathen, who uses the pen name Appupen (“grandfather”), talks about his graphic novels Moonward and The Legends of Halahala, which were partly inspired by the wordless woodcut comics of Lynd Ward. Mathen also draws cartoons for ESPN and Rolling Stone India, and he was a drummer in an alt-rock band for a while. [New India Express]

Creators | Mike Gavazzi set aside art in college to study history, and he went on to become a history teacher; now, 20 years later, he has completed his first graphic novel, Opaque, with the encouragement of his children. [Chambersburg Public Opinion]

Scene | Jan Gardner does a quick rundown of the Boston comics scene for the “New England Literary News” section of The Boston Globe. [The Boston Globe]

Retailing | Raymond Hannigan has been collecting comics for 40 years, and with retirement looming, he decided to take the plunge and open a comics shop, Sky High Comics in Turlock, California. The store had its grand opening last weekend, although it has been open since April. [Turlock Journal]



Rivoche and Dixon are out of touch with the real world. I notice that you have to pay to read the article. But I won’t pay a penny for such silliness.

So if conservative comic artists “take back” comics….will women’s breasts be drawn bigger and they be given less to say? Will Luke Cage have to go to the back of the bus? Will science fiction have to give way to creationism fiction? Will stupidity replace compassion? Will Batman get a gun?

No. And neither will the comic book community allow it’s art form to go backwards in time. The comics code is a cowards weapon against progress and creativity and is only for the weak of heart and mind.

Old men yell at cloud.

Q: What advice would you give other couples?

Kelly Sue: Meet on the internet.


Rivoche and Dixon don’t know their history. Superman, the hero they claim was “stolen” by the lefties, was in fact created as a sort of socialist champion in the late 1930s. Wonder Woman too had stories in the early 1940s where she would brainwash a spoiled heiress and force her to live as a proletarian girl for a day, so she could develop empathy for the workers of her department store.

If we took superheroes back to their roots, as Rivoche and Dixon claim to want, the result would not be what they think. In fact, it would be far more left-wing than anything we have in comics today.

@Wallace Ryan You sure do have a lot to say about the article, considering that by your admission, you haven’t read it.

@Wallace Ryan
Who are you to judge if Dixon & Rivoche are ‘out of touch with the times’ when you don’t even bother to read the damn article (for which I did not have to pay one cent, the link just took me there)? You mention Luke Cage getting sent to the back of the bus, as if this were something Dixon & Rivoche were advocating, when in fact right at the start of the article they give this as an example of positive good VS evil, pre-moral relativism storytelling:

“Superman also led domestic crusades, the most famous against the Ku Klux Klan. A man familiar with the Klan, Stetson Kennedy, approached radio show producers in the mid-1940s with some of the Klan’s secret codes and rituals. The radio producers developed more than 10 anti-Klan episodes, “The Clan of the Fiery Cross,” which aired in June 1946. The radio show’s unmistakable opposition to bigotry sharply reduced respect of young white Americans for the Klan.”

Now, I’m not a big fan of Chuck Dixon’s political views, and the column he and Rivoche wrote is kind of a hot, garbled mess, but your kind of reflexive straw man conservative-bashing makes me ashamed of being a liberal. Again, how about you read something before you criticize it?


It surprises me that people of the left even like superhero comics considering how inherently conservative superheroes are. What is Batman but a rich crusader working to protect the economic status quo as to perpetuate his own crusade? The most “liberal” superhero, Green Arrow, is often presented as some killjoy who misunderstands his job.

Yes, because fighting crime = ‘protecting the economic status quo’. The Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face, Killer Croc,etc. – all clearly misunderstood progressive social activists striving for a more free, equal and just world…by murdering and exploiting people?

Also, do explain how your ‘superheroes are inherently conservative’ theory apply to always-broke-because-he-opts-to-help-the-community-for-free-rather-thank-make-the-big-bucks Spider-Man and the giant discrimination-is-bad metaphor that is the X-Men.

Two snarky examples do not a theory prove, is all I’m saying.

That’s literally what fighting crime is: preserving the economic status quo. If Two Face, the Joker, and the Penguin are stealing money, robbing banks, and other such fun heists, then fighting them means literally preserving the economic status quo, ie the people who have money get to keep their money out of the hands of criminals.

I can think of only the Authority as a true challenge to a political and economic status quo, and yet all they fought against were geopolitical strawmen.

Wait, so let me get this straight: fighting crime = foiling bank robberies/stealing money/fun heists = preserving economic status quo = conservative.

So if I steal your car, that makes me a progressive/liberal/left, because I’m ‘challenging the economic status quo’?

Besides, isn’t the crime-fighting superheroes do much more diverse than merely foiling bank robberies? Don’t they also prevent murders, for instance? Stop would-be world conquerors who would subjugate and enslave all of humanity? Does not wanting Doctor Doom to take over the world make the Fantastic Four ‘inherently conservative’?

The Authority’s ‘true challenge to the political and economic status quo’ consisted of violently stomping their enemies to a pulp and strong-arming democratically elected governments into obeying their wishes. That makes for a hell of an entertaining comic, sure, but would be hellish in real life. Does preferring to challenge the economic status quo by using collective bargaining, nonviolent protest, spirited public debate and winning elections (ie, the existing political status quo) make me a conservative?

Notice that I’m using a lower case c on conservative. As in conserving. I fail to see why this is so confusing for you.

Matthew and The Prowler, you both have a point.

Batman, in particular, can often come across as a conservative enforcer of the status quo, and this was certainly clear in the Nolan films.

However, fighting crime does not necessarily make one conservative and, as has been pointed out already, Superman began as a crusader for social justice.

“That’s literally what fighting crime is: preserving the economic status quo.” = Ridiculous statement

Again, I don’t know why this is so confusing. Refer back to your John Locke: property is acquired through one’s labour. If that property is stolen, appropriated, or destroyed, one’s labour is lost. That’s basic economics. Think about how murder removes one labourer from the labourforce. That’s basic economics.

And the ridiculous statements just keep coming!

You cite John Locke, but he would agree that murder and theft have a *moral* dimension that outweighs your economical ‘interpretation’. Murder and theft impinge on the freedom and rights of other citizens, thereby damaging the social contract between citizens and between the individual and the state. I think that both conservatives and liberals would agree that when a murder is committed, it is primarily offensive because a fellow human being’s right to self-determination is violated, not merely because ‘a labourer is removed from the labourforce’.

You originally stated: “It surprises me that people of the left even like superhero comics considering how inherently conservative superheroes are.”

I have proven that the primary act of superheroics (crime-fighting) cannot be reduced to ‘just’ an act of maintaining the existing political and economical order, since it also has a moral dimension. Furthermore, you have not proven *at all* that wishing to preserve the existing economical and/or political status quo (flawed though it might be) is an inherently conservative trait. Ipso facto, superheroes are *not* inherently conservative. All this confusion you keep mentioning, is therefore probably your own.

“wishing to preserve the existing economical and/or political status quo” does not imply conservative anymore? Did we change the definitions of words while I was sleeping? Conservative, with a lower case c literally means to be averse to change, typically the political status quo. Considering that serial comic books, as we know from Umberto Eco, are about the reversal of time, the reinstatement of the status quo in order to preserve the structure of the narrative.

A good question to ask yourself is why you are so dismissive of this interpretation of superheroes as conservative?

I remember some similar arguments surfacing when the whole Trayvon Martin thing happened.

It was more or less like this: “But you love Batman! Why don’t you love George Zimmerman too?”

Well, Batman is a fictional character. Liberals or conservatives, we can all thrill to the adventures of a guy that takes the law in his own hands, intimidating and hurting people with no regards to due proccess. It may be “conservative” from a certain point-of-view, but it’s also fantasy.

If someone like Batman existed in real life he’d probably screw up like George Zimmerman did, and do more harm than good.

matthew, the reason why I’m dismissive of your interpretation is no big mystery: I disagree with it. You’re trying to save face claiming you use the word ‘conservative’ as if it merely means to ‘preserve the status quo’. But your original statement:
‘It surprises me that people of the left even like superhero comics considering how inherently conservative superheroes are’
…clearly shows that you’re using ‘conservative’ as a description of political orientation. Why else posit ‘conservative’ as something ‘people of the left’ wouldn’t like?

After all, when liberals (aka the Left) in congress block attempts at repealing or hollowing out, say, Medicare or social security does that then make them conservative? No, it does not, even though when they do that, they’re clearly trying to *preserve* the economical status quo. Conversely, when conservatives (aka the Right) try to create new laws to expand say, gun ownership or the death penalty, does that then make them suddenly progressive, since they are trying to *change* the political and economical status quo? Again, no.

So why then claim surprise at people of the Left being able to enjoy superheroes, since they’re ‘inherently conservative’? Both people of the left and people of the right try to *maintain* the current economical and political status quo all the time, just as they both try to *change* it all the time, because both like and dislike different parts of said status quo. The status quo itself is neither right nor left, progressive nor conservative – it is a historical compromise that is constantly being changed and reoriented.

So even if I were to believe that you originally intended to use the word ‘conservative’ in the way that you now disingenuously claim (and I don’t, because after that you basically called Batman a Republican fatcat and Green Arrow an ineffectual liberal caricature), the above clearly proves that your statement *still* doesn’t make a lick of sense.

In other words, nice try – but no cigar.

Lol. Speaking of disingenuous

Concerning Dixon and his buddy’s critique, I’d say the tendency he’s trying to get at stems from the fact that the arts tend to draw more left-leaning types than many other businesses. I doubt there’s an overarching, singular agenda beyond the bottom line here, and I’m not even really sure he’s right about mainstream comics being dominated by leftist values. I’d say most mainstream comics are apolitical, and then there are some creators, both on the left and on the right, that like, and are sometimes given the latitude, to preach to us readers. It’s not really a cause for melodrama.

I mean, just off-hand I can think of these prominent, clearly right-wing creators: Dixon himself, Bill Willingham, Frank Miller, Peter Bagge, Steve Ditko, Alan Grant, Paul Pope, Dave Sim, John Byrne, Rob Liefeld. I’m sure there are others.

And hey, let’s not forget Jack Chick!

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