How Lee & Kirby's "Fantastic Four" Birthed the Marvel Universe, Part 1
Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson said on his blog yesterday that the cover for Pigs #6 and an image from Glory #23 include swastikas and thus will not be featured as originally drawn in Diamond’s December Previews. The catalog is distributed in Germany, where the law prohibits the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations,” which includes the swastika if used in conjunction with Nazi idealism.
“This is nothing new,” Stephenson wrote. “Swastika-laden images have been prohibited from appearing in publications sold in Germany for decades at this point. I’m not sure I understand what the point is, though. World War II did happen, and Nazis did exist. I understand not wanting to encourage modern day Neo-Nazi groups, but censorship isn’t a particularly effective weapon against hate groups of any kind. Plus outlawing specific Nazi iconography seems strangely revisionist, as though it’s best to just not acknowledge the impact that symbol had, or the evil associated with it.”
The law Stephenson refers to is a remnant of the “Denazification” efforts in Germany by the Allies after World War II. Among other initiatives, the Allies sought to remove all symbols of Nazism, such as the swastika, from German culture. In a post written in 2009, when a swastika appeared on a cover for The Boys, German writer Marc-Oliver Frisch noted that the law has an exceptions clause, that it “shall not be applicable if the means of propaganda or the act serves to further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching, reporting about current historical events or similar purposes.” While The Boys issue with the swastika was not distributed in Germany, the German version of Maus, however, uses the original cover art that includes the swastika — but convention posters that used the Maus artwork have also been known to be confiscated by German authorities.
“Now you could argue that the paragraph clearly says that one of the exceptions is a work of art, which comics clearly are,” German blogger Subzero wrote in a post earlier this year. ” Well, not here in Germany and I guess it’s going to take a few decades till somebody here is willing to go to court on that point. In Germany comics don’t have that position.”
The Glory image that will appear in the catalog will not include the symbol, while the Pigs cover will be blurred out, as seen in the above image. You can find the Glory image by artist Ross Campbell, and a larger version of the uncensored Christian Ward-drawn Pigs cover, after the jump.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15, I’d start with Demon Knights #1 ($2.99) and Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #1 ($2.99). I’m excited about a lot of the DC Dark corner of the New 52; especially these two. Frankenstein is a continuation of the only Flashpoint series I stuck with and features one of my two favorite characters from Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory. I wasn’t that interested in Demon Knights at first, but I was impressed by Paul Cornell’s chasing down a female fan after a panel at San Diego to pitch the series to her as something that people who are looking for great, female characters will enjoy. And I’ve been wanting to dig deeper into Cornell’s work anyway. On the Marvel side, I’m still thrilled about how well Alpha Flight is doing (creatively, I mean, but I guess it must be doing okay in sales too), so #4 ($2.99) is a must-buy for me. And I can’t wait to see how Mystery Men ends with #5 ($2.99). That’s been one of the high points of my summer, comics-wise. Finally, I’d grab X-Men Legacy #255 ($2.99) to dip my toe a little deeper into the X-Men world after being away from it for a while.
This week’s interview with Rus Wooton in one sense is long overdue, given that the last time I interviewed a comics letterer at Robot 6 (Todd Klein) was more than two years ago. But in another sense, the timing is perfect, considering that Wooton recently (and amicably) left Chris Eliopoulos’ Virtual Calligraphy (VC) lettering company in order to be free for his own creative projects–writing and drawing. One example of his new projects is his new webcomic project, Siblings, set to launch in July. My thanks to Nate Cosby for helping make this interview happen–and thanks to Wooton some insightful perspective on his craft. In addition to learning how he came to be a letterer in the first place, Wooton also was happy to discuss his ongoing lettering assignments for Robert Kirkman (among many other creators) as well as upcoming Cosby projects.
Tim O’Shea: You became a quadriplegic at the age of 20, were you already training to become a letterer prior to then, or did your pursuit of that career occur after then?
Rus Wooton: That’s a great question that might need a long-winded answer, but I’ll do my best to keep it brief. I’d never planned on being a letterer, but I’d always planned on working in comics in some way, at least since I was a kid in the late ’70s. I had been drawing for as long as I could remember, and I was also into graphic design from a young age, influenced by my Dad who was an Art Director and Creative Director at an advertising agency. He actually designed the CNN logo while working at Sheehey-Dudgeon in Louisville in 1980, and he’d occasionally take me or my brothers to the office evenings and weekends when he was working overtime on a project.