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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

J LHLS Archives: July 2004

Saturday, July 10, 2004

The Great Comic Book Heroes
By Jules Feiffer
Fantagraphics

Reviewed by Kathryn L. Ramage

Fantagraphics has reprinted this 1965 essay in which Jules Feiffer - novelist, screenwriter, and long-time cartoonist for The Village Voice - looks back on the classic comic books of the 1930s and '40s that inspired his early love of the cartoon art and set him on first steps toward his own career.

Separate chapters are dedicated to the major superheroes of the era: Superman, Superman's clones (particularly Captain Marvel), Batman, the Spirit. Feiffer also looks briefly at the super-patriotic comics published during World War II, recalls his own early jobs in the shlock comic houses, and comments on Frederic Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent. (That 1954 book that decried the violence and sexual content in comic books; it was Wertham who first publicized the theory that Batman and Robin were a homosexual fantasy - as if it were a bad thing - and his work instigated the Comics Production Code, which cleaned up and, some say, gutted the comic book industry.) Superman is Feiffer's declared favorite, and it shows. I found Feiffer's insights into the appeal of the all-powerful Superman for an essentially powerless child to be one of the most interesting sections of the essay; in particular, his examination of Superman's psyche regarding the choice of alter-ago Clark Kent and Superman/Clark's relationship with Lois Lane was fascinating. I would love to quote this entire passage, but since runs for several pages, I will have to content myself with just a sample:

"It seems that among Lois Lane, Clark Kent, and Superman there existed a schizoid and chaste menage a trios. Clark Kent loved but felt abashed with Lois Lane; Superman saved Lois Lane when she was in trouble, found her a pest the rest of the time. Since Superman and Clark Kent were the same person this behavior demands explanation. It can't be that Kent wanted Lois to respect him for himself, since himself was Superman. Then, it appears he wanted Lois to respect him for his fake self, to love him when he acted the coward, to be there when he pretended he needed her." [more]

Posted by Kathryn L Ramage @ 10:00 PM PST [Link]

Y, The Last Man, Trades 1-3
Publisher: DC Comics

Reviewed by Kathy LaFollett

"Itís the Women, Y.Ē

I highly recommend you read Gingerís excellent review along with mine of this series. Y All the Misogyny in "Y, The Last Man"?

I love roller coasters. I love them because I KNOW they will scare me, I KNOW they will make me feel like Iím going to drop out of the sky, I KNOW they are faster than I like to go, I KNOW they are loopier and zigzaggier than I like to go, and most of all I KNOW itís just a ride that was built specifically for that purpose and the feelings are real, but the outcome will never be; My death from riding one.

And so it is with ďY, The Last ManĒ. [more]

Posted by Kathy LaFollett @ 01:16 PM PST [Link]

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