Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who Drew the Green Hornet?

He Hunts the Biggest of All Game...Artist ID's!

Recently I found an online reprint of Dell's Green Hornet one-shot (Four-Color #496) from 1953. Behind a really nice cover is a really nice art job by someone I don't recognize.

[Is the Hornet kneeing that guy in the nuts in panel 4?]

I found only one guess online after a lot of Googling: Frank Thorne. This seems very possible. I'm unsure because the only other Thorne art I have from the period are the two Perry Mason Sundays I posted some time ago. These were drawn the previous year. The Mason strips are sketchier and stylistically more Raymondian. Of course Thorne may have used a more finished style on the Hornet. He also may have chosen not to emulate Raymond outside of Perry. Perry Mason was a King Features strip, after all, and Thorne's editors might have instructed him to follow Raymond.Whoever the artist was did a fine job on this book. For one thing he put research and effort into his locations:
He also avoided generic posing and character design. For example his version of reporter Mike Axford is a real individual:
One source noted that the two stories in the comic bore the same titles as episodes of the Green Hornet radio show. The commentator hadn't seen the comic but speculated the stories were adaptations of the radio scripts. After reading the stories I'm convinced he was correct. The pacing and dialogue are just like the radio play's. In addition the comic book writer (I believe it's Paul S. Newman and I don't think I'm mistaken) maintained the radio drama technique of having characters constantly call each other by name so the listener can keep track of who's talking. This "tagged" dialogue sounds kind of strange in a comic book.

Anyone know which artist is behind the Green Hornet's mask?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

San Diego ComicCon 2010--2

Girls! Guns! G-Strings!
As I mentioned in my last post, one's skull would have to be numb indeed to miss the central theme informing a majority of ComicCon's displays: sexualized violence.

Years ago, in the days when panting fanboys were creating the concept of "good girl art," their quest was for scantier clothing and poky nipples. As the Market's inexorable drive for profit eroded the media's creaky self-regulatory machinery, we got what we wanted and then some: acres of flesh, scandalous action poses, and button-popping bosoms big enough to float the Titanic. Even then the groundwork was being laid for the next evolutionary phase. The mainstreaming of bondage fetishism and the rise of slasher movies helped cement the new role of newly-naked comic book women as sexy torture victims.

Of course the image of the beautiful, terrorized victim is as old as our patriarchal society. What's different today is its intensity and pervasiveness. At first one might imagine that the more recent wave of images of sexy women as perpetrators of violence emerged to balance out the powerlessness of the earlier sexy victims. Really it's just a variation on the same theme. They may pack guns the size of Volkswagens, but these busty amazons wear the same wire micro-bikinis, strike the same sweaty wide-legged poses, and twist their mouths in the same screams of pain. They still get raped, beaten, shot and flayed in page after lovingly-rendered page. The main difference is that after the abuse they carve their abuser's entrails out.

I can't buy the idea that this is all okay. The official line, supported both by leftist free speech advocates and rightist believers in unregulated markets, is that this fetishized misogyny is harmless. The mayhem is imaginary. People can tell fantasy from reality. Those who indulge in these fantasies achieve catharsis as well as orgasms. They would never carry their fantasies over into the real world.

My problem is this. Teachers have known for years that repetition and immersion change attitudes as well as increase knowledge. Propogandists have known for generations that endlessly repeating the same lie alters a target group's beliefs. With repetition and immersion cults brainwash members into doing everything from panhandling to killing themselves. Most significantly, advertisers have over a century of proof that repetition and immersion can make consumers lay out vast amounts of money on the stupidest products for the most irrational reasons.

Yet somehow this rule doesn't apply when it comes to the linking of sex with violence against women. Men don't become more physically and emotionally aggressive toward women. They don't become more tolerant of violence in general, or more inclined to abuse in their personal relationships. It's all harmless fantasy!

If someone can explain to me how that works I'd be much obliged.