Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Comic Clippings - 15 November

According to a report in The Scotsman (15 November), the Glasgow Anti-Racist Alliance (GARA) is asking for the reprint of the first (1939) Dandy Monster Comic to be removed from bookstores because of the use of the word "nigger" in its 'Smarty Granda' strip. The strip, drawn by Dudley Watkins, ran for 125 episodes in The Dandy (1937-40) and appeared in the first three editions of the Dandy Monster Comic.

Anita Shelton, a spokeswoman for GARA, is quoted as saying "This kind of thing cannot be permitted with ease at this point in our development as a society. It is an outrage and is terribly disturbing."

I don't really want to get into this, but the annual was published in 1938 when attitudes were very different. You can find it dispicable or offensive -- it was -- but you can't whitewash history or brush it under the carpet. This is a book for collectors, a slipcased facsimile, and anyone buying it knows exactly what they're buying.

Despite Anita Shelton's outrage, not one complaint has been lodged with the Commission for Racial Equality about the book. It has, however, leapt to #32 in the book chart, above the 2007 Beano Annual (#35), the 2007 Dandy Annual (#135) and the facsimile of the first annual to feature The Broons (#244). I wonder if the publicity has given sales a boost?

More newsy-type stuff:
  • Eddie Campbell is interviewed on Australian radio show Faster Than Light on 20 November, available now as a podcast or iTunes link.
  • Looking through the rest of the Faster Than Light blog, I noticed they had reviewed a book I've not heard of before: Plastic Culture: How Japanese Toys Conquered the World by Woodrow Phoenix. Phoenix was a graphic designer and artist who worked quite widely in British comics in the 1980s and 1990s (Escape, Blast, Manga Mania, etc.) as well as working directly for Japan's Comic's Morning. His entry on Wikipedia mentions many other projects. Here's the Amazon description of the book:
In "Plastic Culture", British comics artist and illustrator Woodrow Phoenix explores our relationship to toys in the twenty-first century, with particular emphasis on Japan - an exporter of both merchandise and ideas. Plastic Toys based on comics, movies and TV shows from "Astro Boy", "Godzilla" and "Gatchaman", to "Power Rangers", "Sailor Moon" and "Pokemon" have had a powerful effect on the West, and have kick-started trends in design and pop culture that have crossed from Japan to the West and back East again. With its blend of incisive analysis and stylish photography, this is a book that will appeal to a wide range of readers: from those interested in the latest trends in contemporary art, to toy collectors young and old, and to anyone with an interest in Japan's influence on contemporary pop culture.
  • Alan Moore in The Simpsons: I mentioned this a couple of days ago and the Northants News ('Writer Drawn into Simpsons' Show', 8 November) has some details of the plotline. Only visit the link if you don't mind spoilers.

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