#468 Harvey Kurtzman’s MAD

MADWhile early 1950s anti-comics hysteria eventually resulted in the cancellation of nearly all their books, EC Comics still had one thing going for them: MAD! Written by Harvey Kurtzman and drawn by some of the best comics artists of the age, this parody comic set the template for much that came after it. But can the humor still be appreciated today? What are we to think of some of the attitudes on display toward, say, women or certain ethnic groups? Tim and Kumar discuss.

#258 The Tokyo Censorship Law

CensorshipThe Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly recently passed a law that further limits minors’ access to “Any manga, animation, or pictures (but not including real life pictures or footage) that features either sexual or pseudo sexual acts that would be illegal in real life, or sexual or pseudo sexual acts between close relatives whose marriage would be illegal, where such depictions and / or presentations unjustifiably glorify or exaggerate the activity.” Perhaps understandable, but without clear guidelines for determining what is OK and what is not, there are fears of a slippery slope. Could this become defacto, outright censorship? Tim, Kumar, and Mulele discuss the new law, and how this situation compares to the events in the U.S. that led up to the creation of the comics code.

Dan Kanemitsu’s Paper Trail — many good blog postings on the topic

Editors’ defiant comments

Publishers boycott anime convention

“My publisher has banned school uniforms” — (visuals on this site are NOT SAFE FOR WORK)

Child sex in manga: Art or Obscenity? — The Japan Times

JL Roberson touts Deconstructing Comics

#243 Frontline Combat

EC Comics are primarily remembered as gruesome horror stories, but the company published in other genres as well. One EC staple was war comics, which enjoyed great popularity during the Korean War. One such title was Frontline Combat, the comic that dared to admit that “Marines retreat!” The now-huge names behind the series — Harvey Kurtzman, John Severin, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, and more — primarily intended it as an anti-war book, but is it? Is it possible to simultaneously portray war as horrible, and painstakingly present the tanks and guns in all their glory? Tim and Kumar discuss.