May 26, 2021 at 11:11 pm
You know, just spitballin’ here, but this arc kind of makes Ruby the worst person…
This really has been just a whole week of crap, hasn’t it? Start with the recurrent premise: Ruby regales Mindy with her story of life as The Only Woman Who Ever Worked In Comics (h/t batgirl‘s comment from yesterthread).
In fairness to Ruby, “woke culture” are two words that are hard to say together without making air quotes. She’s demonstrated herself to be pretty game when it comes to watching stag films with the guys every week, but Ruby does have boundaries: cross them and you’ll be physically assaulted. She’ll then channel that rage into her portrayal of Miss American socking…Hitler?!? He’s been dead 76 years! Even if Ruby went into the comics industry straight out of high school, she’d have to be midway thru her nineties by now. Tune in next week when Ruby recollects her “King of the World” moment with Cliff Anger on the bow of that tramp steamer.
46 responses to “Right In Der Füehrer’s Face”
Aside from seeing Hitler appear in an arc about gender inequality and sexual harassment in the 1950s comic book industry, this one is pretty goddamned weird. Is she seriously equating her colleagues’ behavior to Hitler? Did her comic book character really need another reason to beat up Hitler beyond the regular ones? How old IS Ruby anyway? Won’t doing better work just result in more comic book sales for the company thus perpetuating the cycle of harassment?
Seeing Hitler in a comic strip is pretty jarring if you ask me. He really should have established one co-worker as the villain, then had her character beat up a comic book version of that guy, but I guess just throwing Hitler in there as a stand-in for boorish 1950s comic book guys was easier. Sure is an odd choice, though.
Yesterday commenter William Thompson mentioned the phrase “stag film” being used in an early episode of “M*A*S*H” and today that Hitler drawing looks very much like the Hitler puppet Tim Conway used in that old “Carol Burnett Show” sketch with Lyle Waggoner. What this means is that my theory about BatYam watching a lot of MeTV these days is really coming together nicely. The proof is right there on the page. These people his age, they land on MeTV, see an old episode of “Gunsmoke” or “Diagnosis: Murder” and the next thing you know they’re into a weekend “Emergency!” marathon and ordering wheelchair stair lifts on the telephone. It ruins lives.
Judging by the logo, it looks like we can expect an appearance from super-attenuated comic book legend, Flash Freeman. Or- as Batty will call him- “Speedy Simmons”.
In those days, you couldn’t have Me Too on speed dial.
Let’s not forget that he wrote it as Me Two a bit ago on his blog:
The editor actually did something on today’s strip or he was just lucky to not be an idiot on two occasions, pick’em call [sic].
In a warped perverse way one could read this story as almost being an endorsement of harassment, as it motivated Ruby to do better, more cutting-edge work. Now I’m not saying that was the intent nor that I’m interpreting it that way, just that one could draw that conclusion based on the events of the story thus far.
“Ah, the good ol’ days, back when fellas could be fellas and a dame would put a fresh guy in his place with a smack in the chops” said Ernest as he nibbled his Metamucil cracker. “We didn’t need no tweets or movements and we were better fer it I tells ya!”. Again, I know that wasn’t the intent here, but speculating on every aspect of every FW strip is what I do.
Naw, you just picked up the Ameche and yelled, “Hey Sarah! Get me Red Emma!”
Going mano-a-mano with Hitler? FFS, that one has to be played for Daffy-Duck style comedy. How would Miss American got alone with Hitler? Why did she just bitch-slap him when she should have blown his shit away? I’m surprised she didn’t call him a bounder or a masher. And as for hitting a coworker, wouldn’t that have had repercussions? That point alone makes me wonder what sort of experience Batiuk was drawing upon for this offering.
In the bad old days a woman would have to establish herself as one of the boys and not a girly girl. It was not considered a social issue. Making a crack about how they wouldn’t have seen an actual naked woman is part of it. However, thinking a cartoonist could transmute what she suffered as sexual harrassment into a metaphor for Hitler’s crimes is repulsive.
Her employer couldn’t have been that bad if they didn’t mete out any discipline when she battered her co-workers for propositioning her. A normal shitty employer who dismisses sexual harassment as nothing wouldn’t let her slide with that.
It’s all so hilariously reductive. “Why, back in my day we just used violence to solve our problems! If a guy got fresh he got five across the face!”. And the air quotes lend a certain cynicism to Ruby’s jabbering, cynicism that’s obviously deliberate or why draw her with air quotes at all? And everyone hates Hitler, who was a man too, so there you go. Man alive, this guy is just a story telling treasure.
Dagnabit TB! This blog was one of the 5 places left on the internet where Godwin’s Law didn’t apply and you had to go and ruin that. Go suck a lemon!
I don’t think it’s Godwin’s Law if you start with Schickelgruber. It’s if you end up with him.
What we wanna do is end up somewhere else. If you start with the man who ruined the Chaplin mustache and end with, say, Janelle Monae or Rabindranath Tagore, maybe it’s Niwdog’s law.
Glad I scrolled through the comments before posting my Godwin’s Law joke.
Niwdog is Godwin spelled backwards!
Cue kid from Troll 2 with a Hitler Moustache.
This strip is problematic for two reasons.
1.) It establishes that Ruby was working in the 40’s is pushing 100. (Though some comics continued to milk WW2 well into the 70’s)
2.) It insinuates a man groping a woman and a man instigating genocidal fascist world war are similar.
I give this strip credit for two reasons.
1.) There were more women working in comics in the 40’s (when men were at war) than the 50’s or 60’s, when the comic market had contracted. Really, only two or three women worked on super hero comics in the 60’s.
2.) There is a long and storied tradition of superheroes punching Nazis in the face. And I am never tired of seeing it. And I really can’t fault Tom for showing a patriotic superhero punching Hitler. It would be like criticizing him because he shows Montoni’s has cheese on its pizza. The pizza looks like crap, and I wouldn’t eat it, but he is perfectly within his rights to use cheese.
Collect all your favorite Nazi Punching action in this new book!
I’ll say one thing about this one: it genuinely made me laugh, although probably not like he intended. First you have the “dame slaps cad’s face” trope, then bam, there’s Hitler. It’s all so deeply, deeply strange. Every once in a while he cranks one out that just flies right in the face of everything you thought you knew about story telling.
And where else can you see an author-avatar get smacked in the face, twice in one day?
A few days ago I referred to Ruby as a 100 year old millionaire, and here’s just more proof.
Assuming she did that panel in 1941 and they hired her at 16 just from lax labor laws back then, that would make her born in 1925, which would make her 96 in 2021. Factor in whatever year he actually believes this strip currently is in (at least 2022, based on the stealth Corona skip), and she has to be at the century mark.
Likewise, Crankshaft within the context of this strip is battling Walt Wallet for the title of the oldest fictional character to ever exist.
Sorry, are us beady-eyed folk being too nit-picky here? No. It is he who touts his chronology and attention to detail as selling points and strengths of the strip. This is the kind of scrutiny which he invites.
In fairness, Hitler was a popular villain in various works of fiction for years after the war, so it doesn’t necessarily mean she drew it during WWII. But all things considered I assumed these flashbacks took place somewhere between 1945 and 1955. So at the very least she’s pushing ninety.
Yeah, Sgt Rock and Nick Fury were fighting Hitler in comics made in the 70’s, so it’s not much of a stretch. It is extremely lazy, though.
THE NEXT DAY
Ruby [entering]: Mr. Mann? You wanted to see me?
Publisher: Yeah, sweet cheeks. Pull up a chair and take a load off. [Motions with his cigar]
Ruby: If this is about what happened with Johnny…
Publisher: Johnny. Pfft. I already heard all about that. He was in here boo-hooin’ for an hour about how you busted his chops. Wants I should fire your ass, you know? But that’s not why I called you in here. It’s about this… [Holds up cover]
You realize this is completely lifted from “Captain America” Number 1, right?
Ruby: Well, you see…
Publisher [waves cigar dismissively]: Ehh. Don’t worry about it, doll face. I don’t care. Oh, sure, Marty Goodman’s going to be pissed, Simon and Kirby, too, probably – but to hell with those guys. This kind of stuff sells magazines. People love seeing Herr Schicklgruber beat up, you know? This is going sell magazines and it’s only costing me a fraction what Goodman paid his bums for their cover. And that’s why I’m not going to fire you, gorgeous. That and the fact that Johnny’s a crummy hack. But you ever try that with a good writer – you ever smack Manly Wade Wellman – and I’m kicking your keister to the curb.
Ruby: Uhhh… Thank you?
Publisher: You’re welcome. Now what are you sitting around here for? Trot those gams of yours out there and get me a damn cup of joe. And if you run into Wellman while you’re out there… stay the hell away from him!
See. This is nuanced. This is like…Mary Tyler Moore’s boss. Kind of a jerk, kind of a hardass, but with complex motivations and the ability to surprise you.
Meanwhile, on his blog, he is shilling for book sales.
Yeah, as father’s day gifts. You know what I got for my dad at various times? Collections of Bloom County and Dilbert. He loved those comic strips, and we enjoyed them together. Talking about the day’s comics page was a daily event, and one of the few interests we genuinely shared. He also liked The Far Side, Garfield, Lockhorns, Non Sequitir, Pluggers, and needless to say Calvin & Hobbes.
He never once mentioned Funky Winkerbean.
I’m sure he would would have welcomed a FW collection, if he had a table that needed stabilizing.
I’m focusing my efforts on Mary Worth…lots of gratuitous T&A over there!
And far funnier than FW has ever been.
Part of me wants to start a lecture about cultural appropriation while the other part of me just wants to focus on them thighs…
I like the new art now, it seems right in the sweet spot of making Mary middle-aged and attractive without making her look ancient… A few years ago when that new artist took over, he over-corrected a little too much and made Mary some 46-year-old yoga pants-wearing sex machine… Not that I was complaining, of course…
I’d rather have that. The current Mary Worth is well over 100 years old. Must be all the meddling that keeps her going.
Everyone got in on the fight against Hitler:
Ruby’s artwork is weird. Miss American is smiling cheerfully as she sort of punches Hitler. And Hitler’s head doesn’t budge an inch after getting punched. It looks more like someone stepped on his toe.
You want a cheerful smile punching Hitler? Look at the cover of Blue Beetle 32.
I was so happy to find the Hitler Getting Punched blog again! It’s pretty dead now, but it is the Superdickery equivalent of comics characters punching Hitler. I ADVISE EVERYONE TO TAKE A LOOK. I used it extensively in college when I was doing a project on the persistence of WW2 heroes and villains through the decades of comics. It was all about how every decade used WW2 as a mirror to examine their present.
There’s a funny parallel to today’s strip, because comics have worked really hard to find ways that superheroes and villains that fought in WW2 can still be active today while preserving their WW2 origin. Whether it’s freezing Cap in ice, or mutations, or time wizardry or flat out magic. The pop culture impact of The Greatest Generation is such that we don’t want to let it go.
This week’s visit to TomBa’s “Vignettes from a Past That Never Existed” is one more example of his aversion to actual research. On a positive note, it does provide a springboard for the always intelligent and interesting discussions on this site.
Crankshaft is noteworthy today. Junior Jff whatshisname says “we thought we’d get out before running it into the ground.” He previously said they haven’t had a single customer since COVID ended, and a strip club wants to buy the place. Buddy, it’s hard to run anything into the ground any harder than you already have!
Except maybe this arc. How many more weeks do you need to tell us you’re closing due to bankruptcy?
I’m beginning to wonder if TomBa remembers that FW and Crankshaft are currently set a decade apart. Or will we see a retcon where the strip club hosts the Starbucks Jones premiere (with Ruby running the projector and preparing a stag film for later)?
“Kids these days, always whining about injustice and harassment. They want equality in the workplace handed to them on a silver platter! Too lazy to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, like I did.”
Maybe this isn’t the impression that Batiuk intended, but it’s the one I got.
Hitler is *SO* fucking cliché… Couldn’t Liberty Belle, er, I mean Captain Wonder American Woman, er, I mean Miss American be punching Stalin or Chairman Mao or Ho Chi Minh or Tito?? Meh, hell with it– Let’s just go back to Dinkle and that stupid choir already
Ooh, thanks for the hat-tip [blushes]! I wanted to pick up on something Jeff M posted yesterday, on the (un)availabilty of stag films, which made me think – how in heck did Ruby get hold of a print of Bambi? While I don’t think Disney was quite as controlling as at present, whenever that was set, wouldn’t she have needed major connections to get hold of a full-length mainstream film?
I wondered if it might have been a 16mm short of selected scenes, but those were usually B-movies like Frankenstein vs. the Space Monster.
Disney did sell 8 mm versions of its films to the public. They were short, and usually didn’t have sound, but ordinary people could buy them. It wouldn’t be the full Bambi movie, largely because those reels could only hold a couple minutes of film. Apparently an 8mm cartoon of Bambi and Thumper ice skating existed, and was a top seller. This page goes into more detail:
I had the same question. Maybe she greased the palm of the projectionist at that movie palace over in Centerville to let her borrow it for a couple hours.
And there was a wacky driver who drove the reels to the office in his school bus. Gosh, what was that driver’s name? I can never remember it.
I got that reference.
I just assumed it was a bootleg lewd version of Bambi that she borrowed from some wild and crazy fraternity down in Columbus or whatever