Tag Archives: bricks

Gridirony

The two old sportos go for a walk. Buck’s comment about Bull having lost weight is a rare bit of naturalistic small talk, and also aligns with reality: persons with dementia can lose their appetite of their interest in eating. In panel 2, Buck seems surprised that their steps have brought the pair to “the scene of the crime,” the high school football field that now bears Bull’s name (and that of “A&L Automotive“). Has he brought them here on purpose, or is his own mental decline finally kicking in? The upcoming Sunday strip that accompanied the NYT article suggests that Bull’s suicide will take place outside his home. If Bull chooses to end it all on the football field, this amounts to some grim foreshadowing.

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Herstory of Herassment.

Link to today’s strip

Stuckfunkian commenter Scott Lovrine guessed last week that Ruby Lith may be based on Ramona Fradon, who worked on Aquaman and Metamorpho. The visual resemblance is very strong both in the past and currently. But from my research Ramona didn’t time in ‘the bullpen.’

I believe that Marie Severin and I were the only women drawing superheroes at the time [50’s]. It’s funny that she was drawing Sub-Mariner while I was drawing Aquaman. People always used to ask me if I knew her, but I didn’t meet her until years later, at a convention. I didn’t work in a bullpen like Marie did so, aside from being uncomfortable with male fantasies and the violent subject matter. I never really experienced what it was like being the only woman working in a man’s world.

Marie, who did work in an office with men, talked more about feeling slightly isolated or left out rather than harassed. The only story I could find her recounting was a male college blowing on the back of her neck.

In that case, comics have always been a rather male dominated field, and you, like Ramona [Fradon] are one of the two reigning queens. How many other women were there at Marvel at the time doing art, and did you ever have any problems with “the Bullpen” or anything like that?

MS: Not really, the guys, they say that women gossip, well networking is male gossip, and they “networked” all the time. But, just like we wouldn’t want a guy when we were sitting around talking about somebody’s shoes, or a certain eyeliner, they weren’t interested in having a woman around, and sure, I’d have lunch with them once in a while, but the conversations were always male; it was just normal. So, you’re sort of out of it. I didn’t have any real problems.

But that brings us to Lily Renee. If Batiuk wants to claim that Ruby Lith is based on any one woman, Lily Renee is the option that closest fits his ‘narrative’. And she also has a physical resemblance.

Lily Renee worked in the 40’s as a penciler and inker for Fiction House. She was Jewish, from Vienna, and had immigrated alone, at the age of 14, first to England then the United States to escape the Nazis. When her parents joined her a couple years later she took up a job in comics to help support her family. The men in the office teased her, tried to teach her dirty words in English, and drew nudes in the margins of the work she was supposed to ink. But she wasn’t the only woman working in the office. There were many women working for Fiction House at the time, and she was on good terms with most of them. She would regularly go out for lunch with Fran Hopper, and at one point, she lived with artist Ruth Atkinson for about a year.

Unlike Batiuk’s fantasy Ruby Lith though, Lily just did it for the money, and after leaving the comics industry in 1949, went to work on other things; illustrating children’s books, writing plays, and working in fashion.

So, big surprise, sometimes it was uncomfortable being a woman in a office predominated by men. Sometimes the women were ‘left out’, sometimes the women were teased. Sometimes it led to much drama that weren’t black-and-white cases of sexual harassment. The inker Violet Barclay, by her own admission, flirted with men in the office leading to acrimonious feelings and love triangles.

Barclay’s complicated relationship with benefactor Mike Sekowsky — who bestowed expensive gifts on her even after his marriage to Joanne Latta — caused friction in the Timely bullpen, which she left in 1949. As she later described the office environment,

“Mike was a very good human being. Everybody at Timely liked Mike. Nobody like me because they thought I was doing a number on him. Which was true. World War II was on and there were no men around, so I just killed time with him. Everybody, Dave Gantz especially, picked up on that. … [Mike] once tried to get me fired over my fling with [Timely artist] George Klein. Mike went to Stan Lee and said, ‘Stan, I want her fired, and if she doesn’t get fired, I’m going to quit’. Well, you couldn’t ever tell Stan Lee what to do. Stan said, ‘Well, Mike, it’s been nice knowing you’.”

Not all sexual harassers got off scott free either. Toni Blum, who worked for Quality Comics in the 40’s, was treated respectfully there except for an incident between two male artists, wherein one punched another in the face. As historian Denis Kitchen wrote, “[George] Tuska, like [Will] Eisner, had a crush on office mate Toni Blum but was too shy to make his move. The actual provocation that inflamed Tuska, Eisner privately said, was [Bob] Powell’s loud assertion that he ‘could f**k [Toni Blum] anytime’ he wanted. After decking Powell, Tuska stood over his prostrate coworker and in a voice Eisner described as Lon Chaney Jr. in Of Mice and Men said, ‘You shouldn’t ought to have said that, Bob.'”

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In Search of Lost Lines.

Link to today’s strip

Poor Ruby looks so sad in panel 3. Like she is distraught over the memory of her lost creations, a metaphorical mother missing the beauty she had given life to.I’m calling it right now, Chester Hagglemore has some of her original stuff in his collection that Mindy will twist him into gifting back to her in return for her doing some variant Atomik Komiks covers.

She’ll be so happy to have her poor stolen progeny back in her possession once more! Except, you know, she sold those babies for money, knowing full well that the original pencils would likely be destroyed.

And yet her work remains, in every copy of her comics that still exists. Why don’t they just blow up some old panels, and put them on the wall?

At the time, comics artists and writers were workers for hire, with the understanding that the company that hired them owned what they produced. I think it’s nice, and fair, that today comics artists are returned their work, and are even allowed to duplicate some of it, so they can resell it to collectors and fans. Every TFCon and Botcon I’ve attended has had comic artists there selling posters of covers, prints, and even the original line art.

But I don’t think it was an gross injustice when the comics companies considered the art their property, and no longer the original artists, since it was bought and paid for by mutual agreement.

I know that I’ve been Wiki linking all week, and sorry to those of you who would prefer me to pick apart the art or go off on wacky tangents. Or just post a short paragraph and shut up. But, honestly, fact checking this plotline has become a compulsion for me. Because I know that Batiuk has a deep knowledge of comics history, and I also don’t trust him for an instant to not warp that truth to suit his own narrative.

Here’s the wiki article for Creator Ownership in Comics. Most notable:
“Up to the mid-1970s, most comic book publishers kept all original pages, in some cases destroying them in lieu of storing them safely… By 1975 or 1976, both DC and Marvel also began returning artist’s original pages to them.”

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You Don’t Know Jack

Link to today’s strip.

My understanding of the slang word “jack” is that it means “nothing,” or perhaps “a small amount.”  Like the title of this entry, for example.  “You don’t know jack” means “You know nothing about this subject.”  “You get jack” means “You get nothing.”

Now, it’s been established that Batiuk has created his own world with its own idiots idioms.  The thing is, your own private slang only really works when there isn’t a real-world version.  He’s usually safe in this regard, as no human being has ever uttered things like “solo car date,” “vendo,” or “bio-dad,” but people use “jack” in the context I mentioned all the time.

Here, it seems to mean “money,” at least as far as I can fathom Pete’s meaning.  “Jack,” used here, is such a square-peg forced into a round-hole (forced with a hammer, while the peg is screaming) that I’m thinking it might get added to the Batiukionary.

Normally, in most strips with a *cough* joke like this, the drawing in panel three would be a slight variation of panel two, with the two halves of the *cough* joke implying a character’s single bit of dialogue in a single moment.  But I like to think that Pete said his dumb first line, then silently struggled to shoe-horn “jack” into his next sentence while everyone else ordered, paid, picked up their coffees and headed toward a table.

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One Mere Monday

Link to today’s strip.

Monday’s strip was not available for preview.  I’m going to guess it’ll be the start of the threatened “Funky-Crankshaft” crossover, and it will involve Pete and Mindy going to the state fair.  There, they’ll talk about how melancholy it all is.

Sorry for pulling a Batiukian move like this, but I’ve got early morning work tomorrow and can’t stay late enough for the thing to drop.

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How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All?

Welcome to the Baldo crossover you never asked for. Behold the Fairgoods’ thought-provoking and sensitive  solution to the contemporary issue of being separated by work: why should Jessica work remotely on Cindy’s documentary, living with her husband and her preschooler, when she can parent remotely, thanks to a telepresence robot? Oh, those wacky fortysomething millennials!

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Like I Care

Having satisfied her simian sexual appetites, as well as getting in a “bonding moment” with her child, Jessica has hastened back to L.A.—the world must not be made to wait any longer for that very important Butter Brinkel documentary! She’s probably been back in town barely long enough to unpack her suitcase; long enough to compel Darin to show his “caring” by sending her a package. Rather, “one of” his packages, which suggests this is a thing with him. Batiuk persists in depicting Darin and Jessica as these two starry eyed, young sweethearts, tragically kept apart by their respective, oh-so-important careers.

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