The Golden Age of Comics.

comicbooks, literature, worldwar2, Saturday, literature

Why did so many people want to read comic books during the time of war? The Nazi enemy of World War II greatly changed US pop culture through inspiring the creation of new heroes, and also changing those already there. The war against the Nazis had a great affect. This affect also occurred in the United States. The war changed pop culture greatly.

People at home wanted more comforting happy comics. They wanted forms of entertainment on the home front to cheer them up. There was war affected books, movies, music, and comics. “The subject of most comics, like books and other forms of entertainment, reflected common concerns.”

“Popular music trumpeted optimism.” The people of the United States enjoyed positive music. Most of which had to do with the war. Some of the songs from the time were, “You’re a Sap, Mister Jap”; “Let’s Take a Rap at the Jap”; “The Japs Don’t Have a Chinaman’s Chance”; and “We’re Gonna Find a Feller who is Yeller and Beat Him Red, White, and Blue”. “ ‘White Christmas’, first heard in 1942 in the film Holiday Inn, was soon sung by soldiers in hot deserts jungles as well as by civilians in the United States. Like blueberry pie, the song represented home.”

Books were also a wonderful hobby and way out from the tough times. There was a major market established for paperback books in the 1940’s, “Paperback sales increased astronomically, jumping from several hundred thousand to 10 million in 1941, then rising to 20 million in 1942 and 40 million in 1943.”

“During the war, Americans went to the movies in record numbers.” “More then 90 million people attended films each week as admissions increased 33 percent. Yearly grosses at theaters swelled to well over a billion dollars, even though fears of film stock shortages caused the total number of pictures released to drop from 533 in 1942 to 377 in 1945.”

“Americans also enjoyed comic books. Comic book sales rose from 12 million copies a month to over 60 million a month in 1946. Eighty percent of the population aged 6 to 17 read comics books during the war; one-third of people aged 18 to 30 years did the same.” People enjoyed seeing their heroes involved in the everyday fight. Most comic heroes were involved with the war during the Crucial Era. “Joe Palooka, Dick Tracy, and others enlisted in the military services and did their part.”

Three of the main heroes involved with the war Superman, Batman, and Captain America. Superman was a true hero; all people loved him, and enjoyed seeing him during the war. Batman was often fighting the mysterious, the creepy, people who are different and unlike us, and of course, Captain America.

He was a hero created to help the war in comics too. He was a weak man. Steve Rogers was a true representation of ‘the little guy’. He was transformed in a lab as America’s true hero. “Thus, a true champion of freedom was born – and a foe of liberty meets his death, in a truly symbolic.”

It goes on after he was created to show him as a soldier. It shows Captain America and his sidekick Bucky Barnes beating the Nazis. There is also some spots talking about the evil of the Nazis and their ways. “If this was the Third Reich, I’d have to shoot you to keep my secret safe! But we don’t do things that way!”

In Batman comics, there is a sense of evil, of distrust, of outlandish, foreign villains. Making the US citizens feel unsafe, to be suspicious of each other. To ask the question not only asked about the Nazis, but the Communists too. Who can be trusted? Who is a US citizen? Who is a spy? Who belongs here? Who doesn’t belong here?

An example of Batman fighting against a foreign foe and different is when,

“It is well that you three joined forces with me four great scientists, the scarlet horde…”; “And I Carl Kruger will be dictator of the world!””, “Master of the world, another Napoleon-no one can stop me!” . A man obviously foreign sits discussing his plans to be a dictator. Showing that a world dictator is something to be feared, even for the Americans.

Another example of the different being our enemy is, “For Kila!”  A car full of Hindus shout as they toss a body in a river and speed away from Batman. There are many other images of Batman fighting weird different people.

Superman is sometimes shown like this as well. There is an issue where he is against a science experiment. “The fiery eyes of the paralyzed cripple burn with terrible hatred and sinister intelligence–”. This man is focused on “Domination of the world!” 

There is still an effect of WWII on US pop culture. “Government now affected cultural life as well in the aftermath of the second world war. Between 1933 and 1945, the federal government had become a patron of the arts.” “Cultural life was also affected by the emphasis on organization. A new age of mass culture emerged.”               

“Many of the young men and women who were involved in such wartime activities, as publishing and mass distribution of paperback books for the armed forces carried their experiences into private industry in succeeding decades. The vast expansion of paperback books extent by experiences during the Second Word War.”

The main lasting effect is the story of the survivors. They have been told as movies and books. “Maus is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father, his father’s terrifying story, and History itself.”  So Vladek’s story was portrayed as a comic book. Which is a way the war affected our culture.

World War II was a difficult time for many people. The citizens at home needed a way to escape. Movies, books, and music were all great ways to get away. Comic books however had one of the biggest impacts. You could escape from your miserable troubles to see Superman, Batman, Captain America or many other heroes defeating the evil Nazi army. The Nazi enemy of World War II greatly changed US pop culture through inspiring the creation of new heroes, as well as changing those already there.

 

 

 

 

UCF, Stop. You Are Not National Champs

This year college football saw the most unlikely underdog of all time. The University of Central Florida, located in Orlando, Florida, went 0-12 just two years ago. Then, in 2016 the Knights hired a new head coach by the name of Scott Frost. Frost led the team to a six-win season and a bowl game (which they lost). However, 2017 was something nobody seen coming. The Knights polished off a perfect season and knocked off powerhouse, Auburn. This led to a huge discussion as to why they were not given an opportunity to be in the CFP (College Football Playoffs).

This argument is a very valid one, but the college’s response to this is the dumbest, most asinine thing ever. The Knights are now claiming themselves as the national champions purely on the fact they had a perfect season and beat Auburn. I am sorry UCF, but that doesn’t classify you as champions.

The UCF Knights belong to AAC (American Athletic Conference) which is a “Group of Five” conference. This conference has a few quality teams such as Memphis, USF, Houston, and a few more who usually are good, but fell from our graces. On the UCF side of the conference, only one team had a winning record (USF). Not counting their bowl game or conference championship, their opponents combined record is 71-64 (.525). This does not pass the eye test for the committee to even consider UCF.

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This leads me to my next point of argument, their biggest win is Auburn. Given, that is a huge win; however, that does not dignify the response of calling yourself national champions. Auburn finished out the season 10-4, including beating Alabama (Three losses being Clemson, LSU, Georgia and UCF). Those three losses to me are not that tough. Clemson lost to Syracuse (4-8)….. Syracuse. LSU lost to Mississippi State by 30, to Troy by 3, Georgia (contended for the real national championship) and Alabama (real national champions). Those are some teams that Auburn lost to, but it does not make a case as to why UCF feels so entitled.

This is like the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) claiming that they should be national champions last year because they were the only ones to beat Clemson. Now Pitt was not an elite team, and even top-ranked teams have off days. Like Bama did this year against Auburn. Just because you beat somebody who beat somebody else does not make you better than them. Football is a game of matchups and strategy, and any team can be beaten any given day. UCF may be doing this because they believe that should have the right to play in the playoffs, but even if they were given the chance, I do not see them winning the championship.

The one thing that this does bring up is the CFP format. Since the CFP was introduced in 2014, there has been an issue with the format and the process in which the teams are selected. There have been many different proposed formats such as a six-team, and an eight-team playoff. I personally believe that the six-team playoff with the top two seeds getting byes. However, one idea I saw came from former WVU standout quarterback, Pat White.

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I 100% agree with this. This brings the excitement back to bowl games and we won’t see as many athletes sitting out in their bowl games. I think the #1 and #2 seeds would not have to play, but past that you have to fight for your spot that the committee sees fit. This gives the people at home what they want and makes it more interesting.

All and all, UCF should have been in the playoffs, but you can’t blame the committee for the snubbing. UCF’s schedule does not pass the eye test for me, and it did not for the committee either. The only shot they have or any other “Group of Five” school has is to schedule tougher games.

Until the format is changed, UCF chillout. You are not national champions, you do not deserve a national championship parade at Disney. However, the real winner is Scott Frost as he has taken over as the head coach at Nebraska. Welcome to the Big Ten buddy!

What is your opinion, is UCF the national champs? Should the format be changed? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for spending a portion of your time with me on this lovely Friday. Remember to stay tuned in and for fresh new daily content every day from myself and the rest of the Mid-American crew. If you haven’t checked it out yet, give our weekly playlist a listen.

WEEKLY WAVES

NHL Hitz 20-02: Some Thoughts

Today, only a handful of companies publish licensed sports games. These include EA, 2K, and Sony Interactive Entertainment. The previous two decades were another story. Companies like Sega, Acclaim, and even Nintendo published their own MLB, NFL, and NBA games. One name that stood above them all, in my opinion, was Midway. Continue reading “NHL Hitz 20-02: Some Thoughts”

The Moral Dilemma Created by H&M and So Many Others

We are living in a time of great social change. Almost undoubtedly, America is a more tolerant, progressive place than ever before. It is now easier than ever than it has ever been to speak out about injustices such as racism and sexual misconduct. Inevitably, it has led to many prominent individuals, businesses, and institutions being put on blast by the general public for offenses such as these. While one would be hard pressed to find anyone who believes that increased sexual assault awareness and greater pressure for racial acceptance are bad things, they do create, in some capacity, a moral dilemma in almost everyone. I consistently find myself asking,  “Do the reprehensible actions of these people make it wrong to appreciate and enjoy the things they create?”

The most recent example that I can cite, as of writing this article, is the retailer H&M. For anyone who is unaware of the situation, H&M was selling a children’s hoodie with the phrase “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” on the chest. On the surface, this seems innocent enough. I, myself, was frequently called “monkey” as a child by some of the adults in my life. However, further context reveals a much darker side to the story. The child modeling the hoodie is black. In contrast, a white child could be seen found modeling a different sweatshirt, reading “Mangrove Jungle Survival Expert.” The staggeringly different portrayal of these children is clearly problematic. Musical artists The Weeknd and G-Eazy, both collaborative partners of H&M, have both cut ties with the brand following the incident. Countless individuals have called for a boycott of the brand. But is that the right thing to do? Possibly. However, the moral issue is much bigger, and expands far beyond the fashion industry and H&M.

Picture this: You are at a party. Ignition (remix) comes on. Naturally, mamas are rolling their bodies and every man in there is wishin’. This reaction is to be expected because the song is absolutely iconic. Unfortunately, something else must be considered. Ignition (remix) is a song by R. Kelly. R. Kelly has been accused of sexual misconduct (including behavior directed at minors) on numerous occasions. Does this take away from the cultural value of the art he creates? Should his music be vigorously boycotted?

Another scenario: You’re browsing through Netflix, looking for a new series to watch. You stumble upon House of Cards. The intense political drama hooks you immediately. Frank Underwood’s corrupt rise to power is one of the greatest examples of storytelling ever to be put on television. But then you realize the unfortunate reality. Series lead Kevin Spacey allegedly committed heinous sexual acts against a young boy. It is also alleged that he harassed male workers on the set of House of Cards. Do Spacey’s reprehensible acts mean that the sensational story of House of Cards shouldn’t be seen? Do the things he did invalidate the cultural phenomenon that the show was?

These are all incredibly difficult questions. I certainly don’t have a good enough answer. Like most, I find the actions discussed in this article to be repulsive. But, R. Kelly still makes wonderful music. He has been selling out arenas for over twenty years. Clearly, I am an immense fan of House of Cards and it is loved by a vast number of people. H&M still makes affordable, trendy clothing worn by millions, including myself. The moral dilemma created within millions, including me and many of you reading this, has been a cause of conflict for decades. Cultural icons of yesterday and today, as well as the icons of tomorrow, have done bad things. Obviously, opinions have been formed on all of them. However, even those who have the strongest opinions on these matters seem to be at least slightly hypocritical. Many of us struggle to identify where to draw the line between art that is to be appreciated and things that we find morally repulsive.

Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide what they will and won’t watch, listen to, buy, etc. Additionally, it is on them to decide why they will or won’t do these things. It is also their responsibility to recognize the hypocrisy in blasting one problematic entity while simultaneously supporting another. The problems cited addressed in this piece are just a few out of many. They will almost certainly be an issue which plagues popular culture for a long time moving forward. H&M is not the problem; nor is R. Kelly,  Kevin Spacey, or any other individual. They are merely symptoms of a culture that has condoned these types of problems for far too long. While what H&M did is unacceptable, do not forget to target the culture as a whole if you are going to target them.

 

 

Photo sources:

https://www.chron.com/life/article/H-M-apologizes-for-ad-of-black-child-wearing-12485941.php

https://genius.com/R-kelly-ignition-remix-lyrics

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/30/entertainment/kevin-spacey-allegations-anthony-rapp/index.html

 

 

 

 

 

Predicting the 2018 MLB Postseason

Last week, I predicted the final standings for each division in the MLB for this upcoming season. I thought it was pretty fun, so I decided I’d go ahead and predict the postseason as well. So, let’s get to it!

Continue reading “Predicting the 2018 MLB Postseason”

The Evolution of Hip Hop ( I )

The Evolution of Hip Hop will be a several part series where I attempt to delve into the way this genre of music has changed and grown while attempting to keep it interesting for all of you. I will compare and contrast 3 albums each 10 years apart in release date. Continue reading “The Evolution of Hip Hop ( I )”