Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Number 36

Jack Cole and Silver Streak Part III

This story originally appeared in Silver Streak #6, September 1940, an issue called "scarce" in the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. The story was reprinted in the unnumbered Silver Streak, a one-shot published in 1946, reprinting the Silver Streak stories from issues 4-7 of the original comics series. That one-shot is the source of the scans of the story.

Prior stories from the one-shot comic are in Pappy's Number 6, and Pappy's Number 18.

This story presents some stereotyped Arabs, with racist overtones. The girl given to the sheikh for marriage is white, while the males are brown. This was a lot more common fictional device in those days before World War II. It was originally published 66 years ago, so I consider it an historical, pop culture look at people from other religions and countries, who were often stereotyped in pulp magazines, novels, movies and even comic strips.

The Englishman is stereotyped also, but he's comic relief, not sinister, like the portrayal of the Arabs.

The Silver Streak episode is signed by "Ralph Johns," one of Cole's pseudonyms; the cover of Silver Streak #6 is signed by Cole using his own name. It doesn't depict Silver Streak, but The Claw, a racist portrayal of an Asian villain based on the then-popular idea of sinister "orientals", a la Fu Manchu.

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