Saturday, June 16, 2007

Number 147

Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott's Witch In The Woods

When Stan Lee wrote "The Witch In The Woods" in 1953 for Menace #7, comics were under direct assault by parents and teacher groups, from the pulpit and even from investigators in the government. Considering the avalanche of criticism burying the comics industry Lee's satiric story seems tame, not so much a 'repel all boarders' defense as a gentle and funny rejoinder to the critics.

Lee is right that Brothers Grimm stories, gathered as they were from European folktales, are often cruel and nightmarish, especially for children. But comics were available on practically every newsstand, in every drugstore and mom-and-pop store in the country. In the early 1950s I could walk two blocks and find three stores that sold comic books. Almost every kid had access to comics and they sold in the millions every month. On the other hand, unless I went to the library or bookstore I'd have a hard time finding a copy of "Hansel and Gretel." Stories by the Brothers Grimm were considered literature. Comics weren't. It was the story material that bothered the do-gooders, and its marketing and availability to children.

"The Witch In The Woods" is a good story, anyway. Lee did a fine job with the familiar tale and its framing device. Joe Sinnott's artwork is, as usual, top-notch. He made his real fame with his inking of Jack Kirby in the 1960's, but he was an above average artist in his own right.

You can find other postings with Joe Sinnott artwork by clicking on his name in the links below.

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