Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The Green Turtle
This story is by request. It's the first Green Turtle story from Blazing Comics #1* from 1944.
Rural Home was the publisher, and as far as I can tell, ultimately not a successful one. Since it was set up during the war when paper was rationed, they probably had ties to an established publisher with access to paper. About any comic printed sold in those days. There's another reason for calling it the Golden Age: Publishing comic books during the war was a golden opportunity to bring in the gold! After the war a peripheral publisher like Rural Home fell apart.
What I know about the creation of the character Green Turtle is hearsay, unless I missed some confirmation somewhere: The story is that a Chinese-American named Chu Hing created Green Turtle as a Chinese superhero, fighting the Japanese in China. Stories of Japanese atrocities in China were well documented. The publisher felt that a Chinese superhero wouldn't go over with American--read, white--readers. The creator came up with the idea of turning his hero's face from view, substituting that odd shadow with eyes. It makes for a striking visual, but could have confused the readers.
The Green Turtle was interesting enough for a cartoonist named Gary Terry. who revived the character for his digest-sized, black-and-white comic book, Atom, Robot Adventurer, in 1975. Here's the splash page for the strip, done up with some kinky gals, and signed with the pseudonym, Stag Fury.
I think The Green Turtle is a bad name for a hero. I can't imagine kids of that era going for a hero with that name when comics starring Captain America, Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, The Flash, to name just a few, were around to compete for their dimes.
*"Jun-Gal," another story from Blazing Comics #1, was posted in Pappy's #179.