Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Number 221

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.


Lethargic said...

The idea of a masked man with a talking animal totem/shadow sounds good on paper, but the construction is so awkward that it sort of ruins it for me. Usually hero's names have something to do with their powers or what not, but this guy flies around in a plane? Turtles = slow, non-flying creatures.

Another thing, why specify the GREEN turtle. When was the last to you saw a turtle that was, say, red, for example. If he were named the flying turtle or the amazing turtle or even the amazing flying turtle I would not have a problem with but why use an adjective that arguably doesn't add anything to the descriptiveness of what sort of turtle it is. Just because you're making propaganda here people is no use for getting sloppy.

Sorry for the rant. This is a nice blog ya got here.

Chuck Wells said...

I didn't mind the "Green" Turtle moniker (or story for that matter).

I've known of the character, but never seen any of his adventures.

Good pick, Pappy. Happy thanksgiving!

Yo said...

Many many thanks Pappy!

Glen said...

Sort of odd, but I like it.

Glammazon said...

Speaking of odd looking characters, one of the artists working on the Fiction House comic SHEENA drew the villain Prince Mobo as a Caucasian explorer when he was actually supposed to be the son of an African Chieftain.

This raises a question in my mind as to the writer's original intentions for the character: was he intended to be Prince Mobo from the start, or was he intended to be a totally different character before the dialog was scrapped?