Sunday, December 04, 2011
The Yellow Claw
The Yellow Claw* is part of an outdated genre of fiction, popular for decades, about sinister Asians. I'm not sure why it flourished, except that cultural differences between Americans and Asians were probably seen as fair game by fiction writers. By 1956, the time of The Yellow Claw comic book, China was communist, and we'd had a war with them. This comic reflects that. Unusual for its era is that Chinese-American Jimmy Woo is the FBI special agent hero of The Yellow Claw.
Apologies to any readers offended by racial insensitivity. The Yellow Claw has historic value as a comic book: it was drawn by the great Joe Maneely, and it was written by Al Feldstein, who edited and wrote much of the infamous EC Comics line of the early '50s.
Beyond this one comic book I don't know how much work Feldstein did for other publishers after EC went to one title, Mad, and before publisher Bill Gaines re-hired him to replace the departing Harvey Kurtzman.
The Yellow Claw lasted for four issues. This was the only issue drawn by Maneely. It was turned over to Jack Kirby, who made it into a Jack Kirby comic featuring inventive Jack Kirby concepts.
*Not to be confused with the Lev Gleason Daredevil Comics character, the Claw, featured in Pappy's #963.