Monday, November 12, 2012

Number 1261: “. . . with the speed of protons — America's protector!”

As I promised yesterday, here is a later, better drawn version of Shock Gibson than the crudely done origin from Speed Comics #1.

Bob Fujitani was always one of the slicker illustrators in comics, and worked on a variety of features for several companies. He worked in comics virtually his whole career.

In this story, from Speed Comics #41, published by Harvey Comics in late 1945 with a cover date of January, 1946, World War II still raged several months after it ended in the real world. That was the problem of comics drawn well in advance of their on-sale dates, and even affected some newspaper comic strips, which were drawn many weeks or even months before their publication. The Japanese are still undefeated and still treacherous, even co-opting the Hindu god, “Vishnu,” for their nefarious ends. Just another culture crime by comic book publishers, for whom religious deities not common in the United States were often portrayed in some insulting fashion.

My apologies to those who may be offended.

In the story Shock Gibson's name is not Charles Gibson, as in the origin story, but Robert Gibson. He has dropped the odd-looking helmet and put on a mask. I don't know why someone didn't put together that Shock Gibson and Corporal Bob Gibson were the same person.

I've also included the Heritage Auction scans of the original art for “The God of Steel.”


Don said...

The writers of this story were incorrect in calling Vishnu "The Destroyer." The god Shiva has that honor. Vishnu is "The Preserver."

Pappy said...

Well, Don...there you are with the cultural insensitivity I mentioned. The writer and editor didn't even go to the trouble of researching the religion enough to distinguish between gods. (Nor did I, when composing my notes for the posting.)

Thanks for your comment.

cash_gorman said...

The change in character (Different costume,name, actually maintaining a secret identity) coincides with Speed coming under the Harvey banner. Captain Freedom who had appeared in the issue before the changeover also had a significantly different status quo. His costume though seemed to be different almost every issue. Likewise, the pre-Harvey Red Blazer was different from the Harvey version.

rnigma said...

Yes, it is typical of Western misunderstanding/ignorance of Eastern religions, especially the polytheistic ones.

Odd that an artist with a Japanese-sounding name like Fujitani draws Asians in the stereotypical manner.