Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Number 2154: Suzie steams up the place!

Suzie is a lovely, but naïve young woman. She has trouble holding a job, because while she means well, her job performance is lacking. In the best tradition of sexy, dumb blonde “humor” from decades of popular culture, Suzie is also quite an eyeful.

Suzie was created for MLJ Comics during the war years, and her comic book was published for at least a decade after the war’s end.

I admit to being naïve myself. I thought steam cabinets were a cliché, used as a joke. I thought they were only used in the distant past (in the case of this story, 1944). I did not think they were still being used for weight loss, but I was wrong. Here is a photo from the Internet showing a portable steam cabinet you can buy right now. (I don’t advertise in this blog, so I removed all of the information that would identify it. If you want it you’ll have to look it up.)

This steamy story, written by Ed Goggin and drawn by Harry Sahle, is from MLJ’s Laugh Comics #46 (1944).


Daniel [] said...

In this story, the humor depends upon a Dunning-Kruger Effect — upon Suzie's being too great a fool to see that she's a fool; she in fact imagines herself as an especially competent person.

But, to me, the humor isn't very humorous. To be funny, this story would need to violate expectations. There have been many examples of clever story-telling in which seemingly minor errors combine to effect otherwise implausible outcomes. But, in general, the results of Suzie's acts are simply what one should expect; for example, the application of hair-remover causes hair-loss. The one deviation is the gag of having a woman shrink dramatically in all dimensions as a result of being left too long in a steam cabinet; and, not only is this gag very stale, but it was already used in the splash panel. There is no interaction of the errors except in-so-far as trapping Mme Bobbie in a steam cabinet allows Suzie to involve herself in various other things.

I'm tempted to suggest that the writer suffered from Dunning-Kruger Syndrome — not having enough wit to recognize a lack of wit — but I suspect that, instead, he or she just didn't care. The story was filler, and the audience was presumed simply to look at it as a collection of pin-up cartoon art. On that score, it could have used art of higher quality.

Brian Barnes said...

Ah, reducing cabinets, the only ones I've ever seen were punchlines in comics and cartoons!

The drawing is a bit stiff (sit down, peanut gallery) but workable for the type of comic. It's interesting to see that body shaming sadly transcends time!

Pappy said...

Daniel, ah, the old Dunning-Kruger Effect. I went to the Internet to read up on it, and find it pertinent to my own feelings about certain individuals.

All I can say about myself is that I am smart enough to know when I am not smart enough.

But, I don't worry about whether the characters in comics are smart, because they can't be smarter than those who are writing the stories.

Pappy said...

Brian, yes, I was surprised to see that steam cabinets still existed. But then, all my life I have seen devices and drugs for weight loss that turn out to be a waste of money.

I believe the only things that work for weight loss are eating less and exercising more. That is unless you are unlucky, like those children recently rescued from their parents who had them tied to beds, starving them while they (the parents) ate cake.