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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Really Gay Comics


It's not what it looks like.


This is not a modern gay parody of romance comics. It's an actual humorous comic (the original meaning of "gay" had connotations of humor) from 1944, published by ... Marvel Comics.

Yes, here it is, the skeleton in Marvel's closet, a GAY skeleton.

Clearly the modern meaning of "gay" had not entered the popular lexicon in 1944. In the 1950s it probably would have been banned shitless by the Comics Code Authority (which didn't yet exist in 1944). This one slid right under the radar. But the artists (who were in all probably Jewish and New Yorkers and hence, if not personally gay, were about as subversive as gays) clearly knew what "gay" meant in the homosexual subculture, because that "swish" sound effect and the exhortation of one character to "blow harder" CANNOT be coincidences. Somebody was having fun seeing how much stuff they could shovel under the radar.

I have in my article on Wonder Woman and her competitors set forth the idea that comic book creators were able to slip a lot of stuff under the radar of the mainstream society in those days. And I think Marvel's "Gay Comics" is a pretty good demonstration of the general naivete about sex that ruled in the 1940s. It wasn't just about bondage ... it was about practically EVERYTHING concerning sex.

1 comment:

kdnpr said...

"Marvel's "Gay Comics" is a pretty good demonstration of the general naivete about sex that ruled in the 1940s. It wasn't just about bondage ... it was about practically EVERYTHING concerning sex."

Oh they knew about gay. Nobody bought Hitler's wedding. ;)

It's just funny that they didn't think it was polite discussion but the comic anyway