Saturday, August 29, 2009

There has to be an explanation for this.

It's often unfair to judge things that have happened in the past with today's understanding. This is a general axiom that can be applied to comic books in a lot of cases - the infamous "Slap a Jap" World War II-era cover of Action Comics (urging people to buy war bonds) is a great example of this. SURE it's racist, but when you look at it in the context of one of the most costly wars of all time...well, okay, it's still racist, but you know what I mean - it's an unfortunate byproduct of an us-versus-them mentality that was of course present during the war.

There are times, though, when this concept doesn't hold up, and as an example of that, I give you exhibit A: Giant-Size Man-Thing. In the 1970s, Marvel published a lot of these types of books - they were called "Giant-Size" because of the page length. There was Giant-Size Fantastic Four, Giant-Size Spider-Man, Giant-Size Avengers, and so on, so there was precedent. But even so, I find it difficult to believe that those in the Marvel bullpen at the time weren't in on the joke, somehow. I mean, come on - it's not like there weren't such things as euphemisms 35 years ago, and this one is one of the more obvious ones.

Perhaps some of the villains in Giant-Size Man-Thing could have been the terrifying Bearded Clam or the dastardly One-Eyed Monster if they wanted to take it a step further. That people bought enough of these books for Marvel to publish more than one issue is a wonder on its own. I have to chuckle, looking at the cover posted above - the woman at the bottom is simply terrified of a giant-size man-thing. I probably would be, too.

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