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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunday Funnies: The Black Comic Book, Pt. 2

More on The Colored Negro Black Comic Book by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon.

Note: in the comic strip tradition all the words in the strip are in capitals, but for readability, I've deigned to write in standard English. Also the words that are in bold in the strip are in red in this text.

One other observation- for some reason, you can see the dots used as the skin tone on some strips (Natural, last week's Superblack) more than others. They all look a consistent graytone in the book.

"Flesh Horton", a 4 page take-off on "Flash Gordon".

Page 1:
(Two guys sitting at the control panel)
Flesh: Things have certainly changed, Dr. Zirkon!
Zirkon: Yas, Flesh- they certainly have!

Page 2:

Page 3, Panel 1
(Shot of spaceship)
Flesh: Now, we live as if there were no difference in our skin color at all!
Zirkon: To tell you the truth, Flesh, I hadn't realized you were black 'til you mentioned it!
Page 3, Panel 2
(Flesh opening a door)
Flesh: -But what are we going to do-

Page 4
(Men and women with slightly pointed ears, sitting in airplane-like seats; sign says "Greenie Venusian Section"
Flesh (not in shot): -with those damn green Venusians?

People - O.K., white people - have actually told me, "I don't think of you as black." Don't know what to do with that one. What does that mean? That they think of me as white? And if so, is that supposed to be a compliment? (Hint: it's not.)

I've also heard, "I'm color-blind." I'm always suspicious of the remark. If they are truly color-blind, which I doubt is true with most people regardless of race, why do they find a need to say it? And to me? Also, more often than not, something is said later in the conversation which betrays the comment.

I think this story really speaks to what I consider to be a major truth: that people who have been oppressed sometimes go out and oppress Unfortunate, for sure, but it does happen.


"Natural", a 4 page riff on "Nancy". I should note that except for the panel shown, Nancy is always smiling. Note also that while Natural is in every shot, she says nothing, but is looking coquettish, especially in the last panel.

Page 1:
Sluggo: I don't dig it, Natural - you're the grooviest black chick I know-
--you picket, you stand up for your people's rights-

Page 2, Panel 1:
Sluggo: -Right up to your natural hair, you're all soul, baby!
-And you gotta admit, I'm the grooviest white guy you know!
Page 2, Panel 2:
Sluggo (putting on round lens shades):
I wear shades in the winter and tan myself in the summer!

Page 3:

Page 4:
Sluggo (literally on a soap box): -So tell me, girl- why won't you go out with me?

I knew these guys in high school especially, these white guys (and occasionally white gals) who could out-street talk me and expected that I would think that they were really "down with it". I tended to find them irritating.

I've also known white people who like to tan who liked to point out that their skin color was darker than mine on their forearms, and would put their arms next to mine to prove it. Most insulting, not to mention stupid.

But, is it just me, or does Sluggo look like he might be a light-skinned black?

So, the real question is: is it funny? Yes, I think so. To quote AdAge's Bob Garfield: "It's the universal recognition that drives the laughs." I've been positively inclined towards everything I've looked at thus far. This too shall change.


GayProf said...

O.K., white people - have actually told me, "I don't think of you as black." Don't know what to do with that one. What does that mean? That they think of me as white? And if so, is that supposed to be a compliment?

This is an excellent point. I wonder when trying to ignore difference became a supposedly progressive position for people. Valuing and learning about difference should be our goal, not pretending that it doesn’t exist, IMHO.

On a side note, is it just gay me, or does Flesh seem a bit chummy? And what’s up with the triangle on his suite? I am not saying, I am just saying. . .

Alan Plessinger said...

Yes, I would think of you as black. Also, birds of a feather flock together, and I probably wouldn't want to be friends with any black people, which is fine with them. And I'm not attracted to black women. So I guess I'm a terrible person.

One thing I hate is black people who intentionally say things to try to make white people uncomfortable. Like at work: "Oh, you don't want to sit next to me cuz I'm black?" Whether he's kidding or not, my response is: "No, cuz you're a douchebag, so shut up."

FGH said...

I've always thought of Roger as my friend--but I've always known he was black, too. The thing is, I think folks just naturally tend to be more comfortable with people who seem to be most like them. Sometimes--too often--that's determined merely by what's on the outside, but I've always felt most simpatico with those who come closest to sharing my views, my interests, and--let's call it what it is--my obsessions. Rog is someone who understands and even shares, to varying degees, my love of comics, music, and all the other facets of pop culture, and so, it's understandable that we're buddies. The truth is, I'd have a far easier go of it at mixing in with a room full of mostly gay and lesbian artists of color than I would hanging out with a dozen white auto mechanics--and please, I mean no slight towards auto mechanics, white or black! If people could just stop for a minute and look for what they have in common with others, then maybe they could get past what they DON'T that much easier.

I was a little surprised when Roger pointed Alan's comment out to me.
While I don't know him personally, Alan has sent me more than a dozen comments via email regarding various stuff in my blog over the past several months, and all were of a pleasant and informative nature, especially those concerning the classic comedians we both admire so much, particularly the Marx Brothers.

But y'know friend, I'm thinking a little bit of Harpo woulda been a far better way to go here...


Alan Plessinger said...

OK, let me get myself in deeper. I couldn't be a friends with a black person because I could never be comfortable around him, because of bad racial experiences I've had in the past ( I'm 46, if that's important ), and because black people in general seem so easily offended and I would always be afraid I'd say the wrong thing. An example of black people easily offended would be the teenage sit-com actor from the Cosby show who was offended because most of his fan letters started off by saying "I'm white." Sheesh.

Funny how white people saying "I don't think of you as black" is no good, and I'm the opposite, and that's no good, either. It's like being married, there's just no way to be right.

So, if being uncomfortable around black people makes me racist, then I'm racist. But I'd rather be honest about it than try to be George Costanza: "Why, now that you mention it, I guess Jerry Seinfeld IS white, isn't he? I never notice things like that."

Honest communication is important, and I think all viewpoints should be expressed and examined. In order for the races to peacefully co-exist, is it only the white race that needs to change its attitudes and behavior?