Sunday, November 6, 2011

Comic book fan-mail at it's best (and worst)!

 Come, ye young ones, and harken back to the long, long ago time. A time before the internet, forums and Youtube. Yet, just like the internet, there was a place where moderators, know-it-alls, lost souls, debating fanboys and trolls all dwelled. This place was known as the comic book letters column.

U Mad?

 It really is one of the great losses of comic books that almost none of them run fan-mail nowdays, primarily due to the internet. It's a great joy reading old comics and seeing fan mail from future celebrities, future comic book writers, as well as the counterparts to modern day internet forum-types. There were even some prominent letter writers who became famous in their own right like T.M. Maple, there were even memes, such as the infamous "Spanking Lois Lane" letters that ran in various Superman titles.

 So get ready to dig into some of my favorite (and least favorite) comic book letters of all-time. You'll laugh, cry and foam at the mouth in rage.

 Here's a hilariously over-the-top reaction to what today's online posters would call a "fridging" in an issue of Sub-Mariner. How ironic that this male fan is far more eloquent, heartfelt, and more effective at getting his point across than any of the feminazis you see on websites like Scans_Daily, a website which even the 4chan guys won't touch. I really hope this dude became a writer, because this is funny as hell.

 Now here's a rather creepy letter, especially given that Deb Whitman, the character whom this woman is talking about (and clearly identifies with) was also abused by her husband. Dark humor or a thinly-veiled cry for help? You decide.
 Ah, flippancy.

 Now here's some hate-mail from a fan who knows his comics history. It's also the earliest defense of Fredric Wertham from a comics fan that I've ever seen. That said, I find it ironic that his criticisms could easily apply to today's comics just as much:

  Now here are two moving letters which prove just how powerful a medium comics can be to some people, with the first acting as a great piece of evidence against Stan Lee-bashers who say his work never touched anybody and that it was all about the artists, especially considering that it's talking about an issue of his much-dismissed Silver Surfer run, which is generally described as "trying too hard". Maybe, but it worked for this man:
 Now here's a response to the famous "Demon in A Bottle" arc from Iron Man: 

 But to balance out the heartwarming-ness, here are some letters which will make you want to see the writers burn in hell:

 I'm never going to Australia. Also, I love how the editor is trying his best to keep his cool. To be fair, several other people have called out that Hulk/AIDS story as forced or unfitting for the title, John Kricfalusi brings it up all the time when he's ragging on superhero comics, but that still doesn't justify crap like this.

 Here's a similar letter over Pied Piper's outing in The Flash that is too over-the-top to even be offensive, but is still just as ignorant:
 I myself have issues with why Messner-Loebs decided to out Piper (which seemed primarily to be because of the character's flamboyant costumes and an issue where he disguised himself as a hairdresser) and have wondered why he didn't use The Trickster or Abra Kadabra (who I don't think had yet been turned into the psycho he would later become) in the role of Flash's "Gay reformed villain" friend, but on the bright side, at least it kept the character from ending up like Mad Hatter, Toyman and other fairy-tale/kids stuff-based villains.

 And now for one of the biggest cases of irony ever:
 'Yep, Blade sure must have ruined Tomb of Dracula; because he's now the only thing people remember about it besides Gene Colan's artwork and the awful anime it inspired.

 All these letters lack is a Simpsons-quote or a hateful comment about Justin Bieber, and they could pass for modern internet posts. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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