When I was a wee tyke, and had relatively few comics, I of course would re-read them ad infinitum. And some of those DC house ads intrigued the living heck outta young me. Say what you want about late 60's/early 70's DC, but they knew how to do fantastic covers. I wanted to read some of those advertised but unattainable stories soooo badly...
So look what I found in the quarter bin this week:
Teen Titans #24, 1969. In my book, that is one GREAT cover. And in the imagination of 'Lil snell, that obviously meant it must contain a GREAT story.
Uhhh....not so much.
So in a week when Bob Haney is (deservedly) getting a lot of good publicity for the posthumous Lost Teen Titans Annual, let's look back at one of his...uhhh...not so good moments.
Story-wise, this issue is completely forgettable. It's literally a Scooby-Doo plot, where the evil restaurant owner is trying to drive tourists away from the ski resort so he can buy the land. Look, they even get called meddling kids at one point!
But since the plot was old school even in 1969, what's left to talk about? Well, there's the great Gil Kane/Nick Cardy art. Or, we could discuss Bob Haney's laughably wonderful attempts to master "hip" teen dialogue:
Because really, there is nothing quite like a 43 year old white-collar guy trying sooooo hard and earnestly to cram every single dialogue balloon with lingo he picked up from Laugh-In...and I do mean every single panel.
But then there is the slightly more off-putting stuff. Specifically, the casually stereotyped ethnic characterizations. You see, the ski resort in question is Medicine Mountain, and is owned Native Americans:
The chap in the hat is Eddie Tallbow; his tribe owns the resort. Now, I'm not too huge on political correctness, and I'm the first to say that when reading material from the past, you've got to "grade on the curve" a bit, to account for the sensitivities of the time in which it was created.
But Eddie's "wampum" reference (in the very first panel of the book!) is not a good sign of things to come. Virtually every single panel with Eddie contains a "paleface" or "ugh" or "heap" or "flipped his wigwam..." And then there's "old Charlie By-And-By, the "half cracked seer and medicine man" of the tribe." Let's see what an adult American Indian has to say:
Oh, dear, again!
Hey, maybe we can insult multiple ethnic groups in a single panel:
Sigh....I know I'm being too harsh, but the sheer relentlessness of Haney's characterization by stereotype in the story is embarrassing. You might think that the "hip" 1960's teens that Haney was portraying would be a little more sensitive, but then again, they're not really hip. Haney is just parroting popular culture for teen stereotypes, just as he is for his portrayal of Indians. It's Mod Squad meets F-Troop.
Shoot, I'm being too harsh again. But at a time when some DC mags were at least making an attempt to get away from cartoon portrayals of minorities, Teen Titans was wallowing in them. It makes for a truly disconcerting read in 2008.
But it still has a great cover.
BONUS SEXUAL INNUENDO:
This got by the Comic Code??
"Wax my slats?" Oh, Donna, you and your Amazonian lustiness...