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1970s Ghost Rider, Satanism, and Subtext (Long)

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George

unread,
Aug 8, 2006, 3:16:55 PM8/8/06
to
Prefatory note:

This is just me, thinking out loud. No one reads Usenet anymore anyway,
really, so it doesn't matter....

******************************

Man, did the House of Ideas put out some strange stuff in the '70s, or what?

Context for this post: though I began reading comics as a tyke in the
early '70s, local distribution patterns ensured that I was largely a DC
reader until the early 1980s. (Old Mr. Levine, who ran the
candy/newspaper/stationery store in my small hometown once told me he
thought a lot of those "Marvel magazines" had cover scenes that looked
"too oddball and too scary" for him to feel comfortable putting on his
spinner rack, other than Spider-Man, since "all da kids pestered him
for da Spidery Man books." As Mr. Levine's sons increasingly took over
the business--until shutting it down altogether circa 1984 or so--they
must have been checking the sales numbers more shrewdly, as I was
suddenly able to start following the X-Men, the Avengers, etc. with
regularity.)

So, I missed out completely on a lot of big things in Marvel's history
in the 1970s, only coming to know of them as big things (or at least as
those with a strong cult or niche following) through references in
1980s stories and letter columns and then, later, in the conversations
around the back-issue bins at comic speciality shops. (Aside to geezers
like myself: remember the first time you walked into one of those, and
how it seemed you'd absolutely reached Paradise?) I knew that
characters and books like the Defenders, Howard the Duck, Tomb of
Dracula, Moon Knight, Power Man and Iron Fist, Shang-Chi, Man-Thing,
Ghost Rider and a few others had been relative hits, part of the
distinct nature of Marvel in that decade, but I'd never had the chance
to read any of them. Cue the Essentials and Masterworks lines...

Every so often over the past several years I'll track down a collection
of one of these '70s Marvel touchstone via my local public library
service (new slogan: Hey, Geeks: Free Media!) and delve into the Decade
that Subtlety Forgot, with the great joy that comes of nostalgic mixed
with derision. And, occasionally, I find some well-crafted stuff. (It
wasn't ultimately enough to hold my interest into the second and
subsequent volumes, but I now "get" what fans in the '80s were waxing
rhapsodic over when they talked about Tomb of Dracula. The Gerber
Defenders and Howard the Duck, on the other hand--well, let's just say
I liked what I saw there so much that the next time I want to read
these, I won't have to get them date-stamped by a librarian.)

Enter, this past week (as prompted by the upcoming film), Johnny Blaze,
the original (supernatural, anyway) Ghost Rider.

Man, what a weirdo.

I was alive (though young) when this distillation of several cultural
trends burst on the scene in 1972, so I can recognize the source
materials from first-hand pop-culture osmosis. But, geez, it's hard to
see what the overall appeal would have been, even then, that kept this
concept rolling through a whole decade of its own series. Old Mr.
Levine was right: this would have been too oddball and too scary,
indeed, for my hick town, at the time. (The local citizenry rallied,
after all, to keep *both* "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist" out of
the one movie theater, the only people who had motorcycles were a few
of the town's "hippies" and the cops, and the only people who wore that
much leather were seriously lost.)

Thomas, Friedrich, Ploog (and then Mooney) were sure smokin' some dope
stuff when they came up with this and kept it going, not even breaking
a sweat to introduce Damion Hellstrom, Son of Satan along the way
(Satana showed up contemporaneously) in some of GR's earliest stories.
What's really striking me from this vantage point is just how dangerous
this would have felt to me if I had been able to read it at the
time--or, more likely, if I'd found it at a yard sale or flea market
just a few years later. I mean: there's Satan. On the cover. In the
stories--major character and recurring antagonist. Sure--years later,
Marvel would retcon this into having been Mephisto all along (creating
continuity problems for Mr. Hellstrom, btw, who was said to have a
different demon-pa posing as Satan in these same stories---ooops.), but
in these early tales there aren't any shadings of that sort: this is
the Infernal Lord, the Adversary, the Big Evil. In a comic book, in
1972, aimed at "kids." And he's doing some scary shit. His followers
are holding Black Masses, drawing sigils everywhere, offering up their
souls right and left for power (ooooh-oooh, Witchy Woman, see how high
you fly....), etc. etc.

In a way, this makes perfect sense, of course: before it morphed into
(first briefly merging with, in the 1980s) the fear of kidnapping
pedophiles around every corner in the 1990s America's fear-du-decade
of the '70s was "Satanism" (as popularly understood, at any rate),
after all. At times, judging from the media reports and the popular
films and books, the nation was awash in do what thou wilt-ers,
enmeshed in a pop culture genealogy ranging from Manson and his family
to Sam's son and his talkative dog. Trust me, for those of you to young
to recall: it was a creepy time to be a kid, having your parents and
older siblings being fed a steady diet of Rosemary's Baby, the
Exorcist, The Omen films, Salem's Lot on TV, etc. etc. Thomas no doubt
felt Marvel should strike while the demonic iron was hot, and, boy, did
they. I'm just surprised, now, how blatantly they did it. No bones
about it, until years later, unless you count the flaming bones on the
lead character's face. They even quote Don Mclean's "American Pie"
lyrics ("..as the flames climbed high into the night to light the
sacrificial right I saw Satan laughing with delight..."). That's some
serious evil, man.

(The watering-down of direct mentions and depictions of Satan in later
years: quite possibly a fear of repeating what had happened to EC
Comics and others from the late 40s through the Kefauver hearings in
1953? Possibly in response to the then growing Christian right in the
US, which would by the 1980s be leading the first of many and ongoing
culture wars against depictions of the occult in media? Any theories?
Any first-hand knowledge of whether Marvel caught any specific
criticism for these early GR, Satana, Hellstrom, etc. stories, leading
them to label this Satan as "really Mephisto," and this "Hell" as
"really just a hellish dimension", etc.?)

Now, speaking of flaming.....

The other aspect of these early GR stories that's really striking me
(and, let's be clear: these meta- and sub-textual things are just about
the only things I'm finding at all worthwhile in these stories, though
Tony Isabella and Marv Wolfman do okay later in the run with scripts)
is just how obviously steeped they are in the homosexual/homsocial
biker culture of the time. ( I know, I know: duh on me. Remember--I
didn't read these back when, and wouldn't have caught the references if
I had.) While the surface level source material is everything from
Brando to Evil Knievel and the fad for motorcycle stunts and "cycle
jocks" (with the vehicular and demonic sources meeting in the Hell's
Angels, of course), there's no getting around some of the
more...specifically resonant....aspects of bike culture Friedrich puts
into these early stories. Johnny spends a *lot* of time fretting over
his "secret" nightlife, after all, and its sinful,
likely-to-be-disastrous consequences. He feels he's saved only by the
abiding love of his gal-pal/love-interest/foster-sister (no, *that's*
not complicated at *all*) Roxanne--whom he calls Rocky--one of the few,
early on, to know his secret shame. (Prior to having given up his soul
to save Rocky's father, Crash Simpson, from a disease--Johnny had made
a deathbed promise to his foster-mother not to be a daredevil rider.
Despite knowing this was likely the cause of his refusal to ride with
them, Crash and Rocky taunt Johnny for years for being a coward.
Implicitly, for being a momma's boy--less manly than Rocky herself.
Have I mentioned I love the nickname?)

With loving, devoted Rocky in tow to save him from his night-time
leather self, Johnny, performing at NYC's Madison Square Garden, finds
himself, as GR, falling in with a gang of cycle toughs in...wait for
it...Greenwich Village. He's particularly besotted with one of them, in
fact (the text itself says "attracted!" Go, Gary!). Of course, this
daddy named "Curly," turns out to actually *be* Johnny's "daddy," a
dead Crash Simpson who's given his own soul to Satan in exchange for
new life, provided he can finally deliver Johnny--and his daughter
Rocky along the way. Sigh. It's always the intense, good-looking ones
you need to be careful of, eh, Johnny?

Johnny is usually depicted in his leather uniform or, when he's out of
it (whether in Hell, on the astral plane, or just in Arizona), he, like
many of the other male biker characters (and Hellstrom) is shirtless.
He frequently sleeps all day, after his GR adventures of the previous
night. He lets the public think the GR manifestation is a mask, a
gimmick, since he admits to being enough of an egoist to really get off
on the crowd adulation. At night, he goes all firey and passionate and
mounts his bike looking for trouble. It's every single hilarious
stereotype of a subset of homosexual male culture in the 1970s you can
think off---the book is even full of admiring-but-dangerous cops and
mysterious American Indians in these early stories.

It's all subtext, of course, and I've no idea what, if any,
consciousness Friedrich, Ploog, Mooney, and Thomas may have had of the
homomemes into which they were tapping--but from the perspective of a
read in 2006, this reader, anyway, keeps waiting for poor Johnny to
just settle down and be happy with one of those nice police officer
boys he keeps running from, jumping over chasm after chasm to get
away......This guy didn't need an exorcist, he needed a sympathetic
analyst.

Ghost Rider. Still can't say I see the fundamental appeal. But this has
been a hoot. I suspect the '90s revival was merely one with the grim
and gritty, Lobo-esque, Wolverined, zeitgeist? If so, I'll skip that.
Johnny's stories are mostly horrible, but he's riding through a great
decade of decadence and denial....


--
Peace,

George

Magnus, Robot Fighter.

unread,
Aug 8, 2006, 3:29:12 PM8/8/06
to
On Tue, 8 Aug 2006 15:16:55 -0400, George <geel...@netscape.net>
wrote:

>Prefatory note:
>
>This is just me, thinking out loud. No one reads Usenet anymore anyway,
>really, so it doesn't matter....
>
>******************************
>
>Man, did the House of Ideas put out some strange stuff in the '70s, or what?
>

Holy shit dude, you're telling me....the oversized black and white
magazines featuring a nude or near nude Satana??? Pure soft porn.

And Man-Thing? Howard the Duck?

I e-mailed Steve Gerber about a year ago to tell him, basically, that
he should get some of the credit Alan Moore gets.

George

unread,
Aug 8, 2006, 4:02:24 PM8/8/06
to

Or at least some of that which Grant Morrison does. :-)

To be fair, I think Moore, Gaiman, Moore, et al have usually been
pretty up-front in acknowledging that some of the rows they've hoed
were first seeded by the likes of Gerber, Englehart, etc.


--
Peace,

George

Mikel Midnight

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Aug 9, 2006, 9:39:51 AM8/9/06
to
In article <2006080816022416807-geeluvss@netscapenet>, George
<geel...@netscape.net> wrote:

> > I e-mailed Steve Gerber about a year ago to tell him, basically, that
> > he should get some of the credit Alan Moore gets.
>
> Or at least some of that which Grant Morrison does. :-)
>

> To be fair, I think Moore, Gaiman, Morrison, et al have usually been

> pretty up-front in acknowledging that some of the rows they've hoed
> were first seeded by the likes of Gerber, Englehart, etc.

I've been saying that for years.

Clever original post, btw. I've never been happy with Marvel's
wiriting out of their Satan character, because imo it strips their 70's
characters of their moral resonance, although I can appreciate the
reasons for doing so (on which I blame the Christian right-wing ...
although at least they're releasing these comics in Essentials now).

--
_______________________________________________________________________________
Mikel Midnight
"You will die, sir, either on the gallows or from the
pox." (John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich)
"That depends, sir, on whether I embrace your principles
or your mistress." (John Wilkes, sometime friend of his
and rakish member of the aristocracy)

blak...@blaklion.best.vwh.net
_______________________________________http://blaklion.best.vwh.net/comics.html

George

unread,
Aug 9, 2006, 10:34:56 AM8/9/06
to
On 2006-08-09 09:39:51 -0400, Mikel Midnight
<blak...@best.outdamnspam.com> said:

> In article <2006080816022416807-geeluvss@netscapenet>, George
> <geel...@netscape.net> wrote:
>
>>> I e-mailed Steve Gerber about a year ago to tell him, basically, that
>>> he should get some of the credit Alan Moore gets.
>>
>> Or at least some of that which Grant Morrison does. :-)
>>
>> To be fair, I think Moore, Gaiman, Morrison, et al have usually been
>> pretty up-front in acknowledging that some of the rows they've hoed
>> were first seeded by the likes of Gerber, Englehart, etc.
>
> I've been saying that for years.
>
> Clever original post, btw. I've never been happy with Marvel's
> wiriting out of their Satan character, because imo it strips their 70's
> characters of their moral resonance, although I can appreciate the
> reasons for doing so (on which I blame the Christian right-wing ...

Yeah--I can see that point. Though it's really odd to notice, while
reading these early GR stories, that for all the blatant Satan, there's
nary a mention of the opposing side. For a while there, in Isabella's
run, Jesus seems to be showing up to help out Johnny, though he's only
identified as Johnny's "special friend" (the faith that dare not speak
its name?). However, it's revealed in a few issues that this Jesus has
only been yet another illusion arranged by Satan to get Johnny's hopes
up. (Still, Johnny did believe he had the Big Guy on his side, so this
raises interesting theological questions....)

While several characters throughout this first Essential GR volume make
the usual exclamations of "Good Lord" and "My God", etc. etc. it's
interesting that not a one of them--not even the "pure of heart"
Rocky/Roxanne--bothers to say a formal prayer to God, much less seek
out a priest or other religious, or step foot in a church, synagogue,
or mosque. The closest they come is calling Daimon Hellstrom--and it's
a Native American character who does that, even though he's suspicious
of the whole idea of possession. It's as if Marvel saw no problems (at
first) with portraying Satan, his demon minions, demonic possession,
Black Masses, etc. as fair game for super-hero/super-natural comics,
but drew the line at representing the opposing forces of Good with any
clarity. I'd love to get the insight of any who might have been
involved on this (Tony, are you lurking?)--did the winds change with
the rise of the Christian right as the 70s went on? Did Marvel get
nervous?

It's clear, though, that by the time Isabella was put on the book that
a decision had been made to downplay the supernatural elements per se
in favor of the theme (and tag-line) "Marvel's most supernatural
super-hero"--as Johnny and his milieu get far more in line with (what I
know of) other Marvel comics of the time. Isabella even poaches a good
deal of Daredevil's old supporting cast of characters and villains for
Johnny--setting him up in a Hollywood studio with the reformed
Stunt-Master, having him not-quite-get-involved with Karen Page (in her
post-secretary, pre-crack-whore, rising starlet days), and even meeting
DD in a battle against the Night-Stalker posing as Death's Head. By the
time Hellstrom drops by again to help out, demons and possessions are
being treated as effectively the same as some gadget of Doctor Doom's,
and Isabella crafts a meant-to-be-final resolution of the Johnny vs.
Satan battle--without having Satan actually show up (he fights by proxy
demon.)

(Man, did Karen have oddly fetishistic bad taste in men, or what? No
wonder her life went to hell. Her father was Death's Head, her first
boyfriend was Daredevil, and her rebound crush was Ghost Rider. Sheesh!
Get thee to a nunnery, lady.....)


> although at least they're releasing these comics in Essentials now).

Yeah--how else would I have found out about the coolest extended cameos
ever? Face front, True Believers: Wendy and Richard Pini are fairly
prominently featured as supporting characters in G.R., attached to the
Hollywood studio where Karen, Johnny, and Stunt-Master are working.
There's nothing more mind-blowing than seeing the creators of Cutter,
Skywise, Leetah, etc. coming face to face with the likes of Daimon
Hellstrom, Son of Satan. Ah, the 70s......the decade when you could
write enough letters to lettercolumns and not only meet your spouse
thereby (and start a comics dynasty), but end up in the supporting cast
of a biker with his head on fire.


--
Peace,

George

Daibhid Ceanaideach

unread,
Aug 9, 2006, 10:50:14 AM8/9/06
to
The time: 09 Aug 2006. The place:
rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe. The speaker: George
<geel...@netscape.net>

> (Man, did Karen have oddly fetishistic bad taste in men, or
> what? No wonder her life went to hell. Her father was
> Death's Head,

You threw me for a bit there. Growing up in the UK in the 80s,
my immediate thought was of a very different Death's Head...

--
Dave
Official Absentee of EU Skiffeysoc
http://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/societies/sesoc
"The need to compile lists is a personality disorder,
as is the need to assert the superiority of some things
over other things."
-Jeremy Hardy

George

unread,
Aug 9, 2006, 10:56:19 AM8/9/06
to
On 2006-08-09 10:50:14 -0400, Daibhid Ceanaideach
<daibhidc...@aol.com> said:

> The time: 09 Aug 2006. The place:
> rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe. The speaker: George
> <geel...@netscape.net>
>> (Man, did Karen have oddly fetishistic bad taste in men, or
>> what? No wonder her life went to hell. Her father was
>> Death's Head,
> You threw me for a bit there. Growing up in the UK in the 80s, my
> immediate thought was of a very different Death's Head...

Heh--you mean the Marvel UK/Transformers character, yes? Boy, talk
about an odd crossover.... :-)

--
Peace,

George

Daibhid Ceanaideach

unread,
Aug 9, 2006, 3:31:27 PM8/9/06
to
The time: 09 Aug 2006. The place:
rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe. The speaker: George
<geel...@netscape.net>

> On 2006-08-09 10:50:14 -0400, Daibhid Ceanaideach
> <daibhidc...@aol.com> said:
>
>> The time: 09 Aug 2006. The place:
>> rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe. The speaker: George
>> <geel...@netscape.net>
>>> (Man, did Karen have oddly fetishistic bad taste in men,
>>> or what? No wonder her life went to hell. Her father was
>>> Death's Head,
>> You threw me for a bit there. Growing up in the UK in the
>> 80s, my
>> immediate thought was of a very different Death's Head...
>
> Heh--you mean the Marvel UK/Transformers character, yes?
> Boy, talk about an odd crossover.... :-)

It could have happened; there was a period in the early
Nineties when Marvel UK were obsessive about making the point
that their original work was set in the same universe as the
US reprint mags. I'm told there was nearly a Doctor Who/Doctor
Strange crossover.

Jason Todd

unread,
Aug 9, 2006, 3:52:30 PM8/9/06
to
Good Stuff in those days fer shure.

I remember a letters page were there was a big complaint about the
amount of occult and supernaturality in the comics at that time:
Dracula, Son of Satan, Satanna, Dr Strange, Brother Voodoo, Ghost
Rider, the Golem, Werewolf by Night, Frankenstein, Ghost Rider, The
Zombie, Agatha Harkness, and Morbius (who wasn't really a supernatural
character at all, but...).

I wrote everything down and made sure to get them all!!!

Jason "The coolest comics ever" Todd
*******************
www.commensensanity.blogspot.com

Garbin

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Aug 9, 2006, 5:18:35 PM8/9/06
to
"Jason Todd" <janklo...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1155153150.7...@n13g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> Good Stuff in those days fer shure.
>
> I remember a letters page were there was a big complaint about the
> amount of occult and supernaturality in the comics at that time:
> Dracula, Son of Satan, Satanna, Dr Strange, Brother Voodoo, Ghost
> Rider, the Golem, Werewolf by Night, Frankenstein, Ghost Rider, The
> Zombie, Agatha Harkness, and Morbius (who wasn't really a supernatural
> character at all, but...).
>

It's not really too surprising that Marvel turned out a lot of occult stuff
in the 70s they were only returning to their roots after all. Pre FF #1
most of the output from Marvel was Horror, Western and (believe it or not)
Romance.

George

unread,
Aug 9, 2006, 9:03:19 PM8/9/06
to
On 2006-08-09 17:18:35 -0400, "Garbin" <igc...@lineone.net> said:

> "Jason Todd" <janklo...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:1155153150.7...@n13g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>> Good Stuff in those days fer shure.
>>
>> I remember a letters page were there was a big complaint about the
>> amount of occult and supernaturality in the comics at that time:
>> Dracula, Son of Satan, Satanna, Dr Strange, Brother Voodoo, Ghost
>> Rider, the Golem, Werewolf by Night, Frankenstein, Ghost Rider, The
>> Zombie, Agatha Harkness, and Morbius (who wasn't really a supernatural
>> character at all, but...).
>>
>
> It's not really too surprising that Marvel turned out a lot of occult
> stuff in the 70s they were only returning to their roots after all.
> Pre FF #1 most of the output from Marvel was Horror, Western and
> (believe it or not) Romance.

But what's interesting (if predictable) about Marvel's return to the
horror and supernatural genres in the 70s is just how blatantly many of
the stories featured things that the rest of American culture was then
terrified by/fascinated by/otherwise up in arms about (i.e. Satan and
Satanism, along with satanic sexuality) in books that still carried the
CCA seal and were (ostensibly) for kids and teens. It seems that they
flew under the radar with this for some time, but I'm assuming that
they *must* have encountered criticism at some point, perhaps to the
extent that they then began to tone-down various aspects of these
stories (e.g. revealing the Satan shown in many Ghost Rider stories to
have really been Mephisto, revealing the various "Hells" shown to be
"other dimensions," and treating demons essentially the same as aliens).


--
Peace,

George

gbos...@excite.com

unread,
Aug 9, 2006, 10:49:10 PM8/9/06
to

Don't forget that the Silver Surfer was a blatant Christ figure. If you
don't believe me, check out Silver Surfer #3, particularly the panel
where he prays for forgiveness before he stops all machinery on earth.

George

unread,
Aug 10, 2006, 9:13:38 AM8/10/06
to

Oh, I haven't forgotten the Surfer-Christ at all. It's just that his
tales were pitched quite clearly *as* metaphor (and his "Satan" was
Mephisto from the start, not as a retcon), so for all of the religious
tones of those early solo Surfer stories, he was operating in a
different mode from the GR stories, what with their Black Masses, Satan
as antagonist, etc. What's notable about so many of the 70s Marvel
stories, it seems, is precisely the way they literalized--at least for
a time--these kinds of things.

>


--
Peace,

George

Jim Connick

unread,
Aug 10, 2006, 10:31:46 AM8/10/06
to

"Daibhid Ceanaideach" <daibhidc...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:Xns981AA121...@130.133.1.4...

> The time: 09 Aug 2006. The place:
> rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe. The speaker: George
> <geel...@netscape.net>
>
>> (Man, did Karen have oddly fetishistic bad taste in men, or
>> what? No wonder her life went to hell. Her father was
>> Death's Head,
>
> You threw me for a bit there. Growing up in the UK in the 80s,
> my immediate thought was of a very different Death's Head...

He certainly would be a very odd person to have as a father, yes?


The Black Guardian

unread,
Aug 10, 2006, 6:55:51 PM8/10/06
to
George wrote:
> Garbin wrote:

>> Jason Todd wrote:
>>> Good Stuff in those days fer shure.
>>>
>>> I remember a letters page were there was a big complaint about the
>>> amount of occult and supernaturality in the comics at that time:
>>> Dracula, Son of Satan, Satanna, Dr Strange, Brother Voodoo, Ghost
>>> Rider, the Golem, Werewolf by Night, Frankenstein, Ghost Rider, The
>>> Zombie, Agatha Harkness, and Morbius (who wasn't really a supernatural
>>> character at all, but...).
>>
>> It's not really too surprising that Marvel turned out a lot of occult
>> stuff in the 70s they were only returning to their roots after all.
>> Pre FF #1 most of the output from Marvel was Horror, Western and
>> (believe it or not) Romance.
>
> But what's interesting (if predictable) about Marvel's return to the
> horror and supernatural genres in the 70s is just how blatantly many of
> the stories featured things that the rest of American culture was then
> terrified by/fascinated by/otherwise up in arms about (i.e. Satan and
> Satanism, along with satanic sexuality) in books that still carried the
> CCA seal and were (ostensibly) for kids and teens. It seems that they
> flew under the radar with this for some time, but I'm assuming that
> they *must* have encountered criticism at some point, perhaps to the
> extent that they then began to tone-down various aspects of these
> stories (e.g. revealing the Satan shown in many Ghost Rider stories to
> have really been Mephisto, revealing the various "Hells" shown to be
> "other dimensions," and treating demons essentially the same as aliens).

By and large, people were not terrified or up in arms about this stuff
in the 70s. It was everywhere in the culture of the day. We saw it in
everything from D&D to music and movies to Dark Shadows on daytime TV
(which was really ahead of its time, beginning years earlier). Most
people were craving more of it. This kind of hysteria didn't really
come back (having been dormant for a decade or two) until the 80s (but
even then it was a huge minority).

George

unread,
Aug 10, 2006, 9:09:45 PM8/10/06
to

Well, having come of age in that decade, I think it was bit more
complex than merely "craving" occult material in pop culture. Sure,
many people simply loved it and were fascinated by it as entertainment.
For many others, though, it was a kid of zeitgeist fear they couldn't
look away from, despite being deeply disturbed by. I remember the
reports of people breaking down at screenings of the Omen, the
Exorcist, Amityville Horror, Rosemary's Baby, etc. (to say nothing of
the pervasive sense of dread the novels on which many of those films
were based caused), I remember the local newspapers being full of
stories of "Satanists" and "Devil Worshippers" moving into suburban
America, I remember the sick fascination people held for the links
among Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate, Rosemary's Baby, Anton LeVay, and
Charles Manson. Living in the greater NYC/Long Island area, I *well*
remember the hysteria around the Son of Sam shootings, hysteria not
based merely in the shootings themselves, but, as the case unfolded, in
the idea that "Satan" had been pulling the strings. So, long story
short: sure, some people grooved on all this, but I think many people
were unnerved by it, as well, to varying degrees. (The two aren't
mutually exclusive, of course, in the human psyche.)


> This kind of hysteria didn't really
> come back (having been dormant for a decade or two) until the 80s (but
> even then it was a huge minority).

But with even greater political power, I think--at least by the time of
the Meese Commission. But that's somewhat far afield from merely
Satanism. It's interesting that many of the early 80s cases that
fueled the (ongoing) hysteria over pedophilia were explicitly with
Satanism (and repressed memories).

--
Peace,

George

The Black Guardian

unread,
Aug 11, 2006, 2:13:21 AM8/11/06
to
George wrote:

Indeed. I wouldn't necessarily divide the two. A "craving" is a
"craving," regardless of the reason for it. I was coming of age at this
time, as well, and I really didn't know anybody that had these kinds of
reactions to these movies. All "Amityville" was, was a great movie to
take a date to, because you knew at some point your date would grab
onto you. There just weren't that many people who were truly unnerved
by them. "Rosemary's Baby" was in the late-60s, so it was really at the
beginning of these kinds of horror movies, but by the mid-70s, we (as a
culture) were so accepting of it that the sequel to "Rosemary" was a
made-for-TV movie and who can forget "The Trilogy of Terror" (probably
one of the scariest things, to date, to ever to be put on network TV)?

Anyway, it was because of this acceptance that Marvel was able to bring
these sorts of stories to kids. The CCA did have a clause in its
by-laws (or whatever you want to call them) regarding what is generally
accepted by society. If society accepted it, then it was fair game.

David Johnston

unread,
Aug 11, 2006, 4:27:21 AM8/11/06
to
On Wed, 09 Aug 2006 21:18:35 GMT, "Garbin" <igc...@lineone.net> wrote:

>"Jason Todd" <janklo...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
>news:1155153150.7...@n13g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>> Good Stuff in those days fer shure.
>>
>> I remember a letters page were there was a big complaint about the
>> amount of occult and supernaturality in the comics at that time:
>> Dracula, Son of Satan, Satanna, Dr Strange, Brother Voodoo, Ghost
>> Rider, the Golem, Werewolf by Night, Frankenstein, Ghost Rider, The
>> Zombie, Agatha Harkness, and Morbius (who wasn't really a supernatural
>> character at all, but...).
>>
>
>It's not really too surprising that Marvel turned out a lot of occult stuff
>in the 70s they were only returning to their roots after all. Pre FF #1
>most of the output from Marvel was Horror,

Fin Fang Foom and the Walking Hill weren't exactly the same kind of
thing.

George

unread,
Aug 11, 2006, 10:33:03 AM8/11/06
to

Growing up on Long Island, it was a *lot* more than a great date movie
for a lot of people. (Sadly, it still is: subsequent owners of the
house have had to have its street address changed and have had to do
extensive renovations to it to make it harder for "fans" to find
it.....sheesh!)

And growing up Catholic, films like The Omen, Rosemary's Baby, and
(most especially) The Exorcist were little psychic time-bombs for me
and many of my peers. Whereas our parents would dismiss our interest in
other kinds of horror films by saying "Why would you want to waste your
time/money on that garbage?", they were a bit more...anxious...in their
dislike for these things. But mileage varies, of course.

> There just weren't that many people who were truly unnerved
> by them. "Rosemary's Baby" was in the late-60s, so it was really at the
> beginning of these kinds of horror movies, but by the mid-70s, we (as a
> culture) were so accepting of it that the sequel to "Rosemary" was a
> made-for-TV movie and who can forget "The Trilogy of Terror" (probably
> one of the scariest things, to date, to ever to be put on network TV)?

The TV "Salem's Lot" was, for me, the couldn't-sleep-for-nights
benchmark. I don't know *how* I was allowed to watch that, or why I
wanted to.....

>
> Anyway, it was because of this acceptance that Marvel was able to bring
> these sorts of stories to kids. The CCA did have a clause in its
> by-laws (or whatever you want to call them) regarding what is generally
> accepted by society. If society accepted it, then it was fair game.

Hmm. I thought the CCA had, at least at one point, expressly forbid
direct depictions of The Devil, Satan, etc. ?


--
Peace,

George

George

unread,
Aug 11, 2006, 10:34:08 AM8/11/06
to

Did the Walking Hill Have Eyes, though?

(C'mon, you Saw that one coming.....)
--
Peace,

George

Matt Deres

unread,
Aug 11, 2006, 9:23:24 PM8/11/06
to

"George" <geel...@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:2006080815165516807-geeluvss@netscapenet...

<snip>

> In a way, this makes perfect sense, of course: before it morphed into
> (first briefly merging with, in the 1980s) the fear of kidnapping
> pedophiles around every corner in the 1990s America's fear-du-decade of
> the '70s was "Satanism" (as popularly understood, at any rate), after all.
> At times, judging from the media reports and the popular films and books,
> the nation was awash in do what thou wilt-ers, enmeshed in a pop culture
> genealogy ranging from Manson and his family to Sam's son and his
> talkative dog. Trust me, for those of you to young to recall: it was a
> creepy time to be a kid, having your parents and older siblings being fed
> a steady diet of Rosemary's Baby, the Exorcist, The Omen films, Salem's
> Lot on TV, etc. etc. Thomas no doubt felt Marvel should strike while the
> demonic iron was hot, and, boy, did they. I'm just surprised, now, how
> blatantly they did it. No bones about it, until years later, unless you
> count the flaming bones on the lead character's face. They even quote Don
> Mclean's "American Pie" lyrics ("..as the flames climbed high into the
> night to light the sacrificial right I saw Satan laughing with
> delight..."). That's some serious evil, man.

Well, as you say there was a bit of a resurgence in that kind of "man of
wealth and taste" satanism at the time, not unlike the Victorian-inspired
goth vampire thing that mushroomed in the late 90s. I'd say that sort of
thing goes in cyles, but I'd hate to make such an awful pun...

At the time Marvel was cranking out their Dracula and Son of Satan schtick,
kids could listen to Alice Cooper on the radio, watch The Exorcist at the
drive-in, buy Vampirella off the magazine rack, and Stephen King's stuff was
at the library.


> Ghost Rider. Still can't say I see the fundamental appeal. But this has
> been a hoot. I suspect the '90s revival was merely one with the grim and
> gritty, Lobo-esque, Wolverined, zeitgeist? If so, I'll skip that. Johnny's
> stories are mostly horrible, but he's riding through a great decade of
> decadence and denial....

Go ahead and skip it.


Matt


Matt Deres

unread,
Aug 11, 2006, 9:30:30 PM8/11/06
to

"George" <geel...@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:2006080910345616807-geeluvss@netscapenet...

> While several characters throughout this first Essential GR volume make
> the usual exclamations of "Good Lord" and "My God", etc. etc. it's
> interesting that not a one of them--not even the "pure of heart"
> Rocky/Roxanne--bothers to say a formal prayer to God, much less seek out a
> priest or other religious, or step foot in a church, synagogue, or mosque.
> The closest they come is calling Daimon Hellstrom--and it's a Native
> American character who does that, even though he's suspicious of the whole
> idea of possession. It's as if Marvel saw no problems (at first) with
> portraying Satan, his demon minions, demonic possession, Black Masses,
> etc. as fair game for super-hero/super-natural comics, but drew the line
> at representing the opposing forces of Good with any clarity.

On the one hand, you might think that Marvel could have gotten some brownie
points from the Right for showing people praying for help, or having the J-C
god become more of a material fixture (in fact, that card was played more
explicitly in the later issues of tomb of Dracula) in the way that DC had
one. On the other hand, these are the folks that grew up with EC horror and
had it taken away from them - by the soccer moms and Right of their day.
I'm guessing their opinion was "screw it, get away with what you can while
you can".

Of course, the folks that are into horror themes are probably not the kind
that explicitly prays a whole lot; it may honestly have never occured to
them that there are those that do.


Matt


The Black Guardian

unread,
Aug 12, 2006, 1:00:50 AM8/12/06
to
George wrote:
> The Black Guardian wrote:

My Catholic stepfather and agnostic mother took me to see "The
Exorcist" (I was like 7 or 8 at the time)... and I had to sit through
it, else they would ridicule me afterwards. After 7-8 years of this
sort of thing, it's not like "scary" things phased me much.

> > There just weren't that many people who were truly unnerved
> > by them. "Rosemary's Baby" was in the late-60s, so it was really at the
> > beginning of these kinds of horror movies, but by the mid-70s, we (as a
> > culture) were so accepting of it that the sequel to "Rosemary" was a
> > made-for-TV movie and who can forget "The Trilogy of Terror" (probably
> > one of the scariest things, to date, to ever to be put on network TV)?
>
> The TV "Salem's Lot" was, for me, the couldn't-sleep-for-nights
> benchmark. I don't know *how* I was allowed to watch that, or why I
> wanted to.....

"Salem's Lot" was virtually "family television" for us. We actually
threw a kind of "Superbowl" party, inviting some friends and
neighbours.

> > Anyway, it was because of this acceptance that Marvel was able to bring
> > these sorts of stories to kids. The CCA did have a clause in its
> > by-laws (or whatever you want to call them) regarding what is generally
> > accepted by society. If society accepted it, then it was fair game.
>
> Hmm. I thought the CCA had, at least at one point, expressly forbid
> direct depictions of The Devil, Satan, etc. ?

Not expressly. Originally, the CCA forbid depictions of vampires,
walking dead, and werewolves. The Devil (in any name) was never
expressly mentioned.

By the early-70s, the CCA had relaxed quite a bit (especially after the
famous Spider-Man drug story, which despite not being CCA approved, was
highly acclaimed). The 1971 re-drafting of the CCA rules allowed many
horror depictions that were previously forbidden, if they were done in
"the classic tradition" of authors like Poe, Saki, Doyle, et al. (those
three authors actually named in the CCA rules).

Jim Connick

unread,
Aug 12, 2006, 12:13:57 PM8/12/06
to

"George" <geel...@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:2006081110340843658-geeluvss@netscapenet...

Nope, but it was a Silent Hill...


gbos...@excite.com

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Aug 14, 2006, 6:09:33 PM8/14/06
to


Not to discount your point, but Mephistopheles is an ancient name for
satan so who else was Mephisto supposed to be? Notice that the Silver
Surfer/Christ stuff was done by Stan Lee and the Satan stuff was done
by his immediate successors. Perhaps they were rebelling against the
old regime?

>

> >
>
>
> --
> Peace,
>
> George

George

unread,
Aug 14, 2006, 10:04:43 PM8/14/06
to

Oh, I know Mephisto was indeed meant to be read--metaphorically,
thematically--as Satan. It's just that he quite deliberately wasn't
call that--or even called Mephistopheles--so Stan was giving himself
plausible deniability against any potential accusations of the
impropriety of depicting Satan in a comic book aimed (as far as the
general public would think) at kids. Even though Stan and John Buscema
knew (by 1968 or so) that they were *clearly* producing books like SS
for high schoolers and college students as much as they were for 10 and
12 year olds, they still no doubt drew lines (and drew on their
memories of what happened to EC and others in the 50s) and played
things a little cagey. They laid the groundwork for what Shooter and
Marvel had to do in the 80s: these demons and devils (and gods) in our
books aren't really any different from aliens of various kinds, and
their domains aren't really "Hell"--but merely other dimensions, etc.


> Notice that the Silver
> Surfer/Christ stuff was done by Stan Lee and the Satan stuff was done
> by his immediate successors. Perhaps they were rebelling against the
> old regime?

Possibly, though Roy Thomas was never really a rebel, especially
against Stan. More likely all the blatant Satanism in the 70s books was
a combination of its overall ascendency in pop culture at the time,
increasing efforts toward both "relevant" and "cosmic" storytelling,
and, honestly, whatever freaky scenes/substances many NYC-based writers
and artists of the time were into, God bless 'em.

--
Peace,

George

gbos...@excite.com

unread,
Aug 15, 2006, 5:06:16 PM8/15/06
to

Well I was never really into the personalities that deep back then, so
I don't really know. I do seem to recall some recent interview with
Stan where he talked as if Roy was a wunderkind who really saved his
butt from overwork.


More likely all the blatant Satanism in the 70s books was
> a combination of its overall ascendency in pop culture at the time,
> increasing efforts toward both "relevant" and "cosmic" storytelling,
> and, honestly, whatever freaky scenes/substances many NYC-based writers
> and artists of the time were into, God bless 'em.

I think you already mentioned the Exorcist, but I think it had a lot
more influence than you gave it credit for. That along with a seeming
backlash against the space age in the form of a lot of Uri Geller
types, Chariots of the Gods, gurus, bigfoot, UFOs etc. I mean there was
just a huge explosion of that kind of stuff back then, to the point
that a magician called James Randi winds up making a career out of
debunking it. The late 60s early 70s was a weird time and Ghost Rider
and Damon Hellstrom didn't seem that far out back then.

BTW, you know what happens when you don't pay the exorcist?


You get re-possessed.

>
>
>
> --
> Peace,
>
> George

George

unread,
Aug 15, 2006, 5:34:23 PM8/15/06
to

That's essentially the commonly-agreed upon history of "Rascally Roy's"
early years and his relationship with Stan, as far as I know.

> More likely all the blatant Satanism in the 70s books was
>> a combination of its overall ascendency in pop culture at the time,
>> increasing efforts toward both "relevant" and "cosmic" storytelling,
>> and, honestly, whatever freaky scenes/substances many NYC-based writers
>> and artists of the time were into, God bless 'em.
>
> I think you already mentioned the Exorcist, but I think it had a lot
> more influence than you gave it credit for. That along with a seeming
> backlash against the space age in the form of a lot of Uri Geller
> types, Chariots of the Gods, gurus, bigfoot, UFOs etc.

(Yes--the Exorcist's influence was huge. Epic, even. But the earliest
GR issues predate the film, I think.)

Interesting idea you raise that part of the appeal of Satannic tropes
might have been rooted in a reaction *against* space/alien tropes. And,
of course, both of them have links to the changing political winds in
the US throughout the period.

> I mean there was
> just a huge explosion of that kind of stuff back then, to the point
> that a magician called James Randi winds up making a career out of
> debunking it. The late 60s early 70s was a weird time and Ghost Rider
> and Damon Hellstrom didn't seem that far out back then.
>
> BTW, you know what happens when you don't pay the exorcist?
>
>
> You get re-possessed.

Damn you.

--
Peace,

George

The Black Guardian

unread,
Aug 16, 2006, 2:00:34 AM8/16/06
to
George wrote:
> gbos...@excite.com wrote:

>> George wrote:
>>> More likely all the blatant Satanism in the 70s books was
>>> a combination of its overall ascendency in pop culture at the time,
>>> increasing efforts toward both "relevant" and "cosmic" storytelling,
>>> and, honestly, whatever freaky scenes/substances many NYC-based writers
>>> and artists of the time were into, God bless 'em.
>>
>> I think you already mentioned the Exorcist, but I think it had a lot
>> more influence than you gave it credit for. That along with a seeming
>> backlash against the space age in the form of a lot of Uri Geller
>> types, Chariots of the Gods, gurus, bigfoot, UFOs etc.
>
> (Yes--the Exorcist's influence was huge. Epic, even. But the earliest
> GR issues predate the film, I think.)

Yup. By several months. GR began in the Summer of 73 (cover date: Sep
73), while "The Exorcist" was released in December of 73. Although
Exorcist was huge, it was part of the same fad that seemed to begin in
the late-60s (really exploding in 72) and paved the way for GR.

Eminence

unread,
Aug 16, 2006, 9:20:36 AM8/16/06
to
On 15 Aug 2006 23:00:34 -0700, "The Black Guardian" <blak...@aol.com>
wrote:

However, "The Exorcist" (novel) was published in 1971. Plus, Ghost
Rider -- along with several other similarly themed characters -- would
not have been possible without the relaxation of adherence to the
Comics Code that helps differentiate the Silver and Bronze Ages.

Eminence
_______________
Usenet: Global Village of the Damned

The Black Guardian

unread,
Aug 16, 2006, 6:25:25 PM8/16/06
to
Eminence wrote:

Indeed... which wouldn't have been relaxed without society's acceptance
of such art forms.

gbos...@excite.com

unread,
Aug 16, 2006, 11:09:51 PM8/16/06
to

Yes but not just the tropes (2001 may have been the straw that broke
the camels back there). I'm also thinking that there had been so many
changes related to the space age, starting with the fact that we no
longer lived in a time when no one had ever walked on the moon; that
there was a cultural backlash in the comfort of there still being a lot
of unknown out there or alternatively, stuff that was "known" by faith
alone. Just as there was the fascination with the occult there was also
the Jesus Freaks movement.

>
> > I mean there was
> > just a huge explosion of that kind of stuff back then, to the point
> > that a magician called James Randi winds up making a career out of
> > debunking it. The late 60s early 70s was a weird time and Ghost Rider
> > and Damon Hellstrom didn't seem that far out back then.
> >
> > BTW, you know what happens when you don't pay the exorcist?
> >
> >
> > You get re-possessed.
>
> Damn you.

Like many jokes it's fun to tell, but painful to hear.

"That's fascinating! I was fascinated once. Right here in the arm."...
Groucho

>
>
>
> --
> Peace,
>
> George

Graves

unread,
Aug 17, 2006, 3:58:43 AM8/17/06
to

you guys are both fairly far off the mark....

Nathan P. Mahney

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Aug 17, 2006, 4:57:12 AM8/17/06
to

"Graves" <Leo.Ro...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1155801523.4...@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com...

Care to elaborate?

- Nathan P. Mahney -

NERDBLOG - http://nathanpmahney.livejournal.com/
Now playing - comic reviews


Graves

unread,
Aug 17, 2006, 9:09:25 AM8/17/06
to

sure, just read some Alter Egos. or talk to Roy.

George

unread,
Aug 17, 2006, 10:01:21 AM8/17/06
to
On 2006-08-17 09:09:25 -0400, "Graves" <Leo.Ro...@gmail.com> said:

>>>>>>> Notice that the Silver
>>>>>>> Surfer/Christ stuff was done by Stan Lee and the Satan stuff was
>> done
>>>>>>> by his immediate successors. Perhaps they were rebelling against the
>>>>>>> old regime?
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Possibly, though Roy Thomas was never really a rebel, especially
>>>>>> against Stan.
>>>>>
>>>>> Well I was never really into the personalities that deep back then, so
>>>>> I don't really know. I do seem to recall some recent interview with
>>>>> Stan where he talked as if Roy was a wunderkind who really saved his
>>>>> butt from overwork.
>>>>
>>>> That's essentially the commonly-agreed upon history of "Rascally Roy's"
>>>> early years and his relationship with Stan, as far as I know.
>>>
>>> you guys are both fairly far off the mark....
>>
>> Care to elaborate?
>
> sure, just read some Alter Egos. or talk to Roy.

I've done both--that's what I was basing my comments on. My
understanding is that while their relationship was anything but
lovey-dovey, it is indeed agreed by both of them that Roy did take over
a lot of Stan's overwhelming workload at that point (the changing
credits on the books themselves speak to this as a matter of historical
fact) and that early on, at least, Roy took pains to follow in Stan's
general style while developing his own, only later offering up scripts
that began to take things in noticeably different directions. By his
own admission in several places, Roy Thomas is an "old school" comics
storyteller--not one who rebels against the status quo simply for the
sake of rebelling.

What am I missing? I've read most issues of the current volume of A/E,
have read the majority of books Thomas wrote and/or edited for DC, and
have corresponded with the man, so I'd be interested (honestly) to see
how I'm off the mark.


--
Peace,

George

Nathan P. Mahney

unread,
Aug 17, 2006, 10:41:03 AM8/17/06
to

"Graves" <Leo.Ro...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1155820165.3...@75g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...

Well if I ever see the exact issue of Alter Ego you mean, or if Roy Thomas
ever comes to Australia, I might do that. It's hardly the most helpful
elaboration, however.

Graves

unread,
Aug 17, 2006, 2:55:14 PM8/17/06
to
well, you asked. and wouldn't you rather, as I (and George) have, get
it from the source? and i said "fairly", not "completely and utterly",
so no need to be indignant. the gentleman i addressed it to you wasn't.

Graves

unread,
Aug 17, 2006, 3:13:11 PM8/17/06
to
i just said "fairly off the mark"; i wasn't attempting to be
contentious or cryptic, though i see i came off as both.

i correspond with Roy and have read the material you mentioned, etc. so
we have the same experience. since I do know Roy & have heard these
stories directly from him, and I interviewed him once for a regional
zine, I tend to blanch when fans attempt to articulate "what it was
like back then" as most of them weren't born then, and find Roy to be
an unfashionable figure in modern comics. apologies if i felt at least
some of that was happening on this thread; i may've been fairly off the
mark there myself...

i appreciate the qualification of your view: i'd largely agree, except
while i doubt Roy was trying to then, or would describe himself now as
a rebel, he was attempting to experiment, very consciously so, and as I
understand things, the contention - and person against whom Roy might
be perceived as "rebelling against" - would probably be Martin Goodman,
not Stan.

i agree that Roy sees himself as oldschool (which is why many current
fans - I'm not including you or I, but younger and trendier chaps
mainly - see his work as increasingly less relevant; i see it as
increasingly influential and he doesn't get his props). but it was the
70s; there was a certain current charging the air; the zeitgeist you
guys were describing.

I believe the Satanic thing was a product of those times, as mentioned
above, but not a conscious rebellion, as someone on this thread
proffered. remember, Stan conceived the book "The Mark of Satan";
Stan's irreverance is part of what made him so influential. he saw no
problem with Thor, or "Super-God" as he first imagined in his head -
carrying his own book; Dracula became the protaganist of his own comic
- why not Satan. i believe Roy was instrumental in peeling back the
concept to at least a *son* of Satan...

> --
> Peace,
>
> George

George

unread,
Aug 17, 2006, 3:55:06 PM8/17/06
to

Understood--it certainly did come across that way. :-)


>
> i correspond with Roy and have read the material you mentioned, etc. so
> we have the same experience. since I do know Roy & have heard these
> stories directly from him, and I interviewed him once for a regional
> zine, I tend to blanch when fans attempt to articulate "what it was
> like back then" as most of them weren't born then, and find Roy to be
> an unfashionable figure in modern comics. apologies if i felt at least
> some of that was happening on this thread; i may've been fairly off the
> mark there myself...

It certainly wouldn't have come from my corner: though I was alive
then, I was a young'un, and while I consider myself a fair-to-middling
amateur comics' historian, I make no true claims to extensive or
exhaustive knowledge, especially of inside baseball. And I'm happy to
list myself as one of Roy's biggest fans (even though I do sometimes
chuckle over his overly-similar dialogue patterns and his sometimes
undifferentiated passion for historical fine points). But I generally
love the guy's work and wish he were still crafting stories--and, more
importantly, editorial policies--for Marvel and/or DC.

>
> i appreciate the qualification of your view: i'd largely agree, except
> while i doubt Roy was trying to then, or would describe himself now as
> a rebel, he was attempting to experiment, very consciously so, and as I
> understand things, the contention - and person against whom Roy might
> be perceived as "rebelling against" - would probably be Martin Goodman,
> not Stan.

Okay. But I'm sure you'll agree there's a world of difference between
"rebelling" and "experimenting." I agree that Roy was doing the
latter--(as were many other talented folks in the period)--but was
simply saying that I, as you, rejected the idea that he would have been
consciously rebelling against Stan, or even against Marvel's general
guidelines on such things, at that *particular* point in his career,
since rebelling implies a "Nuts to you, pops!" attitude that just
doesn't strike me as being at all consistent with anything I've ever
heard of their interactions or his work during that period.

At any rate, it seems we're essentially in agreement. Thanks for clarifying.

>
>
> I believe the Satanic thing was a product of those times, as mentioned
> above, but not a conscious rebellion, as someone on this thread
> proffered. remember, Stan conceived the book "The Mark of Satan";
> Stan's irreverance is part of what made him so influential. he saw no
> problem with Thor, or "Super-God" as he first imagined in his head -
> carrying his own book; Dracula became the protaganist of his own comic
> - why not Satan. i believe Roy was instrumental in peeling back the
> concept to at least a *son* of Satan...

*That's* interesting, and I hadn't heard of it prior to this point--and
it *sounds* like Roy do walk the concept back a bit in precisely that
way--not out of any creative timidity, but rather out of sensible
desire to keep the potential problems at bay and keep the appeal as
broad as possible.


--
Peace,

George

Graves

unread,
Aug 18, 2006, 12:18:02 AM8/18/06
to

absolutely agreed on all points, George. apologies for the initial
brusqueness. thanks for the fine discussion.

Nathan P. Mahney

unread,
Aug 18, 2006, 6:29:28 AM8/18/06
to

"Graves" <Leo.Ro...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1155840914.1...@74g2000cwt.googlegroups.com...

Ah, no indignance - I was just hoping you could tell me some stuff that I
hadn't heard about. I'm bizarrely fascinated with the behind-the-scenes
kind of stuff that goes on in comics, and I'm a fan of Roy Thomas to boot -
best Avengers writer ever. The conversation you have going with George at
the moment is good enough for me! (And for some reason I got it in my head
that you were dissing Roy - I really need to read these threads more
closely...)

Graves

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Aug 18, 2006, 7:04:28 AM8/18/06
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ah, cool deal. yeah, sometimes it's pretty tough (as i proved) to pick
out intention without intonation, and who thinks what or what they
meant.. the joys of the internet...

Roy is a really good guy. without intending to, or me asking, he's
inadvertantly & graciously mentored me on & off over the years. i've
known him since 1992, which is shortly after he moved to a tiny town
not terribly far from where i live, albeit across the state line.

and now i feel really bad, because i need to mail him a package pronto
& i may not get to til early next week...

yeah, i'll find & post the Alter Ego or it may've been the Comic Book
Artist issue # where Roy talks about his tenure as editor-in-chief. it
was so similar to the things he discussed in a long interview i did
with him in 1997. only about half of the ground we covered actually saw
print, in Indie File, July 1997. IF was only distributed throughout 5
Southern states though, unfortunately, and their website went down ages
ago (it's defunct). but i have a ton of copies, so i'll probably
transcribe all that stuff in my blogs one day to preseve it.