I JUST DON’T CARE: JOE SHUSTER, WHITNEY ELLSWORTH AND ABORTIONS

Well, that’s not quite true.  I do care as in I am a part time student of comic book history, but at the end of the day this is one of those things I don’t think I can get all riled up about.

What I’m talking about is some information that has come to light because of the recent litigation between DC and the Siegels.  Some correspondence between DC and Joe Shuster saw daylight for the first time in decades and holy crap there are some nasty things said in those bits of business.  Here’s an example, thanks to Jeff Trexler over at Newsarama:

[W]hy it is necessary to shade Lois’ breasts and the underside of her tummy with vertical pen-lines we can’t understand. She looks pregnant. Murray suggests that you arrange for her to have an abortion or the baby and get it over with so that her figure can return to something a little more like the tasty dish she is supposed to be.

And the more esoteric…

…which looked like you have apparently dressed her out of a Montgomery Ward catalogue. [Jack Liebowitz] suggests Vogue, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar as likelier spots for dress-research.

Apparently Whitney Ellsworth, high muck-a-muck that eventually had a lot to do with the Adventures of Superman television series also believed that Superman looked a bit…well..gay.

From one perspective this is great stuff and will go far, no doubt, in fueling the hatred some feel about how DC treated Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and for the most part I understand that sort of righteous indignation because Siegel and Shuster were dealt a raw deal.  Kind if like the way I feel about Bob Kane and his shafting of Bill Finger when it comes to the creation of Batman, but different.

The thing is that while I think the editors and higher-ups at DC were a bit rough on Jerry and Joe through this correspondence I really can’t bring myself to think of them as evil men.  Looking at it now their comments can be considered very offensive and frankly they are offensive, but it’s easy to look now from our modern and “thoroughly enlightened” perspectives and say, “Grr…evil men…abortion…gay,” and stand on the high peak of moral superiority casting a nasty glare towards the past.

The thing is I just can’t care as much as I maybe should.  To me there are more pressing concerns and add that to the fact that I go through life with the assumption that things were bad back then for just about everyone and there you go.  It’s easy to say that that sort of thing is awful but it is just as easy to say that that’s just the way it was and that we should consider the whole picture and not use current thinking in judging the past.  And because I just don’t want to have that sort of internal struggle right now I just can’t bring myself to get all angry about these recently released documents.

Catch me in a few days when I’ve had some rest.  Then maybe I’ll care.  Right now I find it interesting, a little funny in the way I find offensive humor to be funny and that’s just about it.

More to follow…

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One Response to I JUST DON’T CARE: JOE SHUSTER, WHITNEY ELLSWORTH AND ABORTIONS

  1. Ryan Speck says:

    And here I thought Whitney Ellsworth was just a character on Deadwood.

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