When the rug from the Black Lodge meets the rug from the Overlook.
Hard to imagine this today, but back when I first began reading comics, both Superman’s girl friend, Lois Lane, and Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen, had their own regularly published books. Neither character had super-powers, neither fought crime—not really—and both books generally featured three stories in each issue! So how to fill up all those pages? One word: transformations…
Join us, Star Boy!
What’s wrong [with the comics industry]? … In the late ’70s, all the comic fans decided to get into the business. The problem is, it was a bunch of superhero fans. And an industry that had, up until that point, catered to almost every genre imaginable slowly and slowly was narrowed down and boiled down to a point where it was superhero comics, and that’s all there were. And then they all were writing these comics for each other — not for a mass market, not for young people. And then, as they aged, the content aged to suit their needs. And the idea is, when you’re an adult, you’re supposed to turn to other forms of entertainment, maybe, or appreciate comics for what they were. But that hasn’t been the case. So now we have superheroes that rape, we have heroin addicts, we have all this kind of bullshit that’s been heaped onto these characters that were meant to entertain kids and give them a little sense of right and wrong and adventure. I think it’s so sad. And you see what the strategy has done. … In 1972, Jimmy Olsen comics sold 200,000 copies a month, and it was canceled because that wasn’t enough to keep it going. These days, the best-selling book can barely scrape past 70,000 — never mind the worst-selling books. So let’s take a look at that strategy that’s been applied to this business. How’d it work out? Not too good. And the less people that read ‘em, the more expensive they have to be, and the more cryptic they have to be to cater to that tiny little market they’ve got. That’s what’s wrong.
From the VERY FIRST PAGE, before the VERY FIRST PANEL of the VERY FIRST APPEARANCE of Robin the Boy Wonder, in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940):
… “AN ALLY.” Oh. Ah. I see.
Because okay wow I just did NOT read it that … you know what? Not important. Never mind.
Seriously, though: Wertham, schmertham. This relationship was destined to inspire gay panic even before it began. Because BAD KERNING.