espanolbot: (Default)
[personal profile] espanolbot posting in [community profile] scans_daily
On the heels of the acclaimed Holocaust comic Mageneto: Testament, Greg Pak and Mirko Colak are going to be doing a mini-series that goes on the opposite side of the coin, and revealling the origins of Marvel's least loveable supervillain: the Red Skull.

All well and good, but there has been some contraversy over the covers that they decided to use, designed by David Aja, have been based on actual Nazi propaganda.

For Example,

More here,

The point I'm trying to make here is this: do the covers show the kind of imagery that inspired Johann Schmitt into becoming a guy who machinguns children and gleefully tell Magneto to his face about how he was buddies with Hitler, to give an impression of what kind of person pre-Reed Skull Johann was as well as a historical context for others who joined the Nazis... OR is it all kind of tasteless and maybe not well thought out on the part of the Marvel editorial?

I suppose that the Red Skull's origin could use some revision, in a post-Downfall media world the depiction of Nazis with some human qualities (making them all the more scary and repulsive) could argueably make the Red Skull a more three-dimensional character. After all, his currently origin has him being a small-time thief and murderer who suddenly is given a lot of power via a chance encounter with Hitler whilst working as a bellhop, where Adolf gave Johann a high ranking position in his government because while berating a member of his staff, he said that he could make a random bellhop a better Nazi than him.

The Red Skull being sometime other than an Indiana Jones-ish comically evil Nazi could go a long way to making him scarier, I guess, but there's the uncomfortable point that people might get a wee bit carried away with the whole "sympathetic villain" thing. I like that TV Tropes calls it 'Draco in Leather Pants' syndrome.

Anyways, here's a page from the Captain America/Batman crossover,

Date: 2011-05-02 12:10 am (UTC)
icon_uk: Sad Nightwing (Sad Nightwing)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I dunno... The thing I recall from the Red Skull origin as it's been presented in the past is not so much that the Red Skull is something he was "doomed to become", as something he revelled in becoming.

What motivated Hitler to pick him for the experiment of making him the ultimate Nazi was the fact that he saw this kid had hate and anger seething within him on a scale that even he could "respect", but it went beyond that, with Schmidt using all he'd learned to assassinate those in his way to a position where he was Hitler's right hand man, and the only reason Hitler didn't have him killed as a precautionary measure was that he dare not.

Humanising him, even in his origins, wouldn't add enough to make it worth the changing IMHO, and adding a sympathetic element to an unrepentant "super-Nazi" like the Skull wouldn't sit right with me.

Date: 2011-05-02 05:24 am (UTC)
valtyr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
Humanising him, even in his origins, wouldn't add enough to make it worth the changing IMHO, and adding a sympathetic element to an unrepentant "super-Nazi" like the Skull wouldn't sit right with me.

But Red Skull, like Hitler and Mengele, is human. He's the dark counterpart to Captain America - the depths of human depravity. Denying the humanity of other people is, frankly, how they got started. (Er, not that you're on your way to becoming a super-Nazi.)

For what it's worth, Pak says "So it was a huge challenge, particularly with this story because we're telling the story of an orphan who ends up becoming the most terrifying Nazi of his day. That is a massive challenge, because if you're going to tell that kind of story, there's a fine line between telling somebody's story and glorifying somebody's story."

After his Testament I'm definitely willing to give the series a try.

The covers - IDK.They're certainly disturbing; but they're damn good. And I don't think they're ill thought out. The covers are a reflection of what you're going to find inside the book, most likely; a very realistic look at Nazi Germany and how it created monsters.

Date: 2011-05-02 08:21 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Agreed, up to a point. I think my concern is that, being fictional, Red Skull has never had the humanity that real life monsters like Hitler and Mengele had, certainly as regards to his origin, he's a very thin character in that respect, and that works for him because he's a monster.

As you say, Pak appears to be aware of this and based on Testament I'll give it a fair chance.

Date: 2011-05-02 10:29 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arilou_skiff
The paralells with Cap are interesting I think, in that both are "useless" (Steve a frail young poor man and Johann an orphaned bellhop) who are given purpose, meaning and a chance to become something "more" through their respective leaders.

Date: 2011-05-02 12:39 am (UTC)
blackruzsa: (red robin)
From: [personal profile] blackruzsa
"You're a nazi?"
Tickle me surprised Joker feels that way.

Date: 2011-05-02 12:44 am (UTC)
speedingtortoise: Happy Platypus (happy plat)
From: [personal profile] speedingtortoise
I feel like the current Joker wouldn't care too much

Maybe the old Joker who flew around in helicoptors that looked like his face and who did other wacky things would object though?

Date: 2011-05-02 06:17 am (UTC)
baihu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] baihu
Hey, it's one thing to be a psychopath; the thing is the Joker is an indiscriminate psychopath - I would honestly think targeting one particular race for genocide WOULD be against his nature, if only because he's equal opportunity and wouldn't use race or religion or any other cultural identifiers to mark out his victims.

Date: 2011-05-02 08:50 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] skyblade
Well, yes, he probably finds racism to be pointless, but not because if offends his value system, but because he has no value system. If he had objection to Nazism, it would be at how awfully stifling it is. All that organization, and paperwork and machinery and haughtiness.

But I can imagine him watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (His favorite show!) and thinking it might be fun to dress up like a Nazi and commit Nazi-themed crimes with very horrible holocaust-based punchlines. Or he might foster a partnership with a Nazi, because every wacky guy needs a straight man.

The Joker is like a /b/tard reaching its horrible, logical conclusion. He operates under the philosophy anything, anything is fair game.

Date: 2011-05-02 04:36 pm (UTC)
darkblade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkblade
This, anything the Joker does must be justifiable with a punchline of some kind. It doesn't have to be in good taste or even all that funny to anyone but himself but there has to be some kind of humour present.

Date: 2011-05-02 07:17 pm (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
Indeed. Out of all the things that will annoy the Joker (thus giving him even more rage than usual) is either being the punchline himself or just not getting the joke.

I hope to someday get a convention sketch of the Joker reading a popular/controversial book and saying "I don't get it." Or "That stuff's only funny if the punchline is 'The Aristocrats.'"

Date: 2011-05-02 12:58 am (UTC)
thehefner: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thehefner
Methinks that this would be an ideal time to post the "final" confrontation between Cap and Skull from J.M. DeMatteis' little-remembered Captain America run. That gives some neat insight into the Skull's history (I have to wonder how much DeMatteis originated, and how much was canon before him) and his motivations, as well as the slashtacularness of his feelings towards Steve and what Captain America truly means to him.

Date: 2011-05-02 07:19 pm (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
IIRC, DeMatteis took some of it from the Lee/Kirby "Origin of the Red Skull" story in TALES OF SUSPENSE.

Date: 2011-05-02 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lpetrazickis
"Nazi" is a political affiliation. "American" is a citizenship. Joker's statement is a bit dumb (and is obviously meant to make American readers feel good about themselves for no reason).

Date: 2011-05-02 02:40 am (UTC)
golden_orange: trust me, i'm wearing a vegetable. (Default)
From: [personal profile] golden_orange
IIRC, that particular crossover was done as a deliberate pastiche of the old uber-patriotic 1940s comics (which were all about Americans feeling good about themselves) -- it's intended to be tongue-in-cheek. Since, let's face it, aligning yourself with the Joker isn't exactly the stuff patriots dream of.

Date: 2011-05-02 06:22 am (UTC)
baihu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] baihu
I can't tell if they're using it AS a political affiliation OR basically a derogatory term (in the sense, calling someone evil). I'm going to assume Joker is saying 'American' because he can't really say he's not 'evil' or a 'lunatic' or 'psychopathic'. It'll be sort of the pot calling the kettle black. So I guess they went with the vaguely nationalistic/political tone, even if it doesn't really fit, or else the Joker wouldn't be able to make any kind of point.

Date: 2011-05-02 08:24 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Even allowing for the Joker not being politically aware (You think he votes? :) ) "Nazi" was used as shorthand in such stories.. Home grown sympathisers would be "Fifth Columnists"

Date: 2011-05-02 10:31 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arilou_skiff
Joker votes for a third party candidate because it's funny.

Better COme Back Lines

Date: 2011-05-02 04:43 am (UTC)
silverzeo: Happy to share mode (Cheerful Sean)
From: [personal profile] silverzeo
I wonder what other lines Joker would have said, like:
"Those who hate all 3 Howards and Fine are my enemies!"
"There nothing funny about what you clowns do!"

Date: 2011-05-02 04:47 am (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
Nice covers, the history major approves.

And the Joker/Red Skull scene is such a rip-off of the Rocketeer.

Date: 2011-05-02 06:40 am (UTC)
autumn_lily: jason todd (Default)
From: [personal profile] autumn_lily
And the Joker/Red Skull scene is such a rip-off of the Rocketeer.

You weren't the only one.

Date: 2011-05-02 08:40 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] skyblade
And it was generally more effective (even touching) in the Rocketeer. Here it's just...stupid.

Date: 2011-05-02 06:23 am (UTC)
akodo_rokku: (Default)
From: [personal profile] akodo_rokku
There's controversy.

Over basing covers for a comic about a *nazi supervillain* on nazi propaganda posters.



Date: 2011-05-02 06:30 am (UTC)
heckfire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heckfire
Yeah, that's kinda what I was thinking, too. I chalk this one up to "looking for things to get upset about."

Date: 2011-05-02 09:10 am (UTC)
valtyr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
There's controversy.

Over basing covers for a comic about a *nazi supervillain* on nazi propaganda posters.


C'mon, if this were Mark Millar writing a story about SuperMengele fighting Dr Bong I know I'd be pretty unimpressed with them riffing off actual Nazi propaganda. But this is pretty obviously aiming to be a serious and respectful treatment, so.

Date: 2011-05-02 07:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Am I the only one who think that what makes The Red Skull such a great villain is that he, unlike many other villains, is fully aware of the fact that he's a monster and totally enjoys being one. He doesn't need to justify his actions because he seens himself as depravity incarnate and is proud of it.

What wrong with having a bad guy who likes doing evil simply for the sake of it? Villains who are pure evil can be just as compelling as those that have sympatic reasons for being bad guys.

Date: 2011-05-02 09:07 am (UTC)
valtyr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
IDK, the Red Skull has not been shown in many comics to do worse than some of the things that were really done by the Nazis, and all those people were human and lots of them were... perfectly normal, to start with. Considering how people go from normal kids, normal young adults, even normal middle-aged adults to... well, monsters... is worthwhile, I think. To look at the forces that shaped the Red Skull is not the same as him justifying his actions.

(Also, I think he does justify his actions - the Nazi philosophy didn't just go 'kill the Jews', there was a whole build-up of momentum and justification over years.)

Date: 2011-05-02 07:43 pm (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
Out of the major Marvel villains, the Red Skull is really the only one who sees himself as evil. Most of the others justify themselves as doing what's necessary or needed. The Kingpin prevented New York City from falling into criminal anarchy, the Mandarin wanted to kick the communists out of China, etc.

Date: 2011-05-02 02:41 pm (UTC)
notactuallyauser: Pokey the Penguin has a posse (Default)
From: [personal profile] notactuallyauser
One notable thing is they've omitted any swastikas (at least on the copies I can find) - the cover for #2 has the white disks where Swastikas would go be simply blank, and the cover for #4 has that part of the Skull's armband just out of shot. Similarly, nothing like the SS logo appears. (There's what appear to be Iron Crosses on the side of tanks on #5, but that's a bit more of a neutral symbol - still in use by the Bundeswehr)

The series looks interesting, and if anyone is the right person to do this it's the guy who wrote Magneto: Testament.

Looking at names: issue #2 says it's after Nikolaev, which may mean it's a take on a Soviet propaganda poster? My google-fu is failing me, though.

Date: 2011-05-02 02:58 pm (UTC)
notactuallyauser: Pokey the Penguin has a posse (Default)
From: [personal profile] notactuallyauser
Found the poster #2 is based on. I'm right: it was a Soviet poster, with Stalin.

Can't quite read the tiny writing on issue #1. It says something / WEGENER ? The something is GYUK?

Date: 2011-05-03 01:59 am (UTC)
misterbug: (Default)
From: [personal profile] misterbug
OR is it all kind of tasteless and maybe not well thought out on the part of the Marvel editorial?

Isn't it always?

Date: 2011-07-08 07:40 pm (UTC)
thehood: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thehood
This time? No

Especially since it's Pak, who also did Magneto: Testament.

Date: 2011-07-08 07:39 pm (UTC)
thehood: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thehood
Considering how well done Pak's Magneto: Testament was and seeing as how Pak did his research on both books.

I don't think you should worry, especially after reading issue #1.

The covers are disturbing, yes. But it's the origin of the most evil villain in the Marvel universe, so kinda has to be.


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