Controversial! Fun And Also Games! First Comic Book related blog to be featured in the Australian National Library's Pandora archive. 2016, 2017 Rondo Award nominee. Pop culture, music, film and comic book expert. Would be willing to write for biscuits.
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Siegel & Shuster's Funnyman in Australia
Funnyman is a
largely forgotten strip created by Jerry Sigel and Joe Shuster, the creators of
Superman.Originally intended to be the
next big thing in comic books and designed to pick up the mantle from Superman
and show DC Comics what they’d missed, the strip itself lasted just over a year
before it folded.The strip also spawned
a line of comics, but, sadly, that didn’t last long either and Funnyman never
became the highly sought after hit that Siegel and Shuster desired.Lightning struck once for the duo, and in
their attempts to recreate the blast, they fell somewhat short.
is that the strip wasn’t that bad, certainly not as bad as people might
imagine.However the concept – Danny
Kaye dressed as a clown fighting crime with comedy – was always going to be a
hard sell and it’s possible ton theorise that the duo were just a little bit
too burnt out from their trials and tribulations with DC Comics over
Superman.The comic was published by one
other than Vin Sullivan, who had originally bought Superman off the duo for DC
Comics.On paper, at least, the
ingredients were right.The comic made its appearance in 1948 and it marked the professional artistic debut of none other than Dick Ayers,
who would later become better known for his involvement in the creation of the
Marvel Universe with the likes of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and
others.Ayers began drawing with the
early issues of Funnyman and later co-created the original Ghost Rider with
Sullivan.As Dick recounted to me in
2005, “I admired them (Siegel & Shuster) and I was quite honoured when Joe
Shuster got friendly with me when I was going to school at nights with Burne
Hougarth.I gravitated down to his
studio and did some penciling for him and he was nice to work with.And Jerry would come in once in a while
because he was the writer naturally.
“I was in awe
of them.They created a word that got
into the dictionary and they had all this popularity as Superman was really
flying high.When I worked for them they
were in the process of trying to get ownership of it back from DC.”Dick also confirmed that Funnyman was based
on Danny Kaye.Sadly the comic would
only last for six issues due to DC Comics cracking down on Sullivan using the
Superman name to promote Siegel and Shuster and, by proxy, the Funnyman book.
The Melbourne Argus, March 22, 1947
In late 1948
Siegel and Shuster landed the strip with the Bell Syndicate who distributed it
to newspapers across America
and it wasn’t long before a daily strip and a Sunday strip were in place.Sadly the duo weren’t able to maintain the
same standard that they’d set with Superman and the strip was cancelled by the
end of 1949. Faced with yet another
setback, Siegel and Shuster ran out of steam and Funnyman vanished, seemingly
for good, destined to become a footnote in comic book history.Jerry Siegel returned to DC in the late 1950s
and began to work anonymously before doing some editing and writing for Marvel
in the mid 1960s, Joe Shuster would virtually drop out of the comic book world.
Funnyman had an entirely different life in Australia.The strip never made it to newspapers, there
were no Sunday strips, but it was published here in a very unique format.Funnyman began its Australian publishing life
in the Australian Women’s Weekly on the 2nd of July, 1949.An ocean away from DC Comics and their
lawyers, the Women’s Weekly, who also counted Lee Falk’s Mandrake, amongst its
comic strips, decided to announce the new strip with a flourish and devoted an
entire page to announcing the strip and introducing its famous creators to the
country.The resulting article would be
amongst the first to debunk the DC Comics myth of how Superman was created, and
also made reference to Sigel and Shusters lawsuit, and their resulting defeat.The bulk of the material came from a press release
that was released when Funnyman made its debut and clearly the Women’s Weekly had no issue
with running it as they saw it.
reformatted for a weekly strip format, using daily strips, and it ran in Australia for
just under a year, ending on the 5th of June, 1950.Finding a complete set of the Funnyman
strips, as published in Australia,
is a task in itself, and these scans aren’t of the highest quality, but as
historical artefacts they stand as testimony to the fact that Funnyman reached
shores beyond America,
and lasted beyond its originally accepted cancellation date. It also stands as silent testimony that there was far more to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster than Superman and his own universe.
The final judgement has been handed down in the long running Gary Friedrich vs Marvel (Ghost Rider) case, and now we know the full amount that Friedrich owes Marvel. That's right, Marvel, a company that stands to make millions of dollars from the upcoming Ghost Rider II movie, and is paying Nicholas Cage millions to portray a character that Friedrich created, now wants money from Friedrich - in specific $17,000. And they'd like that $17,000 now, please. In full.
This stipulation has been agreed upon and so ordered by the court, with the final judgement reflecting all that contained within. This now means that Gary Friedrich has the right to appeal, and appeal he shall, but it also means that he now owes Marvel Comics, a multi-million dollar making machine, backed by the multi-billion dollar Disney company, $17,000 and cannot ever sell anything related to Ghost Rider, nor can he even say that he created Ghost Rider for any form of gain or advertising. Well done Marvel!! …
Was Yogi Bear gay or not? It's this kind of thing that keeps me wide awake in the middle of the night, clutching at the quilt, drowning in sweat and wishing that the ghosts inside of my head would just flee and leave me be. But they don't, so I instantly turn my thoughts into other realms.
Now, Yogi. On the surface of things he appears to be a normal bear. In the historical context of things he's just a cheap copy of Art Carney's Ed Norton (actually the Honeymooners was stolen better by Warner Brothers for their cartoon series featuring mice - Ralphy boy and his neighbour Martin).
Yogi used to hang around a place called Jellystone National Park and was, for the most part, obsessed by picnic baskets. Like a demented homeless person he relentlessly stalked people, slept on park benches, probably urinated in public, harassed people and stole whatever food and anything else that he could reach. All the time he was pursued by two people, the first being the anal retentive Ra…
Go and have a read, and, more importantly, pass the word on to everyone and anyone who is thinking of travelling anywhere and booking. First rule of thumb - NEVER pay anyone via a money transfer system such as Western Union or Moneygram. They assist the scammers, and once your money is gone, those companies couldn't care less. They've got their cut. Make sure you pay in such a way that you've got recourse - if it's a money transfer then it's a scam, as far as I'm concerned.