Episode 104, “Cry for the Children!”

X-Men #122, June 1979
“Cry for the Children!”
Written by Chris Claremont, Pencils by John Byrne, Inks by Terry Austin, Lettered by Tom Orzechowski, Colors by Glynis Wein, Edited by Roger Stern, Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter

Whole House Helps With Hopeful Heroes!

In Which We Find That Wolverine is a Worker’s Comp Lawsuit Waiting To Happen, That On the Shi’Ar Homeworld No One Can Avoid The Noid, and That Colleen Wing Is Looking For a House Call From The One-Eyed Wonder! It Is Both Not What You Are Thinking and Totally Is!

I Knew A Kid Named Bluey In High School. Very Popular.

In 1985, Marvel Comics published an X-Men jam comic, titled Heroes for Hope, with all the proceeds going towards famine relief in Africa. Left is the Art Adams cover, while right is the Jim Starlin back cover. This project was the brainchild of Jim Starlin and Berni Wrightson (see his art below), but essentially all of Marvel got on board, including Janet Jackson, who designed the logo. No, not THAT Janet Jackson, but an in-house Marvel colorist with the same name. The targeted famine relief charity, Oxfam, was clearly confused by this Jackson name coincidence, which was among their many reasons for flatly rejecting to take Marvel’s money.

The main reason given for why Oxfam felt that Heroes for Hope was a reprehensible piece of trash, was its unending barrage of racist imagery. Tops in this category was the unauthorized use of Michael Jackson’s image throughout the comic for nearly all its black characters. Above left we present a representative example of what Oxfam must have been talking about, although we leave finding a clear example of 1980s Jackson to the reader. They were also taken aback by the white carnival barker yelling “Yowza!” (above right).

Just FYI, the term Yowza basically means “Yes, sir” and was popularized by a white bandleader in the 20s and 30s, Ben Bernie. While it is likely that Bernie picked this affectation up either directly from or just riffing himself on the speech patterns of African American musicians, there does not appear to be a direct racist link, such as the speaking of “plantation” dialect or wearing blackface that clearly comes out of the old absurdly racist minstrel shows.

Richard Corben specializes in disturbing and unsettling imagery. It is his bread and butter. Combine him with mid-80’s Alan Moore and you get a really great mini-horror comic (above left). Of course legions of undead are not for everyone, so it is probably understandable that Oxfam had some trouble with this section, where they saw further racism in this depiction of a white man ruling over decomposing African dead. That things were not going well for Magneto was not considered mitigating. Oxfam also had some serious things to say about the sexism in comics, to which one could just respond, “Get in line.” Was it necessary for Storm (above right), the strong, black heroine of the story to end up in full bondage gear (after already being tossed in a cheerleader outfit and a negligee)? Probably not. Was the sexy imagery unrepresentative of its time period (that time period being almost the whole history of comics)? Also, no.

Here are two more pages from Heroes for Hope. Left is the Harlan Ellison, Frank Miller, and Bill Sienkiewicz story of Wolverine. Gotta love those heavy, loose Sienkiewicz inks over Miller’s pencils. Right is Stephen King and the great horror artist, Berni Wrightson, drawing poor Kitty Pryde starving to death. King had just published a novel about starving to death, Thinner, the previous year (originally under his Richard Bachman pseudonym), so he came prepared. Probably over-prepared, as Marvel had to cut 90% of his submitted words to fit it into 3 pages.

Stuck between those two parallel metal plates, I am not sure if Colossus has the capacity to keep them apart!

Sigh. Physics humor is lost on you people.

And that was when Wolverine and Colossus broke free from the belly of Baymax!

Colleen just couldn’t keep her pants on, so she slid the belt up to her chest to play for time.

Those aren’t natural rock formations in the landscape, they are the piles of trash leftover from the last Day of Triumph.

Again, I love the look as much as anyone, my dear. But if you want less unwanted attention, might I suggest leaving the F^#$^#% crown at home!

I would never wear white in that room.

“Bah! A pathetic 90 beats per minute!” — Ororo knows the importance of good cardio.

It’s like three Quentin Tarentino movies all rolled into one panel.

A simple envelope mix-up led to both a very confused Mrs. Eliopoulos and the tragic starvation of Colleen’s cat, Nibbles.

Arcade E. Newman? Should we worry?

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