Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Discuss: Members of the Fourth Estate

Doug:  Clicking on either image will get you a much larger image so that you can read the text.  Thanks!


William said...

For me it's the Daily Bugle all the way, baby.

I read both the examples and the Bugle seems like a nice "comic book" version of a real daily newspaper.

While in contrast, and in typical DC fashion of the time, the Planet seems like a totally fictional (and somewhat ridiculous) place that wouldn't really exist. Of course Clark Kent is an ace reporter and an on-air anchorman. Because you know, Clark has such a dynamic and winning personality that is just made for TV. And Superman would also want to expose himself, in his secret identity, to as many people everyday as possible. You know, just to prove that his "wearing glasses" disguise really is foolproof. And then there's the "thirteenth floor" of the Daily Planet building that secretly serves as an "alien tourist bureau dealing in vacations to Earth". WHAAA? I can't even count how many things is wrong with that concept. Like why a "secret" alien bureau would be located in the middle of the country's largest city, (instead of somewhere more remote like the mountains, or the dessert)? Or why, of all the buildings in the city, it would choose the HQ of a newspaper and TV News Show? Or how, considering those two things, it could possibly remain a secret? It's like dumb on top of dumb.

Rip Jagger said...

I'm struck by the association of heroes with specific news organizations, most commonly newspapers, that the suggestion is that they have something in common.

Both are there to right wrongs, to see that injustice is brought to the surface. Superman seeks out The Daily Star and later The Daily Planet to be close to the news, so that he can be most effective. Even Jonah Jameson, for all his bluster about the menace of Spidey, is still seen as a crusading editor who despite his obsessions fights generally for the greater good.

I was into Superman when the Daily Planet became part of Morgan Edge Galaxy Broadcasting operation, when Clark Kent became a WGBS TV reporter. It was a smart move as even then it was clear the newspaper's days were numbered. Today newspapers are downright quaint relics of olden times.

But back to Morgan Edge, as he was presented originally an ally of Darkseid, it was a potent comment on the power of media to do evil and not just good. The tension between what Edge wanted and what Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent wanted were stark reminders of how the news is just a tool which in the wrong hands can do much harm.

Ditko probably does the most with this theme. The whole Jameson tension comes from that, but he really takes it to a new level with The Question at Charlton and the even more extreme Mr.A in his independent work. There the media is not even remotely benign, but requires a relentless agent of truth to keep crime in check.

Rip Off

J.A. Morris said...

First off, I've always loved that Daily Bugle one-pager.

Most of what we heard from the Bugle was lies about Spider-Man. I do remember a line where JJJ tells Randy Robertson that the Bugle supported civil rights before it was fashionable. And Ben Urich is never portrayed as anything but a great reporter. So I guess there's more to the Bugle than "Spider-Man:Threat Or Menace?", even if we don't here much about that part of the paper.
And speaking of the Robertson family, I've always thought it was very forward-thinking (if that's grammatically correct) for Stan Lee to create Joe "Robbie" Robertson. I doubt there were many African American city editors at major papers when Robbie was introduced in 1967. I guess Robertson helped keep JJJ's worst tendencies (outside of the Spidey obsession) in check.
So I'm with William when it comes to picking between the Bugle & the Daily Planet. Much more realistic.

Speaking of the Daily Bugle, I guess everyone here knows that the Bugle first "appeared" not in Amazing Spider-Man, but in FF#2?:

Anonymous said...

Put me in the Bugle corner too. Hey, does anybody remember a storyline when Pete finally got fed up with ol' JJJ and went over to the competition or did I just imagine that? I'm thinking that was during the Bronze Age but it might have been Silver. What was that other paper?...Hmmmm...


William Preston said...

Given that the Marvel U is somewhat congruent with our own, have they ever dealt with the notion of a "paper of record" in NYC--something akin to the Times? The Bugle is a tabloid, isn't it?

J.A. Morris said...

No, Tom is right, this is actually one of my favorite eras,since I happened to star subscribing when Parker worked for the Daily Globe.

JJJ went crazy, "fired" Parker (I'm still not sure how you can fire a freelancer,but that's what happened), which meant Peter had to sell his photos to Barney Bushkin,who was the polar opposite of Jameson. It was refreshing to have the whole "JJJ hates Spider-Man" sub-plot go away for a little while.

Then Denny O'Neil took over Amazing Spider-Man and he wanted everything to go "back to basics". So Jameson was cured of insanity, the Daily Globe went out of business and Parker returned to selling photos to the Bugle.

Edo Bosnar said...

Those two images, both from the early 1980s I think, say it all: the Daily Planet is so antiseptic, akin to one of those advertisements from the 1950s, while the Bugle has grumpy JJJ and people who really look like they work in the news trade. In that regard, I think the Daily Globe mentioned by J.A. was actually a deliberate spoof of the Daily Planet, with its light and friendly surface veneer which actually concealed something more sinister as I recall.
Otherwise, I really like Ben Urich - I think this was really one of the best supporting characters introduced in Daredevil during Miller's first run.

Going outside of the realm of comics, I think one of things I liked best about Deep Space 9 is that Sisko's son Jake decided to become a reporter. I thought this was an interesting profession for a main character, because the media is almost completely invisible in the Trek universe otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most everyone here...Bugle all the way! I like how the Bugle is depicted as a real business...Jameson and Robbie talk about editorials and ad rates and things like that. I also like the fact that we get to see more than a handful of employees...Ben Urich, Joy Mercado, Glory Grant, Lance Bannon, Kate Cushing, even Nick Katzenberg...all gave the Bugle extra character and made it seem more like a "real" workplace.

Mike W.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that info, J.A. I think that must have happened around the time I was getting to the end of my serious comic collecting, which may help explain (in part) my hazy memory.


Anonymous said...

Love the Daily Bugle - I would read an ongoing series just about that newsroom. (There was a limited series in the 90s - I think - but I was not into comics at the time so I am not sure how good it was or wasn't). I wish comics that were not about the heroes but about "normal" people in a superheroic world would sell better. The Daily Bugle is, in my opinion, the best supporting cast for any comic ever.

Nowadays, I love how they address the dying press by having a "Bugle Girl" blog - and while the more recent Civil War and the like events were terrible, I really enjoyed the ancillary "Frontline" mini-series focusing on how the press covers these events.

I remember when Clark Kent became a reporter - wasn't Lana Lang a reporter too at the time?

Anonymous said...

Duh, clearly I meant *TV* reporter in the above, re: CK

MattComix said...

As a Superman fan I'm partial to the Daily Planet. Not that I don't enjoy the Bugle staff as well.

Perry I've always thought of as a guy fighting like hell to keep his paper honest even in an age where other papers gave up on integrity a long time ago.

He's got the impulsive but good cub reporter/photogprapher in Jimmy, with Clark the mild-mannered guy with the snappy, punchy prose style (who happens to to be the fastest typist he's ever seen), then there's Lois who is both his best reporter and biggest headache.

Then you've got other characters that came along later like Steve Lombard, Cat Grant, Ron Troupe.

Perry is basically the stern boss/father figure who reigns these personalities in and expects high standards from them.

So the total opposite of JJJ really..

Fred W. Hill said...

Can't say much about the Daily Planet as I have too few Superman comics. On the other hand, I do have plenty of Spider-Man comics and the Daily Bugle has been such an integral part of the series. Actually, not having read much of Spidey in recent years, I have no idea if the Bugle is still a prominant part of the Webspinner's life. If Supes & Spidey are still in publication 50 years from now, will their alter egos still be working for newspapers? Will newspapers still be published at all?
BTW, it strikes me that Stan essentially made Spider-Man a bit of a parody of both Superman and BatMan and it was a natural part of the parody that Peter would wind up working for a newspaper just like Clark -- except that he got the job only after JJJ initiated his campaign of hate against Spidey and it was a way for Peter to not only earn some much needed cash but also a form of humorous revenge, getting paid for taking pictures of himself by the same publisher who so loathes him! Of course, that Peter is able to take so many great photographs by remote control is just part of the fantasy fans have to go along with. It just not likely that he could just put his camera in a perfect position to snap great photographs so many times when he goes into action. But then we are talking about a guy who managed to invent his amazing webbing when he was only 15 years old. Amazing Fantasy all right!

Doug said...

I really enjoyed young JJJ as a character in the first issue of Marvels.


Related Posts with Thumbnails