Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jun-Gal in "The Pit of Death!" (Rural Home; 1944)

Steel yourselves folks, you won't find a more insensitive, racist jungle story on the web today than what you're about to see unfold. Blazing Comics #1 (Jun. 1944), from minor golden age publisher Rural Home Publications, featured the Green Turtle, the Black Buccaneer and this tale which is literally rife with racist stereotypes. Not only are the native Africans depicted in a Jolson-esquire sort of way, but added just for shits and giggles I suppose, is a black female character called "Mammy". I know, and you're right!

Jun-Gal received special powers from an exposed radium pit after she was abducted by the very tribesmen who slaughtered her family. Why the tribesmen never received equal powers from living in close proximity to the radium goes conveniently unexplained. Fortunately the natives brought Mammy along to care for the little girl. Now, could someone explain why Joan (aka "Jun-Gal") wasn't raised speaking pigeon English too? Was a school of etiquette available to coach the local white girl in how to speak proper language?

There's nobody to blame for this tale, since there are no credits listed for this story, but the Catacombs is grateful to Don "Zu-Gogo" Falkos for providing the scans for this story anyway. Note: The copyright for this issue, its contents and artwork belong to the original publisher and/or creators and is reproduced here solely for entertainment purposes.


1 comment:

cash_gorman said...

By today's standards, it's racist. But no more so than most Jungle characters really. Such as Mammy is of a specific stereotype but is it racist if it's true that many African Americans had limited education and worked menial jobs as servants? In other stories, Mammy actually shows more bravery than usually allowed that particular stereotype.

Why does Jun-Gal gain powers and the others don't? Why does Peter Parker get spider powers or Bruce Banner turn into the Hulk instead of contracting cancer (especially considering that Banner was working on a bomb and the the goal there is to kill people not to turn a bunch of the enemy survivors into super-powered p.o'ed freaks)? Why do the FF all get different powers instead of the same power? Sure, it has holes, but no moreso than many other origins and can be written off as just that something in her genetic make-up makes it so.