Typo’s Best: The Glory that is Steamboat.
Hey everybody, Site Admin Matt here with more of Typo’s Best, plucked from the last 4½ years of posts.
Yesterday was all about misogyny in the 1970s. Today I decided to dig right in with some 1940s racism. Really, really blatant, mind-bogglingly offensive racism. This post from July 2006 is probably the first one of Typo’s that made me audibly gasp.
Billy Batson was an everyman. After all, what orphan doesn’t have a job in radio that lets him travel the country without adult supervision?
And of course, there’s his valet.
Yes, that’s right, Billy had a slave. Sure, they call him a valet, but he’s a slave.
There’s a great story with his grandmother, Steamboat Mammy. She does voodoo.
Steamboat is eventually replaced by someone else.
I so could not make that up if I tried.
Typo had this to say in a comment on the original post:
Here’s some reminiscing by C.C. Beck, one of the early Captain Marvel artists, on Steamboat:
Steamboat was created to capture the affection of negro (sic) readers. Unfortunately he offended them instead and was unceremoniously killed off after a delegation of blacks visited the editor’s office protesting because he was a servant, because he had huge lips and kinky hair and because he spoke in a dialect. He was always a cartoon character, not intended to be realistic at all, but he was taken seriously by some, sadly enough.
On the one hand, I’m glad the *intention* was to be inclusive of black readers as well as white. On the other, WTF? How could such a horrible caricature not be taken as a serious offense?
Anyway, the original interview is here.