Friday, 12 August 2016

Jews And Comics

Poul Anderson, Operation Chaos (New York, 1995).

Having read about Christians and Muslims (see here), next we read about Jews:

"'...when religion forbids most [Jews] to originate spells, and the Orthodox don't use goetics at all, the proportion of them who serve as dogfaces and Rangers is simply too high to ignore.'
"I myself had gotten tired of comic-strip supermen and pulp-magazine heroes having such monotonously Yiddish names - don't Anglo-Saxons belong to our culture too? - " (p. 14)

There are dog soldiers in one part of the DC Universe.

I had found three references to comics in Poul Anderson's works. See here. Now we have a fourth. Of course, Anderson imagines the reverse of the situation in our universe. Our Golden Age (from 1938) comic book superheroes were exclusively WASPs. Black superheroes first appeared in the Silver Age (from 1960). Marvel Comics even introduced a Black Panther who, I gather, was the first black superhero.

Do pulp heroes seem a bit like comic book superheroes waiting for the comic book industry to get started?


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I had to laugh a bit over Poul Anderson's wryly humorous inversion of the usual stereotype about Jews and WASPs!

And the Draka made perverted used of genetic engineering in Stirling's THE STONE DOGS to create "dog soldiers" called ghouloons, monstrous hybrids of humans, lions, and baboons.


David Birr said...

Paul and Sean:
"Dog soldiers" was also the name of a "military society" of the Cheyenne. In some ways, they were sort of like Native American Knights Templar.
According to Wikipedia, "One tradition recalls that in battle, they would 'pin' themselves to a 'chosen' piece of ground, through an unusually long breech-clout 'rear-apron', by use of one of three 'Sacred Arrows' which they traditionally carried into battle."
Thus, they announced the determination to win there or die there.

And my first Army service was as part of the 3rd Infantry Division. A short song written for the division includes several references to being a "dogface soldier."

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

I can understand, I think, the determination of some warriors to either win or die where they fought, but a breech clout that LONG would seem more likely than not to get in their way. I have read many times of how soldiers or warriors have to move about in battles, so this "pinning" seems counterproductive.

Hmmm, so that explains the origin of other wise puzzling terms like "dogface soldier," a nickname used in your old Army division.


Paul Shackley said...

Also, Superman's creators, Siegel and Schuster, were Jewish. Superman is an immigrant of the House of El.

David Birr said...

As far as the term's origin goes -- well, it's complex. A veteran named Philip Leveque wrote a memoir in which he said:
"We lived in 'pup tents' and foxholes. We were treated like dogs in training. We had dog tags for identification.... Correctly speaking, only Infantrymen are called dogfaces. Much of the time we were filthy, cold and wet as a duck-hunting dog and we were ordered around sternly and loudly like a half-trained dog."

I've wondered sometimes if the "furry" face of a soldier who hasn't had a proper chance to shave for several days -- look at Bill Mauldin's "Willie and Joe" -- might have contributed to the name, but I've never seen anyone else support that notion.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul and David!

Paul: Dang! I completely missed the reference in the Superman comics to "El", one of the OT names for God.

I fear I was much more a Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck fan in my younger days! (Smiles)

David: thanks for explaining the probable origins of "dog face soldiers." I'm also reminded me of Brtish TOMMIES, esp. Kipling's poem wryly describing the inconsistent ways UK soldiers were treated.