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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lowbrow redtop calls for Beano ban

The media's at it again. Redtop Sunday paper the News of the World is today attacking the new Beano character Uh Oh, Si Co because it may allegedly lead to the bullying of children with mental health problems. Although the newspaper fails to provide a shred of evidence that comics incite bullying, it manages to rant on about it for several paragraphs, roping in mental health organizers for soundbites.

The article uses the usual method of dryly describing situations from the strip to create an alarmist story. It's a disingenuous technique because one could make any slapstick situation sound horrific by describing it in cold print. (I can just imagine such killjoys describing the old banana skin joke as "A banana skin was placed on the floor whereupon a young child slipped on it and other pupils cruelly laughed at his discomfort, caring nothing for the permanent back injuries that may have been sustained.")

In truth, Uh Oh Si Co (a spoof of the name Yu Go Oh from Japanese Manga) is exaggerated cartoon fun, drawn so over the top by the brilliant Nigel Parkinson that I fail to see how anyone could be offended by it. It's not mocking people with mental heath problems, it's just a lively cartoon strip that exaggerates Simon's reactions for comic effect.

Rich Johnston posted an excellent item about it on his Bleeding Cool site today, saying "Of course, if the Beano withdraw the character as a result of the tabloid whipped up outrage, the next week will see an article with the publishers criticised for “kow towing to the PC police.”

Uh Oh Si Co has only been running in The Beano for two weeks. Along with two other new strips, it's part of the latest Comic Idol feature where readers vote for their favourite to become a regular series. Presumably the strip will soon be rested to wait for the votes to come in, at which point the News of the World will presumably claim victory for "banning" the strip. So it goes.

Let's hope this latest pathetic media outrage leads to lots of extra sales for The Beano as people investigate to make up their own minds instead of believing the knee-jerk reactions of a downmarket gossip rag. Unfortunately I don't have that much faith in human nature and I suspect it's more likely the paper's 2,900,000 readers will believe what they're told to think. (Update: Yes, in retrospect that last sentence was a rather silly generalization for me to make, although the response from one commentator below was quite disproportionate in my opinion.)


Anonymous said...

Lew you've been told before there's always a POSSIBILITY that violent comics cause violence or abuse.Better safe than sorry!

Dave Mullen said...

I think you underestimate the intelligence of the Public where these things are concerned, Papers are always filled with massive exaggeration like this and false indignation.
Indeed given most papers carry Strips of their own it's actually hilariously self hypocritical(!)
Attacking a comic strip in the Beano of all things... utterly pointless.

I have to say from a publicity P.O.V it's a great day for the Beano as Si-Co looks absolutely hilarious! Comics are always at their best when parodying certain personality archetypes or aspects of society and Si Co is a modern and very funny tongue in cheek example of this ageless formula.

Long may the Beano prosper.

Kid said...

Lew, to dismiss all News Of The World readers (and no, I'm not one of them) as cretins is every bit as narrow-minded as the worst excesses of the press. You really need to calm down and not take it so personally when others have a different opinion than you about a topic. I haven't read the article or seen the strip - I'll reserve judgement until I do - IF I do.

However, we live in a democracy - if the reaction to the strip is a genuine one and is shared by a large number of people, it would be wrong of you to insist that they must see things YOUR way.

If parents have concerns about something, they should be considered with courtesy and discussion should ensue. As Anonymous said, sometimes it's better to be safe than sorry - especially when the minds of children MAY be at stake.

However, that said, I agree with you to a certain extent. Dennis the Menace could be described as a bully, vandal, ruffian and trouble-maker - but he's probably the most popular comics character in Britain. One of the "get-outs" for his bad behaviour and possble "harmful influence" was that he used to get his just desserts in the final panel. This allowed the publishers to say that the only influence the strip had was a good one - because it showed that bad behaviour was always punished. In other words, there's a moral to the story, so the mayhem along the way doesn't count.

Is it ever that simple 'though? Sometimes this excuse may simply be used as a cop-out.

I'm sure you don't want another prolonged discussion with me on the matter - a simple "Well, thanks for your interesting observations, Kid - even if I don't necessarily agree with them" will avoid that possibility.

I enjoyed your interview on the Buster site - Matt's doing a great job with it.

Lew Stringer said...

Gordon, (or "Kid" if you insist), I find it very strange that once again you've jumped in to tell me to "calm down" after a piece that was written in all calmness (and, I hoped, with a dash of humour) which I merely posted in response to a newspaper's anti-comic scaremongering. Methinks it's the NotW that needs your advice on stress management.

I also find it odd that you've contributed an opinion without even reading the article or comic strip in question! Why not? I provided a link directly to the article. As for the strip, The Beano is available "in all good newsagents" dontcha know, and even some bad ones I'll wager.

Yes, I do like to pass comment when newspapers wrongly berate comics, as they have done here (as you'd know, had you bothered to read the article and comic). Perhaps you'd find that most comics pros would feel the same, - except for you it seems.

Did I "insist" that everyone sees things my way? No, just passing my opinion, as you are. The difference being that my opinion was based on having seen the material in question.

Anyway, I've no intention of getting involved in another drawn out debate with you about the rights and wrongs of the media's "outrage" against this week's punching bag. I suspect it's already old news and they'll be blaming some other innocent party for bullying next week. Thanks for your comments.

Kid said...

Actually, Lew - for the purpose of accuracy - I ventured a general opinion on a related, age-old topic of which the current matter is an aspect, while pointing out that I was not commenting on the specifics of the particular article or strip as I hadn't read them yet.

That is, the discussion as to what influence comics - IN GENERAL - could have on children's behaviour - NOT the specific strip you referred to in your piece. I really don't see how you can accuse me of commenting on something I didn't comment on and that I had made clear I wasn't commenting on. I referred to Dennis the Menace - not Si Co - so your observation is really rather redundant. You do seem to have an irritating and irresponsible way of distorting the facts.

Also, you completely dismiss the professional opinions of those who presumably have much more experience than you on behavioural and psychological matters in a cavalier fashion, and write off thousands upon thousands of people as mindless halfwits who'll believe anything they're told - simply because they may disagree with you.

I've since read the article - I've still to see the strip - and I have to say that it didn't come across as scaremongering to me - it seemed merely to be some concerned people voicing their reservations, which they are perfectly entitled to do without bringing down upon themselves the smug, pompous and dismissively superior attitude of yourself or others.

You seem to be the one who's scaremongering - implying that our civil liberties are somehow under threat whenever someone says anything remotely less than positive about comics, and becoming needlessly and almost rabidly defensive whenever someone attacks the source of your income. AND casting scorn and derision on the mental and intellectual capabilities of those who don't happen to see things according to your narrow and confined view in the process.

You are not an unbiased witness, and, consequently, your view on the matter should be treated with a certain amount of scepticism - certainly far more scepticism than the views of educational and psychological professionals with no particular axe to grind.

I saw little humour in your piece, Lew - I simply saw a man once again using his own little blog spot to look down his nose at, and attack and contemptuously berate those who don't see things his particular way. How very dare they!

The simple truth of the matter is that whenever someone says anything about comics with which you disagree, you get on your high-horse and self-righteously pontificate that you know better than everyone else and that, as the voice of reason personified, you're right and everybody else is wrong.

Stick to making us laugh, Lew - save the preaching for those who don't have a vested interest in something which is the main source of their livelihood.

If a drug-dealer tells me that drugs won't do me any harm and are actually good for me, he has no credibility as far as I'm concerned because he's trying to sell me something. Same deal with comic professionals in my book.

Lew Stringer said...

Well that's me told.

Pots and kettles Gordon. I don't share your opinion on the matter so please try to deal with it without resorting to a clueless character assessment of someone you've never even met.

Kid said...

Actually, Lew, the "clueless" character assessment is based on the personality you project in your blog - or are you now saying that your words don't reflect the person behind them? Perhaps you should draw your blog entries in strip form - you seem to have more success with projecting humour that way than you do with words alone.

You are of course entitled to view things whichever way you see fit, but to rubbish 2,900,0000 people whose opinions on the subject are completely beyond your ken seems just a tad reckless, not to mention self-righteous and opinionated to an extreme degree.

Anyway, thanks for allowing my "right to reply" and the opportunity of pointing out your innacuracy in accusing me of giving an opinion on something I hadn't read, when, in fact, I was doing no such thing. I was speaking in general terms on the philosophy behind the wider discussion - not the specifics relating to the article or strip.

Here's a thought for you - if you really believe that large sections of the general public would be influenced in their opinion of comics by a "newspaper's anti-comic scaremongering", aren't you in effect saying that people can be negatively influenced by what they read? If adults can be, then why not children?

The application of a little consistent logic from time to time seldom goes amiss.

Best regards.

Kid said...

Ps. To labour the point - is there any actual evidence that anyone's opinion on comics is changed by what they read in a newspaper? Aren't those who agree with (so-called) "negative" comments already of that opinion anyway? Aren't you indulging in "anti-newspaper scaremongering" when you accuse them of being responsible for any negative aspect of society's views? Pots and kettles? Say no more.

Lew Stringer said...

Of course newspapers can mold opinions Gordon. They're presented as fact, hence why they're called NEWSpapers. Comics on the other hand are presented as entertainment.

I think most people can tell the difference between fact and fiction, but it's fiction PRESENTED as fact that causes the problems.

Gareth said...

Dingding round three. Gentlemen, as entertaining as it is to watch two comic creators slug it out may I venture a solution? Kid: I see you have your own blog you never use. Perhaps you could reactivate it, post your opinions there? Use it to present a proper counter-argument instead of nitpicking at Lew's own opinions? For openers perhaps you could supply your findings on how comics have created bullies or are we to assume that's a given from your behavior? Just a thought... lol.


Kid said...

I think you overstate the fact/fiction aspect - I don't think it substantially matters. People can be influenced - adults and children - in what they think or how they behave - by many different factors, comics being just one of them. Even fiction can have large dollops of "truth".

Will some socially awkward children be mercilessly teased and referred to as "Psi Co" by their peers if the Beano strip catches on? More than likely. Is that a bad thing? Well, it's hardly desirable - but it's not the end of the world and, as you say, kids aren't restricted to comics for their main source of the cruelty they inflict on their fellows. Should the strip be ditched? Of course not.

However, should society always be prepared to examine and debate, and express concerns for, what is suitable for the consumption of children and what might have a negative or harmful influence on them? Absolutely! (Same goes for adults too.) And it should be able to do so without being held up to ridicule and having scorn heaped upon it by those who imagine themselves to be intellectually superior and artistically sophisticated.

Once we stop caring about what could be influencing the minds and behaviour of our children, we may as well give up even trying to sort out society's many ills and let kids have access to whatever they want.

I'm afraid it's back to my original assertion from a couple of months back. I can see merit in both sides of the discussion - it's just not as simple as you - or the "opposition" - would have us believe.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks for your opinion again Gordon. I think you're over-reacting to my comments about a "newspaper" that is clearly nothing but a redtop scandal sheet. I'm not going to agree with you any more than you're likely to agree with me so perhaps we should draw a line underneath it.

Gareth said...

Here's my final comment on the subject.The agenda of the News of the Screws is to be a muckraker and it's owned by a rival to D.C. Thompson. I'm very suspicious about the accuracy of its quotes from Mental Heath officials. Have other newspapers followed this story?If they haven't it's time to take it with an extra large dosage of salt.

Kid said...

Gareth, I see that you are prone to the same tendency as Lew (on occasion) to distort the facts. I would say a bully is someone who looks down on others who don't share their opinion in a dismissive and contemptuous way; who adopts a smugly superior stance and derides the intellect of those he disagrees with. As I see merit in both sides of the argument, I hardly think I can be accused of that. Some bullies have even been known to set up or use their own blogs so that they can harangue as many people as possible with their own point of view.

As for my own blog, which has never been used - it was set up by someone on my behalf at their suggestion in order to raise my profile in the comics community (in other words, bring in offers of work)- their idea, not mine. I've never used it because I don't labour under the compulsion to propogate my views on any matter, or bulldoze anyone into seeing things my way. Some less kind people might say it's because I have nothing to say WORTH saying, but that's up to them. I'm certainly not going to try changing their mind.

As for Lew - I have a great respect for his talents and wish that he got even more work than he does. His style would've fitted right in with Leo Baxendale's and Ken Reid's in comics like WHAM! and SMASH! My only issue with him is the way he seems to contemptuously sneer at those who do not share his opinion on whether certain comics may have the potential to negatively influence the development of young minds (which might not manifest itself until adulthood, by which time the trail back to the source has gone cold) - although perhaps he is unaware of how he comes across on the topic.

Also, I assume that Lew welcomes debate, otherwise he wouldn't allow others the opportunity to comment on his views (it surely can't be because he's so insecure he just needs to hear everyone agree with him) - I have merely availed myself of said opportunity. I may be frank in expressing myself (as is Lew), but I certainly harbour no animosity towards him, nor am I trying to change his mind on the subject.

I just wish he would get off his high-horse from time to time and tread a little more softly when making pronouncements on the motivations and intellectual capabilities of those with whom he disagrees.

Me? A bully? See you at four.

Lew Stringer said...

Gordon, I do wish you'd consider what you post before hitting the send key. All the failings that you attribute to me are quite evident in your OWN comments. You disagree with my p.o.v. and I'm fine with that, but that's not enough for you is it? You have to keep needling, posting comments about what you perceive to be my "condescending" attitude just because I don't share YOUR point of view.

Yes Gordon I'm afraid it's YOUR attitude that comes across as sneering to anyone who disagrees with you. Gareth dared to criticize you and now according to you he's "prone to distort the facts"! Good grief.

Oh, and your praise of my work rings somewhat hollow after you've just spent a few paragraphs calling me "smugly superior", "sneering", "insecure" etc. I'm not saying that anyone who likes my comics isn't allowed to criticise me in any way but your aggressiveness over a comment on my blog is very over the top.

I don't know exactly what your problem with me is, perhaps it's because I forgot to post you that complimentary Brickman book years ago as I promised to do? Sorry about that, but your recent behaviour isn't the way to get one now I'm afraid.

Kid said...

Complimentary Brickman Book? How utterly ridiculous and childish of you to even suggest that's what motivates me. Lew, you are now totally bereft of any credibility in my view. I'm mad at you because you didn't send me a book? And did you type that with a straight face? Are you even faintly acquainted with reality? Good grief!

You're the one who first posted your views on a newspaper article (not for the first time), in which you pompously insulted the intelligence and intellect of 2,900,0000 people (at least). Did it ever occur to you that most of them might've viewed the article in the same way as yourself?

My response to your blog postings is certainly NOT because you don't share MY point of view, but the sneering, condescending, smugly superior, contemptuous and dismissive manner in which you express your view. (To suggest otherwise is patently absurd, especially as our views on the matter are not as opposite as at first they might appear.)

That's the way you come across, and just because Gareth is trying to ingratiate himself into your favour by taking your side, doesn't mean that you don't. Pal of yours is he?

Using highly emotive language like "scaremongering" and clearly regarding those who may hold a different opinion to you as retards, you have the temerity to assume the moral highground? Your impertinence, to say nothing of your delusion, is astounding.

As for Gareth, he jokingly called me a bully, whereas I was actually confronting a bully who heaps scorn and derision on those who are not in accord with him. I may "fight fire with fire", but to accuse me of being a bully for disagreeing with a self-opinionated cartoonist with a chip on his shoulder is a distortion of the facts - so I said so. Can't handle that it seems, so that makes me the one in the wrong in your book, does it?

And now you dismiss my sincere and generous compliment on your talents as being "hollow", and accuse me of being aggressive for merely robustly standing up to you - thus revealing your "martyr complex" and inherent racism by resorting to the "aggressive Glaswegian" stereotype. I may be assertive (as are you), but to describe my comments as aggressive (or, at least, any more aggressive than yours) is yet another example of your undoubted tendency to distort the facts.

I don't have a problem with you, or even your views (as I have gone to great pains to state on numerous occasions) - I have a problem with the way in which you clearly look down on those who hold a different opinion to yourself.

It's obvious what YOUR problem with ME is - you don't like the fact that I refuse to defer to your "undoubted wisdom" on all matters pertaining to comics and treat you like the little tin god you clearly think you are.

And you know what you can do with that book...

(Of course, I mean that in a CARING way.)

I really do think that YOU'RE the one who needs to consider what you post before hitting the "publish" key - pots and kettles, remember?

Lew Stringer said...

Ok Gordon I'm sorry for even considering it might be because of the book. You're right; a ridiculous notion and you're above that.

Thing is, your attitude on this thread has been so O.T.T. I'm at a loss to understand why you're SO aggressive. I really think you've over-reacted to my original post. I can appreciate that you didn't agree with my rather daft generalization of NotW readers. A simple calm disagreement about my comment, as Dave Mullen posted, would have been sufficient to get your point across. Instead you decided to make it personal.

Now your latest O.T.T. response is to accuse me of "inherent racism"! Gordon, you've lost the plot IMHO. I did NOT call you an "aggressive Glaswegian", I said I found your manner aggressive. Don't play a "race card" and make yourself look foolish.

Oh, and apparently I've now slipped from being an artist you liked to "a self-opinionated cartoonist with a chip on his shoulder". Self-opinionated yes, as are you, clearly, (and why not, it's the only opinion a self can have) but I can't even be bothered to ask why you think I'd have a chip on my shoulder as I suspect your response would be full of the same bile and misconceptions as your previous replies.

You've had your fun Gordon. Now go and vent your spleen somewhere else.

Anonymous said...


Is this the same Gordon who trawled Google Groups for months?

Remember do not feed the troll. ;-)

Lew Stringer said...

Completely different people I would think. At least this Gordon is articulate, and he's no troll, just over-reacting.

Kid said...

Definitely not the same Gordon. Inherent racism? (Foolish? Well, you started it.) You know I'm from Glasgow and you say I'm aggressive - I disagree - I'm merely being assertive in the face of YOUR insistence that everyone else is wrong. That's not based just on your comments here, but on your remarks in our previous discussion.

My only issue with you has only ever been the contemptuous way (it seems to me) in which you dismiss dissenting opinion. And your habit of insisting that I'm trying to change your mind on the subject. And you accusing me of uninformed comment on things I haven't read when I did no such thing. And berating my sincere assessment of your talents as being "hollow". And...well, you get the point.

I left my original comments and said that a "Well, thanks for your interesting observations, Kid - even if I don't necessarily agree with them" would prevent any prolonged discussion of the topic. You said your piece, I said mine - end of story. You're the one who wouldn't let it rest by accusing me of doing something I hadn't, and implying I was speaking in ignorance.

OTT? Perhaps, but only under provocation, and no more OTT than accusing me of having a grudge against you for not getting a freebie. (Apology accepted by the way.)

Perhaps the problem lies in the disparity between our written words as they appear to others and the intention we have when we write them. I do not see aggression in my words because I was not feeling aggressive when I wrote them (I felt indignant) - you do. Perhaps you do not mean to be smug, superior and dismissive when you write your words - but that's the way they come across to me - and I believe I could provide you with numerous examples (but I won't bother).

Surely you accept the possibility that if you can see sentiments in my remarks which I would claim were not their primary motivation, then the same is also more than likely true of you?

Did I over-react? If so, no more than you do to daft little space-fillers in newspapers and to people who articulately disagree with you. Let's just say we're both guilty. Now go and draw some funny cartoons and stick to what you're good at.

Lew Stringer said...

"Inherent racism? (Foolish? Well, you started it.) You know I'm from Glasgow and you say I'm aggressive"

It might surprise you but I can't remember where everyone I've ever corresponded to is from! Even if I could, I fail to see how calling your attitude "aggressive" makes me a racist! Isn't aggression a potential part of the nature of every being, Glaswegian or not?

You've accused me of using emotive language Gordon but it seems to me that you're the guilty party there. I didn't, as you claim, call NotW readers "cretins" or "retards".

You seem to have a knack for misconstruing my comments. If you believe this blog has "numerous" instances of me being "smug, superior and dismissive" that makes you feel "indignant" and "irritated" then there's an easy solution Gordon. Stop reading it!

Giles Kendrick said...

Sheesh! Is this Gordon bloke for real??? What a maroon!

I have to admit that I wouldn't have expected to see two kids knocking seven shades out of each other in the Beano and would question the common sense of the commissioning editor as a result. However, that's just because, as a forty-something bloke, I personally found it to be in very poor humour and inappropriate for a comic. Then again, I'm not the target audience. Ask an eight year old and he'd probably think it a giggle.

However, if we're on the search for things that influence kids, there surely have to be a million other causal factors that might influence a child of that age before this ever would.

Every week of my youth, I saw graphic images of "Nips", "Jerries", "Eyeties", miscellaneous criminals and "The Hun" being variously punched, shot, blown up, stabbed machine-gunned and so forth, along with sundry master criminals, evil masterminds, burglars, cheating sportsmen, cowards and other negative role models. The strips I read were often direct rip offs of contemporary films such as Jaws, Dirty Harry, Cross of Iron, Rollerball etc - Oodles of violence. Strangely enough though, I never felt the compunction to maim my friends & neighbours, nor take up a life of crime.

It's monumentally hypocritical though that rags like the News of the Screws should have temerity to fling accusations like this at a comic while carrying photos of topless women which the same kids would have easy access to as a result. Double standards? I very much suspect so.

I applaud Lew for taking a stance against this stupid article. It's exactly this sort of sensationalism and bandwagon jumping that got Action cancelled and I'm sure we wouldn't wish to see anything of this ilk happening to such a venerable publication as The Beano.

Kid said...

Giles, yes this Gordon bloke IS for real, and YOU'RE the maroon. I have no problem with Lew disagreeing with the NOTW article, it's his dismissive contempt for the intellect of 2,900,0000 people whose reaction to the article he has no way of knowing which irks me. However, my taking exception to his remarks does not rest on his current comments alone, but also on his last "excursion into absurdity" when we previously discussed the topic.

Lew, you're just being cheeky now for the sake of it. I've tried to make allowances for you and to see things from your point of view, but you just won't let things lie. You are the chief culprit when it comes to misconstruing comments - wilfully so, it seems to me, just so you can divert criticism from your own misdemeanours. Case in point: I never once claimed you CALLED NOTW readers (or others who disagree with you) "cretins" or "retards" - I merely said that, from your casual dismissal of their intelligence, it was obvious that was how you regarded them.

Your contemptuous attitude permeates your every comment on this subject - you're a comics "professional", so your opinion counts on every aspect pertaining to comics and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong - in YOUR world, that is.

There's an equally easy solution to my "knack" for misconstruing your comments - stop making them in such a smug, smarmy, self-satisfied, up your own arse kind of way. Ever thought of that?

As someone who isn't a parent yourself, you're the least qualified person to comment on what are the justifiable concerns of many parents today. You deal in fantasy - it seems to me you live in a fantasy also. Drag yourself away from that drawing board and try living in the real world for a change.

Giles Kendrick said...

Oh don't worry Gordon. I can see perfectly well that you're for real. I've seen plenty of other trolls in the past and recognised you as such after, ooh, was it you fifth or sixth pedantic post on the subject.

As for being dismissive of NotS readers, I didn't realise that the cumulative readership of that particular comic had two intellects to rub together.

Lew Stringer said...

Gordon, are you even aware you're projecting your own flaws onto others?

I have no problem with you or anyone not sharing my opinion. It's the venom of your tone that's objectionable: O.T.T. reactions just because you didn't like my low expectations of certain newspaper readers.

You're the one using emotive language and disdainful comments because people don't share your view, not me.

My comment may have been over-generalizing but the public reaction to the 1950s "horror comics" and, as Giles said, Action in the 1970s, is evidence that in the past many people HAVE believed similar scare stories against comics. That, I'm afraid, is established history and fact, not my opinion.

Kid said...

Giles, when I want your opinion I'll throw you a biscuit. Your agreement with Lew obviously springs from your disdain for the NOTW, so it's hardly a considered opinion. Consequently, you're not worth engaging in discussion. (Although I agree with you on the double-standards sentiment.)

And so the merry-go-round continues on its way. You accuse me of projecting my faults onto you; from my point of view it's the other way around. You see my reaction as OTT, I see yours as the same, but still you continue to try and have the last word.

The simple fact, the indisputable truth, the unalterable reality, is that if you had simply said "Thanks, Gordon, but I disagree", the matter would have been resolved. However, because it's an emotive subject to you, because you have a vested (and biased) interest in protecting your livelihood, because you've now got a couple of pals backing you up (the true mark of a bully), you simply can't let it go when someone stands up to you.

You are the one with the venomous tone and disdainful comments - who still persists in misrepresenting the facts - such as accusing me of being annoyed simply because others don't agree with me. I think you'll find that it's usually opinionated people with an axe to grind who use their own blog pages to propagate their point of view. Ring any bells? I have absolutely no interest in persuading ANYONE to my point of view - on ANY subject - and have said so many times over, yet still you persist in peddling this inaccuracy. Are you hard of thinking, or what?

I have praised your skill as a cartoonist; your blog - when used to highlight the history of comics and their creators - is an excellent and worthy instrument. Its only shortcoming is when you use it to air your contempt and disapproval of anyone you deem to be attacking comics or disagreeing with your opinion.

However, my recognition of your talents is not enough for you - you will not be happy until you have battered me into submission and forced me to admit that you are right and I am wrong, and that it's my fault for any misunderstanding of the facts. No chance of that, Lew.

All I have ever said is that, on the matter of whether certain comics may have a negative influence or effect on children's behaviour, it's not as simple as either side makes out. I really don't see how you can take issue with that. And when you are rubbishing the views of those who hold a different opinion to your own, you come across (however unintentionally it may be) as arrogant, conceited, superior and contemptuous. That's the facts as I see them, but you describe your dismissive comments as "over-generalizing" and thereby seek to downplay the attitude which prompts them.

If I have been overly assertive on occasion, it is only in response to your own highly provocative comments, full of factual misrepresentations and innuendos against me. Yet you can't seem to see it.

As for your closing comments, they are a prime example of what I am talking about. You presume to be true what you have never proved. In the context of the times, the public reaction to "horror comics" may have been entirely justified. The jury's still out on that, in my opinion. Same goes for ACTION - maybe it deserved to be pulled because it was too graphic for its time. At least, if that was what parents thought - based not on "scare stories" as you prejudicially describe them - but on their own interpretation of what they could see for themselves, then good on them.

So YOUR interpretation of events is NOT established history and fact - but it IS most definitely your opinion.

"Thank you, Gordon, but I disagree with you" will be sufficient to draw the subject to a long-overdue close.

Lew Stringer said...

I tried that several posts ago Gordon but you still persisted.

Oh, I see, you want me to say that *exact phrase* and nothing else? Hmm... isn't that the sort of thing a *bully* would insist on?

How's about a compromise: Thanks for the bizarre insight into your worldview Gordon. I'm glad I don't share it.

Kid said...

No, the sort of thing a bully would insist on is saying something like it, but persisting with his lowbrow sniping at the same time. You know, something like, "Thanks for your opinion, but you're talking balls, you retard", which is essentially what you've been saying.

You know, I've met Stan Lee, Archie Goodwin, Will Eisner - even Bob Hope - it was a pleasure to speak with them, and I came away with fond memories to keep me warm on winter nights in my old age. Giants of their profession, but touched with a humility and compassion that some lesser talents in their chosen career would do well to emulate.

Well, I'd like to say it's been a pleasure "talking" with you, Lew, but it hasn't so I won't. I remember you 'phoning me once when I was interviewing you for The Illustrated Comic Journal - when you got my answerphone, you hung up, calling me a "f*cking t*sser" as you did so. I was nearby, and managed to pick up the receiver just as you launched into your tirade, so - thanks to 1471 - I immediately 'phoned back and said "No, pal - you're the f*cking t*sser".

I didn't know it was you who had 'phoned 'til I checked the number against ones in my book afterwards and, needless to say, I was surprised and not a little disappointed at your outburst. I decided to write it off as frustration on your part at being responded to by an answerphone and not to hold it against you.

However, thinking back on it now, I see it was very similar to our current exchanges. You throwing your rattle out of the pram because you can't have your own way, and me responding in kind to your frustrated outbursts. There must be a lesson in that, somewhere. I'll perhaps ponder what it might be when I can be bothered.

You tea must be out by now, so don't let me hold you back.

Giles Kendrick said...

Gordon - Your Post is the biscuit. By throwing your stale pieces of opinion into the ring, you invite a reply from anyone that wants to make their own point, including me.

Your use of a dismissive tone is a typical troll tactic. Home in on one irrelevant point, make a sarcastic reply and exit stage left ignoring all the more substantial points raised, giving you so much more time to focus on your real target - Ad hominem attacks on Lew.

Anyway, I don't agree with him because of my disdain for the NotS (It didn't exactly earn that nickname as part of a constant struggle to define ever higher standards of journalism in Fleet Street, did it? Grub Street might perhaps be more appropriate). I would be prepared to heap the same scorn on the article had it come from the pages of The Times or The Guardian.

I disagree with it because history clearly shows that Fleet Street hacks in search of an easy article have in the past destroyed other comics. In the eyes of the wider public and the journalists concerned, they're only comics, so it's hardly book burning. Scare stories are easy to write, make good copy and are something that can be milked for some time with no collateral damage.

Unfortunately that is clearly not the case. People like you and Lew make their livings from these comics. It's not a great leap of imagination before the writer, artist and editor of the Si Co strip get the sack or suddenly find themselves not receiving any more commissions. Meanwhile an ignorant journo is laughing all the way to the pub.

Your disagreement with Lew obviously springs from your disdain for his opinions and perhaps Lew himself, so it's hardly a considered opinion. Consequently, you're not worth engaging in discussion.

Lew Stringer said...


LOL! This gets increasingly bizarre. So THAT'S what's at the bottom of your animosity.

Sorry to shatter your illusions Gordon but you're mistaken. That never happened. I'm not the sort to swear at answerphones and I certainly wouldn't have sworn at you. We've conversed once or twice on the phone a few years ago and it was pleasant and convivial, talking, in part, of our shared appreciation of Odhams comics as I recall.

So basically all your anger towards me is based on a fault either in your telephone or in your imagination. How strange that in the e-mails we've exchanged over the years that you never thought to mention it before!

10.00am. Can the day get any stranger? LOL!

NP said...

Some people just have a lot of time on their hands.
Hope your day gets less strange!
Thanks for the mention!

Kid said...

You see? You're doing it again. Are you really so obtuse? I mentioned what happened (and it DID happen) merely to illustrate the similarity to your current behaviour. I CLEARLY stated that I didn't hold it against you at the time, putting it down to annoyance at being met by an answerphone (we've probably all muttered a few expletives when we phone someone and it clicks on to voicemail - perhaps you didn't intend me to hear your frustrated rant) - yet still you persist in giving it your own spin and interpreting it as the cause behind an imaginary grievance against you. Are you for real? Don't you listen to anything I say? Are you just trying to wind me up for the sake of it? Just what is it with you? I say one thing and you insist it means something else. Perhaps a change in your medication is required? Why have I never thought to mention it before? Why, didn't I say? Because I decided not to hold it against you. Sorry, did you miss that part?

Another example - what emails over the years? You're fantasizing - or hallucinating. We've only exchanged a handful of emails relatively recently since I discovered your blog. (I've just checked - since January of this year - 6 months ago. What's with the "over the years"?)

I had no animosity towards you - but I can feel some forming even as I type. Example after example after example of me quite clearly saying one thing and you inexplicably (if not perversely) insisting I'm saying something else. You must be "havin' a larf", Lew - there's no other explanation for it unless you're totally barking.

You are clearly divorced from reality. One cannot argue logically and reasonably with someone who has no grasp of logic or reason. You stick to seeing things your way, and I'll stick to seeing things how they are - okay?

Giles, I'll deal with your points presently.

Lew Stringer said...

"I CLEARLY stated that I didn't hold it against you at the time"

Was this before of after you claimed to have called me back and said "No pal, you're the f**** tosser"?

I think I'd have remembered if a fellow comics pro had done that. I really would.

All your anger seems to stem from a case of mistaken identity Gordon.

Lew Stringer said...

Nigel, you're welcome. I hope Si Co does really well in the polls. It certainly made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Is the drawing at the top of the topic you and Kid fighting?
This is funnier than the Beano!!
Have a good day lew.

Kid said...

See? Proof that you just see things the way you want to see them. As I explained - did you catch that, Lew - AS I EXPLAINED, when I 'phoned you back, I didn't know it was you - I thought I was merely receiving an obscene 'phone call, so I responded to it. Then, after having done that - clear so far? - AFTER HAVING DONE THAT - I checked the number and discovered that it was you. Must have been annoyed at getting my answerphone, I concluded - so I decided to let it pass.

You say you would have remembered? I doubt it - you can't even seem to remember what I say from sentence to sentence.

Actually, all my anger seems to stem from you being incapable of understanding plain English.

I have just lost my reply to Giles - I'll have to retype it. It's worth waiting for.

MrProtext said...

Kid, I REALLY resent the way your aggressive attitude, as expressed in this now-tedious correspondence, has called us Maroons into disrepute.

We are a noble people of colour and, as such, are entitled to EVERY protection the law and general stupidity affords us.

I would think that, as a Scot, you would recognise that we share the brother- (and sister-)hood experience of prejudice.

For you, it is the misery of living on a diet of deep-fried confectionery and having "hey Donald, where's yer trewsers?" shouted at you incessantly from across the street.

For me, it is being of a different colour to the majority of humanity. Do you KNOW how hard it is to buy clothes that suit my distinctive body hue?

I hope you will now take pause to reconsider dragging "difference" into this discussion.

Actually, it would give us ALL a break if you'd give it up altogether.

Kid said...

Giles - "stale pieces of opinion", "dismissive tone", "typical troll", "irrelevant point", "sarcastic reply", "ad hominem attacks" - nice to see you approach the discussion with an open mind. I'm not sure just how far infantile remarks like "typical troll" advance it 'though.

New Of The World? Yes, it's a rag. It once published a story about someone who committed a murder and attributed it to his love of "violent CAPTAIN MARVEL comics, with characters like THANOS, who worships death", tearing chunks of dialogue entirely out of context to "prove" its point in the process. I replied, pointing out that if he had been an avid NOTW reader, would they view their own lurid tales of murder, rape, incest, and sadism as the reason why the guy went bonkers and killed someone - no reply.

However, you've really missed the point - Lew and myself are pretty much in agreement on the subject - there's only one aspect on which we differ. If I understand him correctly, Lew theoretically accepts that people (adults and children) can be influenced (either for good or bad) by what they read, see, or experience. However, Lew believes that IF a comic COULD have a negative effect on a child's development, the child would have to be already damaged by various other sundry factors. In short, IF it could happen, it would be the straw that broke the camel's already fractured back. I think that's a fair assessment of what he thinks - he'll be sure to say so if it isn't.

I believe, however, that a comic (for example, a gratuitously violent, sexually explicit "horror comic" - if such a thing exists) has to be considered equally as one of the "mix of ingredients" that might have a harmful or negative effect on a child's attitude or behaviour. In short, it's not a "johnny-come-lately" after the horses have bolted - it was in the stable with the rest of them.

"No proof", cries Lew. Well that's debatable. I would say that Lew just doesn't accept anything which is offered as proof, but then, he has a vested interest in how comics are perceived by the general public. One of the difficulties here is that, often, undesirable and antisocial behaviour does not manifest itself until years later, by which time it is extremely difficult to follow the trail back to its source. I'd venture that the tried and tested scientific principle of "cause and effect" is equally as applicable to comics as it is to everything else. Therefore it's wise to tread cautiously where children's impressionable minds are concerned - at least until things are conclusively proved one way or the other, if they ever can be. Is that an ignorant, uninformed and offensive opinion? I hardly think so.

I need to break this into two parts, so with Lew's kind indulgence, there's a little more to follow.

Lew Stringer said...

"I didn't know it was you - I thought I was merely receiving an obscene 'phone call"

LOL! It wasn't me Gordon. I've never left an abusive message on an answerphone and I'd certainly have remembered if I received a similar one back. Didn't happen. You've got the wrong man.

What playground jape are you going to accuse me of next? Stealing your marbles? Because some seem to be misplaced somewhere... ;-)

Kid said...

Here's an interesting fact: Whenever there's a huge bush fire out in the Australian Outback (or similar terrain), environmentalists say that often the flaura and fauna - and even the wildlife - regenerate and replenish to such a degree that the damaged countryside is greener, and lusher and better than it was before.

Same with comics. All the great things that came from DC and Marvel in the 50s and 60s were as a result of the Senate investigation into "horror comics" and the energence of the "code". Creators of the period confirm it made them work harder and be more creative, and compelled then to produce even more entertaining comics. Without Wertham there may never have been the revival of superheroes with THE FLASH at DC, or the rejuvenation of the MARVEL comics line.

In fact, one of the best-loved British comics of all time - The EAGLE - was a direct result of parental concern over the import of American comics at the time. Just think - no EAGLE - no DAN DARE - no Golden Age of British comics. If ACTION had never been cancelled, we might never have had 2000 AD.

Therefore, Giles, I think you and Lew are needlessly concerned by rags like NOTW - the biggest threat to the livelihoods of Nigel Parkinson, Alan Digby - and Lew himself - is disinterest by a dwindling number of apathetic comic readers who have much more choice available to them in terms of entertainment.

Anyway, it was nice to see that you enjoyed my words so much that you thought you'd use them yourself. Thanks for the compliment.

Oh, Mr. Parkinson - big fan of yours, but regarding your comment on too much time on my hands - I'm on incapacity benefit because of poor health and am currently undergoing various medical examinations. Ever had a flexible sigmoidoscopy or a barium enema? It's hardly surprising if I've got a bit of time to kill.

Kid said...

Then kindly explain why the number I obtained from 1471 matched the number I had for you at the time. Did I invent that? Did I imagine that? Did I just pick your name out of a hat? Er - no.

Nice to see that as you're now just resorting to undisguised insults you know you've lost the argument. It's your blog, so obviously your pals will take your side - no surprise there.

Also, the fact that you fail to respond to the specific and many examples of your obtuseness speaks volumes.

Lew Stringer said...

"Then kindly explain why the number I obtained from 1471 matched the number I had for you at the time. Did I invent that? Did I imagine that? Did I just pick your name out of a hat?"

Either of the above I'd say.

Kid said...

Is Lew Stringer thick or just stupid?

Either of the above, I'd say.

(If it's good enough for you, it's good enough for me.)

Lew Stringer said...

"If ACTION had never been cancelled, we might never have had 2000 AD."

I wish you'd do your research Gordon. 2000AD was well into development when Action was suspended and it was launched while Action was still being published!

Action: Feb 1976-Oct 1976, Dec 1976-Nov 1977.

2000AD: Feb 1977 - present.

Kid said...

"Either" is when there is a choice between two - not three.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Kid said...

I'm certainly not alone in thinking that 2000 AD was considered a "replacement" for ACTION - after all, it did take its place on the shelves.

And I did say "If ACTION had never been cancelled, we MIGHT never have had 2000 AD." (Did you see the word "might" there, Lew?) We certainly wouldn't have had it when we did. And not all comics "in development" reach fruition - as you well know.

Nice of you to ignore all the other relevant points I raised, Lew. The words "straws", "clutching" and "at" spring to mind - try rearranging them into a well-known phrase which describes your feeble jibes.

Lew Stringer said...

"I'm certainly not alone in thinking that 2000 AD was considered a "replacement" for ACTION - after all, it did take its place on the shelves."

No it didn't Gordon. As I've just pointed out, Action was still being published when 2000AD was launched and it was still around for nine months into 2000AD's run. Perhaps you're thinking of Valiant which ended a few months before 2000AD was published?

"Nice of you to ignore all the other relevant points I raised, Lew."

You're lucky I'm replying to you AT ALL after the abuse you've posted today.

Gareth said...

Is this still going on? Lew you don't have to stand for this abuse.Does Blogger have methods to block trolls or you could report him to his ISP. Kid Robson, shame on you.What would the Mighty Tharg say?

Giles Kendrick said...

Leave it Lew. He's not worth it.

Ignore him and he'll go back under his bridge.

Kid said...

The point I was making (or trying to) was that if it hadn't been for ACTION, we probably wouldn't have had 2000 AD - ACTION is generally considered a sort of forerunner to 2000 AD. It was because of the former that the latter was put into development - at least that's the impression I've always had from what I've read.

When ACTION ran into trouble, the development of 2000 AD was probably pushed forward a bit in case the decision to cancel ACTION had to be taken. That was why it was pulled from the shelves. Instead, they gave it another chance, but in a much watered-down version in an attempt to salvage it.

Regardless, the essence of the point I was making is a valid one, minor detail aside - one thing usually leads to another. I'll rephrase the sentence to accomodate your pedantic sensibilities - if we had never had ACTION, we might never have had 2000 AD. One thing's for sure - 2000AD got away with the violence that ACTION got hammered for - in that way it filled the space that ACTION had been created for.

And you're the one who started with the insults, Lew. That's one little detail which YOU seem to have overlooked.

(And I still have all my marbles - I got them in Woolworth's in 1966.)

Lew Stringer said...

Gareth said...

"Is this still going on? Lew you don't have to stand for this abuse.Does Blogger have methods to block trolls or you could report him to his ISP."

I don't see any need to do that Gareth and it'd only give him more excuses to moan. He's done more damage to himself than any ISP could, so let his comments stand as evidence of his bizarre behaviour. Perhaps in time he'll look back and see what a fool he's made of himself.

Kid said...

Gareth and Giles - you're obviously a couple of sycophants trying to get in Lew's good books. Trot along and finish your homework. Report Me? What for? Dealing in kind? I made a simple comment about Lew's favourite whipping boy and was accused of having a grudge because he never sent me a book. And this from a grown man? Insult after insult, innuendo after innuendo - if someone's impertinent to me, they get it straight back. Anyone who isn't your pal, Lew, can see the evidence for themselves. Yet you're still trying to misrepresent the facts, even to the end. So let it all stand to show what a fool I made of YOU - but fair's fair - you helped a lot.

Now go and do something that grown-ups do - like get yourself a girlfriend.

Lew Stringer said...

"you're the one who started with the insults, Lew."

"Insult after insult, innuendo after innuendo - if someone's impertinent to me, they get it straight back."

Gordon, what with this projection and your claim that calling a Glaswegian "aggressive" is "inherent racism" plus your bizarre allegation that years ago I left an abusive message on your answerphone, and that anyone who doesn't agree with you is "ingratiating" themselves with me you come across as a paranoid fantasist!

As you said to me in your first comment: "You really need to calm down and not take it so personally when others have a different opinion than you about a topic."

Take your own advice.

As regards your illness you mentioned, I hope you'll be on the mend soon.

Gareth said...

I'm not big on humour comics so I'd no need to get in Lew's good books.I visit this blog now and then to read about old action comics.(Can you do a blog about Spike Lew?That was one of my top comics.) No Kid I passed comment because I know internet harassment when I see it.Get a girlfriend?I think my lovely fiance would kill me if I

Lew Stringer said...

I don't have many issues of Spike, Gareth. I used to, but gave most to the RSPCA years ago along with other 1980s comics. (Which is why there's not a great deal on 1980s comics here.) I'll see what I can do to cover other adventure strips though.

Regarding "internet harassment". I don't think it was quite that. However I gave Gordon ample opportunity to put his p.o.v. forward and from now on any more abusive comments will be rejected. I suppose that will cause some outcry of "censorship to right of reply" but, after a thread that's already run to over 50 posts I don't think so.

Kid said...

And what about the abuse by you and your pals, Lew? You don't seem to have a problem with that. However, there was certainly no "abuse" in my last post which you haven't printed. Too many facts for even you to twist perhaps?

Or were my remarks about the 'phone call something you didn't want others to see? Wouldn't want anyone believing me, now - would "we"? If either of us is a "paranoid fantasist", I'd suggest it's the one who accuses someone of having a grudge for not getting a book.

As I said, thanks for your kind comments on my health issues. I hope you also get over whatever ails you - however long it takes.

Lew Stringer said...

No one's posted abuse to you Gordon. Not me, or my "pals" (ie: anyone who disagrees with you).

You've had your say, to put it mildly! From your "you need to calm down" comment and calling me "narrow minded" you've indulged in ad hominem attacks right from the outset. As for playing the racism card and your phone abuse claim, - beyond belief!

You seem to think that whilst you can hurl sneering comments at people no one should retaliate. Sorry but we don't live on Planet Gordon.

I don't do this blog to talk down to anyone or to use it as a platform to attack. I don't give a damn if people disagree with my opinions. I do the blog, in whatever spare time I can get, free of charge, to hopefully preserve interest in old comics and promote a few current ones. If I was as egocentric as you claim I'd just fill it by promoting my own work.

In between your snide comments you've managed to put your point across regarding the comics. Thanks for your input. Now go and bother another blog.

Lew Stringer said...

And in the spirit of promoting the work of others here's a recent interview with Gordon Robson on the Buster tribute site:

Kid said...

Actually, we're on "Planet Lew" - where the laws of logic, reason, consistency and common sense are suspended, and YOU make them up to suit yourself as you go along.

What you describe as "abuse" and "sneering comments", and "ad hominem attacks" and "talking down" to people can be just as easily attributed to yoursef as it can to me. I gave a vigorous defence of myself in the face of your continued snide jibes at me for simply disagreeing with you. You set the tone of this exchange and you could have ended it eons back by simply not referring to me and getting your kicks in while doing it.

Whenever you post one of your responses to what you "calmly" call an "anti-comics scaremongering attack", you pour derision and contempt on the intellect and intelligence of anyone who doesn't see things your way. I pointed it out and have been subjected to your smug, supercilious sniping since I did. I am the one who has been retaliating, not you or your ridiculous two-man fan-club.

I don't have the slightest problem with people disagreeing with me - I MIGHT have a problem with the WAY in which they do it 'though - and I respond in kind. Try living in the real world sometime - that's how it works. "TOM THUG - WHAT A MUG" - autobiographical was it?

Now - that can be an end to the matter - if YOU let it be and not come back with your skewed reinterpretation of events. Somehow I doubt it.

Hear that, Lew. It ends if you'll let it.

Lew Stringer said...

As I've previously admitted, my comment about NotW readers may have been a daft generalization but your initial reaction was disproportionate to say the least, - and it just descended into more paranoia and abuse from you from then on.

Yes it certainly does end now Gordon. That was the final comment from you that I'm publishing here. Don't feel hard done to though. You've had a good run.

Now, let's get on with life.

Lew Stringer said...

I should add that if you agree with Gordon's p.o.v. then I'm not "censoring" that. I just don't want people bashing him when he's not here to respond. Fair?

Plug 1972 (M.Sanders) said...

That News of the World article is full of the same old vitriol and misdirection that newspapers have always used against comics, video games, movies, etc. Well done Lew for publishing an opposing opinion! It's too bad that the Screws 3mil readers won't get to see it, assuming your hits are nowhere near that.

So what if a few children call a violent classmate "Si Co"? Nicknames are part of childhood. I was a tall lanky lad and some called me "Plug" at school. We called another lad "Muttley" because he squeaked when he laughed. That's just the clean ones. You should have heard what we called some of the other kids. Children will always label people. Ban the Beano and they'll find another source. You can't wrap them up in cotton wool.

sentinel4 said...

Its like the old saying 'Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me'.

Lew Stringer said...

I don't know if that's strictly true sentinel4. Nicknames can seem very hurtful when you're a child, and kids can be very persistent. However, while it's possible that some kids MIGHT call a school pal "Si Co" I don't think The Beano should be censored because of it. Especially as the NotW article was a gross exaggeration of what the strip was about.

Bullying and name-calling has been around far longer than comics, and the sort of kids who do that will still do it regardless of whether "Si Co" is banned or not. Whilst we as comic creators obviously have a responsibility not to go too far in children's comics it's not our job to be the reader's parents.

If "Si Co" WAS mocking kids with mental problems I'd be right up there complaining about it, but that's NOT what it's about. My hope is that blogs like this might do a small bit in putting the record straight. I doubt it will, but it's better than rolling over and letting the media destroy what remains of children's comics.

Mike said...

Suggestion: the origin of Uh Oh Si Co is not manga: it's Uh-Oh, Chongo! from live-action short Danger Island on the Banana Splits Show. Unless that's from manga.

As for the rest, it's a good job the tabloids never called footballer Stuart Pearce Psycho for losing his rag. And a good job that kids never bully anyone unless they're misled into it by comics. Frederic Wertham said so: it must be true.

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