Sunday, November 14, 2010

the 'Nam vol.1 pt.2: some TCJ quotes

Yesterday, I wrote a short summary of the furor within the letters pages of The Comics Journal surrounding Marvel's The 'Nam around 1990. What follows are some interesting quotes from Doug Murray in his The Comics Journal interview from 1990. I was impressed with how candid he was, not just with regards to Marvel editorial but with his own shortcomings as the writer of the book.

I ghosted some comics at DC [around 1972], which I prefer not to talk about
I did do a few Vietnam War stories for the DC war books . . . but they were changed from Vietnam stories to World War II stories because DC was in its "Make War No More" phase and really didn't want to deal with the Vietnam War, so I just stopped talking about it, basically, and settled into doing film articles and such for magazines like Larry Brill's The Monster Times

. . . there's a balance that has to be struck. I was trained as a historian, my college degree is in history, but if you do a straight history, the audience changes considerably. And we're talking about a situation whereas prior to 1986 there was no popularization of the Vietnam War whatsoever . . . you have to make compromises doing this sort of thing, and one of the major compromises involved in dealing with a major comics company such as Marvel is that there are certain rules that I have to follow, mostly dealing with the Comics Code.

In response to a follow-up regarding how often his scripts were [censored] due to the Code, Murray said:

Very seldom, but mostly that's a question of self-censorship rather than . . . by the Comics Code. I know what the rules are and I try not to go beyond them. The one problem I have with dealing with the Comics Code under Marvel right now is language usage. It's come to the point where I can't even pseudo-swear, if you get what I mean. I can't say "freaking, everybody knows it means "fucking"-

despite the fact that they were able to use "freaking" early on, a point brought up by the interviewer Andrew Dagilis, to which Murray said

Yes, but they made us change it, you see. With the changes in management at Marvel there have been changes in what we can and can't do.

This would have been in reference to Jim Shooter leaving Marvel and, more importantly, to Larry Hama leaving The 'Nam as its editor.

More tomorrow,

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