Thursday, September 14, 2023

Today in Comics History, September 14, 1814: Comic books would like to remind you that today's the anniversary of the writing of "The Star Spangled Banner," our traditional, unsingable, racist national anthem

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published September 14, 2012.

cover of Magic Comics #36 (David Mckay, July 1942), painting by Edgar Franklin Wittmack

The National Anthem story is a subject of many comics, which only goes to prove that the comics industry loves a historical story and a public domain song.

from "Introducing Tommy! The Original Super-Boy of History" in Shield-Wizard Comics #2 (Archie, Winter 1940), script by Harry Shorten, pencils and inks by Edd Ashe

True Comics is always good for finding an American history story...

from "The National Anthem" in True Comics #10 (Parents' Magazine Press, March 1942), creators uncredited and unknown

As is Real Fact Comics, which depicts the victory of Americans over the British as well as the victory of Tolly's Market over collectability.

from Real Fact Comics #13 (DC, March 1948), creators uncredited and unknown

🎶 At Tolly's your comics' value drop
🎶 We rubber-stamp 'em while you shop
🎶 Tolly's Village Market! 🎶

Anyway: even Classics Illustrated got into the act by...illustrating a classic. Oh! So that's what that title meant!

from "So Proudly We Hailed..." in Classics Illustrated #89 (Gilberton, November 1951), creators uncredited

It's also been the subject of many text pieces, like this one in an Archie comic. So that's why there's so many instances of the words "sugar sugar" in our national anthem!

from "Francis Scott Key" in Archie's Girls Betty and Veronica #56 (Archie, August 1960), creators uncredited and unknown

Here's a big, double-sized, first class postage-avoidin' two-page text piece from a comic that ALREADY starred Star-Spangled Kid...what more did they need?

from Star Spangled Comics #1 (DC, October 1941), creators uncredited and unknown
(Click picture to broad stripes-size)

DC was also fond of its series of Real Fact picture features of true life events...

from "Facts" in Adventure Comics #48 (DC, January 1941), script, pencils, and inks by Henry Boltinoff was apparently, cartoonist extraordinaire Henry Boltinoff!

(I wanna read more about Charles Zimmy now.)

from "Facts" in Superman (1939 series) #11 (DC, July 1941), script, pencils, and inks by Henry Boltinoff

Here's a version of the story from a war comic that pumps the drama up to 11. Stop yellin', everybody. STOP YELLIN'!

from "Anthem!" in Battle Action #14 (Marvel/Atlas, December 1954), pencils and inks by Sam Kweskin

You may have noticed this banner at the bottom of that last page and wondered exactly what the "Atlas Seal" was.

And here he is.

cover of Ziggy Pig/Silly Seal Comics #3 (Marvel/Timely, Spring 1945), artist uncredited and unknown

Check out this classic JSA story for not only a mention of the Star Spangled Banner, but also a panel I can use again on January 1!

from All-Star Comics #41 (DC/Natioinal, June 1948), script by John Broome, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Frank Giacoia

Yes, Today in Comics History!: giving you the most economical content of all!

It's all part of a diabolical plot by the Injustice Gang to steal America's greatest treasures and...I dunno, hock 'em on eBay or something.

The only flaw in their plan: not hiring Nicolas Cage to help them heist all of America's historical artifacts.

Good thing this story never got silly.

(Part II of story, pencils and inks by Irwin Hasen)

Not any sillier, at least, than the Simpsons version.

from "Bart Simpson's Report on Francis Scott Key" in Simpsons Summer Shindig #1 (Bongo, June 2007), script by Tony DiGerolamo, pencils by Phil Ortiz, inks by Mike DeCarlo, colors by Robert Stanley, letters by Karen Bates

I don't think any comics mention of the Star Spangled Banner can be crazier than this one, though.

from "Raffles, the Bird Who Thinks Like a Person" in Real Fact Comics #1 (DC, March 1946), creators uncredited and unknown

But in today's age of much false patriotism, it's no longer the impetus for instant love of our country. I would much more likely kneel these days than stand for the anthem. It's a much different time. Notice how many of these comics are from 1941! But then...

from "The Men in Glass!" in World of Suspense #5 (Marvel/Atlas, December 1956), pencils and inks by Don Heck

...sometimes, even a silly li'l comic book story is very moving. When an alien invader demands information about America, nobody will spill their guts.

Only a recent immigrant to America volunteers to speak about America. That man's name: Slim Whitman.

So anyway, Today's the Day in Comics History that gave us a title for a story about America's Greatest President:

from Prez (1973 series) #1, (DC, August 1973), script by Joe Simon, pencils and inks by Jerry Grandenetti, letters by Joe Rosen

Since nobody can remember the lyrics, 'specially its terrible and racist third verse, here's the words so you can sing along if you like. (Sadly, this is Mr. Key's only comics script.)

from World's Greatest Songs #1 (Marvel/Atlas, September 1954), words by Francis Scott Key, script by John Forte, letters by Joe Letterese

Unless, of course, you wanna sing it like a duck...which we all do, right?

from Walt Disney's Vacation Parade #4 (Dell, July 1953), artist uncredited and unknown


Dave said...

Ugh! I'm shot! Ooo!

Blam said...

My condolences on your Cousin Chuck.