Tag Archives: Will Eisner

What Does It Matter Bun Toons?

00 red window bunny

ATTENTION:  The rabbit is NOT a Pokemon.  He cannot be caught.

Today’s Bun Toon was the subject of a lengthy, lengthy discussion on my facebook page this week.

What I talk about, I toon about.

all lives matter websize

While there are folks who MEAN well when they say “All Lives Matter”, they are doing the work of people who want to belittle the black community and silence their cry of alarm.  Whatever you thought you meant by “All Lives Matter”, it’s not coming across as anything but rude jackassery in the face of neighbours who need your help.

If you wouldn’t say it to an ambulance, and you wouldn’t say it to a breast cancer survivor, think about why it’s okay to say it to BLM supports…

Ty The Guy OUT!

The history of black characters in comics included some strongly offensive characters in the golden age:


Back in the 40s, The Spirit’s assistant/sidekick “Ebony White” was a character of contrasts:  Besides being a ghastly stereotype visually and verbally, he was a resourceful and brave character.

whitewash jones

Marvel’s “Whitewash Jones” (one of the Young Allies Hostages being saved by Bucky and Toro, lower right) was the same sort of offensive visual.  Like Ebony, the character was brave, uneducated and loyal.


In the late 40s, a black journalist named Orrin Cromwell Evans founded “All-Negro Comics” publishing, a venture that lasted only one issue, unfortunately, as he could not get wholesalers to sell him the newsprint he needed to print his books on.


In the late 50s, Dell introduced LOBO, arguably the first mainstream African American comic book hero that wasn’t visually offensive.  Unfortunately, the series didn’t last very long, likely too liberal an idea for the times.

jackie first appearance

Jackie Johnson, a gunner for Sgt. Rock’s Easy Company, became mainstream comic’s first  continuing character with African heritage in 1960.

jackie johnson

Jackie continued to appear as a support character in Sgt. Rock straight through to the 90s, fighting alongside Ice Cream Soldier, Little Sure Shot and Wildman in an integrated platoon that never would have seen action in the real World War II.

Jackie was quickly followed in the early Sixties by Gabe Jones, one of Sgt. Fury’s platoon in the Marvel version of the World War II Sergeant genre.

Sgt fury gabe

Ironically, Gabriel Jones and The Young Allies’ Whitewash Jones, were BOTH created by Jack Kirby…who went on to co-create the Black Panther, one of comics coolest heroes ever.


Face Front, true believers!


(-Thanks to B.C. Holmes and Robert Klarer for the head’s up correction on All-Negro Comics. I’m late, but I correct.)


before famous link

For the last Bun Toon, click here.

00 red window bunny

For the Bun Toon Archives of years past, click here.



Happy Birthday Will Eisner!

A portrait of Will I did for the Comics Jornal when he passed away five years ago.

If Kirby was the King of Comics and Stan is still the Man, then Will is the Wizard. His potions and alchemy are still vital today, years after he left us.  And like a wizard, he’s still doing magic, for instance the Google search engine logo today looks like this:

Only for Google.com, though, as the Canadian Google (google.ca) header is the same old same old.  Catch up, Canada!  Eisner is worth it.

Though Eisner may not have invented the long form comic book, he did invent the term "graphic novel" for his masterpiece, A CONTRACT WITH GOD. A term MUCH used ever since. If you haven't read this, you're missing an essential part of comics history. Plus it's an astoundingly smart and touching piece of work. In many ways, A Contract with God is our industry's "Sgt. Pepper".

Will was a magnificent comic book creator, and to those of us privileged enough to have known him, he was a magnificent person as well.

Still love you, Will.  Still miss you terribly.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your Templeton/ Eisner Moment of the Day:

Somewhere at my son’s apartment is a lovely drawing of Denny Colt that Will did for Kellam many years back, but I don’t have access to that to scan it, so:

A page from my one and only Spirit story in DC's Spirit #13 (the Holiday Special). It was written by Denny O'Neil, so I bagged working with TWO of my childhood heroes with this one assignment.

THE TOP SEVEN REASONS WHY UNCLE SAM SUCKS. (The comic character, not the country!!)

Happy Fourth of July.

BEFORE YOU READ FURTHER, PLEASE NOTE:  The following blog post deals exclusively with the comic book character UNCLE SAM, and not the concept of America, their government, or their people.   I kind of like Prezzie Obama, adore many American citizens, and consider the Constitution of the United States the greatest instrument of human freedom ever created.  So up front, I’m down with my American brothers.

But I just can’t help it.  Whenever I see the comic book character UNCLE SAM, I just want to punch him in the face.

Let the punching begin!

Here now, are the…


(The COMIC BOOK CHARACTER, not the Country!)


The punching continues.

When the character first appeared (created by WILL EISNER for Quality Comics in the forties) he was presented as the spirit of America, joined “as one” with the ghost of a slain Civil War soldier, and using the bodies of other slain soldiers as a physical vehicle to travel around in.

Let's "join as one", pal. There's nothing gay about it, if we're dead.

That makes him a zombie in my book, or a creepy half zombie version of Deadman’s ghost who “inhabits” other dead guys.  A handsome zombie in a top-hat, sure, but a stinking zombie at his core.  Would you let your sister date one?


If she had really died in this issue, it would have been his fault, trust me. Everything around him turns to crap in the Seventies.

When DC Comics bought the Quality characters, and gave them their own DC debut in “Crisis On Earth-X” a crossover appearance in the Justice League of America  (Volume !, #106 and 107), the world of Quality Comics was depicted as a place where America (and Russia and England presumably) never defeated the Axis forces, and the war raged on until the Seventies. That means in a world where Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters WERE around, the allies couldn’t defeat an enemy that was soundly defeated in a world where Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters WEREN’T around.  That makes  Sam and the Freedom Fighter the deciding factor that caused the Allies to lose  Earth-X.  That’s not me talking, that’s science.

Help us, DC heroes. On our own, we make things much worse!

And in All Star Squadron, issues #31-32, ol Uncle Sam and the gang cannot stop the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Defeated heroes beaten senseless when it REALLY matters? You can bet Uncle Sam was on the job...

Sorry Uncle Sam, but what good are you?  Ya  crappy, loser, zombie–


Though Uncle Sam has been interpreted by many artists, to the general public, his iconic image was painted best by JAMES M. FLAGG for the World War I recruitment poster that says “I WANT YOU” and THAT is the version that has been used for the comic book version by both Quality and DC.

No question about it, that's an inspiring image.

Flagg claims he based the poster’s face for Uncle Sam on his own face, adding age, and gray hair.  That may be true, but whether he intended it or not, the face, the beard, the haircut…all created a dead ringer for JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of the Confederate States during the Civil War.


Flagg was born in New York, so it’s unlikely he intended this to happen, and he DOES bear a resemblance to his Uncle Sam character, but accident or not, recruitment was disproportionately higher in the South during  World War I, when the poster was first used.   To many in the South, the image was not an accident.


Don't you feel all "patriot-y" now?

According to a wonderful run of the 90s Spectre, not only is DC Comics’ Uncle Sam a serial zombie/loser/accidental image of a traitor, traveling in the various corpses of American patriots, but he was originally summoned up by occult forces during the country’s birth –  forces wielded by unnamed representatives of the thirteen colonies, a group that is suggested to have included a founding father or two .  Now, personally, I think that’s cool, but it is a real kick in the religi-nards to any god-fearing citizen who ever believed in the spirit of Christian America.   The comics are worth reading if you’ve got the time ( Spectre #37-50 by Ostrander and Mandrake).

More chest-swelling, flag-salutin' feelings of pride from the Spectre.

Special NOTE:  This run of the Spectre included a scene where Uncle Sam’s spirit talisman briefly manifested itself as a super-hero called the PATRIOT or EAGLE MAN or SUPER-AMERICA-PUNCHFACE, I can’t remember and I’m not going to look it up…but he did wear a contender for the ugliest super-hero costume ever created.

O say, can you see this funky ass costume I'm stylin'?


Please don't pee on me, and can I have some money?

Though he had previously done the Terminator comic for Now ComicsAlex Ross got his first big break with MARVELS, (1994) a HUGELY popular series about the Marvel Universe seen through the eyes of a photo-journalist.  The series made writer KURT BUSIEK into a household name.    Alex’s next big project, KINGDOM COME, (1996) was huge, and solidified Ross’ place as the A-list of his time, and solidified the career of writer MARK WAID, who has remained huge ever since.

Alex’s third big project was UNCLE SAM.

From beggar to burning in hell. The feel-good story is often politely referred to as "experimental".

The story, about a drunken, homeless Uncle Sam feeling stomach turning levels of guilty because of his country’s history of misbehavior, sold next to no copies, is rarely discussed, and literally DID kill the career of marvelous writer Steve Darnall, who has not worked in comics since. (This series is so ignored by the fans, if you go to the UNCLE SAM wiki-page, you’ll find that no one has uploaded an image of the cover or any interior page).   Steve Darnall is a wonderful creative person,  with a great speaking voice and the best Christmas cards in the world, but even he could not escape the curse this miniseries was to retailers who over-ordered it by the truckload.  (Full disclosure, I know and adore Steve, and thought this series was EXCELLENT!)

Uncle Sam prepares to defecate all over the career of Alex Ross and Steve Darnall--the bombing metaphor is obvious.


I’m not sure what it was in reference to, but in Final Crisis #4, Alan Scott is looking at a monitor screen, trying to decide who can help him fight Darkseid, and Uncle Sam seems to be off the list because he’s CORRUPTED–  I have to  confess, I read this series with growing disinterest, and shrinking attention span, and I know I  missed something….but any way you stack it, is being “corrupted” ever a good thing?  Someone let me know what this was about…?

If I'd paid any attention to the story, I'd probably know what this meant. Blame my late nights working, and my addiction to dentist-grade ether.


"I beat that SAM fellow into print by a century. The lad is naught but a common thief!"

Relatively speaking, Uncle Sam is a newcomer to the world of national symbols, and he’s clearly based on the much older British personification character named JOHN BULL, created by John Arbuthnot in 1712 ( a hundred years before Uncle Sam existed).  And the female symbol of Britain, Britannia, had been around in one form or another since ROMAN times!

Suck on that, baby country, America.

The Germans had Germania.

When are THESE gals getting a Justice League? (No one take that idea, okay, I've had it for years!)

and of course, the Chinese had MR. CHING-CHONG, THE RACIST BUFFOON

Do Yankees and Engrishmen want flied lice? Me likee imperialism.

And as for getting there late, there was already a national symbol in human form.  Lady Columbia was America’s symbol for YEARS before Uncle Sam.  Dressed a lot like him too.

The name “Uncle Sam”, by the way, comes from a government contractor named Samuel Wilson (yes, that’s where Captain America’s partner, the Falcon, gets his name) who supplied meat products to the army during the war of 1812.  Soldiers started making the joke that every meal marked “U.S.” was a gift from “Uncle Sam” and the phrase stuck as a synonym for the letters ever since.  The guy in the stars and stripes top hat stole this meat packing guy’s name.  Another bit he just lifted from someone else…sigh.

But back to the “character” of Uncle Sam, and his iconic, American attitude.

John Bull is there first, yet again--Recruiting for the BRITISH army in the GREAT WAR.

If you think that pose looks familiar, you’re right, it was taken from a far better known recruitment poster created a couple of years earlier:

Oh no. Was ANYTHING to do with Uncle Sam original?

This recruitment poster, from 1914 depicted Britain’s Secretary of War, Lord Herbert Kitchener, looking  to fight the Germans in 1914.  The image (by artist Alfred Leete) worked very well, as over three million men signed up.  In fact, this poster was such a hit, it inspired many direct copies, used in many different cultures for years to come.  The one with John Bull (above) was the copy used in Britain just three years later.  The American one we all know.

Here was the Russian one, to join the White Army.


Here was the Nazi one, used to recruit Frenchmen to join the S.S. cause, if you can believe it.

Ve haff ways of making you want us.

Here’s the Commie recruitment poster used to recruit Commies to the collective Commie farms.

We want you to want to be part of us, Kommerade

And of course, the most famous version of all…

I think this one was originally Russian, as bears in hats all come from there.

To be fair, Uncle Sam can’t complain about all these people using his famous pose.  It’s not like it’s his in the first place, lousy plagiarist.

Uncle Sam, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent, ya thieving-zombie-foreigner loser!

I just want to finish on this note.  I don’t really mind that Uncle Sam is an amalgam of other images.  So is Batman, and Superman, and a lot of characters I love.  But with the DC version of Uncle Sam, we’ve been handed an amalgam of images that turn out to be a creepy, unpopular zombie loser, who fails his friends and his country on a continuous basis.  I have no idea why the creators at DC keep doing this to the character.  Maybe there’s something in their hearts that makes him fun to kick around.  Maybe, they feel uncomfortable with a borrowed symbol of American war propaganda as a character of adventure fiction.    Truth to tell, I’d love to take a crack at the character.  As an outsider, I might even have a decent idea about what makes America great to the world, and could paste that spin over this very potent symbol.  Captain America is my hands-down favorite Marvel Character, after all…

It bugs me that I don’t like DC’s Uncle Sam as a character, when the country he’s supposed to represent has got such potential.


Happy 4th of July, everybody.  And please don’t kick me in the teeth when you see me, I have children and I’m weak, and this was all in fun.


PS: (Hey, I just noticed if you type 4th of july with the shift key on, it spells $TH OF JULY.  Does that mean anything?)

To share post:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


Ty fields a lot of calls from editors looking for someone who can imitate a particular style or artist–Ty’s eye for detail and his perfectionism often make him the perfect person for such an assignment.  But, he does have his own style, both cartoony and realistic.  For the latter, here’s a portrait Ty did for a tribute to Will Eisner, published in 2005.

eisner by ty