An Odd Choice

By | Friday, October 30, 2009 2 comments
So, I'm reading up on comics history outside the U.S. and I stumbled across this tidbit...

Apparently, superhero comics were banned in Hungary during its communist regime, in part because of Fredric Wetham's arguments in Seduction of the Innocent, which were echoed and expanded upon. The first superhero books weren't published in the country until 1989 when it was on the verge of becoming a democracy.

But here's the REALLY weird bit: the first superhero comic that was published in Hungary was...

Does it seem to be a really unusual choice to anyone besides me? I mean, I can see the potential appeal because it's got a lot of characters in it, which might mean something legally or could be used to test readers' reactions to different characters, but I think they could've picked other stories using those criteria that were better/more powerful. I'm not knocking Revenge of the Living Monolith -- it wasn't a bad story, and it holds a soft spot in my heart as the first "graphic novel" I ever got -- but it doesn't seem like a really great choice either. What about FF vs. the X-Men? Or Secret Wars? Contest of Champions? Or just about any story arc from Roger Stern's Avengers?

Again, Revenge of the Living Monolith wasn't bad, but I'm just saying it's not the story I would've led with.
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Mike Leung said...

Well, a story can be said to need a character the reader can root for. If the gate-keepers were hostile to western capitalism, a thrashing giant punching off the tops off the world trade center may have demonstrated this story had that qualification.

Also, it isn't like Marvel kept much perennially in print at that time. "Revenge" was timely, wasn't it? What else did they publish at that time that they could have scheduled a boosted print-run, as a point of entry publication for a culture we don't know anything about? Why would a Hungarian readership cry out for the X-Men, or even the Fantastic Four? "This trippy Chris Claremont needs an editor."

Matt K said...

Man, Revenge of the Living Monolith... dang. I've never actually read that, though it feels like I did years ago because of how thoroughly the plot was recounted in TOHOTMU.

I'm putting this on my list; some day I'll run across it somewhere and grab it.

Those Marvel OGNs included some pretty good material, really. Triumph and Torment, The Big Change. Emperor Doom was not bad.

When was the last time Marvel did anything like these? Now it's all serialization immediately followed by hardcover (I saw an ASM: American Son hardcover at the story yesterday. WTF? Anyone remember the "instant cassettes" scene in "Spaceballs?") and then paperback a few months later.