Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling pop culture commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
The Phantom Blot #2 – February, 1965
Cover art by Paul Murry
This week’s Classic Comic Cover Corner goes out to the downtrodden and the disenfranchised, the persecuted and oppressed, the marginalized minority. I’m talking about, of course, my fearless fellow Jar Jar Binks fans.
A few weeks back, at the 2015 D23 Expo, George Lucas revealed that the misunderstood nitwit from Naboo was actually inspired by Disney’s anthropomorphic cartoon creature, Goofy (read about it in Yahoo News), which makes a lot of sense when you think about it as the two characters actually have several things in common.
For instance, most people dislike poor Jar Jar, but did you know that Walt Disney himself hated the character of Goofy? It’s true. Legend has it that Uncle Walt only kept the ‘Dippy Dawg’ alive in order to provide busy work for his animators.
Then there’s the fact that, like Jar Jar, Goofy is often characterized as being a negative racial stereotype. One of Goofy’s creators, Art Babbitt, allegedly even described the Disney character as being “…a composite of an everlasting optimist, a gullible Good Samaritan, a half-wit, a shiftless, good-natured colored boy and a hick.”
While that’s pretty damning evidence, I’ve personally never bought into the racial stereotype tag in regards to Jar Jar. It’s kind of like saying that Chewbacca is a stereotype of Italians, or Jabba is a stereotype of fat, bald guys – it’s a stretch and I sincerely doubt Lucas intended any ill will.
Another similarity is that Goofy’s superhero alter-ego, Super Goof, debuted in The Phantom Blot #2, back in 1965; while Jar Jar had his first appearance in The Phantom Menace. Did Lucas swipe the subtitle for Star Wars: Episode I from a comic featuring Goofy? Probably not, but it’s a weird coincidence.
It’s been rumored that J.J. Abrams may be killing off Jar Jar in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens film, showing his bones in the desert of Tatooine or some other sort of Easter egg (read about it at time.com.) This strikes me as very mean-spirited and I hope it’s not true – if Binks has to go then, gawrsh darn it, let him go with some dignity.
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