Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
Two-Fisted Tales #27 – June, 1952
Cover art by Harvey Kurtzman
Free speech and free expression took a major hit this past week when Sony Pictures cancelled the release of the Seth Rogen and James Franco film, The Interview, in response to threats by the North Korean government-sponsored hackers who broke into the movie studio’s computer systems and have been causing havoc for the Japanese-owned company ever since. I’m not a huge fan of Seth Rogen films either, but nevertheless, this makes me fighting mad.
My father fought in the Korean War and I’m a 12-year veteran of the Cold War myself. I have friends who have served in South Korea and, of course, there are currently hundreds of thousands of service men and women currently protecting our freedoms around the world today. So the thought that North Korean communists and their punk dictator, Kim Jong-un, have succeeded in blocking a film from being seen on U.S. soil is an affront to everything we believe in and have shed blood for since the inception of our country.
The story behind the movie’s cancellation is, of course, much more complex than the headline about Sony simply pulling the plug. There were threats against movie theaters planning to show the The Interview, which also concerned shopping malls and other businesses adjacent to those locations. Theaters were concerned about lawsuits if something were to actually happen, and also about how playing the controversial movie might affect their business with other movie studios’ holiday films.
When you get down to brass tacks, American businesses and theaters shamefully kowtowed to the communist terrorists and were willing to sacrifice the freedom of our country’s citizens in order to insure they raked in those precious holiday dollars – but here’s the rub. Americans would have come out in droves to support this film and the theaters showing it, even if the movie sucked, just out of spite for the North Koreans and to prove that we won’t be intimidated by their ridiculous threats.
Now, instead of standing up and proving our resolve, a handful of businesses have made us look weak and afraid, all for the sake of their own comfort and greed. To quote a line from the excellent 2004 film, Team America: World Police (which takes plenty of well-deserved jabs at North Korea and has, now, also been banned from being shown in theaters), “Freedom isn’t free, there’s a hefty #’in fee.” In this case it cost the price of a movie ticket.
So isn’t this column supposed to be about comic book covers? Yes, it is, and that’s why we’ve featured EC Comics’ Two-Fisted Tales #27 from June, 1952, with art by the legendary artist and MAD magazine editor, Harvey Kurtzman, and published at the height of the Korean War. This cover depicts what should have been our resolve towards the recent North Korean threats. Let’s hope our fathers’ and grandfathers’ sacrifices were not for nothing.
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