Vietnam PX Comic Book Inventory Question
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Hello. I am a current PhD student at George Mason University. This semester, my project is the memory and depiction of WWII in Vietnam-era comic books. So far, my biggest mystery to unravel is why all PXs in Vietnam stopped selling Marvel comic books in the fall of 1970.  While I haven't come across anything yet that specifically answers this question, I was wondering if anyone here would happen to know anyone who may something about Marvel comic books in Vietnam PXs.  I have a letter from a soldier, from Sgt. Fury issue #88, sent from Vietnam in the Summer of 1971 explaining the ordeal:

 

"[The 1970 September issue of Sgt. Fury] NEVER CAME”. 

 So I figured someone screwed up . . .it is the Army and it does happen. There was nothing to do but wait. Oct ish time came and still no Marvels. I got transfered [sic] to another unit cause my old unit was going home. Low and behold I was assigned to Saigon to work. Now Saigon is the New York City, Allice's Resturant [sic], and big PX of Viet Nam. You can get it no matter what you want. N’ you know what? There ain't a Marvel Mag in a PX in Nam. 

 Seems like you guys have stepped on some toes and hit some nerves and the "big wigs" have had you censored. How does that grab you?  It is not because there is not a market. The "other” mags are comming [sic] in and being bought. The only difference is the absence of the Marvel line.

If any of you may know any one who may possibly shed some light on this, or could at least point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate any help offered. Thanks.

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I can suggest you try connecting with Doug Murray who wrote the Nam series back in the 80s. Murray served in Vietnam and might have some insight and leads. Not sure how to track him down but the internet is great for finding people. Good luck!

 

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Thanks for the response, bronze johnny. I am familiar with the excellent work of Murray and had thought of contacting him along with some of the other veterans of that war like Hama. I just wanted to exhaust my possibilities before contacting the talent. Thanks!

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It’s not Marvel, but you may want to look into the military banning Warren’s Blazing Combat comic.  Specifically the Archie Goodwin connection as he took over Iron Man writing duties in around ‘68.

Edited by thunsicker

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You may also want to check out Amazing Spider-Man #68.  Although the comic focuses on the anti-segregation part of the Columbia University protests the other part of their protests (not depicted in the comic) was their anti-Viet Nam war stance.  In this issue, and in sharp contrast to issue #38, where Ditko was clearly mocking the protestors, the protestors got a positive treatment.

Edited by thunsicker

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And one last suggestion, as well as Hama and Murray you may want to contact Jim Steranko.  Since Goodwin and Lee are no longer with us he may have insights.  He was at Marvel at the time and has done a lot of work in the history of comics.

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Thank you so much thunsicker. I had NO CLUE that other comic books had been banned from PXs until researching Blazing Combat.  I have messaged Murray and Hama through their Facebook pages and I'll try Steranko as well.

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Some interesting stuff.  Found a source that claims Charlton fired a writer of Fightin' Army after a draftee cited it as inspiration to become a conscientious objector.  

Date doesn't really match up, but possibly they pulled marvel due to some spidey issues not having the comic code for the drug issues?  I read blazing combat made it through because the army had a review process for monthly books but it was a quarterly.   If the military was reviewing books, maybe they had a heads up the code would be dropped on some upcoming spidey books due to drugs and torpedped the whole line for a few months?

 

Or maybe they were mad Cap wasnt fighting the Vietcong?

 

😆

Edited by waaaghboss

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Just saw this subject.

I recall MACV involvement because the story lines conflicted with PSYOP story lines in their comics. You may want to look up and contact SGM Herb Friedman.

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Ask the Pentagon and/or National Archives. You can also file FOIA requests!

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Thanks waaagboss, I have read about how Charlton fired a writer of Fightin' Army after a draftee cited it as inspiration to become a conscientious objector in the book, The Routledge Companion to Comics. And yes, the drug issues of Spider-Man, along with the Captain America books from this period are also full of antiwar sentiment.

wilbil, is this the SGM Herb Friedman you're talking about?

http://www.psywarrior.com/HerbBio.html

And JTLarsen, you are absolutely right, thanks

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Yes.

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Two more things:

1)  James Warren is still with us I believe and would definitely have insights to the Blazing Combat ban.

2)  People here love comics history and would love to hear anything more you find out.  Thanks for doing this.

Edited by thunsicker

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Thanks again, thunsicker.

 

Would you, or anyone else for that matter, know if Marvel has an official historian or archivist?

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1 hour ago, cncapks said:

Thanks again, thunsicker.

 

Would you, or anyone else for that matter, know if Marvel has an official historian or archivist?

I don't know about a 'historian' or 'archivist' however George Olshevsky compiled the Marvel Comics Index (I believe he stopped after 12 volumes) which at the time (index 9B Daredevil was dated 1982) contained a wealth of information regarding each marvel comic series. He could very well be still around. The 9B volume (I think was the last one) was distributed by Pacific Comics (Shanes brothers) and Steve Shanes could still be in the San Diego area as well and could possibly provide information or help. Good luck. 

Edited by davidtere
add a photo

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Here is a pic of the indexes if you ever want to follow up on them. 

fullsizeoutput_6b7.jpeg

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Thank you for that information davidtere. I'll see if I can find out anything from George Olshevsky, if I can get in touch with him.

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Don’t know if Marvel or DC have an official historian on staff now.  You may want to contact Peter Sanderson who worked with both companies in the past.  Or contact Marvel directly and see.

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Oh and Roy Thomas is still with us and might be able to point you in the right direction.

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Jim Steranko is doing a signing next weekend at a local comic convention here in Michigan. I hear he's pretty chatty about anything and everything, so you could get in-person insight or maybe even a recorded interview. If you're up for the drive or staying the weekend it's about 8 hours from you if google maps is to be believed.

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