May 22nd, 2009

Annie talks to Mr Am about his slaves

I never enjoyed LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE. The whole tone was a bit too mean-spirited for me, what with Daddy Warbucks (what a name, he sounds like a Dick Tracy villain)using his assassins Punjab and the Asp to make his enemies conveniently disappear. It was a strip with a strong conservative slant, and although the preaching about self-reliance and pluck was sound enough, it's distasteful how everyone in favor of unions or Social Security was shown to be vile and shiftless. The endless cycle of the plot was unsatisfying, too. Daddy kept dying or disappearing or going off to exploit Third World nations, leaving Annie to fend for herself in small towns where the decent hardworking folks were menaced by socialist ideas. Then Daddy Warbucks came back, there was happy rejoicing and merciless retribution, then he left again. This might still be going on.

Still, there were sometimes some very odd and haunting stories. In 1937, we meet Mr Am. This bearded burly fellow claimed to be millions of years old, had extraordinary knowledge and abilities, and was given to laughing heartily for little reason. He also had a large labor force of voluntary slaves (what, WHAT...?)

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So, if you think Golden Age Wonder Woman had some unhealthy ideas, what with happiness can only be found through submission to loving authority, be glad at least you don't work for Mr Am.