MARTHA THOMASES: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Martha Thomases

Martha Thomases brought more comics to the attention of more people than anyone else in the industry. Her work promoting The Death of Superman made an entire nation share in the tragedy of one of our most iconic American heroes. As a freelance journalist, she has been published in the Village Voice, High Times, Spy, the National Lampoon, Metropolitan Home, and more. For Marvel comics she created the series Dakota North. Martha worked as a researcher and assistant for the author Norman Mailer on several of his books, including the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Executioner's Song, On Women and Their Elegance, Ancient Evenings, and Harlot's Ghost.

You may also like...

8 Responses

  1. Howard Cruse says:

    When I was in high school I was given a collection of political cartoons by Bill Mauldin, one of the greats. I was too young to have yet experienced "Willie and Joe," the World War II battlefield cartoons that made him famous.From the beginning of his career to its Pulitzer-prizewinning end, Mauldin drew wonderfully, and his WWII drawings contributed hugely to the morale of his peers in the trenches. When I tracked down a collection of his early cartoons, though, I found the cartoons accompanied by commentary by the cartoonist that made me queasy. Since America was not at war when I was in high school (beyond cold war sabre-rattling), this was my first exposure to patriotic war-fever rhetoric.Not that Mauldin's words were any more mean-spirited than the words of anyone else caught in the sway of war emotions. If anything, his attitudes were quite possibly more balanced than those of others at the time. But without discounting the practical need for our nation and others, lacking viable alternatives, to defeat Nazism on Nazism's own barbaric terms and to stop Japan military aggression, I was creeped out by the process by which anger at the belligerence of enemy governments became translated even by minds as intelligent as Mauldins into ethnic stereotyping. Popeye cartoons of that era took the same tack, and when the first President Bush decided to fight Saddam Hussein years thereafter, entrepreneurs were quick to fuel a creepily familiar brand of patriotism by manufacturing cartoons of the dictator on rolls of toilet paper. Having decided that blood needed to be shed en masse, why not nudge Americans into the proper killing spirit by viewing those we wanted to kill not as human beings but as one big glob of cartoon Husseins to be flushed away smeared with feces rather than contemplated in their individual humanness.Our willingness to lend our minds to stereotypical mindsets where the Virtuous "We" does battle with the Evildoing "Them" worries me more than escapist gunplay or super-fistfights in movies, TV, and comics, though all of these feel coarsening to me. When I was eight I "played war" with my neighborhood friends, using croquel mallets as stand-in for machine guns, and it didn't turn me into an adult warrior. Still, I shudden at how easily we can, long after the excuse of immaturity is available, set aside our awareness of how grave it is to take away the lives of humans no different from ourselves. Simplistic thinking provides far too much leeway for horrific behavior.

  2. Liz Glass says:

    You are as wise as an old lady, and you still look good, Martha.I totally agree with Gerard Jones' theories set forth in KILLING MONSTERS. I knew parents who refused to buy war toys for their young sons, but bought them games, dolls, etc instead. The children would battle with the dolls, treating them as pretend guns or swords. This is probably off-topic, but since you brought up the topic of neighbors who don't clean up after their dogs, a real irritant here in Manhattan. We adore dogs, but owners who do not pooper-scooper after them should be locked up. But we thought of a better solution: non-curbing dog owners who are caught should be forced to clean the shoes of people who accidentally step in poop. Let the punishment fit the crime!

  3. M. Sean McManus says:

    This has nothing to do with the topic…I loved Dakota North. I was happy to see they brought her back in DD.It might be time for her to have her own series agian.

  4. Martha Thomases says:

    Boy, do I hope so. Paydays for me and mine!

  5. Elektra Vince says:

    I don't know why people are so surprised to find that "the Other" is demonized by cartoonists! How mean spirited! How wicked! How terrible!Try being a farmer from a red state on a visit to open-minded New York where you will be characterized as evil, stupid, slothful, ignorant, racist, bigoted, and simplistic. Oh yea, and people will make fun of your accent and clothes. Would they engage in that kind of behavior if you were from a foreign country? Of course not. that would be bigoted. But being bigoted to rural southerners doesn't count.The right isn't the only side of the political spectrum that stereotypes and discriminates and uses vile language to get people to think the way they want, but it's easy for many leftists to forget people like Pol Pot, Stalin and Lenin.Maybe some on the Left could stop being so simplistic too, and treating everyone who wasn't an urban American as an evil moron, then maybe we could have a productive discussion together. A trip to the Daily Kos or the Democratic Underground will yield some of the most hateful, racist, bigoted language you can imagine directed against anyone who doesn't tow the party line.

  6. Joe in Philly says:

    Martha, you are so right with your comment about how we need to make serious commitments if we truly want to end the violence, etc. Unfortunately, we as a society refuse to take the necessary steps. Because of this, my thought upon hearing about the carnage at Virginia Tech was "Just another day in America."

  7. Dave says:

    I like this series, but I swear it seems to get stranger with each installment.

  8. Chuchundra says:

    Wow, the artwork has certainly taken a turn for the worse.