Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Scott Thomas Outlar writes

Rejection Letter

Thank you ever so much
for thinking of us.

Really, truly, verily,
it means an awful lot
that you would
consider this journal
as a place
where your work
could potentially reside.

Again, thank you,
thank you, you snake, you,
we don’t want it,

 Image result for rejection letter paintings


  1. MAD was founded in 1952 by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines as a comic book at first. It is the last remaining title by Entertaining Comics (EC Comics), which was otherwise best known for its “Tales from the Crypt” series (1950-1955). Dell Publishing introduced “The Funnies,” a 16-page newsprint periodical of original, comic strip-style material as a newspaper insert in 1929. Gaines’ father Maxwell, salesperson at Eastern Color Printing, was involved in the production of “Funnies on Parade,” a similar 8-page publication in 1933 that reproduced earlier comic strips and was used as a free promotional item to consumers who mailed in coupons clipped from Procter & Gamble soap and toiletries products. Later that year Max Gaines and Eastern Color collaborated with Dell Publishing to create the first true American comic book, the 1-issue “Famous Funnies: A Carnival of Comics,” distributed through the Woolworth's department store chain. When Dell declined to pursue the genre Eastern Color launched “Famous Funnies” in 1934, which ran for 218 issues. In 1938 Max founded All-American Publications but sold it to Detective Comics in 1944, keeping only “Picture Stories from the Bible” as the foundation for his new Educational Comics. When Max died in 1947 William took over the company and abandoned his father’s uplifting titles in favor of horror titles, especially “Tales from the Crypt” (1950-1954). But psychiatrist Fredric Wertham published “Seduction of the Innocent” in 1954),which maintained that media which graphically depicted violence and crime had a deleterious effect on children and were a major contributor to juvenile delinquency.

  2. Estes Kefauver had come to national attention when his Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce televised hearings that highlighted the activities of the Mafia and used his new Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency to examine the menace posed by comic books. When Gaines testified he was asked, "You think a child cannot in any way, shape, or manner, be hurt by anything that the child reads or sees?" he responded: "I do not believe so."
    --"There would be no limit, actually, to what you'd put in the magazines?"
    -- "Only within the bounds of good taste."
    --"Here is your May issue [of ‘Crime SuspenStories’]. This seems to be a man with a bloody ax holding a woman's head up which has been severed from her body. Do you think that's in good taste?"
    --"Yes sir, I do — for the cover of a horror comic. A cover in bad taste, for example, might be defined as holding her head a little higher so that blood could be seen dripping from it and moving the body a little further over so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody."
    --"You've got blood coming out of her mouth."
    -- "A little."
    (Actually the original concept of the cover had featured the same elements that Gaines publicly denounced.)
    To avoid government regulation the Comics Magazine Association of America was formed, which quickly adopted a code of conduct: It prohibited the presentation of "policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions … in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority," mandated that "in every instance good shall triumph over evil," discouraged "instances of law enforcement officers dying as a result of a criminal's activities," restricted the portrayal of kidnapping and concealed weapons, forbade “lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations" and "excessive violence," along with vampires, werewolves, ghouls, zombies, and depictions of "sex perversion," "sexual abnormalities," and "illicit sex relations." The use of the word "crime" was subject to numerous restrictions, and "horror" and "terror" were prohibited in titles. Love stories had to emphasize the "sanctity of marriage" and avoid stimulating "lower and baser emotions." In response Gaines cancelled its various titles in September 1954 but kept its “MAD” comic book as a suitable riposte. After 23 issues it was converted to a magazine format in order to avoid the new strictures on comic books. Kurtzman soon left but was replaced by Al Feldstein, who named and promoted the magazine’s mascot Alfred E. Neuman. “the same way that corporations had the Jolly Green Giant and the dog barking at the gramophone for RCA…. So I put an ad in The New York Times that said, ‘National magazine wants portrait artist for special project.’ In walked this little old guy in his sixties named Norman Mingo, and he said, ‘What national magazine is this?’ I said ‘Mad,’ and he said, ‘Goodbye.’ I told him to wait, and I dragged out all these examples and postcards of this idiot kid, and I said, ‘I want a definitive portrait of this kid. I don't want him to look like an idiot—I want him to be loveable and have an intelligence behind his eyes. But I want him to have this devil-may-care attitude, someone who can maintain a sense of humor while the world is collapsing around him.’" He appeared on almost all of the MAD covers, with the tag line, What, me worry?"


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