Strange taste of yesteryear with Looney Tunes and new Superman retrospective

LTPC_Volume_3_Cover    superman_ga_sundays_2_pr

Philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and so revisiting history via its primary sources should be no less important in studying the history of comics and animation.  And with the benefit of our own personal wayback machines (spelled WABAC for you Mr. Peabody fans) sometimes our looks to the past are full of imagery and stories that make us squirm as our sensibilities have improved over time.

We visited this concept here at with our review of the even-too-sexist-for-a-Bond-novel The Spy Who Loved Me and racism-heavy Live and Let Die.  Can you still enjoy these works knowing how skewed the world view was?  I think the answer can be yes, as long as you maintain your critical eye and acknowledge the improvements we have made.  Ignoring or dismissing these works outright would be worse.

Thanks to the folks at Warner Bros. we previewed a copy of Looney Tunes–Platinum Collection, Volume 3, on Blu-ray, and courtesy of IDW Publishing we have a preview for you of Superman: The Golden Age Sundays (1946-1949), after the break.

Gossamer and Bugs

Who doesn’t remember and cherish the great Looney Tunes cartoons of the mid-20th century, recycled decades after their creation for a 1970s and 1980s cable viewing audience thanks to Saturday morning cartoons?  But, like many comic books and superhero movies today, you might use discretion before sharing with young audiences.  Even the originals were intended for adult movie audiences and it’s amazing networks thought these were once appropriate for kids each Saturday.  And where you may think you watched these cartoons and turned out fine and bigot-free, what about that guy across the street?

Don’t remember anything wrong with these cartoons?  Again, it’s the racism, especially references to Asians and blacks.  Adult audiences will see past this today and can still have fun with Daffy and Bugs and Sylvester and Elmer and the rest of the gang.  But discussing the Blu-ray without acknowledging the cultural quirks would be wrong.

That said, Looney Tunes, Volume 3, said to be last of the series since audiences aren’t buying the series as expected, is full of 50 funny cartoons from the minds of creative geniuses like Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Mel Blanc, Carl Staling and Milt Franklin.  And not all will make you wince.  The volume includes one of everyone’s all-time favorites, Bugs Bunny and the giant orange furry Gossamer in “Hair-Raising Rabbit.”

Looney Tunes, Volume 3, is now available on both DVD (here) and Blu-ray (here), at

The Looney Tunes cartoons were created in the 1940s and 1950s.  From the same era, today IDW Publishing is releasing a new volume of Superman Sunday comic strips.  Superman: The Golden Age Sundays (1946-1949) presents the iconic Man of Steel as the patriot and superhero we all know.

Superman clip

Comic book writer Mark Waid provides one of the best introductions we’ve seen to a volume like this, concisely pointing out the shortcomings of the world view contained throughout the comic strip run, a bit of some not-so-super chauvinism and some sporadic racial subtext.

Yet Waid also acknowledges the humor and fun intended.  And indeed the Superman serials are very readable, with a nicely rendered Superman.  Older fans of Superman should check out this new compilation.  Courtesy of IDW Publishing, click here for a high quality preview of the volume.

Superman: The Golden Age Sundays (1946-1949) is available at comic book stores everywhere today and here at

C.J. Bunce

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