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Reds: A Revolutionary Timeline! Discussion

Mr.E

Active member
#1
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So, in honor of Aelita (previously known as Jello_Biafra) beginning to cross-post this TL on Sufficient Velocity (https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/reds-a-revolutionary-timeline.48563/), and given it has already been published through SLP (http://www.sealionpress.co.uk/product-page/reds), I have decided to create a discussion thread on the TL.

If you're unfamiliar, the links should be provide enough context, but here is the AH.com version:http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=168330 and https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/the-great-crusade-reds-part-3.270711/, and some other stuff, if you're interested: https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/reds-official-fanfiction-thread-part-two.439123/ and https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/reds-alien-space-bat-ideas-and-more.436448/.

Here is also the fan discord: https://discord.gg/7EXjMgY

I might crosspost the stuff I write on here along with the fanfic thread (depends on if it is allowed), and link to newer updates for those interested.
 

Mr.E

Active member
#2
Just to expand the purview of these, and since "Fanfiction" is on this part, I'll start crossposting these over here.
Commonpedia.org
Morty Mouse Communism


Morty Mouse Communism is a term referring to the proliferation of communist ideals through media exports, both within and without Comintern. Media exports include films, books, comics, music, and video games.

The term derives from the mascot of Hyperion Animation, Mortimer “Morty” Mouse, though much of the early examples which warranted the name starred Donald Duck. The term originates from Soviet historian Valery Sharikov, in his book The Morty Mouse Conspiracy.

During the 30’s, as part of the growing cooperation between the UASR, USSR, and the new Latin American republics, there was an extensive cultural exchange. American films became a common sight within cinema, and American books and comic strips were widely read, all very heavily drenched in social realistic narratives.

The post-war period saw this new American media starting its descent into the capitalist world. Though restricted following the collapse of the New World Consensus in the 50’s, media still managed to get through into the AFS, particularly comics. The most beloved overseas were the comics featuring Hyperion character Donald Duck, especially the works of artist Carl Barks. Barks wrote the story of Donald’s three nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, and their granduncle, ProgBourg adventurer Solomon McDuck[1].

The Barks stories quickly garnered success worldwide, with many different translations. However, these comics, along with other forms of American media, caused resentment in some conservative circles, believing that American culture was corrupting international communist societies through their focus on societal upheaval and more libertine norms.

The biggest advocate of this was Valery Sharikov, an opponent of the 197X movement and strong arch-conservative, who wrote The Morty Mouse Conspiracy, which alleged that American cultural exports (focusing on Hyperion films and comics based on their works) were promoting a “sanitized, utopian view of American culture, which, in effect, influenced the 7X’ers,” and this influence could be seen as a branch of “American social imperialism”, which was manipulating young people in the USSR.

The book, while routinely mocked and attacked in most of Comintern, found surprising currency in the AFS, especially when Conspiracy was translated into The Hyperion Agenda. Conservatives took Sharikov’s analysis, and turned it on its head, implying that Comintern was using exported media to brainwash people into accepting a Marxist lifestyle and subvert capitalism from within.

Ironically, the term has taken new form, from a negative context of secret Marxist and/or American indoctrination, to a legitimate means of spreading the message of socialism and economic justice among some theorists, though other concede this would not be enough for a full revolution. Some filmmakers actually increase their messaging for the purpose of appealing a working class audience abroad to communism.

[1] Named for King Solomon’s Mines , as Scrooge was named for A Christmas Carol
 

Japhy

S.M. Stirling Hates Him!
Published by SLP
Location
Troy, New York
#7
I'm guessing it's bad?
Yes and not just because I'm not a fan of Marxism or the way Marxists tend to write. The whole thing could easily be a satire, especially considering that the head writer of the comics didn't actually know for decades that his stuff was being translated. That it was serious made it equal parts pathetic and terrifying.
 

Mr.E

Active member
#8
Tombstone (1957)

Directed by John Sturges

In the silver mining town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, ranchers and cowhands oppose the growing contingency of business-owners, most of whom are Northeastern in origin, who are growing in political power in the region.

Under increasing economic pressure and their growing disadvantage in society, a group of cow herders, calling themselves "The Cowboys," have taken to committing crimes across the Arizona territory. Billy and Ike Clanton, taking the example from their father Newman lead the operation from their ranch outside of Tombstone. Newman is a notorious criminal who steals cattle from over the border and sells them illegally, and has killed in the process. His sons have continued his activities, and have associations with Billy Claiborne; Tom and Frank McLaury, who had assisted with Old Man Clanton's activities by reselling some of their stolen cattle; Johnny Ringo, a former Texas Ranger, and "Curly Bill", a corrupt rustler who serves on the staff of Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan.

The sympathetic Sheriff Behan manages to cover up some of the Cowboy's activities, but he is increasingly becoming sidelined by new town enforcers. US Deputy Marshall Virgil Earp (a Union veteran) has decided to relocate to Tombstone to monitor the Cowboys. He is joined by his brothers Morgan and Wyatt as policemen, and Wyatt's friend John "Doc" Holiday, an experienced gunfighter. Virgil and his entourage largely represent the town's business class, and largely serve their interests. They also are minor business owners themselves, with Wyatt and Morgan owning several saloons and gambling interests. Thus, the activities of the Cowboys cause conflict, starting when the Earps track several stolen US Army Mules to the McLaurys, but can't connect them to the crime.

The conflict grows between the two groups, representing a proxy conflict between the two factions. Virgil attempts to bribe Ike Clanton for information on a stagecoach robbery, which goes awry when the participants are killed anyway. When Frank Stillwell steals another stagecoach, and the Earps are able to catch him, Tom threatens them with retaliation. The Earps, willing to uphold the law, attempt to act against Sheriff Behan, with Wyatt trying to run against him as Sheriff, and both pursuing Josephine Marcus. Though he loses, Earp remains as deputy sheriff.

Holiday, more volitile than his compatriots, is arrested for assault. Holiday is charged and cleared of a charge of stealing a stage coach (the film implies he was responsible). Old Man Clanton is killed in vengeance for killing several Mexican smugglers during one of his raids.

The tensions come to head in October 26th. Ike confronts Doc Holiday, and the two have an intense fight. Later, the Earps ambush Ike, and bring him up on a weapons charge. They also pistolwhip Tom, prompting their brothers and Claiborne to come into town to defend them. After Behan fails to convince them to disarm, Virgil decides to confront the cowboys in Fremont Street, near the OK Corral. The Earps, Holiday, and the Cowboys proceed to engage in a climatic shootout.

When the dust settles, the McLaurys and Billy Clanton are dead, (Tom shot by Holiday, Frank and Billy by one of the gun fighters in the chaos) with Morgan, Holiday, and Virgil injured and Ike and Claiborne fleeing the battle.

Even after the climatic showdown, tensions still run. Ike attempts to have the Earps and Holiday brought up on murder charges, but they are dismissed with the help of sympathetic witnesses, and hailed as heroes. Virgil is ambushed, but survives two months later, and Morgan is killed three months after that. Claiborne is killed in a drunken confrontation, and Ike is eventually killed whilst resisting police reigning him on charges of cattle rustling.

The film ends on an aged Wyatt Earp telling a biographer the story, distorting the elements, and placing himself at the center.

Background information: "The Gunfight at the OK Corral", as it came to be called (given it actually happened six blocks north of it), only entered popular consciousness after the publication of "Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal" in 1932, two years after Earp's death[1]. His version of events was how it was remembered in the immediate aftermath of the revolution. Several films in the 1930's and 40's, including 1935's OK Corral, portrays Wyatt Earp's sequence of events.

However, with the transcripts of the trial revealed as part of an Academy of Arts and Science project in 1946, the real details of the event began to seep in. Tombstone was based primarily on the real account, with Wyatt Earp as a minor character, and later attacked him at the end for changing the sequence of events.

Tombstone was part of the transitionary period between the films of the First and Second Cultural Revolutions. Whilst it has a moral grayness between its (anti-)heroes and villains, it fudges the details to make the Marshals (representing northern capitalists above all) more insidious (notoriously blaming the stagecoach robbery on Holiday, despite histoical evidence to the contrary), along with condensing the timeline. Still, its dark tone and deeply unsympathetic characters have made the film a classic Western.


[1] Slightly shifted from 1931, with butterflies meaning Earp dies a year later at age 81
 

Japhy

S.M. Stirling Hates Him!
Published by SLP
Location
Troy, New York
#9
Is the shift towards at least attempting to frame things towards the actual history, even in political dressing a knock off divergence? Asking considering how movies like My Darling Clementine, Gunfight at the OK Corral, and Hour of the Gun had no problem playing fast and loose with who as present, alive, dead or anything else.
 

Mr.E

Active member
#10
Is the shift towards at least attempting to frame things towards the actual history, even in political dressing a knock off divergence? Asking considering how movies like My Darling Clementine, Gunfight at the OK Corral, and Hour of the Gun had no problem playing fast and loose with who as present, alive, dead or anything else.
I'd say so, yeah. There will likely be historically inaccurate films, but I think that an earlier shift towards real history would be plausible.

Though even this film is not entirely accurate to the events.
 
#16
Yes and not just because I'm not a fan of Marxism or the way Marxists tend to write. The whole thing could easily be a satire, especially considering that the head writer of the comics didn't actually know for decades that his stuff was being translated. That it was serious made it equal parts pathetic and terrifying.
The way Marxists write is mind bogglingly boring and confusing. I say this as a former sympathizer.
 

Mr.E

Active member
#17
Excerpt from "Nightmares from the Crypt" by Lewis Lovhaug,[1] talesfromthelongbox.syn.uasr


"We've discussed Red and Black Publications, one of the early collectives founded by comics pioneer Maxwell C. Gaines, in several earlier entries. Through the First Cultural Revolution, they had a steady stable of characters, including Red Tornado, the Flash, Green Lantern, and of course, Marston's Wonder Woman, along with other notable titles in the romance and crime genres. However, by the end of the war, most of their superhero titles had been cancelled, with only Wonder Woman remaining as a weekly title.


After several failed attempts at new heroes (including "Moon Girl" and "Blackstone, Master Magician"), Gaines began to lean more towards educational comics. Picture Stories from.... was such an attempt, with topics such as history, Marxism, science, etc. with the express purpose of giving these books in schools or in communes. This venture, while mildly successful, had caused the collective to stagnate creatively, so Gaines kept up more creative enterprises in the form of romance and crime comics.


In 1948, Gaines was severely injured in a boat accident, and the reigns of leadership came under his reluctant son William, despite his desire to become a chemistry teacher (some sources say Gaines senior pressured William to take the position). Bill subsequently took on young artists Al Feldstein and Harvey Kurtzman into the R&B editorship, and distanced themselves from the Picture Stories From....


With the eclipse of superheroes, an increasingly popular genre was horror and crime anthology books. Most of these initial books either focused on counterrevolutionary comeuppance or the terrors of pre-revolutionary capitalism, in the tradition of “Sinclairian horror”.


With the market filled with those sorts of tales, Gaines and Feldstein, figuring something different was needed to distinguish them, decided that more contemporary stories were needed. To test the waters, they published a horror story in one of their crime comics Crime Patrol.


The story was a success, and Crime Patrol became The Crypt of Terror, and eventually just The Crypt. Following suit was The Horror Vault and Tales from the Morgue. Stories featured in this often contained supernatural elements in a distinctly modern setting. Living dead, vampires, vengeful spirits, and ghouls were often depicted, alongside more mundane killers. More importantly, it showed contemporary issues. Sometimes, the villain was a corrupt public official, or a socialist driven to the brink. Capitalists or pre-revolutionary villains were rarely shown. Instead, killers (supernatural or otherwise) were often average people, driven by emotional or psychological reasons. Worst, sometimes, the villain got away with their nefarious schemes.


Another novel idea was for the horror host, a transfer from television, who would narrate the stories. The Crypt Keeper, the Vault Keeper, and the Coroner became synonymous with these books, and some of the most beloved parts of them.


While the modern setting was not their own invention ( other horror comics had already been moving in that direction), R&B’s use of encouraging fan participation and loyalty(from the horror hosts to published fan letters), as well as artwork from legendary artists like Jack Kamen, Wallace Wood and Johhny Craig bringing these lurid images to life helped bring it above their competition. Just as well, it would bring a number of imitators, who would bring in their own anthologies and hosts for their audience.


Of course, they eventually placed new spins on other genres. Kurtzman would bring a sense of cynicism and realism to war comics with Frontline Combat, which situated it above its more-Internationalist contemporaries. Star Squadron , a book we previously discussed, was morphed into a general Science fiction anthology, Weird Science Fantasy, which Gaines and Feldstein would write themselves, and would include work from authors like Ray Bradbury and Otto Binder (using connections from editor Julius Schwartz). While adhering to the general futuristic communist aesthetic of many science fiction of the period, it would deconstruct it to explore whether human behavior would change when humans reach that point in time.


Crime and Suspence Stories would push the envelope even further, with stories tackling contemporary issues of racism, sexism, terrorism, and even public corruption. Bernard Krigstein’s “Master Race” would see a Nazi haunted by the souls of those he had condemned. [2] Another featured a former True Democrat, haunted by his experience in prison, committing suicide at the climax… only to reveal he was framed by an ambitious politician to gain points for “fighting counterrevolutionaries”.


Of course, the shocking amount of gore and violence in these comics, as well as their depictions of crimes, caused a considerable amount of controversy. Daily Worker denounced “corrupting messages which encourage juvenile violence” within comics. Parents and caretakers were concerned about the level of violence in comics, as were international distributors.


The biggest voice against comics was Dr. Fredric Wertham. A German-Jewish psychiatrist trained by Carl Jung, he had come to fame as a leading witness in the trial of serial killer Albert Fish. Specializing in Child Development, in 1939, he published a wide ranging study of the new school system under socialism, which overwhelmingly endorsed the success of the Deweyite system. By the late 40’s, he turned his attention to comics. He saw comics as a danger to child development and social behavior, turning them against society and encouraging violence.


Using certain studies (which were later shown to have been fudged and distorted), he began a series of articles in 1950 that attacked various comics, and implored a sort of system to prevent them from distribution.


This would begin the Comics Scare.R&B and other publishers would push back against Wertham and others calling for the censorship of comics. Wertham and Gaines would face off in a number of public debates (one held before a PBS audience), over comics and their values..


In the meantime, despite endorsements for Wertham from public figures like C. Wright Mills [3], ultimately, attempted bans of comics were struck down as violations of free speech by either the soviets or the courts. Similarly, other researchers were disputing Wertham’s findings that comics were uniquely part of juvenile delinquency. Wertham himself found himself heavily criticized as a “bourgeois-esque censor”, and his work was ironically being used in Cuba and the FBU as a sign of comics being “communistic defilement of the youth”. Wertham would level down, and basically withdraw from his crusade, though still advocating a ratings system. He would also come to battle other figures during the period.


Ultimately, sales would do what Wertham couldn’t. By the late 50’s, the demand for R&B’s “New Direction” had declined with every passing year, with some criticism leveled at the increasing monotomy of the stories. At the same time, Schwartz would bring the Flash and Green Lantern back (ironically in Crime and Suspence and Weird Science respectively), and R&B would later absorb the artists and writers of Red Circle Comics, which would form the modern Marvel Comics Group, and release Fantastic Four, bringing back superheroes.


While the New Direction would disappear in the 1960’s, it would be remembered, with titles like the Crypt and Weird Science having occasional revivals through the decades. The 90’s revival had notable artists like Andre Guitterez, Alan Moore and Kim Newman writing and drawing it. Many artists, including George Romero, George Lucas, and Stephen King would cite R&B books as leading inspirations for their work.


Oh, yeah, remember Harvey Kurtzman? After tiring of war stories, he was given the reigns of a humor comic called Tales to Drive You MAD. His tenure, and how it changed American humor, will be explored next time.


[1] Special thanks to @Nevermore

[2] Real story, from EC’s “Impact” magazine

[3] OTL, he wrote a positive review for “Seduction of the Innocence
---------------
 

Omund the Wooden-Leg

Chazadjin Marmaduke Brandybuck
#20
Omund is busy reading it now. Now I am on Chapter 5 and in the nineteen-twenty's. Nice reading of the now-long-vanished world on the First Gilded Age. The Thirty-One Years' War begins in 1914, but the U.S.A. joins the day before Britain does. Oooh! Fascinating. I did spot you started the Battle on the Somme one month earlier with the armies of three nations against the Germans, but it is still is a bloody futile carnage. The 1918 Spring Offensive starts earlier and the fighting ends earlier. And good to see the former Tsar is safe, and won't be assassinated. Looking forward to reading what happens in this over the rest of the 20th century.

Will there be sequels to this? I see there is a thread for "The Great Crusade".