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Monday 14th of September 2020

Lots of street art to see in Sydney from Circular Quay to Central and Surry Hills. Some of it is strange, others reflect a positive attitude, some are fanciful and one expresses horror.

At Cronulla we have a sunny disposition and at Bulli flight.

At Thirroul there is a well done ’Lest we forget’ piece and Wollongong can boast art that is truly inspiring.

Kiama is not without playful artists.

Last year I stopped off at Hamilton and was surprised by what I saw was there.

Some of this street art has been commissioned by local councils to provide beauty for passersby and no doubt get rid of, or at least reduce, the American style slum inspired tagging that goes on. Since we don’t have the slums they have in the USA and elsewhere (this may not be 100% true of Victoria) we need not have the squiggles that represent a mini-culture born out of foreign poverty. I prefer to look at and appreciate the street art that is truly artistic.

It is spring in New South Wales, Australia and so there is a lot of nesting going on. The Coots in Wollongong Botanic Garden are most active. Nests have either been built or are under construction. At least one Welcome Swallow is nesting and there are at least two male Satin Bower Birds with bowers containing blue to attract the green females. The bower near the bird bath is old and so the collection of blue there is most impressive.

I am reminded at times that we are all of one species. This is true. Even so, I cannot buy into the Globalist belief that we should chuck everything out that smacks of Nationalism and make all foods, all art, all writing blandly the same. It is contradictory, sure, but we are all different and, at the same time, all the same. We can share but not give up ownership of who we are.

The Golden Age of American comic books ran from the 1930s right up until the big clamp down on them in the mid-1950s and the creation of the Comics Code Authority (some researchers would take us a little beyond this to the start of the 1960s and the beginning of the Silver Age.)

This Golden Age was something American that affected the rest of the world like their movies, movie serials, cartoons and television shows. In fact there have been movie serials and television shows based on Golden Age costumed characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Captain America and The Phantom.

Was this Golden Age really all that Golden? Nowadays we are free to look upon it through rose-colored glasses and more often than not that’s what we do.

The 1930s was a time of financial hardship in most Western style countries. The 1940s was a period in which war engulfed the world. The Golden Age comic books reflect all of this.

There were moments of racism leveled at the mysterious Chinese in 1930s comic book strips such as Slam Bradley which was created earlier on by the team that came up with Superman. Once Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Japanese became the cruel, buck-toothed liberty hating enemy. Mussolini, Hitler and Tojo (representing the AXIS powers) became prime targets for scorn and have remained so ever since. It can also be said that African Americans were not treated all that well in the early comic books.

Superheroes arose to fight the foes abroad and at home. Often they came with names that reflected what many young Americans no doubt thought of as the American spirit: The Patriot, The Submariner (Submarines), The Destroyer (Destroyers), The Shield and, of course, Captain America. Generally speaking, not much thought went into inventing great wartime villains. The Red Skull, who tested Captain America and the Young Allies from time to time, was a great exception.

In Australia, during this period, American comic books were not imported but American comic strips were bought and used to bolster what was being produced locally. This should have been a fantastic time for Australian artists to shine. Maybe some did. What I do know is the art form was changing and Australian artists and writers simply were not keeping up with their overseas counterparts.

Much of the comic book art of the 1940s was crude but giants such as Jack Kirby were emerging. It was a time without an official censor, (no Comics Code Authority until the mid-1950s) and that is another reason why artists and readers see it as the Golden Age.

In the 1940s it was possible for Batman to machine gun down felons in his bat-plane. From the mid-1950s onward and well into the late 20th Century, this was no longer possible. He couldn’t use a gun let alone a machinegun. In the major comic book outfits nudity was banned outright. Comic books were considered to be just for kids and that was the case in the USA for a very long time. There were artists and writers, however, that defied the Comics Code Authority in the 1960s and 1970s, calling their product Comix rather than comics, but I will discuss them with you another day.

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