I am American who has been living in Japan for over six months. Last night I saw a can of Doyle pineapple and it brought up good memories and I bought it. When I tried to open the can I realized I would need a can opener! I eat canned stuff all the time and have managed to survive without a can opener in Japan because all, and I do mean all, Japanese canned goods can be popped open without a can opener. I can assure the people at Doyle that the Japanese price convenience highly and their archaic technology will affect their sales in Japan dramatically. I finally opened up the can with my Swiss Army knife but will not do this again. So do I buy a can opener or just skip buying Doyle canned goods? Hard choices and probably I will go the path of least resistance and just skip buying Doyle canned goods.
After I wrote this post I received this email from the Doyle company.
Dear Mr. Fox,
Thank you for contacting us about Dole Pineapple. While the easy open feature is available in our smaller 8 and
16 ounce cans, it is less common in the 20 ounce cans in the Japanese market and we apologize for the
inconvenience you experienced.
We appreciate your interest in Dole Food Company and are glad to provide the information you requested. We hope it is useful. It’s been a pleasure to help you!
Dr. Delta: The E-money meme is highly infectious but not virulent.
FS: The Asian Union dumped their own currencies and adopted e-money as their official currency. E-money was totally electronic within the AU. There was simply no paper money used in the Asian Union. All monetary transactions were done with an e-card, similar to a credit card.
DG: Why this radical move?
FS: This made street crime very difficult since the AU central authority could easily analyze any transaction done with an e-card. Both dólares and euros backed e-money. The euro and the dólar were contra cyclical. If one currency went up then the other one went down. E-money was the most stable currency on my world and this had special advantages.
DG: Paperless money? Sounds impossible.
FS: Money is the ultimate meme. Money is ultimately an idea. Backing the e-money with euro and dólar reserves was more for psychological purposes than stability. Even my world wasn’t ready for true e- money and needed the crutch of paper moneys backing the e-money.
DG: So e-money was a giant memetic warfare strategy?
FS: One of many, the East Chinese government in Shanghai used their huge euro and dólar reserves to manipulate the world money supply and thereby control the world economy. The AU government used the reserves to buy goods and services outside the Asian Union but could and did decide which currency to use for particular macroeconomic transactions such a big AU government contracts. Deciding to use the euro or dólar for that transaction would dramatically increase the relative supply of euros or dólares.
DG: Why did the Asian Union do this?
FS: The maxim was “He who controls the money supply of the world, controls the economy of the world.”
DG: So the AU was trying to control the money supply of the world?
FS: E-money didn’t give the Asian Union total control over the money supply of the world since the United Americas and European Union could still print more money but e-money did give the AU more economic control domestically and internationally than paper money would have. Several books had been written about monetary warfare and East Chinese economists were seen as generals with a new weapon.
DG: Why did the China in your Earth focus so much on economic means?
FS: Revisionist Chinese historians claimed that imperial China had controlled the middle kingdom primarily through economic rather than militar means and that the Chinese naturally excelled at such types of control. Chinese had superior technology to their neighbors for hundreds of years and this had translated into superior products and services that allowed for Chinese dominance. The decline of China had begun with a decline in relative technological progress compared to the West.
DG: Sounds like a reasonable view of Chinese history.
FS: Japan had correctly focused on technological development first, then economic progress but had almost destroyed itself in World War II when it pursued a militaristic path. China had been distracted by various social agendas but now was on the right path of economic superiority that would lead to political control of the world. This view claimed that a study of Chinese history taught the Chinese that economic imperialism was more effective than militar imperialism.
DG: So the goal is economic power?
FS: No, the goal is to control the means of memetic production through whatever means necessary including economic means.
DG: My area of expertise has always been micro-memetics i.e. psychology rather than macro-memetics i.e. social sciences. What do you know about micro-memetics?
FS: Not much, actually I just know that my Square Earth focused on memetic war more than this Earth.
DG: What about good old fashioned none memetic war?
FS: Regardless, of arguments about the past, most agreed that every militar adventure since the 1970’s by a major power had ultimately failed and there was a pattern to this failure. On my Earth, UA militar action had failed in the long run in Vietnam, Serbia, the Gulf War and the Colombian Droga War.
DG: How so?
FS: The huge militar budgets incurred by the United Americas in these conflicts had ultimately contributed to the UA economy growing more slowly than the rest of the world and losing its dominant economic position. The cost of these militar actions escalated to the point that the major power injured the economic means that enabled militar action in the first place. The United Americas economy had been so rich it took much, much longer for the cost of its militar adventures to ultimately hurt the economy but eventually the fall came and the Asian Union sped ahead.
DG: I thought the military power of the US had made it number one in the 20th century.
FS: The US is of course different from the UA but I think the real lesson of the success of the US is the success of the US economy. US militar actions by the US in Vietnam and the Middle East have hurt the US not helped the US. In hindsight, the US had ultimately out spent the USSR and defeated the USSR via economic means rather than militar means.
DG: And on your world?
FS: In my world, the relative prosperity of the AU was due to its low militar spending. The relative lack of prosperity of the United Americas was due to its high rate of militar spending. Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese militar strategist had written that,” One spy was worth a thousand soldiers.” A new saying arose on my Earth; “One billionaire is worth a thousand spies since money controlled spies.”
DG: You mentioned Shanghai as being the capitol of East China. Was East China a separate country?
Keep in mind I wrote the above several years before the following happened:
“On Monday the governor of the People’s Bank of China proposed expanded use of an alternative — the International Monetary Fund’s SDR, or Special Drawing Right, an accounting unit based on the euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling and U.S. dollar.”
This post will look at DC and Marvel heroes from their line of war comics. The DC heroes include Blackhawk, Boy Commandos, Captain Storm, Creature Commandos, Enemy Ace, G.I. Robot, Gunner & Sarge, Haunted Tank, Hunter’s Hellcats, Johnny Cloud, the Losers, Mademoiselle Marie, Red, White and Blue and Sgt. Rock of Easy Company. As I did in the DC vs. Marvel Western Heroes post (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/dc-vs-marvel-western-heroes/), I will pit the top three of the DC line against the top three of the Marvel line. The top three in terms of fame are Blackhawk, Enemy Ace and Sgt. Rock of Easy Company.
Blackhawk is the name of the leader of a free lance fighter pilot squadron and the name of their group. They wore an aviator type uniform, they first appeared in Military Comics and their missions were decidedly military in nature. Slowly but surely they became more like superheroes and started to fight more and more enemies with superpowers. The New Blackhawk era lasted from issues #228-241 and each member got his own superhero costume. The transition from military heroes to superheroes was abrupt. Later on the Blackhawk team returned to their military roots.
Enemy Ace is the story of a German flying ace during World War I. Enemy Ace first appeared in Our Army at War in 1965. Enemy Ace is, as the title suggests, the enemy but has a sense of chivalry and a sense of the horror of war that is universal. Enemy Ace is an antihero. I do see similarities between Enemy Ace and Jonah Hex. Both are none superhero genre heroes that succeed in large part due to their atypical, for comic books, antihero status which makes them more interesting. Like Jonah Hex, Enemy Ace was later used by the darker Vertigo imprint.
Sgt. Rock of Easy Company is probably the number one war hero of the DC line. Sgt. Rock first appeared in G.I. Combat (January, 1959). Sgt. Rock appeared in Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion in 2008. This is quite a run for a war hero in comic books. Sgt. Rock for most of his run had zero superhero elements. Sgt. Rock generally carries a 45 calibre Thompson submachine gun and a .45 calibre Colt M1911A1 automatic pistol. Sgt. Rock always carries a number of hand grenades that he can throw with great accuracy.
Later Sgt. Rock appeared in Brave and the Bold #84, #96, #108, #117, and #124 in decidedly superhero type adventures with Batman. This comic book tendency to reinvent war heroes and make them into superheroes is unfortunate. Alan Moore, In theTwilight of the Superheroes, (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/non-fiction/twilight-of-the-superheroes-by-alan-moore/) points out that the juxtaposition of Sgt. Rock, for example, with the Legion of Superheroes is a bad idea and I agree. Let the war heroes be war heroes! Kanigher, the editor of Sgt. Rock, who created the majority of the Sgt. Rock stories, in a letter column in Sgt. Rock #374 stated that Sgt. Rock did not survive past 1945 effectively making the Brave and Bold Sgt. Rock stories null and void.
Marvel has a shorter list of war heroes that include Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos, Captain Savage and his Leathernecks, the characters in the The ‘Nam series, and the Phantom Eagle. The ‘Nam was an attempt to create a realistic war comic. The comic book happened in real time. A monthly issue more or less described what happened in a month in Vietnam. Nam related lingo was explained at the end of the comic book. The ‘Nam characters are too real and would not stand against a chance against other comic book war heroes that are slightly superhuman. The title became a less realistic comic book towards the end of its run with the introduction of Frank Castle who later becomes the Punisher.
The Punisher can be considered a war hero of sorts in that he was a soldier in Vietnam as detailed in The ‘Nam. The Punisher uses actual military weapons as detailed in The Punisher Armory. The Punisher also does not have super powers. On the other hand, the Punisher wears a costume and that is one of the defining characteristics of a superhero. Most of all the Punisher fights superhero type enemies between conflicts with organized crime. A high point of this sort of battle was the Punisher versus Doctor Doom story in Punisher #28. Doctor Doom is the premiere super villain of the Marvel universe who can take on entire super hero teams such as the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and the X-Men. The Punisher should have no chance against Doctor Doom at all yet he manages to blackmail Doctor Doom into leaving him alone. Only a superhero could do this. No one would argue that Batman is not a superhero despite his lack of superpowers. The Punisher can be seen as a very successful combination of superhero and war hero elements with an emphasis on superhero elements.
The star war hero of Marvel is Sgt. Fury who goes on to become a secret agent of SHIELD and is better known for this role than his war hero role. Sgt. Fury first appeared in his own title in May of 1963 and is very similar to DC’s Sgt. Rock and probably Sgt. Rock was a model for Sgt. Fury to some extent. Jack Kirby, who created DC’s Boy Commandos, mentioned in an interview that the Howling Commandos were adult versions of the Boy Commandos. Sgt. Fury is far more famous than all the other war heroes of both universes put together. Sgt. Fury was also much lighter fare than DC’s Sgt. Rock and Enemy Ace. Sgt. Fury stories generally avoided the horror of war theme of the DC titles.
Captain America even shows up in Sgt. Fury #13! The cover of this issue is at the begining of this post. Captain America is created by the U.S. government and is described as a super soldier but is more super than soldier and does not even use military armament but instead throws an archaic shield. Later Nuke emerges from the same super soldier program and does use military hardware and is a Vietnam vet. Wolverine also comes from the same program providing some continuity to the Marvel universe but these super soldiers are clearly super heroes and not war heroes.
Fury is not some outlier of the Marvel universe but a character that is central to the Marvel universe. Marvel recently had an event labeled Civil War and Fury as the ex-head of SHIELD plays a pivotal role in this event that involved just about every title in the Marvel universe in 2008. Sgt. Fury logically fights his DC doppelganger Sgt. Rock. The other Marvel war heroes are obscure characters but will be drafted in this contest due to a lack of options.
The Phantom Eagle is a World War I ace that fights for the allies and logically is an opponent of the Enemy Ace. The Phantom Eagle had more super hero elements than the Enemy Ace including a mask that concealed his secret identity. The Phantom Eagle had worked in a flying circus prior to fighting in World War I and was a expert stunt flyer. The Phantom Eagle is also a very obscure character in the Marvel universe and someone who can describe this character really knows their Marvel universe history.
There is no equivalent to the Blackhawks in the Marvel universe. There is a perfect equivalent to Marvel’s Captain Savage and his Leathernecks in the form of DC’s Captain Storm. Captain Storm was a PT Boat Captain. Captain Storm lost his leg in combat and had the leg replaced with a wooden leg but stayed in active duty which would not happen in the actual military. Captain Storm actually had his own title in his very first adventure rather than having his adventures in one of the war anthologies before getting his own title later as was the custom at DC. Captain Storm appeared as late as 2003 in the Losers Special. The Losers were a collection of DC’s war heroes including Johnny Cloud and Gunner & Sarge.
Marvel’s Captain Savage originally was introduced in Sgt. Fury’s Howling Commandos and the main mission of the Leathernecks was to ferry Sgt. Fury and his commandos around but eventually Captain Savage got his own title. Pitting a fighter squadron against an infantry squad hardly seems fair but pitting two Captains that are both involved in amphibious operations does make sense.
The first battle is between the two Sergeants. Sgt. Rock has a penchant for hand grenades that he throws with unerring accuracy. Sgt. Rock believes Sgt. Fury is a Nazi imposter and throws a grenade at Sgt. Rock and blows him to pieces. Sgt. Fury has a tendency to lose his shirt and run directly at heavily fortified positions with his submachine gun blazing rather than taking advantage of other weaponry such as grenades. Sgt. Fury seems to think he is invulnerable like a superhero! Sgt. Fury does not seem to know what cover is unlike Sgt. Rock.
In World War I, the Phantom Eagle and the Enemy Ace face off and the Phantom Eagle does all sorts of stunts that do not impress the Enemy Ace. The Phantom Eagle is shot down by the Enemy Ace while doing a loop. The Enemy Ace wonders why this fool of a pilot was wearing a mask and concludes the aviator was probably deranged due to the horrors of war.
Captain Storm and Captain Savage get into a bar fight as to whether the Navy or the Marines are better and Captain Savage punches Captain Storm. Captain Storm goes down because the wooden leg buckles. Captain Savage sees his opponent on the ground and notices the wooden leg. Captain Savage feels absolutely terrible. Captain Savage pulls up Captain Storm rather than finishing him off and apologizes to Captain Storm. Captain Savage buys Captain Storm a drink and the fight is a draw.
DC has two war titles that are very interesting from a genre point of view. The Haunted Tank is a tank that is haunted by Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart. The ghost is a good ghost and helps the leader of the tank crew out with omniscient but cryptic advice. I think this is the only comic book title that combines the supernatural and war genres. The Vertigo line resurrected the Haunted Tank years later.
The Creature Commandos appeared in Weird War Tales #93. Weird War Tales generally combined the war comic genre with another genre. The sister publication Weird Western Tales combined the Western genre with other genres. The idea was to have creatures that generally appear in horror and put them in war situations as commandos.
The original team consisted of J.A.K.E. and J.A.K.E. 2 that were the first and second GI Robot. Warren Griffith suffered from clinical lycanthropy i.e. he was a werewolf. Dr. Myrra Rhodes was effectively a gorgon. Lt. Matthew Shrieve is the team leader and totally human. Pvt. Elliot “Lucky” Taylor stepped on a land mine and put back together and looked like Frankenstein. Sgt. Vincent Velcro was the vampire of the team.
The modern team included Alten, a mummy like creature. The Bogman was an amphibian that resembled the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Gunner was a cyborg. Hunter is 75 and formerly of Hunter’s Hellcats. Medusa is Myrra Rhodes who has mutated even more. Pvt. Elliot “Lucky” Taylor returns and now called Patchwork. Sgt. Vincent Velcro has become even more vampire like. Warren Griffith, the werewolf, has become more feral and out of control in the modern team. This cross mixing of non-superhero genres is a hallmark of DC that Marvel never explored to the same extent.
The next post in this series is DC vs. Marvel War Heroes at:
The number 888 is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture and a license plate with 888 as its number sells for a lot of money in Hong Kong.
Outbreak – “1-800-888-0000”
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The T-888 is a Terminator model type. Irony? Terminators are not lucky and actually distinctly unlucky. I would say just a good example of total ignorance of Chinese culture.
Tron – Flynn states, “ CODE SERIES HHH-888…activate.
The number 22 is called the master builder in numerology. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. There are 22 cards in the Tarot major arcane. 22 caliber weapons are incredibly popular in films and I did not include mention of 22 caliber movies in this study.
The Abyss – Demarco states, “At 9:22 local time this morning, an American nuclear submarine, the USS Montana, with 156 men aboard, went down 22 miles from here.”
The American President – The Defense instructor states, “We’ve got 22 instructors”.
Attica – A dead snitch hanging from a railing in Attica, the prison, is wearing a sports jersey with the number 22.
Avengers – There is red London bus numbered 22.
The Breakfast Club – The clock in the library is 10:22.
Bringing Out the Dead – Dispatcher states, “respond to a 10-22”
Casablanca – A young gambler at Casablanca with sob story that touches Rick is allowed to win three times in a row by playing number 22 on the roulette table. I think the person who decided to use the number 22 probably knew something about numerology.
Catch-22 – The title says it all. There is no way an author picks a number for a title of a novel without doing some research as to the symbolic meaning of the number.
Cloverfield – The stamped date on the video filming the events of the day is May 22. This is driving me crazy. The number is all over the place but the number may just as well have been picked accidentally.
Dark Star – One the characters states “22 minutes to detonation” of a bomb.
Demolition Man – Garcia states, “Is there anything here which doesn’t violate contraband order 22”.
Frequency – A character states, “We are 22,000 miles away in geosynchronous orbit”.
Friday the 13th Part VIII – Sean states, “It’s supposed to be 22 stories tall”.
Ghostbusters – In 1984, Dana Barrett and Louis Tully both lived on the 22nd floor of 55 Central Park West, or Dana’s apartments, sometimes called “Spook Central”, is the super-conductive antenna and portal to our realm, created by the Cult of Gozer to bring forth their “divine” master Gozer himself in his Destructor Form. Dana lived in room number 2206.
Insomnia – Will’s digital clock displays 4:22.
Iron Man – An F-22 is on display in front of Stark Industries.
Kyle XY Season 3, Episode 6 – The License Plate in a room of in Kyle’s house is 52211. The fact I even pick a number within a number shows my desperation.
Last Samurai – July 22, 1876 is the heroes 20th day at sea.
Minority Report – There is an arrest on “April 22”. Hmmmm, two films with Tom Cruise that mention the number 22? What is the Scientology position on numerology?
Pitch Black – “22 hours weeks out”.
Platoon – The radio operator states, “122 wounded and still counting. Estimate 500 Victor Charlie KIA, 22 wounded and still counting”.
Red Planet – A character states “Lock out systems 17, 22 and 40”.
Space Jam – Bill Murray is wearing a number 22 basketball jersey on the court. Why are you teasing me like this Bill?
Star Trek the Motion Picture – “inertial lag will continue 22 point five”, clearly a number used as a number.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – “Coordinates 22/87/4”, another instance of a number just used as a number but second time in Star Trek but then again they use a lot numbers in Star Trek overall.
Suspect Zero – One of the victims is aged 22 and another victim disappeared “3-22-97”. Two 22s in one movie! But this is another dead end.
THX 1138 – A supervisor says some mumbo jumbo, “retract to 220”
Twilight Zone Season 2 Episode – A patient has nightmares about Room 22, the hospital morgue. Rod Serling, the man of all things weird surely knew the significance of 22 and I am adding it to the yes column.
Wall Street – Gekko states, “but don’t pay over $22”