Chicago Spanking Review

Unknown Comic-Book Secretary Spanking

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secretary bends over for swat in unknown comic

Really nice bending-over position! Source unknown, but appears to be from a 1950's Atlas (Marvel) book.

Here is a most unusual item we've had in our files for at least two years. We held off on posting it because we really wanted to be able to identify the source book. Unfortunately, we retrieved this without knowing what site it came from, and we think that site is long gone in any case. All we know is that someone put "secretary" in the file name, and that also had a copy (not the place we found it, although the scan is the same).

The scan isn't all that clear, but based on the art and lettering, we'd say this could be a late 1950's Atlas (later Marvel) comic. In fact, the way the man's clothes are drawn reminds us of Jack Kirby's Marvel work from the 60's, although the female spankee does not.

Even on its own terms, this is a startling scene. Bending over with hands on a chair, as much as we love it, is not a common spanking position in comics, and if it weren't enough that the spankee gets the swat with a book, she also makes a request: "Harder! I deserve it!" Such a strong desire to receive punishment is unlike any romance comic spanking we've ever seen. We have to wonder exactly what it is that she did and what they're getting that $100.00 for - not for the spanking, surely!

01/25/2013 Update: Still no publication details on this, but Luther did an image search and found another copy which someone seems to have recolored. [This copy is not pictured because we later found a much better one - see update below.] We still think this is from some Atlas comic, either a Romance or more likely a Teen Humor book. As we have no way to search through those titles at the present time, it will probably be years before we finally identify the source, but we promise we won't give up.

cover of venus #2

The cover of Venus #2 (October 1948). The artists are unknown. © Marvel Characters Inc. Posted by the Web-Ed on 02/13/2015.

02/13/2015 Update: It took a while, but we have finally identified this scene as coming from Venus #2 (Ocober 1948). We were right about the publisher (Atlas) and reasonably close as to the date, having guessed it was the '50's, and right again about the spankee being a secretary. We also said something about the spanker's clothes reminded us of Jack Kirby, and we'll come back to the art later. But first let's talk about this title, whose identity came as something of a surprise.

Venus was one of three superheroines who made their debut in August 1948, the others being Sun Girl, a female counterpart to The Human Torch, and Namora (whom we briefly discussed in Miss America Spanks Namora), the amphibious sometime-companion of Prince Namor The Sub-Mariner. Why this sudden emphasis on heroines? Remember that at this time superheroes were fading fast - post-War Americans were as ready to move beyond them as they were the War itself. Girls especially were buying a lot of comics, but not, it was thought, superheroes (Patsy Walker, mentioned many times on CSR, had already taken off as a popular character). But you don't give up on a once-popular genre without seeing if you can revive the readers' interest in it, so Stan Lee, now of course back at Atlas' helm after returning from the War, decided to try to pull in female readers with female superheroes. Sun Girl and Namora both folded after only three issues, but Venus lasted longer and we will shortly speculate as to why that was.

From the beginning, Venus was a very odd book: part superheroine, part young woman's adventure, and part romance (the genre having been invented only the year before with Young Romance #1). Venus was supposed to be the actual Greco-Roman goddess, but the mythological aspect of these early stories was exceedingly strange: The unknown writer placed Venus' home as being on the planet Venus rather than on Mount Olympus, much as William Moulton Marston had placed Wonder Woman's antagonist Mars on the planet Mars. Hence the "two worlds" in the title of the story which interests us.

Venus has come to earth and accepted a job as the editor of Beauty magazine. While on Earth the goddess has none of her usual powers but retains the ability to travel back and forth to the planet Venus. This results in strange absences which have been noticed by her boss, Whitney Hammond, and her rival Della Mason, Hammond's secretary. Both are mystified even though Venus has told Whitney the truth - that she travels to Venus - since neither believes her.

venus #2 between two worlds

It's Della, our secretary spankee-to-be and Venus' rival for the affections of Whitney Hammond, their boss at Beauty magazine! © Marvel Characters Inc.

Della decides to dig up some dirt on Venus by hiring two private detectives, Sam Stout and Willie Weed, to follow Venus and see where she disappears to. She offers them $100 (about a weekly living wage for each of them back then) - enough money to get their attention, and of course the sum mentioned in the spanking panel, which will be explained shortly.

venus #2 della offers 100 dollars

Della offers two private detectives the then-princely sum of $100 to follow Venus. They pretend to be busy but in fact really need the money. © Marvel Characters Inc.

Stout and Weed follow Venus as instructed, only to be completely baffled when she vanishes right before their eyes. From Venus (the planet), Venus looks down on Earth and discovers that Della is trying to get her fired. She returns to Earth, appearing before the two detectives in their office and instructing them to go to Whitney's office and tell him that Della had paid them to find another job for her - is everybody following this?

They do as they're told, returning Della's $100 and making Whitney believe Della was looking for another job, and she almost is when Whitney, infuriated, fires her. But Venus returns and intercedes, telling Whitney:

venus #2 della's scheme fails and she willingly takes a paddling

Their attempts at following Venus having come to naught (the goddess disappeared right in front of them), detectives Weed and Stout earn their $100 fee from Della by paddling her! © Marvel Characters Inc.

So at last we know how the spanking scene came about, and it's absolutely fascinating: Della, having been thoroughly routed by Venus, lets the two private detectives earn their $100 fee back by paying them to paddle her behind with what appears in this much-clearer scan to be a wooden plank - an improvised spanking paddle! Willingly she bends over and places her hands on a chair, presenting her rear end to take the swats and actually instructing Weed to whack her harder, while paying for the privilege - unbelievable! Except possibly for some of the spanking scenes in Wonder Woman, this had to be the kinkiest spanking seen in comics up to that time, and certainly the only time that a character paid money to get spanked!

Of course, the sheer kinkiness here was very likely accidental, unlike Wonder Woman whose creator William Moulton Marston was obviously a very strange guy. It was almost a formula, to the extent you can establish a formula in only one previous issue, that Della ended up frustrated in the last panel after Venus walked off with Whitney again, and the paddling scene was undoubtedly intended to be humorous. Still, we'd like to know the creative personnel involved, and we take up that question next.

venus #2 spanking panel

Willie Weed gives the scheming Della the swats she deserves! Pencils by George Klein, inker unknown. © Marvel Characters Inc.

The writer will almost certainly remain unknown. Atlas must have kept some records, perhaps only by Job Number, so that free-lance artists and writers could be paid, but these are long gone. As to the style, it's always tougher to identify a writer by his style than it is an artist. It doesn't read like a Stan Lee story to us, and that's the only conclusion we can make.

The artwork puzzled us too, and we're not alone: until very recently, no one had any idea who could have done it. As we mentioned, the records are long gone, and to make matters worse, at this time (1948) Atlas still had a true bullpen of artists, that is, a bunch of guys working together in a big room. Under those conditions, even the records might not show who did a particular job. But then Dr. Michael J. Vassalo, along with Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. (JVJ) and Hames Ware made a thorough study and concluded that the penciller of these early Venus stories was George Klein. This came as quite a shock since Klein was always known as an inker, not a penciller (the inker on this story remains unknown although it's possible Klein did some of that work as well).

It may also explain why something about Willie Weed's pants in the spanking panel made us think of Jack Kirby: Klein occasionally inked Kirby and perhaps did something similar with the clothes here. In fact, Vassalo made the even more momentous discovery that Klein was in fact the long-unknown Kirby inker in Fantastic Four #1-2.

cover of Action #313

Typical Superman cover from the Mort Weisinger era. Pencils by Curt Swan, inks by George Klein. © DC Comics Inc. (click to enlarge).

Klein is undoubtedly best remembered for his long-time association with Curt Swan. Togther they produced innumerable pages for the Superman Family books that many of us baby-boomers grew up reading. At left is the cover to Action Comics #313 (June 1964) which is typical of their work together. We find the quickest way to identify Klein's inking of Superman's figure is to look for the semi-circular arc of short strokes across the abdomen just below the rib cage (seen here). Klein did a good job, which with Swan basically meant not cluttering up the completeness of Swan's pencils. Probably only Murphy Anderson ever inked Swan better.

cover of Venus #19

"The most terrifying horror that ever existed!" Venus #19 (April 1952, the last issue). Can even Venus escape "The Kiss of Death"? Excellent art by Bill Everett. © Marvel Characters Inc. (click to enlarge). Note that in two more years, the Comics Code would forbid the use of the words "horror" and "terror" on a comic-book cover.

Finally, let's get back to Venus. As we mentioned, it lasted much longer than Sun Girl and Namora did. Why? For one thing, Venus was never really a superhero comic - it was much more like a very long romance comic story, and romance comics were really starting to take off. In fact, had Atlas focused exclusively on the romance angle, say by having Venus act as a kind of advisor to a sequence of girls with romantic problems, the book might have lasted for years. But Atlas was trying to find its way just then, so after Venus attended to some problems on Mt. Olympus the fantasy aspect of the book continued to replace romance as the cover of issue #10 bore the legend "Unusual Adventures." With issue #11 the focus changed again: suspense and horror were on the rise, and the cover now promised "Strange Stories of the Supernatural". But Venus wasn't a natural for the lead in a horror comic either, and her title was cancelled with the 19th issue. How much the title had changed by that time is apparent from a glance at the cover of the last issue (left).

Given the change in direction, it's extremely unlikely these later issues had any spankings, although of course we'll check when we can get ahold of them. For now, we've examined Venus #1-9 plus her two odd appearances in Lana #4 and Marvel Mystery Comics #91 and found no further spankings.

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