Chicago Spanking Review

Rod Rule

Picture Gallery

joe shuster drawing of scantily-clad woman on cover of hollywood detective #1

Art by Joe Shuster. From Rod Rule (no number given but is probably the first and last issue). Taken from Craig Yoe's Secret Identity and posted by the Web-Ed on 05/03/2013 (click to double-size).

As we mentioned last time, when the publication of Nights of Horror was enjoined by the courts publishers Maletta & Clancy just continued publishing the series under different titles, mostly still as "Malcla". The last of these that's of any interest to us as spankos was Rod Rule, which we examine now. Notice that this time "Malcla" has been replaced by the mythical "Landry Press" supposedly headquartered in Chicago, which was probably intended to discourage New York from investigating it too closely.

While they did continue publishing, it's nerve-wracking to live under the constant threat of prosecution by the authorities, and the two men were clearly feeling the heat. Supposedly Clancy took all his original manuscripts as well as Joe Shuster's art, put them in a suitcase, and tossed it into Long Island Sound (see Yoe, p.34). This is in fact a good illustration of how tyrannies work: it isn't necessary to imprison everyone because if everyone is scared of the government's arbitrary power to declare a man a criminal, they tend to fall into line. And the power to judge a book "obscene" or to consider a speech "offensive" is always arbitrary. This is not to suggest that Maletta & Clancy were sterling citizens - they were pretty obviously just ordinary working-class guys having a hard time making a living who got involved in a sleazy business - but no one deserves to be at the mercy of government officials wielding arbitrary power. No wonder we hate New York!

And for all the effort expended by the NYC authorities in chasing these two little fish, the big fish got away: mobster Eddie Mishkin was a co-owner of Kingsley Books and perhaps some of the other bookstores that were selling these publications. The story of Mishkin's involvement in the production and distribution of pornography is too long to relate here where we've gone pretty far afield already, but there's a lot of information out there for those who are interested. Jim Linderman over at Vintage Sleaze has been writing about him for years. We have to think that Joe Shuster must have been relieved when all the hue and cry over these books had finally died down without anyone suspecting that he had been the artist.

joe shuster drawing of patriarch spanking a woman with a switch in nights of horror #13

Click to double-size.

Now let's have a look at Shuster's one spanking illustration from Rod Rule. Last time we wondered if Shuster had by any chance seen the spanking apparati of Gene Bilbrew, who seemed to have a strange fascination with spanking machines of all types. The one seen here is something like one of Bilbrew's, except that he tended to have a human agent involved in some stage of the machine's operation, while as Yoe notes this one is more like something you'd expect to see from Rube Goldberg, who specialized in overcomplicated devices. The spankee here, who bears a distinct resemblance to Shuster's Lois Lane, gets batted around between two separate mechanical paddlers. We love paddles, but this is really weird and like all spanking machines (except maybe Bilbrew's) removes the human touch from spanking.

It's extremely sad that because he and Jerry Siegel had not been smarter businessmen back in 1938, Joe Shuster had to sink to doing this kind of material (again, we're not talking about the M/F spankings but rather the more twisted fantasies in these books). In the early 60's, we know that he did a few cartoons for Humorama, including two "spankers" (Secretary Spanking #15 and Secretary Spanking #34). Siegel was broke also, and went back to DC as a freelancer in 1958, writing more stories of Superman as well as The Legion of Super-Heroes, which he also created for DC (and of course didn't own). He was "let go" (to the extent that you can fire a freelancer) in 1964. By the 70's, both men were pretty much destitute, but the 1978 movie Superman finally rescued them: not wanting any negative publicity surrounding the debut of what they hoped would be a blockbuster film, DC gave Siegel and Shuster a "Created by" credit in every Superman story, plus each a modest pension of $25,000 per year.

Joe Shuster passed away in 1992, while his lifelong friend Jerry Siegel died four years later in 1996. We spankos today are in their debt for having created so many spankings for us in the comic medium (Siegel of course having scripted the six M/F spankings in the Superman comic strip as well as one in More Fun Comics with Shuster).

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