Secret Panel (8)
By: Jason Grote
September 24, 2010
Eighth in a series of twelve posts celebrating our favorite Silver Age comic double entendres.
This cover is fundamentally different from the others in this series. Why? Inadvertant comics humor from the 1940s-60s is entertaining because it’s impossible to guess whether or not the artists/writers knew what they were doing. But Dave Manak, who drew this 1991 cover for Alf #48, got his start in the early 1970s. He came of age during the underground comix reign of R. Crumb and S. Clay Wilson, and surely knew what he was doing when he drew Alf raping a seal. Looking back at children’s entertainment of the Eighties [1984-93], it’s obvious now that it was mined with inappropriate subtextual (or textual) material, planted there by disgruntled and self-important hacks who wanted to make a spectacle of their anger at “the suits” — who, admittedly, shared plenty of blame for sucking the soul out of kids’ pop culture during that era. PS: The look on that seal’s face will haunt me for the rest of my days.
What do you think?
Disturbed by this cover. Surely Manak intended to depict seal rape on some level (as a double entendre or something), but I must be missing the more basic, child-friendly event being portrayed here… Surely Marvel cannot have okayed a cover for a children’s comic in which the ONLY POSSIBLE interpretation is an act of rape? I’m confused…
It’s tough to spot, but the cover image is a play on the “do not buy is safety seal is missing” warning. It’s a gag — but not a funny one.
Yeah, it’s a horrible pun. I have no hard evidence that Manak was intentionally depicting bestiality — it could be a reference to Alf’s predilection for dog-eating — but I’ve read enough interviews and had enough conversations with comics and children’s TV professionals from the 1980s to know that they pulled this stuff all the time.
The even worse crime, IMO, is how contemptible all these adults found child audiences at the time.
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