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Child's Play and the Angel Dust Murders

 
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 964

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 4:46 pm    Post subject: Child's Play and the Angel Dust Murders Reply with quote

This is a well-known story, but I wonder if I've not been understanding it correctly for years. As I understand the story, Roger McKenzie wrote a story for Daredevil #167 where a child was killed after using PCP. Unfortunately, the Comics Code refused to approve the story and Marvel, not being enthused with the sales under McKenzie, chose not to fight for it and removed him from the book in favor of the artist, Frank Miller. Meanwhile, David Micheline was tasked with an issue instead and, since the book was only printing every other month, there was time to get it out on time. A couple years later, Frank Miller decided to reuse the Child's Play story and, since the book was doing better, Marvel fought to get it published.

However, I was reading #169. In that issue, it specifically mentions that Murdock was involved in the defense of the "Angel Dust Murders." This is clearly a reference to Child's Play. But it makes me wonder. Did Miller think the issue was going to be published? Had Marvel already tapped him to write #168 before deciding not to publish the original #167? Furthermore, was the murder case Matt was tracking down a witness for in #168 somehow originally related to that case as well? I feel like there are so many moments that could change if my original understanding of the story is somehow wrong.
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mghg
Flying Blind


Joined: 12 Mar 2017
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Child's Play and the Angel Dust Murders Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
Did Miller think the issue was going to be published?

Yes, that is my understanding. The sequence of events behind the publication is described by Keith Dallas on page 14 in "American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1980s".

The Comics Code Authority rejected the story "Child's play" principally because a three-panel sequence that shows a boy smoking a drug pipe. Marvel initially was going to publish the story in #167 without the CCA seal, but late before printing president Jim Galton decided to replace the story with an inventory story by Micheline and Miller (i.e. "The Mauler"). Jim Shooter proposed to publish "Child's play" and its conclusion as an exclusive album, but editor Denny O'Neill argued for publication for the mass market. Thus, I think Frank Miller when writing #169 assumed that "Child's play" was going to be published soon in some way.

Two years later, "Child's play" was published in #183 with at least four changes compared to the original version: The cover was replaced and even though Keith Dallas does not mention this I assume that the CCA did not think the original cover complied to "good taste and decency" http://marvel1980s.blogspot.se/2013/06/1980-unpublished-daredevil-cover.html . The three-panel sequence with the drug pipe was redrawn (page 7). The last page of the original story http://themarvelageofcomics.tumblr.com/image/17752145442 was redrawn into two pages (it is easy to discover that the skull on Punisher's chest looks different in pages 19 and 20 in #183 compared to previous pages). Two pages were added in the end and connects "Child's play" with the overarching story. There might be more changes that I am not aware of, but in my view it is the four last pages of #183 that definitely feels newer than the rest.

Mike Murdock wrote:
Furthermore, was the murder case Matt was tracking down a witness for in #168 somehow originally related to that case as well?

I do not know and I have not thought about this before. However, I think it is unlikely due to the German accent of the wanted witness in #168.
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