Longtime readers of this website are probably well aware of the fact that despite being an egregiously masculine man who has succeeded at most of the things men dream of…I’m still basically a huge nerd. And in another world, perhaps I would have a blog purely devoted to video games or comic books or film or various other forms of geekery.
However, due to the world being what it is, my blog is about masculinity and philosophy. But sometimes the silly world of nerddom is still relevant to what my mission is in the now. I have at various points discussed the dismal state of comic books, how something that should be a heroic mythology for the youth of today is rapidly becoming the same sort of finger-waggling, social justice scolding that the kids already get from everywhere else—the movies may not have that yet, but the comics certainly do, and you can bet your ass that they’re going to cram this nonsense into the movies as soon as they can get a chance.
It goes without saying that the superhero comics of the past are better than the ones of today, as evidenced by the fact that the popular Marvel movies were all based on the stories of decades past; even the SJWs running the show now realize that they have to sneak their leftist agitprop into their productions gradually and only after they’ve engrossed people with good old fashioned heroic stories. But what if I told you that even the most random, seemingly corny and unheroic comics of the past displayed true masculine virtue and “Red blooded” heroics better than the crap they put out nowadays.
Allow me to introduce you to Peter Wheat, the mascot of the eponymous Bread Company and star of a 55 issue comic book series that ran from the late 1940s to the mid 1950s.
Just to clarify for those of you not catching on: Yes. Peter Wheat is literally a corporate shill who’s trying to sell you flour and bread and cookies. And yes, Peter Wheat is, to paraphrase the words of Seanbaby, a creepy looking elf in a pope hat who lives in a world made of cupcakes. But despite those glaring deficiencies in his character, young Mr. Wheat is an absolute death machine. The creepy looking flour elf (or perhaps bread brownie or durum duende if one wants to alliterate) fights hornets, birds of prey, fish and other enemies of his people with such ferocity and valor that his advertising adventures (so much alliteration, Larsen) are genuinely interesting to read—and being drawn by the famous Walt Kelly certainly doesn’t hurt.
More to the point, given the choice between reading this delightful bread nonsense or the undelightful social justice nonsense of modern comic books…I would not only advocate reading Peter Wheat myself, but I would recommend him as a far greater hero to young children than any modern superhero.
Don’t believe me?
Here’s a few select pages:
“My sword is the best friend I’ve ever had”. Yep, a bread advertisement in 1950 was already espousing the Riddle of Steel.
So here we see Peter Wheat pulling absolutely no punches in combat. He turns himself invisible, hits the guy low, and starts curbstomping him when he’s down. Obviously, we at the Barbaric Gentleman don’t advocate violence, in fact I espouse avoiding it whenever possible. But whenever you’re in a real fight, you hit the SOB with everything you’ve got and don’t relent.
Does this look like the face of a wuss who has any self doubt? Hell no! Also note that when he gets word of a threat, he doesn’t hesitate to put himself at risk and lead from the front. Peter Wheat is the son of the queen of the, er, wheat people or whatever. Meaning he’s a prince. Even when you’re the size of a tampon, a true leader leads from the front!
“Spur your mount!”
In this panel, Peter reacts to a capsizing raft by leaping off it and stabbing an otter (that dwarfs him) in the face. I’d like to see FemThor or Down’s Syndrome Squirrel Girl do that!
Some classic “Count of Monte Cristo”/”Prisoner of Zenda” heroics, except Peter Wheat—who is, again, 3 inches tall—somehow exceeds the heroism of Edmond Dantes or Rudolf Rassendyl by going out of his way to pour hot wax on his hornet foes.
And again, zero fucks given.
As you can see, Peter Wheat isn’t the only denizen of the cupcake village that is an absolute badass.
Think about how heavy a wagon wheel is (proportionately speaking of course), and think about how much force you have to exert to hurl one into somebody’s face. The Hornet Knight is dead.
And finally, here’s a
bread advertisement showing a villain being stabbed in the neck.
Pretty amazing how
something that should be the epitome of corniness ends up being surprisingly
awesome. It just goes to show you that even hacky corporate nonsense can be made
surprisingly good with enough talent and creativity, and that even something
hallowed and heroic can become bullshit with untalented hacks behind it. Or
perhaps Peter Wheat was made in a day and age (immediately post WW2, after all)
that venerated virtue and heroism, and super “hero” comics today are
made in an age of weakness and decadence, and that was reflected even in
corporate shill works.
Either way, it shows how poorly the media, as well as the culture on the whole, has degenerated since those halcyon days, and the necessity of heroic mythology for all children—even if it is in the form of an overall wearing elf who sells bread.