Friday, May 29, 2009

Mails of Suspense

Just for the heck of it, I thought I'd take a quick look at the letters columns in Tales of Suspense #s 70-79 to see if there are any interesting patterns I can discern. There were 47 letters in all, so that's a little under five per issue.

1. Only one writer had more than one letter published in TOS in those issues: Kenny Chance of Brooklyn who had letters in TOS #75 and #76.

2. Maybe it should be called Males of Suspense? Only one of the letters was written by a female. Linda Crowe of Greenwood, Indiana, wrote in to complain about the apparent death of Happy Hogan in TOS #70.

3. The letters were all terse; I don't recall any of them being longer than about 5-6 sentences and never two paragraphs. Partly this may have been because TOS only had a one-page letter column, but also Stan obviously had his hands full with so many scripts to pop out in a month and around this time was begging his fans to keep their letters to under a page in length. A little while afterward he even tried publishing the letters without any editorial reply, although this proved so unpopular that he returned to commenting a few months later.

4. The states that had the most letter writers were New York (9), Illinois (6) and New Jersey (4). Five letters were mailed from outside the USA; three from Canada and one each from Puerto Rico and Trinidad. Actually I guess Puerto Rico is still part of the US, but it's not a state.

5. The first names were very much "white bread": Lots of Joes and Bobs and Dons and Williams. The ethnic flavor was more in the last names: Khan, Della Fiore, Zimmerman, Iacopelli, Ahokas, Martinez, etc. It was an era where people tried to blend in, rather than emphasize their heritage, and I actually disliked my name of Patrick back them because it was so uncommon. (According to Social Security, fewer than one boy out of every 200 born in the US in 1955 was given that name).