Mr. Block, Vol. VIII
In this 1912 comic, Ernest Riebe looks unflinchingly at how management uses racism to keep workers from uniting.
Comics and politics were intermingling long before Alan Moore and David Lloyd ever slapped a Guy Fawkes mask on their freedom fighting hero in V for Vendetta. Back in 1912, a German immigrant named Ernest Riebe started drawing his Mr. Block comics for the Spokane Industrial Worker, a newspaper associated with the militant Industrial Workers of the World, better known as the Wobblies. “Mr. Block is legion,” Walker C. Smith writes in the introduction to a 1984 collection of Riebe’s comics. “He is representative of the host of slaves who think in terms of their masters. Mr. Block owns nothing, yet he speaks from the standpoint of the millionaire; he is patriotic without patrimony; he is a law-abiding outlaw; he boasts of ‘our tremendous wheat exports,’ yet has no bread on his table; he licks the hand that smites him and kisses the boot that kicks him; he is the personification of all that a worker should not be.”
Blunderbuss is excited to run these public domain comics, provided courtesy of IWW.org. In the eighth of the 24 existent Mr. Block comics, Riebe provides an unflinching look at the capitalist exploitation of workers’ racism. Take warning: there are slurs ahead.
For the other comics in this series, click here.