DC Comics - "Pieface"?

In DC: The New Frontier, there is an eskimo character - he’s a mechanic working for Starr Labs (right?). Hal Jordan calls him “pieface”, and the character pretty much bites his head off (justifiably so).

Over at the DC message board, the author of the book, Darwyn Cooke, has posted the following:

What’s he talking about?

The silver-age Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) was a test pilot for Ferris Aircraft. Pieface was an Eskimo mechanic working at Ferris. He was the only one who knew Hal’s secret identity, and would help Hal out from time to time. Everyone called him Pieface (you see, his face is round and flat, like a pie) and Hal in particular treated this man who maintained his complex jet aircraft like a little boy, which Pieface accepted without question.

In retrospect, it seems little better than calling a black man “boy” would have been.

I might add, for those not aware of the product, that there is an ice cream treat called an Eskimo Pie®. So the name had a second, though not any better, connotation. There was a discussion about this at rec.arts.comics.dc.universe last month.

Ferris. :smack:

Thanks. That’s what I was looking for.

Of course, it does remind me of an MST3K episode (Godzilla v. Gamera, or something) in which they assembled a series of clips of the human hero diving into convertibles, running, leaping, and doing other athletic stuff. He was Asian (natch) so the robots called him “Eskimo Spy”.

What can I say? Racial sensitivity is an evolving process, and it hadn’t evolved very far by the time Hal Jordan rolled around. Pieface was a throwback to the ethnic sidekicks of the 40s (and was created by writers and editors who had been active since those days, like Gardner Fox and Julius Schwartz).

There were worse examples in the 40s, like Chop Chop and Ebony White. But put it in context: Were they really less-dignified than, say, Woozy Winks, Etta Candy or Doiby Dickles? And in Ebony’s case, wasn’t it slightly revolutionary for the Spirit to have a kid sidekick who was black?

And look at the sidekicks produced by our enlightened modern culture, like Jay (Jason Mewes) and Kelso (That 70s Show). Will our grandchildren point an accusing finger at us 40 years hence and ask us why we thought drug abusers and the mentally disabled were so damned funny?

I do remember the Green Lantern comic book occassionally would print his real name Thomas Kalmaku.
And now that I think of it isn’t the PC term for Mr Kalmaku’s ethnic heritage an Innuit ?

I believe that was the tribe he was from afaik from the Millenium limited series and the New Guardians series that followed it.

I know about Eskimo pies, but never made that connection. I think the word duh is appropriate here.