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I’m moderating the annual Spiritual Themes In Comics panel for the Christian Comics Art Society at this year’s WonderCon in Anaheim on Friday, April 3, at 12 noon. It’s my understanding there are no badge sales at the door, and all badge purchases must be online.
The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear Stan Lee Media’s case against Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment, bringing to a definitive end at least one part of a legal battle that’s been waged for the better part of a decade.
story found at Comic Book Resources
art by Angelo Torres
I have nothing to add to the enthusiasm I’ve shown for his work in the past. He was a marvelous cartoonist, accomplishing more with simple clean lines that most artists can do with all the fancy filigrees they can throw on the page. He said of himself “What could be nicer? I sit and draw funny pictures and people send me money.”
There’s a term “the jazz musicians’ musician” meaning an artist of exceptional talent and ability who is just so good at what they do that the uninitiated don’t recognize or fully appreciate it, but those who are trying to make their own mark in the field realize what genius they possess.
Roy Doty was a cartoonists’ cartoonist.
For Superman as he exists now to be the character that he is, he has to grow up in a relatively sheltered environment. He and the family that has adopted him can not be subject to persecution or victimization; he has to be able to empathize closely enough with dominant culture that he adopts their values & morality as a given, and he must never encounter anything as a child that would challenge that.
The occasional burglar / out of town gangster / dam bursting / forest fire / alien invasion not withstanding, Superman while growing up can not be either subject to or a witness to systematic persecution, much less systematic persecution based on racial or religious discrimination.
And historically, discrimination is what happened to people who fell outside the white Christian camp in North America, particularly rural North America.
Now, it’s entirely logical & plausible that by either the grace of God or miraculous good fortune, Kal-El was adopted by the Kents, who being white Christians in a predominantly white Christian culture did not get persecuted by their neighbors yet who at the same time were good enough as Americans and/or Christians to instill in Clark the importance of liberty, justice, and equality for all people of all beliefs.
When Superman finally makes his presence known to the world at large (we’ll presume that outside the immediate community, his exploits as Superboy were written off as the equivalent of UFO or Bigfoot stories), he has a fully formed set of ethical & moral values that could only come from a person who believes the system is intrinsically fair, that everybody who plays by the rules has a shot of success & happiness, and that discrimination is not the norm nor should it ever be tolerated.
That would not be his POV if he grew up as an African-American child in rural America. To this day African-Americans are discriminated against and treated unjustly on the basis of their skin color; if you don’t believe me, go find some African-Americans on FB and ask them to give you their POV re Ferguson & the shooting of Michael Brown.
An African-American Superman — raised as an infant in rural America — would not see the dominant culture as A Really Swell Thing but rather an obstacle that must be overcome. The fact that Superman as he exists today is lauded and praised by the dominant culture is proof he is no threat to them; if he was black & beating the snot out of racists, the reaction would be far, far different.
Let’s look at the
other side of the
Thanx to progress that has been made in America, today the possibility of the child of an African-American billionaire deciding to avenge his parents — killed in a non-race related crime — is as plausible as a white kid doing the same. Operating in an urban environment, Batman would encounter a variety of people, good and bad, from all races / classes / religious backgrounds.
Batman as a concept is also comfortable with the idea that the system — if not inherently corrupt — has been subjected to corruption that must be addressed through extra-legal means. He is not the cockeyed optimist that Superman is.
Billy Batson, altho white in previous incarnations, has also grown up in a lower class urban environment; his worldview is not as far from a lower class urban kid of any other ethnicity / religion. Captain Marvel (whom Billy exchanges places with; he does not transform into the big red cheese) is a supernatural being from a spiritual realm; he is literally above and beyond ethnic identity as practiced in North America. He could be any color — including green — and still fill his function as Captain Marvel, and Billy could be any color so long as he was from a lower class background and understands what it means to be the underdog.
If Clark Kent was not raised by wise / protective parents in the background of a dominant culture that he was presumed to be part of, he would not be Superman. An African-American Bruce Wayne or Billy Batson would still produce a Batman or a Captain Marvel.
Josh Hadley, that’s who.
Josh interviewed me earlier this year for his podcast, but a funny thing happened when he uploaded it.
He used an audio sample from Visionaries, one of the series I wrote for oh so many moons ago, as part of his intro to the interview.
Seems Killah Priest, a Wu-Tang Clan affiliate, has also sampled the same segment from Visionaries for one of his recordings, and his label has ‘bots crawling the ‘webs, looking for anybody who may have ripped them off.
Basically, they told SoundCloud to take down Josh’s Radiodrome podcast for copyright infringement!
Ha! It’s going to take more than mere ‘bots to stop Josh or shut me up!
Magnus, Robot Fighter brawl by Vic Prezio
“The Midtown Comics Podcast has teamed up the husband and wife team of comic book writer Fred Van Lente and playwright Crystal Skillman to present their play, King Kirby. King Kirby was performed for a live audience this summer, but now it’s presented to you in audio format for the first time for free!”
Hits several (but not all) keynotes in Jack’s long and illustrious career as well as several (but again, far from all) of the most prominent abuses shoveled on him directly and indirectly by the comics industry. Based on my first hand experience with them, gives an adequate but not altogether thorough idea of what Jack and Roz were like, and what Stan Lee is like; I wouldn’t say this is a grievous fault since it’s hard to sum up the wonderful complexity of any human being in just an hour’s time, much less four people (Joe Simon is the 4th major role in the piece; I have no first hand knowledge of him).
The actors cast in the roles (Steven Rattazi and Amy Lee Pearsall) remind me of Jack and Roz as opposed to sounding like Jack and Roz, but they’re fine performers and their interpretations of Jack and Roz’ personalities are nice tributes to their memories (Nat Cassidy as Stan Lee comes much closer, but that’s because there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to sound bytes by Stan).
The complexities of the various business deals and legal conflicts that marked both Jack’s personal career and the comics industry as a whole are streamlined but at least presented with enough detail to make the issues understandable to audiences unfamiliar with them.
In short: I really, really enjoyed this and recommend it highly to everyone.
Thanx to Midtown Comics for staging and recording this live reading of comic book writer Fred Van Lente and playwright Crystal Skillman’s play: When in Manhattan go visit Midtown Comics — it’s a helluva great store!
And a special thanx to Tom Spurgeon’s
The Comics Reporter for the tip off.
And yeah, I know some people are going to say the Spider-Man depicted here is Steve Ditko’s design; nonetheless, Jack took the first swing at designing the character and passed the job on to Ditko because he was so busy with other books.