I hope when I’m in my 80s I will not be expected to remember if I once wrote a letter to Fredric Wertham’s wife. I considered including the Feldstein/Beaty civil clarifications from this past week, but opted to spare folks on those Library of Congress-related gems. This week represents two weeks’ worth of quotes, as I held off until the comments option was readily available to folks. Part of me fought the urge to do a rundown of “What the–?” reactions to the unique beta Newsarama launch that we’ve all enjoyed to date, but there’s no need to revisit that fun again. But that’s enough blathering about what did not make the cut, let’s get on to what did.
“If 52 taught us anything, it’s that the weekly schedule can create enormous energy, as the audience gets excited about developments that they can see growing and building every single week, and if Countdown taught us anything to be wary of, it’s that the momentum has to stay high. With us, we don’t have that set-up of different story threads continuing long-term. We have one core story arc, and the sub-stories that make it up can start, develop, explode and wrap up in a shorter space, letting us go on to the next thing.”
- Kurt Busiek, offering a compare/contrast of lessons learned with the pacing of DC’s recent weekly efforts
“Unfortunately, their awesomeness remains largely potential. There have never been any great Northstar stories, nor any great Aurora stories. There have been good stories in which Northstar and/or Aurora have featured (the first X-Men/Alpha Flight crossover is a good example), but the stories that actually focused on them either as individuals or as a pair have ranged from the undistinguished to the hideously botched. They’ve suffered from being shackled to team-book concepts that don’t really fit them. (In order to get Aurora to work for Weapon X, Frank Tieri had to literally give her a whole new personality. And what exactly was a Quebecois sovereignist doing on a Canadian national superhero team?) They’ve suffered, too, from being written by writers who either aren’t familiar with their earlier appearances (understandable, since Alpha Flight‘s not that easy to get hold of these days), or have no sympathy or understanding of the mental health and sexuality issues you have to confront in order to deal with them at all. Saying Northstar and Aurora have been written inconsistently is like saying that the Hulk has a little bit of an anger management problem.
Yet the potential remains. And that’s why they’re my number 1, and why they probably won’t be anyone else’s.”
- Katherine Farmar, ranking Northstar and Aurora at the top of her top 10 favorite characters, while acknowledging why they won’t be on anyone else’s top 10 lists
“It’s extraordinary at one level that a 600-page literary novel should elicit this response, in the same way as those silly cartoons. These are so small. Meanwhile there’s Muslim-on-Muslim genocide taking place in Darfur . . . That’s a massacre. This is a cartoon. How can it be that the cartoon leads to the outrage, and not the massacre?”
- Salman Rushdie, connecting a link between his fatwa of years ago and the Danish cartoons
“Here in the West, these things spike and then they taper off. In other words, there’s a lot of media interest, then everyone forgets about them,” she said. “I’m struck when I go to Pakistan that there is just constant anger over the cartoons, and it’s not something people have forgotten. Just because it’s out of our media cycle doesn’t mean that it’s out of theirs.”
- Christine Fair, a RAND Corporation South Asia analyst, noting that while the controversy over Danish cartoons may have faded in some areas, but not in Pakistan.
“It is one of the wonderful things about comics–and comics fandom. I may have written this before, that one of my fondest memories of being at Marvel was sitting in Ralph Macchio’s office and shooting the breeze with Ralph, Vinnie Colletta, Frank Giacoia, and Morrie Kuramoto. George Roussos stopped in, and (I think it was) Ralph remarked that we had in that office the two guys who put together the very first Marvel comic back in thhe Thirties. Yeah, said (I think it was) Frank–and we’ve got the guy that made it Marvel Comics #1 instead of Marvel Mystery Comics #1, like it was supposed to be! (looking at Morrie, who just growled ‘shut up!’) I feel safe in saying that most comics fanboys would have had the same intense delight as I had that lazy afternoon. Because the magic and the history is made by everybody.”
- Peter Gillis, appreciating the unique positions some fans find themselves in (be sure to follow the link as this quote is part of a larger tribute to the recently departed Bob Dienenthal)
“Most billionaire superheroes consider costumed adventuring a higher calling, and think of their fortunes as just a convenient way to finance their mission. Not so Steve Dayton, the fifth richest man in the DC Universe. Obsessed with winning the hand of Rita Farr—The Doom Patrol’s Elasti-Girl—Dayton used his wealth to construct a helmet that boosted his brainpower, turning him into the psychokinetic do-gooder Mento. He then married Farr, adopted teenage Doom Patroller Beast Boy, and ensconced them both in a mega-mansion roughly the size of a Las Vegas casino. Later, Elasti-Girl died, Dayton went nuts, Beast Boy changed his name a couple of times, Dayton became a crime lord for a while, a new Elasti-Girl arrived from a parallel dimension, and so on and so on. All of which proves that no matter how much money you have, if you’re a minor DC character, nothing can buy your way out of convoluted continuity reboots.”
- The Onion Staff examining 18 amazingly wealthy comic-book and cartoon characters
“Does it hurt when I see a movie made from a character I co-created, without receiving credit or recompense? Sure it hurts. I don’t think it’s particularly nice of Marvel Comics to pretend that the Punisher sprang full-blown onto the scene without parents. It’s pretty cheesy, mean-spirited behavior. What would it cost them to credit Ross Andru, John Romita, and me, for writing and drawing the story that brought the Punisher into being? If they were worried we might use that credit to press a claim — why not ask us to sign a release? Knowing they were under no legal obligation to give us credit, but they felt it was the human, decent thing to do, I would’ve been happy to sign a release; I was happy to give an interview for the DVD. But nobody asked. I doubt anyone even thought about it. And that’s what hurts, really. I don’t expect money, I don’t expect a piece of the action, but I sure would have appreciated a little acknowledgment when those credits flashed by.
But to repeat: I knew what I was doing, and I did it anyway.”
- Gerry Conway, venting about his work for hire plight at Marvel (and nicely juxtapositioning his Marvel situation to the benefits he has reaped from his work for hire terms with DC).
“What will haunt and comfort me forever – even more than the brilliance of her smile or the warmth of her voice – was a brief moment about halfway through that final day. Sometime during those dream-state hours, there was a point when she stopped murmuring to the unseen. Her eyes cleared, she looked directly at me and said, ‘You’ve done everything you can. Thank you.’ And she drifted off again, as though her final task was complete. She died big-hearted and generous, just the way she’d lived her life.”
- James Vance, revisiting the piece (for CBG) he wrote four years ago about the loss of his wife, writer Kate (Omaha the Cat Dancer) Worley
“But where are the graphic-novel equivalents or adaptations of the nonfiction that adults buy? It’s hard to find comics versions of spiritual and self-help books like The Purpose-Driven Life, The Secret, The Last Lecture, and A New Earth. There aren’t many political manifestoes like Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope and Ron Paul’s The Revolution. There’s a shortage of GNs full of advice along the lines of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, or Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. And where are the GN editions of food books like The South Beach Diet? As my retailer friends say, we’re leaving money on the table.”
- David Seidman, lamenting the lack of adult nonfiction graphic novels…or maybe appreciating the lack.
“The response has been phenomenal. People told me that if we passed out a brochure or a tri-fold, they wouldn’t read it. But with a manga, we’re speaking their language.”
- Navy Cmdr. David Waterman, speaking of CVN 73, the Navy’s 200-page comic starring the USS George Washington. The U.S. aircraft carrier is slated to be in Yokosuka this August.
“Jeff Smith asks a legitimate question when he asks, ‘And who the fuck are you?‘”
- Ben Schwartz, admitting that he wrote the anonymous email to Tom Spurgeon regarding the recent BEA (and riling Jeff Smith up…)
“daniel robert epstein. suicidegirls columnist … rotten tomatoes critic … online entertainment journalist extraordinaire. he’s interviewed the likes of, wow, les claypool, halle berry, holy geez, terry gilliam, danny glover, oh man, darren aronofsky, and– ::screeching halt:: he’s dead. two months ago it happened. in his apartment it would seem. oddly, not one obit i could find (and there are quite a few) knew the cause of death. who knows, but thank god we resisted the temptation to open any of his mail, because i don’t need an iconic daredevil film critic haunting my abode.
this guy was admired. and a talented fella. asked the questions other kiss-ass interviewers wouldn’t. and celebrities liked being interviewed by him. i’m fascinated to have been so near someone whom i never knew yet whose skills and successes my goals fall so close in line with. someone i might’ve talked to and learned something from.”
- Eva, who got curious about unclaimed mail that gathered after her neighbor Daniel Robert Epstein‘s passing. Epstein died a year ago on June 13, 2007.