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An open letter to Bill Maher

Posted by on Feb 3, 2019 in JC's Jocularity | 0 comments

Dear Bill,

Your recent editorial regarding comic books and comic book fans once again shows a misunderstanding you have with this art form. I am not using that term lightly, I do consider comic books an art form in the same vein I consider great literature, great paintings, great sculpture, great cinema, and great theatre all art forms. Of course, it’s clear that you do not share this opinion, which is fine. You are welcome to your opinion, but I would like to respond to some of your specific points.

First, you didn’t say this, but your producers put down a tag on the image of Stan Lee that said, “Goodbye, Mr. Strips.” While a funny play on “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” the joke does indicate that Stan Lee was predominantly a comic strip writer, and although he did write the Spider-Man newspaper comic strip for many years, unlike comic strip creators like Charles Shultz or Gary Trudeau, Stan Lee worked beyond the traditional 4-panel structure of the newspaper strip and worked in long-form story-telling as well. Just like telling a joke is different from a stand-up routine, and a stand-up routine is different from hosting a talk show. Yes, there are elements of the first all of them, but there’s a lot more that goes into the longer forms. It’s like eulogizing you by saying: “Bill Maher can no longer knock-knock.”

When a fan pointed out that they had learned about social injustice and racial tolerance from reading comic books, you then ordered them to read James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, or Michael Eric Dyson. Great choices, can we also include in that list their contemporaries: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Eve Ewing, and John Lewis? All of whom are currently writing comic books, with Coates and Ewing writing about social injustice and racial tolerance at Marvel Comics.

You said comic book movies aren’t great cinema, and although your joke about glowy things was funny (and accurate), you’re probably not aware that acclaimed films like “Road to Perdition,” “Blue is the Warmest Color,” “Whiteout,” David Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence,” and Stephen Frears’ “Tamara Drewe” were all originally comic books. But maybe you can only relate comic book movies to superheroes, so never mind that “Black Panther” has been nominated for a best picture Oscar. I guess since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t nominate “Religulous,” they must not know great cinema in your eyes.

You said that the Stan Lee’s estate was wrong when they said such literary giants like Dickens, Melville, and Shakespeare were not considered great literature in their time, and then went on to compare Shakespeare to comic books. As someone who had a double-major in History and English at Cornell, you shouldn’t need to be reminded that during Shakespeare’s time, theatre was considered the lowest form of entertainment, and despite his few command performances for Queen Elizabeth and King James, Shakespeare wasn’t considered to be in the same literary circles as his contemporaries like Sir Francis Bacon until well after his death. I can say similar things about Dickens and Melville, but since you quoted Shakespeare, I figured it was enough to say: “to thine own self be true.”

Finally, your main argument seems to be “If you like the same things you liked at ten, you need to grow up.” I liked watching NFL football when I was ten. Does that mean I can’t appreciate the game as an adult? I enjoyed reading Treasure Island when I was ten. Does that mean the book doesn’t have something to offer me as an adult?

Perhaps you could consider that despite their fantastical nature, comic books can offer nuances a person didn’t catch in their childhood. You could also consider that comic books, like any commercial entertainment medium, has to change, grow with its audience, and offer more options for growing sophistication, or be left behind. It’s not all about tights and capes, but were it not for pioneers like Stan Lee, who tried to give his characters real-life problems; Robert Crumb, who showed us comic books could be both subversive and informative regarding our culture; or Harvey Pekar who used the medium to tell his own, ordinary life story; that’s possibly all it would have been.

Of course, there are many things that I used to like when I was ten, twenty, thirty or even forty that I don’t like now, because they are permanently trapped in their time and place, and cannot grow with me. Old television shows that were great for their time, but when I re-watch them, I can see that they have a clear bias against certain groups; Movies that were entertaining for the minute, don’t hold up to my older, more experienced tastes; and comedians who haven’t changed their act in 30 years.

In fact, you pointed out the Millennial meme of #Adulting and blamed it on people who won’t stop liking things from their childhood. So I guess the hashtag for the meme about an old man who doesn’t think anything changes, should be #Stagnating.

Yours,

JC Carter

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321 Contact!

Posted by on Jan 29, 2019 in The World's Greatest Comic Book Podcast™ Hold 322!, This Week | 0 comments

This week on The World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast : Marvel reveals a major change to Daredevil! Black Panther got SEVEN Oscar nominations. DC cut SEVEN jobs to refocus on publishing. On TV: We remember James Frawley, Punisher Season 2 is hanging on to more viewers, and CW has ordered a Lost Boys series. In Comics, we talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Oliver, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Batman!

All this and Oscar Wilde! Face front, true believers! It’s The World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast!

#321 World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast™

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WORLD’S GREATEST LINKS 
 
SPOILER Marvel Reveals Major Change To Daredevil https://goo.gl/u8gSgM
Fandral’s Death in THOR: RAGNAROK Helped Land Him SHAZAM! https://goo.gl/Jr2rP8
BLACK PANTHER Nabs 7 OSCAR Nominations Including ‘Best Picture’ https://goo.gl/NY9TET
GEORGE PEREZ Announces Retirement https://goo.gl/kaHhpL
STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE Brings the ENTERPRISE’s Mission to a Close https://goo.gl/cg4Psv 
DC Cuts 7 Jobs in Move to Refocus on Comics Publishing https://goo.gl/wHWTra
 
TV NEWS 
 
James Frawley, Director of ‘The Monkees,’ ‘The Muppet Movie,’ Dies at 82 https://goo.gl/T75pSg
CW Has Picked Up a Pilot for The Lost Boys TV Show https://goo.gl/FHRmZb
The Punisher S2 reportedly retaining more viewers than other Marvel shows http://bit.ly/2FRA0UL
USA Network Orders ‘Briarpatch’ Starring Rosario Dawson to Series https://goo.gl/9Bdg3g
BBC Orders Oscar Wilde Documentary With Stephen Fry, Freddie Fox https://goo.gl/T3HQGG
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320 That’s the power of math, people!

Posted by on Jan 22, 2019 in The World's Greatest Comic Book Podcast™ Hold 322!, This Week | 0 comments

This week on The World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast™! Gail Simone is writing The Flash! Brad Walker is taking over Detective Comics. Vin Diesel welcomes you to the Valiant Era. On TV, Michelle Yeoh is getting her own Star Trek spin-off, and Supergirl will have TV’s first Trans Superhero! In comics we talk about Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter, Avengers #12, and Action Comics!
All this and The Punisher! Face front, true believers! It’s The World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast™!

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World’s Greatest Links 
 
How in the absolute f*ck did I miss that Gail was writing The Flash? https://goo.gl/uiTbJM
SIMONE & HENRY Launching New FLASH Title for WALMART https://goo.gl/ZnmtmW
BRAD WALKER Taking Over DETECTIVE COMICS https://goo.gl/kHZTAL
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE Director Turned Down Multiple DC Films https://goo.gl/8Mm2eA
VIN DIESEL Welcomes You to ‘Valiant Era’ in First BLOODSHOT Photo https://goo.gl/6aUMKU
Second FAR FROM HOME Teaser Trailer https://goo.gl/QiM1E5
World of Warcraft Is Getting a Little Stan Lee Cameo of Its Own https://goo.gl/WGhMF2
 
TV NEWS 
 
TV Academy to Eliminate Emmy DVD Screeners in 2020 https://goo.gl/A31bCV
MICHELLE YEOH (and SECTION 31) Getting Her Own STAR TREK Spin-Off https://goo.gl/GaHmLQ
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Boss Talks Tig Notaro, Picard Limited Series and Season 3 https://goo.gl/zf2pAK
‘Punisher’ Star Jon Bernthal on Season 2, Broken Bones and Frank’s ‘Self-Loathing’ https://goo.gl/Z2xRC2
‘Supergirl’ Drops First Look at Nicole Maines as TV’s First Trans Superhero https://goo.gl/VGdqx8
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319 Getting your S.T.R.I.P.E.

Posted by on Jan 15, 2019 in The World's Greatest Comic Book Podcast™ Hold 322!, This Week | 0 comments

This week on The World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast™: DC Comics are now available via Comixology Unlimited! Venom is getting a sequel. Stan Lee’s last animated cameo has aired. On TV, what happened on The Orville? Luke Wilson will get his stripes. Choose Your Own Adventure is suing Netflix. In comics we talk about Captain Marvel, Young Justice, Man Without Fear, Friendly Neighborhood SpiderMan, and Turok!

All this and Star Trek! Face front, true believers! It’s The World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast™!

#319 World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast™

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WORLD’S GREATEST LINKS

DC Comics Are Now Available Via ComiXology Unlimited https://goo.gl/fXQtkN
Come for the latest CAPTAIN MARVEL trailer, stay for Coulson’s hair https://goo.gl/W3XSH9
It’s Official: Sony’s VENOM Movie is Getting a Sequel https://goo.gl/v3QHF8
Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel cameo and how her run of comics influenced the film http://bit.ly/2Fpjk7c
Tini Howard to write Thanos comic miniseries http://bit.ly/2FqjafI
Stan Lee’s Last Animated Appearance Will Be Airing This Sunday https://goo.gl/3sofii
 
TV STUFF 
 
DC Universe’s STARGIRL adds Luke Wilson as Pat Dugan/S.T.R.I.P.E. https://goo.gl/PSMr3o
New Doctor Who scripts for free, courtesy of the BBC http://bit.ly/2FrzFZ5
Star Trek Discovery’s Spock and Pike didn’t know they were playing Spock and Pike http://bit.ly/2FlLno1
Choose Your Own Adventure Is Suing Netflix Over Bandersnatch https://goo.gl/GzvfdV
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318 By Crom!

Posted by on Jan 8, 2019 in The World's Greatest Comic Book Podcast™ Hold 322!, This Week | 0 comments

This week on The World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast™: We remember Al Reinert and the three 76ers. Bendis is teasing Batman Beyond, Legion, and Fourth World. Shooting has wrapped on Wonder Woman 1984. On TV, Batwoman gets a GoT director for the pilot. Bruce Campbell will host Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Vikings will end with Season 6. In comics we talk about Conan the Barbarian! Champions, and Immortal Hulk!

All this and Star Wars! Face front, true believers! It’s The World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast™!

#318 World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast™

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WORLD’S GREATEST COMICS LINKS 
 
Al Reinert, screenwriter of Apollo 13, maker of For All Mankind, dead at 71 https://goo.gl/fqGidR
Why 2019 might be Star Wars’ biggest year ever http://bit.ly/2F9f5eK
BENDIS Teases LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, FOURTH WORLD, More for 2019 http://bit.ly/2FfKTi2
I Find Your Lack of Wonder Woman Disturbing https://goo.gl/31mvJo
The ‘Captain’ Daryl Dragon of Captain & Tennille Dies at 76 http://bit.ly/2F9UZBg 
 
TV NEWS 
 
The Batwoman Series Starring Ruby Rose Nabs Director for Its Pilot https://goo.gl/NMHukb
Bruce Campbell to Host ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ https://goo.gl/MJHwkf
History’s ‘Vikings’ to End With Season 6 https://goo.gl/GJLEh2 
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