Jill Pantozzi reminds us that “Marvel Has Been Ignoring Fans Telling Them to Stop Being So Progressive Since Forever.” Fan letters are a big part of comics culture since they get printed in the next issue, and in 1969 Stan Lee got a letter (from a Burlington, NC reader) that sounds like it could have been written yesterday. “… I’m not a racist, just a concerned Marvelite who doesn’t want his favorite comic company to be ruined by something that really doesn’t concern you as comic publishers.” (Not just racist, but classic concern troll!)
Marvel’s response is lovely:
But, such matters as racism and equality do concern us, Tim – not just as comic-mag artists and writers and publishers, but as human beings.
Certainly it’s never our intention to portray all, or even most, white Americans as hard-core bigots or screaming racists. Maybe it’s just that we think that many people in this land of the free have too long turned their backs or averted their eyes to the more unpleasant things that are going on every day. Maybe we felt we could do something – even within the relatively humble format of what used to be called a “comic-book” – to change things just a bit for the better.
If we fail, let’s just say that we’d at least like to have it said of us that – we tried.
Learn more of the story and get more context about politics in comics at Jill’s blog: Marvel Has Been Ignoring Fans Telling Them to Stop Being So Progressive Since Forever [The Nerdy Bird].
This weekend I attended a wonderful gathering of people who are not OK with letting ignorance and hate infect our community and our state. Before Durham in Defiance, some people complained that we should be demonstrating in the streets rather than standing around talking. We have been in the streets for many years, and we will turn out again (and again, and again). But what made this event really important was that it was organized for the long haul.
Continue reading “Defiance”
Here are some thoughts to get you warmed up for Monday, Martin Luther King Day.
King’s notion of nonviolence had six key principles. First, one can resist evil without resorting to violence. Second, nonviolence seeks to win the ‘‘friendship and understanding’’ of the opponent, not to humiliate him. Third, evil itself, not the people committing evil acts, should be opposed. Fourth, those committed to nonviolence must be willing to suffer without retaliation as suffering itself can be redemptive. Fifth, nonviolent resistance avoids ‘‘external physical violence’’ and ‘‘internal violence of spirit’’ as well: ‘‘The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him.” The resister should be motivated by love in the sense of the Greek word agape, which means ‘‘understanding,’’ or ‘‘redeeming good will for all men.” The sixth principle is that the nonviolent resister must have a ‘‘deep faith in the future,’’ stemming from the conviction that ‘‘the universe is on the side of justice/”
– King Encyclopedia: Nonviolence
And here’s a scan of Dr. King’s application to become a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation: