Yeah, Robert Burns got it right…
No doubt you’ve seen the awesome (and I mean that in the traditional sense of the word) response to John Ostrander’s column last week in tribute to our friend Paul (Zeus) Grant. As of this writing, there have been 78 responses to John’s piece — quite a lot for an upstart operation such as ours. Lots of good people: old friends, folks I haven’t heard from in a while, industry professionals, fellow comics fans. Damn, what a turnout.
Paul would have been pleased. Well, not with the "his death" part – we all could have done without that. But as one of the very first comic fans to understand, appreciate and act upon the relationship between the Internet and comics fandom, he was the grandfather of this project, as well as the many, many others to be found online. So it is most fitting that this genuine outpouring of love, this virtual wake we’ve been having, is being done in honor of him. Coming at the end of the year, at the moment of auld lang syne... how fitting. And how grounding.
Comics fandom was founded, in part, to honor the first generation of writers and artists who had no choice but to survive the humiliating travails of Fredrick Wertham and the funny book burnings of the late 40s and 50s. Most of those folks are gone now, but most of them knew the respect that we have for their work. They knew their names would live on. They might not have seen efforts such as the Grand Comic Book Database, but they saw their names in the fanzines, the comics history books, and on the autograph pads at decades of conventions.
And now we’re losing the first generation of comics fans. Jerry Bails died about 13 months ago, Paul this past month. Others of our founding fathers and mothers passed previously, of course, but now it’s becoming clear that we must honor those who got the ball rolling, in mimeo-zines all the way up to the Internet.
John did a swell job last week honoring those who put it all together. Thanks, bro.
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Seeing as how I’m filling in for Denny, I want to honor this time-slot with a RECOMMENDED READING offering. But, unlike Mr. O’Neil, I’m going to recommend a comic book — a mini-series one-third done that will no doubt be anthologized: Kyle Baker’s take on Iraq War II, Special Forces, from Image Comics. Perhaps the most important comic on the racks right now.