Every Man a King, by Martha Thomases

Martha Thomases

Martha Thomases brought more comics to the attention of more people than anyone else in the industry. Her work promoting The Death of Superman made an entire nation share in the tragedy of one of our most iconic American heroes. As a freelance journalist, she has been published in the Village Voice, High Times, Spy, the National Lampoon, Metropolitan Home, and more. For Marvel comics she created the series Dakota North. Martha worked as a researcher and assistant for the author Norman Mailer on several of his books, including the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Executioner's Song, On Women and Their Elegance, Ancient Evenings, and Harlot's Ghost.

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15 Responses

  1. Rick Taylor says:

    Martha. Always the activist! We need that!Just like in Johnny O's column, this stuff happens because we let it. We need to fight back and make folks accountable. Vote and encourage others to do the same. No time for apathy.Make a difference.

  2. Elayne Riggs says:

    You're in great company here, Martha. From Barbara Ehrenreich's blog: "Clinton's LBJ remark reveals something more worrisome than racial tone-deafness – a theory of social change that's as elitist as it is inaccurate. Black civil rights weren't won by suited men (or women) sitting at desks. They were won by a mass movement of millions who marched, sat in at lunch counters, endured jailings, and took bullets and beatings for the right to vote and move freely about. Some were students and pastors; many were dirt-poor farmers and urban workers. No one has ever attempted to list all their names. There's a problem too, of course, with the conventional abbreviation of the Civil Rights Movement into two names – Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. What about Fannie Lou Hamer, who led the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party's delegation to the 19464 convention? What about Ella Baker, Fred Hampton, Stokely Carmichael and hundreds of other leaders? The Great Person theory of history may simplify textbook-writing, but leaves us with no clue as to how change actually happens."That said, I was on 125th Street the other day and, heard Dr. King's voice coming from above a storefront near the Apollo Theatre. It was a TV monitor playing his "I Have A Dream" speech. While I've heard it countless times I was still mesmerized enough to stand there and listen again. After eight years of a bumbling cretin who can't string two words together properly, one forgets how starved one is for true eloquence.

    • Marilee J. Layman says:

      Gwendolyn Britt, who spent 40 days in jail for sitting in the white waiting room in an airport. Who picketed an amusement park for not allowing blacks. A Maryland State senator who died this week.

  3. John Tebbel says:

    Speaking up for LBJ for the first time in my life, there was a lot to be done by the suits in DC and it was Johnson that got them to do it. JFK couldn't do it, he didn't have the pull in Congress that LBJ did. MLK couldn't because he was on the outside. They both did what they could do at the time and the bad guys are having a big laugh at us because we're in this stupid intramural snit. We can either hash this crap out or win in November. Keep your eye on the ball.

    • Martha Thomases says:

      I don't believe I was dissing LBJ on these counts — just saying it wasn't his doing all by himself. Societal change needs to come from every channel available.

    • Howard Cruse says:

      I get very fatigued by the "gotcha" reflex that's constantly going on, fanned by people who like a fight and by news commentators and "pundits" (didn't punditry once carry some implication of generally acknowledged wisdom?) who love having red meat to rant about. Clinton clearly intended to make a perfectly reasonable observation about the fact that implementation by individuals who understand how to manipulate the levers of power is required for noble ideals like those so eloquently espoused by King to be translated into policy. In this case, the head implementor happened to be LBJ and happened to be white. Nothing is being taken away from MLK or African-American activists by acknowledging that LBJ played a necessary role in getting the Civil Rights Law passed.A "gotcha" frenzy is presently going on in response to Obama's mention that Reagan's election set America on a new trajectory. To say that is not to praise Reagan, just to observe a historical, if regrettable, fact.Unfortunately it's "my man," John Edwards, who is fanning these latest flames. Please, John, stop. There's serious work to be done.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well said!Got MLK?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yes, boys and girls. As long as Obama and Clinton and their supporters keep fighting over whether it should be a woman or a black man who breaks the lucky sperm club's hold on the presidency the evil empire is winning. We have to work together to put the best leader in the White House. But then, that would mean focusing on issues, and issues don't make good 30-second sound bites.

  6. Valerie D'Orazi says:

    Thought-provoking article, Martha. LBJ certainly did his part, but I think driving every revolution are the hundreds of everyday people who put themselves on the line every day.

  7. Uncle Robbie says:

    Martha, darling, can we we write you in as our choice for President in November? So far you're the best candidate I've heard.

  8. Mark Badger says:

    I heard Obama was asked "When you get to Washinington how do we know you won't sell out like everyone else?" He said something like "You don't, you need a movement of people to keep me honest and keep working from the outside. That's the only way anything is going to happen"It's a real different approach then Clintonia great woman/man approach