Heroic Gloom, by Dennis O’Neil
Tuesday, August 26: 146 days.
They continue to dwindle down, the days, but maybe not fast enough. If Dennis Kucinich is right in a New York Times interview, Georgie just might launch an attack on Iran sometime between now and the election because…well, we don’t want to switch leadership in the middle of a military crisis and we have to be tough on terrorism, et cetera. And lest we think that this is lefty paranoia from a vegan who is, after all, a friend of Shirley MacLaine’s, just look at the last eight years…
But enough gloom on this fine pre-autumn day, at least enough political gloom. Let’s switch to some nice television gloom. This is not a good week for Okay, I’m gonna bust in here. In case we haven’t met before, I’m Randy Hyper, a fictional character that dweeb O’Neil made up ‘cause he hasn’t got the cojones to tell you about the stuff he’s doing that he wants you to know about. (And if there’s a bigger loser in comics, don’t tell me ‘cause I don’t feel like crying.) Anyway…what el dweebo wants me to tell you is that he’s again teaching a course in writing comics and graphic novels at New York University, beginning next month, September 24, and running until December 3 on Wednesdays from 6:20 till 8:40. Course number is X32.9372. Phone is 212-998-7171. I can tell that he’s looking forward to this gig ‘cause last semester’s group were what he might call “cool” which just goes to prove that even he isn’t wrong all the time. Now back to our regularly scheduled blather. so if you like sports, this is your week. The last gasp of the Olympics, preseason football, the big tennis matches, plus the usual baseball action – lots to keep you sports fans amused. As for the rest of us…not wonderful.
And if you’re a Lois Lane – a superhero lover – the season beyond this week isn’t awfully promising, either. As far as I can tell, there are no new superdoers on the television schedule and one of last year’s, the revamped Bionic Woman, won’t be returning. This despite the fact that the summer movie schedule was pretty superhero-intensive and two of the entries do for this kind of fantasy-melodrama what the films of John Ford, Howard Hawks and maybe John Huston did for westerns: mature them. No longer are the cape-and-tights crowd fit only to provide the airiest of light entertainment; they now have a claim on art, of maybe even Art.
And one even managed a structure that did not end the story in combat between two (or more) costumed behemoths.
Why the disconnect between the big and small screens? Could be luck of the draw. Or it could be that superheroes have become just another genre, which means we’ll be seeing new iterations of them from time to time, just as we see new iterations of cops and lawyers and doctors and yes, even of cowboys.
RECOMMENDED READING: A Philosophical Investigation, by Philip Kerr.
Dennis O’Neil is an award-winning editor and writer of Batman, The Question, Iron Man, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and The Shadow– among others – as well as many novels, stories and articles. The Question: Epitaph For A Hero, reprinting the third six issues of his classic series with artists Denys Cowan and Rick Magyar, will be on sale in September, and his novelization of the movie The Dark Knightis on sale right now. He’ll be taking another shot at the ol’ Bat in an upcoming story-arc, too.