MARTHA THOMASES: Are Interns Slaves?

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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7 Responses

  1. Peter David says:

    I don't disagree with any of the comments above, but whoever wrote the headline: Slaves? Really? I mean, the obvious answer to that question is "No." Something along the line of "Are Interns Being Taken Advantage of?" seems more in order.

    Also, it's worth noting that this is nothing new and hardly restricted to the world of comics. Back when I was first graduating college and intending to pursue a journalism career, columnist Jack Anderson had an internship program. Unpaid. I couldn't afford it since I'd have no way of surviving in Washington with no income, but there were something like 500 applicants for every opening.

    • I've had a mentor program most of my adult life. Jack Anderson is a perfect example of what I think is right about unpaid interns although I'd call them apprentices. A mentor teaches his or her young charge and gives them invaluable access to their infrastructure.

      If the professional is really 'mentoring' that is something which I'm all for. Pros who get young students to work for free simply to have them pick up their laundry and offer nothing except the chance to be in the pro's presence are leeches.

    • Martha Thomases says:

      Not my headline. And the beginning of my piece notes that exploiting free labor is not at all limited to the world of comics.

      So we agree.

  2. Dave Glanzer says:

    Marth, I'm sorry you feel the show has been co opted. The truth is it has always been about comics and popular art. From the beginning when Shel had an appreciation for film along with comics. As I've said before, the show is certainly different today than it was 10 years ago and was different 10 year before that. And certainly different when I started volunteering in 1984 from the show in 1970._ _You know I love you too but couldn't disagree with you more. Comic-Con is grateful that we have over 3,500 volunteers who give of their time and talents to make sure we have the type of show we do. We have a guest list of comics professionals that rival any in the United States or the world I would argue. To say they are basically giving a non cash donation to the likes of the studios is to ignore the hundreds of hours of comics programming and guests that few other conventions invite._ _I am proud of the show and doubly proud of each and every individual who give of their time to make it the best show of its kind. From the volunteers who monitor lines, to the professionals who give of their time for the various panels, and workshops that take place over the course of the four days._ _Dave Glanzer

    • Martha Thomases says:

      I didn't mean to imply that SDCC has no value for comics fans, and if it sounded like that's what I was saying, then I expressed myself poorly. However, as someone who has gone to the show for most of the last 20-odd years (and they are odd, aren't they?), I've seen a huge change in the way the show is used by the outside world. When you and I got up to be at the show at 6AM for the TV crews to cover Superman, they were covering Superman. Now they're covering movie stars.

      • Dave Glanzer says:

        Well yes, this is true. But without getting too much inside baseball here, I miss the days of ringing you to schedule our morning hits because i knew your answer was always yes. :)