Mindy Newell: Today’s About Yesterday

Mindy Newell

These days Mindy Newell knows that if she could do it all over again she’d have gone to college for screenwriting and film editing. Instead she became a nurse to please her parents and pleasing your parents was what it was all about for nice Jewish girls who graduated from high school in 1971. But the creative larva was in her soul, and when the cocoon broke and the butterfly emerged, it flew to DC’s New Talent Showcase program. Under the auspices of legendary editors Karen Berger, Len Wein, Julius Schwartz, Paul Levitz, and ComicMix’s own Robert Greenberger, Mindy learned the craft and art of writing comics, including Tales Of The Legion, V, Legionnaires 3, Amethyst, Lois Lane: When It Rains God Is Crying, and numerous other comics, including a Superman story based on a dream Mindy had as a child. She also worked on Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! and other independent comics. All this time Mindy continued to work as a nurse while being a single mom to her daughter Alixandra, until the late and dear Mark Gruenwald hired her as an assistant editor at Marvel, while writing stories of the Black Widow and Daredevil. She edited NFL Pro Action, a licensed kid’s magazine about football with the NFL until Marvel imploded in 1996. Returning to full-time nursing, she she also co-wrote a story for 2000 A.D. with her then-husband, British artist John Higgins. A few years ago Mike Gold called and asked her to join the team of columnists here at ComicMix, where her topics freely range from comics to pop culture to politics; she even wrote a piece about the great American thoroughbred Secretariat, which caused editor Mike to tell her that she had won the prize for the most off-topic column ever written ComicMix.

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4 Responses

  1. John Ostrander says:

    Your column got caught in wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff but it was fun.

    I was less than captivated by the Special. They didn’t show how the Companions left, they didn’t mention the music (the theme was quite stunning at the time), and they didn’t mention one of the most crucial aspects of the First Doctor — how he regenerated into the Second Doctor (maybe next week). That single fact alone has helped account for the Doctor’s longevity more than any other factor. And THE AZTECS dragged for me around the middle. Not uninteresting but, I agree, I would have chosen either AN UNEARTHLY CHILD or the first Daleks adventure. Still, I’ll be tuning into the other specials as well.

    Also caught a rerun of BLINK this morning. Forgot how good that was for so little Doctor actually in it.

    Fun column as always, Mindy.

  2. Mindy Newell says:

    Yes, John, I was VERY disappointed in the Special. In fact, I thought it sucked.

    I thought THE AZTECS was actually pretty good, and I really liked Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright; in fact, I thought Wright was rather stiff in what I’ve seen of AN UNEARTHLY CHILD, and this gave me a better appreciation of the actress and the character. As for William Hartnell, I thought he was great!

    Given the status of no money and SFX in 1963, I thought the music and the opening credits were very good.

    I do have a question…was Susan really Harnell’s granddaughter or simply a “companion?” And what happened to her? When did TPTB decide that the Doctor was the last survivor of his planet? So then how cold Susan be his granddaughter?

  3. Mindy Newell says:

    And, yes, the column did get caught up in the the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff, so it didn’t really work, but that’s what writing is all about, right? Trying, and sometimes failing.

  4. “Was Susan really Harnell’s granddaughter or simply a ‘companion?'”
    She was his granddaughter. (He was over 900 years old at the time, so it’s not unlikely he produced children in his youth [around 300-400 years old].)
    “And what happened to her?”
    She was left behind at the end of “Dalek Invasion of Earth” after falling in love with a freedom fighter against the Daleks, who had conquered Earth in 2150 AD.
    “When did TPTB decide that the Doctor was the last survivor of his planet?”
    When the series was revived in 2005, it was revealed that the Doctor’s homeworld, Gallefrey, was destroyed during the Time War, which happened between the end of the original series (1989) and the revival in 2005 (at least as we perceive time).
    Gallefrey existed until it’s destruction in the Time War, The Doctor visited it several times during the series’ run, and various Time Lords (including the Doctor’s nemesis, The Master) would pop up on Earth and other planets.
    “So then how could Susan be his granddaughter?”
    See the first answer.
    I’m waiting for the special in March featuring my favorite, the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee), who was the closest the series ever got to a genius/man of action (but with lots of eccentricities) who could out-think AND out-fight his opponents, not just out-talk them!
    Plus he wore Inverness capes (and an occasional slouch hat)!