Mindy Newell: Filling The Captain’s Chair

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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3 Responses

  1. George Haberberger says:

    I also loved “Into Darkness”.
    About that Prime Directive: “As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Star Fleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture.”

    As I understood it, the eruption of the volcano would have destroyed all life on that planet. That may have been the “normal” course of development but it hardly would have been healthy. I presumed Spock went along with stopping the volcano because of that, but reported Kirk’s infraction because saving Spock was not necessary for the health of that culture.

    Kirk violated that Prime Directive by saving Spock not by stopping the volcano.

    And Scotty’s objections to being a military operation did not ring true. The starships always had weapons on board. What are phasers? Starfleet has a military hierarchy. That’s way there are admirals.

    • Mindy Newell says:

      Hey, George,

      Yes, the eruption of the volcano would have destroyed all life on that planet—that’s why I called it a “mega-volcano,” which is what vulcanologists call them (and do you know–you probably do–that Yellowstone Park sits on top of a mega-volcano, and that if and when it erupts again, it will wipe out, at the least, North America?).

      Anyway, the way I interpreted it was that saving the culture was still a violation of the Prime Directive, because it was interfering with the “natural course of events.” Totally cold, yes, but that was how I read it. (Besides saving Spock, of course.)

      Scotty’s objection was that the photon torpodoes would be interpreted as a “first strike” on a sovereign nation, i.e., the Klingon civilization, that had done nothing provocative against the Federation. And, yes, it can be interpreted as a comment on the U.S. using drones to attack enemy nationals, i.e., Al Quada operatives, who are residing in nations with whom the U.S. is not at war. (Which, just for the record, I have no problem with–yes, I am a bloodthirsty bitch. *smile*)

  2. Bill Mulligan says:

    Mindy, I think they have established that it’s ok for Starfleet to save planets as long as the people on it don’t find out about them doing it. It makes zero sense to allow a sentient race to die out from an avoidable catastrophe, unless Starfleet operates on a level of Ayn Randian selfishness that would make Steve Ditko gag.

    Personally, I’d not make any big deal out of the natives seeing the enterprise–I know we are supposed to assume that this has totally messed up their development and that in 1000 years they will be worshipping at the Church Of The Holy UFO o whatever…bullfrogs. S a couple dozen Mud People saw something, big whoop, it’s an entire planet. Somewhere on Earth there is some guy who is talking to God right now and writing it all down and it won’t matter a hill of beans. I imagine the Mud People will go tell the Swamp people about what they saw rising from the ocean and the Swamp folks will snort derisively and say, yeah, tell me another one.”

    And if worse comes to worse it really DOES have an effect on them, so maybe they wash off the mud and give up doing nothing but practice throwing spears all day, which would be great because frankly they suck at it.

    (I also have to disagree with your last statement and it is just another little irony of modern life that it’s the conservative who has a problem with targeted assassinations carried out in non-aggressive sovereign nations without benefit of due process, trusting in the wisdom of our betters who would never lead us astray and abuse the power for personal gain…)

    (though, in fact, you could probably argue that drones against targets in Afghanistan or even Pakistan are not exactly attacking countries we are not at war with, whether official (Afghanistan) or on the down-low (Pakistan))