Dennis O’Neil: Good Guys and Bad Guys
Just because it’s that time of year – and you know what I’m talking about and don’t pretend you don’t – don’t for one second think that I’ve become some sentimental goo brain and if you do think that come over here and I’ll make you a damp spot on the rug. Or at least give you a stern look. (Or at least consider giving you a stern look at some future date, maybe in an alternate universe.)
But despite my loud and proud misanthropy, there are a few things, as we creep past the solstice, that make me believe that there’s really no reason to be ashamed of my species. Leading the list this week, if there were a list, would be the comic book community’s response to Norm Breyfogle’s misfortune. Norm, who I’ve long considered a storytelling artist, suffered what seems to have been a bad stroke that left his drawing hand disabled. I wondered how his colleagues would respond. Splendidly, is how. Within 24 hours, the comics folk had raised over $20,000 and flooded the emails with offers of help and messages of support. Norm has a long way to go – months of therapy and sundry other problems to be solved – but at least his fellow storytellers have given him a start.
Then there was the movie brouhaha. As most of you surely know, cyberterrorists threatened nine-eleven type action against any exhibitor who showed The Interview, a comedy about an assassination plot directed at North Korea’s national big cheese, Kim Jung Un. At first, all parties caved, including the flick’s producer, Sony. Ah, but now the happy ending. At virtually the last minute, over 200 smallish, independent theaters got exhibition rights and showed the picture over the weekend. And it was made available for streaming on three Internet venues.
This has very little to do with The Interview. Might be a good flick, might not, might be somewhere in between. But what’s important here is that those who championed the movie refused to be bullied. Anyone who’s had extensive dealings with bullies – teachers, let’s have a show of hands – will probably testify that bullies can’t be appeased. You can’t get rid of them by simply meeting their demands. They don’t really what they’re asking for, they want the power that got it for them. Give it to them and they’ll just want more. Under the threats, they’re probably scared and that’s sad and pitiable, but irrelevant. You can feel sorry for a rabid dog, but you still have to stop his attack.
A final note and then I’m gone for the rest of the year: Norm Breyfogle still needs help. There’s a link on the ComicMix home page. Please give him some. Oh, and if any of you even dare to accuse me of being a nice guy…