Dennis O’Neil: After Changes Upon Changes…
Way back before your daddy was born – yes, it’s you I’m talking to – I wrote some superhero comic books that were based on real-life events and I guess they were successful. They got artist Neal Adams and me noticed and they’ve been reprinted and reissued in various formats and I still find myself autographing them at conventions. So yeah – successful. But I have two regrets about them.
The first is that the most of the problems they dramatized are still with us some 45 years later – the world has changed enormously but we still have racism and poverty and addiction and judicial malfeasance and especially climate disruption. I was worried about this stuff back in the day and I’m more worried now.
My other regret concerns my frame of mind when I was writing the stories. To me, it was obvious that what I was portraying was True and there was no doubt where Right and Wrong lived. None whatsoever. And I still believe everything I believed back then and I think I have better information and a clearer understanding.
But I wish I hadn’t been so righteous and certain. Most of the serious mischief – your wars and pogroms and the like – is and has been perpetrated by zealots. People who knew, absolutely, beyond any possibility of skepticism that their cause was just, that they were right, that, yes, God was on their side.
Sometimes they refuse service to gay couples. Sometimes they sponsor legislation that serves society’s predators. Sometimes they strap explosives to their chests.
So I wish that the person I was in 1970, the writer of those comic books, had allowed himself a few moments of doubt – allowed for the possibility, however distant and unlikely it might be, that he could be mistaken.
But…if that had been the case, would he have written those stories?
When they pass my hands I notice that they’re dog-eared and frayed and we climb to the top of he collection we notice that within their plastic bags evidence of yellowing and curled pages
Somebody’s read ‘em!
These are my people!
Pretty skimpy column. I could entertain you with hokey stories of trains and adventure but a lot of us is too lazy for that. We can hope, can we not?