Mindy Newell: Defining Oneself

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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2 Responses

  1. Acceptable Target says:

    I globally agree with the content of this article, but one sentence made me tick:

    “She believes the religion is in desperate need for a “Reformation,” similar to what occurred in the Middle Ages”

    This is saddly not the first time I hear this cliché, which denotes a lack of historical awareness of who early protestants really were and what they really believed.

    You see, the first protestants were not moderate religious figure advocating tolerance and freedom against an extremist and totalitarian catholic church: it was exactly the opposite.

    The first protestants were *strongly religious*, *strongly devout* individuals who attacked the catholic church for its perceived *corruption*, *religious laxism* and *moral bankrucy*. They didn’t condemn the church because it was too radical, but effectively because it was *not radical enough*.

    Under the preaching of Luther, the living conditions of german peasantry, jews and women considerably *worsened*. Before Luther, witch trials only happened sporadically in Germany, and were generally discouraged by catholic authorities (which most of the time treated the belief in witches as superstition). After Luther, witch hunts reached their “”golden age””, and up to 30,000 witches (most of those women) were executed in the Holy Roman Empire (compared to 1,000 in ultra-catholic Spain, Portugal and Italy *combined*, over the same time period).

    Before Luther, german women could chose to work in a religious hospital as nun-doctors; they would learn medicine and have a mostly independent existence. Luther promptly closed all the hospitals and sent the women back home to be housewives.

    Islam doesn’t need a reformation, because Islam has *already* had a reformation: it’s called wahhabism. Before the 80s, Saudi Arabia was an “average” religious islamic country. Sharia was enforced, but there were cinemas, music shops, women’s magazines; women could appear in the papers and on television. But after the Grand Mosque seizure incident of 1979, the King reacted by giving much more power to the ulama and to religious conservatives and wahhabis in general. Cinemas and music shops were closed, women were banned from public media, school curriculum was remodelled to include more religious classes and ban non-islamic history. Islamic codes became much more strictly enforced everywhere, and the religious police was given much more power and leeway.

    If anything, what Islam needs is a *counter* reformation.

  2. Mindy Newell says:

    Actually, Acceptable, I do know how rigid the early Protestants were; well, let me amend that–there were many forms of Protestantism that came into being after “Lutherism,” including Calvinism, the Puritan movement, and Dutch Reform–and of course there were the Puritans of the Plymouth Colony and the English Protestants who founded the Massachussets Bay Colony.

    As a “student” of the Tudor Period, I also know about the religious battle between the Roman Catholic church and the Church of England (founded by Henry VIII so he could marry Anne Boleyn) and Protestantism–Henry burned or hung or beheaded those who would not swear allegiance to his church, his son Edward was a rigid Protestant, and Mary Tudor, when she came to power, burned thousands of what she called “heretics” against the Catholic faith.

    I do have a “quibble” with your statement that the Spanish Inquistion (that is what you’re referring to, right?) only murdered 1000 women. The Inquisition tortured and burned thousands and thousands of people (many of them Jews, by the way) as “heretics” and “witches.”

    As to an “Islamic Reformation”–well, perhaps it has become a “cliche” by now, but Ms. Ali is certainly one of the first public voices to declare this need.

    Unfortunately, fundalmentalist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS are waging a war of “Reformation”…only it’s not the kind of reformation that Ms. Ali and others are calling for.