Mindy Newell: Politically Incorrect

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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36 Responses

  1. George Haberberger says:

    Great column Mindy!

    • George Haberberger says:

      Despite the avalanche of comments from people whose names I’ve never seen here before, I still think this was a great column.

      You know, I remember Don McGregor’s Black Panther stories in the 70s. I didn’t think about his race when I read those stories. I enjoyed Quantum and Woody about 20 years later and didn’t think about Christopher Priest’s race.

      Apparently Dr. Ben Carson doesn’t think about race either. Here is quote from him during last week’s debate:
      You know, I was asked by an NPR reporter once why don’t I talk about race that often. I said, “It’s because I’m a neurosurgeon.” And she thought that was a strange response . . . I said, “You see, when I take someone to the operating room, I’m actually operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn’t make them who they are. The hair doesn’t make them who they are. And it’s time for us to move beyond that because . . . our strength as a nation comes in our unity.

  2. mike weber says:

    In order for a woman to succeed, she must be twice as good as a man. Fortunately, this is not hard.

    It is a sad fact that, in many professions, the first part of that holds true.

    Also, based on observable results in many professions, the second part is also true.

    Some people get tired of battering their heads against that brick wall.

    Some don’t.

  3. Jeff says:

    It’s just a stunning coincidence that the “luckiest” people always turn out to be white dudes.

    That’s the only explanation for it. “Luck”.

  4. Leanne Aslin says:

    So you think that because you were able to Google a couple of black authors that there’s no disparity between black and white authors in the comics industry? I’m sorry but this disparity is ingrained in our culture, it is not just down to luck. I find it worrying that you are so dismissive of what is quite a widespread problem.

    • Mindy Newell says:

      Leanne, I know and/or have worked with more than half of the people on the list.

      The sad part is that I had to google the names of black women creators.

  5. andrei says:

    hey, this article is dumb as fuck. i know this is a flippant comment, but i think it’s at least as thoughtful as you’ve been in attempting to discuss this.

  6. marie says:

    was the nice man named moses or matt? which one? at least proofread your ignorant garbage and make it consistent before you post it for public consumption.

    • Mindy Newell says:

      His name was Moses. Why is that strange?

      • marie says:

        i find it strange you referred to the same nice man by two different names in the same paragraph. instead of checking to see if you made a mistake, you reply “his name was moses. why is that strange?” perhaps if something like that happens you should check for a mistake instead of someone else having to do your editing for you.

  7. PK says:

    Alan Paton was white. And South African. So describing him as “African-American” is only half right, and even then, not in the way you meant it.

  8. MonarchOfDonuts says:

    Mindy, if you had it to do all over again, you could write this column and be less knee jerk and defensive. The most talented people on the world aren’t all white men. So when you see white men getting 90% of the chances, THAT is when you “smell something,” not when people ask to tell their own stories, finally.

    I saw a web hack recently that changed “political correctness” to “treating people with basic respect.” That hack makes it REALLY clear how mean-spirited and thoughtless your column is.

    Oh, and if you had it to do all over again and went into screenwriting back in 1971, you’d no doubt have been shuffled to the back behind tons of white boys. Maybe you’d have learned something. But I’d think a nurse would understand not to reopen old wounds.

  9. mike weber says:

    Oh look – someone alerted the trolls!

    • Mindy Newell says:

      Yeah, isn’t it fun?

    • Devlonir says:

      Interesting to see that all negative comments come shortly after The Mary Sue posted about this. Maybe that blog is just full of hateful people wanting to share how open-minded they are by bashing anyone they disagree with?

  10. Macca says:

    Wait, so, your list of a mere handful of names is enough to make everyone give up, go home, racism is over kids, look see I found all of 50 black people in comics! Sorry, there’s about 100 times that many white people in comics. Maybe more. And they continually use and abuse the voices of the black people to get ahead without bothering to give the black folks the time of day. Racism is not over – especially the subliminal, subconscious kind. Especially when stories that are explicitly about the black experience get walked all over by white creators.

    Your “ignore the racial lines!” diatribe is laughable. It only comes from a place of power – that you think whiners should shut up, because you have it good enough. Well it’s not done until everyone has it good enough, based on their merit, experience, and work.

  11. Adriane Nash says:

    Ok. Everyone calm the heck down! I see A LOT of people commenting here drawing their own suppositions on what is being said.

    She hasn’t even read Strange Fruit yet, so stop jumping on her about it like she said it was THE BEST THING EVER. Maybe she’ll agree with you that its a bad idea, or bad execution or whatever. You all just come across as trolls who are shouting down the book and not actually reading what she wrote. SHE DID NOT ACTUALLY ENDORSE STRANGE FRUIT.

    Also, I’m pretty sure she’ saying stop making imprints and lines of comics and just tell good stories. Not give it an asterisk because its “the black imprint”

    So people want to be heard. Want to be represented.

    How is she saying they SHOULD NOT be??

    I also don’t care what the person who writes/draws/inks/colors/letters my comics is, I just want to be entertained.

    That said I actually hate that every time DC (just for example) launch a female character title they assign a chick to work on it. Women can’t write or draw Superman or Batman??

    I can understand that people have experiences specific to themselves and stories those experiences inprire or enrich, but a lot of these comments do kinda come across as “White dudes can’t write about xyz dammit only people of xyz can!” To that I say let me know what you get a alien sentitant tree to write that next Groot comic.

    Also if everyone in the DC offices is white, did anyone tell Jim Lee? I’m thinking he’ll be surprised to learn it.

    But yeah there is some bad editing in the piece, was the guy’s name Matt or Moses??

    • Mindy Newell says:

      His name was Moses. What’s so odd about that?

      • Adriane Nash says:

        It’s not odd but you call him Matt later in the paragraph where you named him Moses

        • Adriane Nash says:

          I edited the piece so the trolls can stop screaming about the name descepancies at least. Now they’ll scream about how we went in and changed it.

          • Mindy Newell says:

            Adriane, just went back and checked the original piece. You’re right, I did write Matt instead of Moses. Very weird typo.

            You’re right about the screaming.

    • mike weber says:

      Lee Hoffman was a Big Name Fan in the days when SF fandom was almost exclusively postal-based. She intentionally didn’t reveal her gender because fandom was pretty much a He-Man Woman-Haters Club.

      Catherine Moore – one of the better writers of her era in fantasy – used the byline “C.L.Moore” for much the same reason.

      I’ve suspected that Davin Grayson went by “D.K.Grayson” in her early days writing comics for similar reasons. (And, to be frank, since she was writing “Nightwing”, i wondered if it was a smartass pseudonym.)

      I also don’t care what the person who writes/draws/inks/colors/letters my comics is, I just want to be entertained.

      That said I actually hate that every time DC (just for example) launch a female character title they assign a chick to work on it. Women can’t write or draw Superman or Batman??


      Apparently, women can’t write male characters – and female characters aren’t good enough to get headliner status in movies. If they could, Warner would have long-since given us a DTD Wonder Woman film.

      • mike weber says:

        argh. I KNOW how to spell “Devin”. Apparently my fingers don’t know how to type it.

        Glenn Hauman once said – in response to me apologising for a particularly horrid typo – words to the effect that “Typos are in invisible pixels until you hit “SEND”. Then they turn International Orange.”

      • Adriane Nash says:

        ..”Davin Grayson went by “D.K.Grayson” in her early days writing comics for similar reasons. (And, to be frank, since she was writing “Nightwing”, i wondered if it was a smartass pseudonym.)”

        I thought it was a smartass pseudonym too!

  12. Lucia says:

    Holy shit.

    I’m glad I found this article. I need some time to digest it, but wow. Lots to mull over.