Tagged: Chuck Dixon

John Ostrander: Reading With the Enemy

Comics Code Authority SealThis week it was writer Chuck Dixon and artist Paul Rivoche ruffling feathers. Together they wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “How Liberalism Became Kryptonite for Superman.” The WSJ is a conservative publication and both Chuck and Paul are conservative members of the comics community.

The title of the article sums up the tone of the article pretty well. The article states “Our fear is that today’s young comic-book readers are being ill-served by a medium that often presents heroes as morally compromised or no different from the criminals they battle. With the rise of moral relativism, ‘truth, justice and the American way’ have lost their meaning.” They cite how in a single issue of Action Comics published in 2011 Superman gave up his American citizenship. (Interestingly enough, this story was written by David S. Goyer who would later write the screenplay for Man of Steel and is writing the Batmanv Superman movie and the upcoming Justice League movie. I’ve talked about Mr. Goyer before.) Chuck and Paul bemoan “That issue, published in April 2011, is perhaps the most dramatic example of modern comics’ descent into political correctness, moral ambiguity and leftist ideology.”

I guess that means me. Suicide Squad was nothing if not an exercise in moral ambiguity. I think you could say most of my work lives there. I’m certainly left on the political spectrum. “Political correctness?” I think that depends on how you define it but I could probably be accused of that as well, especially from the right. So I guess my work is dead center with what Chuck and Paul regard as wrong with the comics industry.

I have some problems with their selection of facts and their interpretation of those facts. For instance, they say “Superman, as he first appeared in early comics and later on radio and TV, was not only ‘able to leap tall buildings in a single bound,’ he was also good, just and wonderfully American.” Might I suggest they go back and read those earliest tales. Superman takes on crooked politicians and even the U.S. Army. He was a renegade and an outlaw. The earliest Batman carried a gun. I suppose that makes him wonderfully American, too. The heroes changed with the advent of World War II and became part of the war effort.

Superhero comics nearly died out in the 50s. Chuck and Paul state: “In the 1950s, the great publishers, including DC and what later become Marvel, created the Comics Code Authority, a guild regulator that issued rules such as: ‘Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal.’ The idea behind the CCA, which had a stamp of approval on the cover of all comics, was to protect the industry’s main audience – kids – from story lines that might glorify violent crime, drug use or other illicit behavior.”

The CCA was created to circumvent government censorship that was threatened following Dr. Frederick Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent, which alleged that comics were a corruptive influence on children. He said Superman, who in this era – when he was quintessentially “good, just and wonderfully American” – was both un-American and a fascist. Wertham’s work also was later discredited. There followed hearings by the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, first led by New Jersey Republican Senator Robert Hendrickson and later by committee member / anti-crime crusader / presidential candidate Estes Kefauver and that scared the Big Comics publishers and that created the CCA. The publishers didn’t do it out of any moral conviction.

The CCA was a stranglehold on creativity and guaranteed it would infantilize the comics industry for decades. It was disbanded when it became irrelevant. Maus, which Chuck and Paulboth justly praise, would never have passed the Code.

The thing is – Chuck and Paul should know all this. They’re either being disingenuous or dishonest.

However, what bothers me more is the reaction of some ostensibly liberal members of the comics industry, who have announced that they will never again read anything by these two men because of this article. To my mind, the work exists independently of the creator. Chuck and Paul have done fine work over the years and I suspect will do so again. Not all of it will appeal to me, I’m sure, but that’s true for everyone’s work. Are there exceptions to this? I think so – if someone is doing a piece that is primarily propaganda, I would avoid it. If that’s a habitual thing with a creator, I might avoid him or her … like I avoid Rush Limbaugh.

If, however, it’s simply a different point of view then, no, I don’t and I shouldn’t avoid them. Even if I don’t agree with that point of view, I should hear it, find out what I can learn from it. Or – maybe – I’ll be entertained. Even if the creator and I do not agree politically.

I regard this as a far more serious problem than two conservatives speaking their collective minds about the comics industry. It is our increasing national inability to countenance anything that does not fall within our own increasingly shrinking moral view that’s the problem. No outside voices to test or shake our faith –whatever that faith may be. We need not only to talk to (instead of at) each other; we need to listen. They may be wrong … but so may we.


Monnstone Announces The Spider and a New Printingof the Domino Lady Sex as a Weapon Coming in October

Moonstone Books has released their October 2013 solicitations.

Cover Art: Dan Brereton

Story: Martin Powell
Art: Hannibal King, Pablo Marcos
Cover: Dan Brereton
7” x 10”, grayscale, 106pgs, $12.95

Previews Exclusive!

**Includes the never-before-published issue #3, and a brand new illustrated short story!**

The original Spider, the most ruthless and relentless crime fighter of all time, (hated by both the Law and the Underworld) mows down crime in these Moonstone pulp action tales!

This volume also includes reprints “The Spider #1 & #2, “Return of the Monsters: The Spider vs Werewolf”, The Spider XMAS , plus the prose short story “City of the Melting Dead”.

*includes a foreword by Elizabeth Bissette, the great niece of the man who wrote the majority of original Spider tales: Norvell Page!

Cover Art: Uwe Jarling

Story: Nancy Holder, Chuck Dixon, Bobby Nash, and more
Edited by: Lori Gentile
Interior Art: Ver Curtiss
Cover: Uwe Jarling
222pgs, Squarebound, 6” x 9”, $16.95

Previews Exclusive!

New printing of this long sold-out collection!

Stunned and enraged by the murder of her crusading politician father, beautiful socialite Ellen Patrick becomes determined to bring her father’s killers to justice…at any cost.  A talented Berkley graduate, she knows that to truly fight the men who killed her father she must break all the rules.  Donning a distinctive white dress and a black domino mask, she becomes The Domino Lady, one of the sexiest –and most elusive—crime fighters of all time.


Nine all-new tales of one of the world’s first female masked crime fighters, by Nancy Holder, Chuck Dixon, CJ Henderson, Martin Powell, Ron Fortier, James  Chambers, Bobby Nash, Gail McAbee. Introduction: Mystery Writers of America Raven Award winner Joan Hansen!


Cover Art: Tom Grindberg

The Airboy & Airfighters trade paperback collection, “Dangerous Liaisons” will be shipping to comic shops on January 11, 2013 from Moonstone Books. The $19.95 cover-priced trade is written by Chuck Dixon and Tom DeFalco, with art by Lito Fernandez, Oscar Celestini, and a cover by Tom Grindberg.

The first-ever Airboy collection! This volume collects the Airboy 1942 Special, the two issues of the Airfighters, plus a re-mastered “Air Vixens”, and an all-new team-up of all the Airfighters! Airboy’s first meeting with Valkyrie! The female Airfighters on their own! World War II action and adventure mixed with aerial derring-do!

Learn more about Airboy and the Airfighters here.


New on www.iPulpFiction.com: The ultimate Western hero returns in THE LONE RANGER CHRONICLES. First up is The Noblest Vengeance by New Pulp Author Howard Hopkins, who also penned the Lone Ranger novel, Vendetta.

The First Ever Collection of New Lone Ranger Prose Stories from Moonstone Books!

The masked ex-Texas Ranger and his Native American companion Tonto fight injustice in the Wild West! Stories include meetings with The Cisco Kid, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday, as well as the origin of Tonto and the origin of Silver! Authors include Spur Award-winner Johnny D Boggs, James Reasoner, Alex Award-winner Mel Odom, Anthony Award-winner Bill Crider, Matthew Baugh, Tim Lasiuta, Joe Gentile, Paul Kupperberg, Denny O”Neil, Kent Conwell, David McDonald, Thom Brannon, Troy D. Smith, Chuck Dixon, and Richard Dean Starr.

You can read The Noblest Vengeance by Howard Hopkins at ipulpfiction.com for only $.75.

Also, look for more great tales from Moonstone Books at iPulp Fiction.

Mike Gold: Bat-Madness

We don’t want to think we’re all just one brain-vein rupture away from committing murder, but most of us know in our heart of hearts this is so. To avoid that horrible prospect, every time something like the Dark Knight slayings happens we try to pin the blame on … something … somebody.

Attention-hungry quack shrinks who have never met the accused killer in Aurora Colorado let alone examined him or even studied his still-unfolding life history run to the nearest media outlet to promote themselves and their baseless theories – baseless because they don’t know the suspect or his story. And the media, like greedy whores in their own gravity-free reality show, lap it up and put it all in print and on the air as though there’s actually some legitimacy in these pontifications.

Liberals clamor for gun control, nonsensically posturing that if there were no guns there would be no killings. This is like blaming water for drowning. Mr. Holmes – and I note the American Way caveat of innocent until proven guilty – seems to have been resourceful enough to come up with alternatives, as the 24-hour stand-off at his booby trapped apartment clearly illustrates. Sure, citizens need assault weapons only slightly more than we need personal tactical nuclear weapons, but it doesn’t take a PhD in science to make a weapon of mass destruction. 20 minutes alone at a Home Depot should do it.

Modern conservatives say if everybody were armed, the shooter would have been put down early. Right. In a dark theater. Many of these same people put down Scientology or Mormonism because they think that stuff is wacky.

Some media, in their insatiable need for gaudy art, blame the comics – in particular Frank Miller’s best-selling Batman work. At least this gets Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan off the hook for creating a villain with a name that sounds just like the Republican presidential candidate’s Achilles’ heel. Of course, there have been about a million Batman stories published 73 years and you could find hundreds of similarities within the greater Bat grimoire. In fact, the whole Joker-gassing-the-public bit dates back to the earliest stories. I can’t forgive Frank for The Spirit, but people who are trying to conflate the Colorado shootings with his work are lazy slobs.

The fact is, James Holmes is a smart, highly accomplished young man of 24 from a church-going family in San Diego, California, the nicest city in the nation. That’s reality. Some cheap-shot artists are braying “somebody should have said something!” Well, his high school friends said he was pretty normal. His colleges acquaintances said he pretty much kept to himself, although there are reports he would frequent bars and other public places and engage in rational conversation, even up to a few days before the killings. I don’t think Philip K. Dick could have seen this one coming.

Again, reminding us all that he is merely the suspect and hasn’t been convicted of anything, Holmes appears to have simply snapped. Perhaps this happened a couple months ago when he started the process of dropping out of his post-grad programs. It would have taken him that long to put together the guns, the ammo, the hand-wired bombs and whatever else turns up.

I’m not saying he’s insane, at least not in the legal sense of knowing right from wrong. That’s a matter for the prosecution, the defense, and the jury. I’m saying he snapped. Just like anybody could snap. Anybody who feels he or she has nothing to lose, or something important to prove. Under the exactly wrong circumstances, that can be any one of us.

And that’s the true horror of the Aurora Colorado Dark Knight shootings.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil


MARTHA THOMASES: Frank Miller Bounceback

There’s been a lot of noise on two areas of the blogosphere that I follow – comics and politics – because Frank Miller recently posted about the Occupy Wall Street movement on his blog. My favorite response, as usual, was on TBogg’s blog, because I love me some snark.

See that photo over there? It’s had an honorable position on my refrigerator since it was taken about 15 years ago at the San Diego Comic Convention. It’s me and Frank, back when he could still walk the floor.

I’ve known Frank since the late 1970s. I met him soon after I met Denny O’Neil, and we hung out a lot when he was drawing the Amazing Spider-Man Annual #14. My friend, Legs McNeil <http://www.amazon.com/Legs-McNeil/e/B000APOLAA>,  was (and is) a huge comic book fan. He managed a band, Shrapnel, that was essentially Sgt. Rock set to music. We conspired to put them into an issue of a comic book, a mission that required many trips to CBGBs.

I don’t remember talking politics with him, but its possible that I did. There are a lot of people in comics that I like, but with whom I disagree politically. Dan Jurgens, Larry Hama, Chuck Dixon – we don’t agree, and that’s fine. We also tend to like different kinds of music, movies and books. We have fun conversations.

Our disagreements never led me to boycott their work. And I’ll boycott quite easily. For example, I haven’t bought any Revlon cosmetics since Ron Perelman plundered Marvel.

But I won’t give up something that gives me joy. If my joy is ruined by my disagreement with the owner or creator, then I’ll give it up.

What amused me about this particular kerfuffle is that, once you got away from the comic book sites, the reactions were fairly hilarious. Most people seem to think that Frank Miller, not Zach Snyder, was responsible for the movie, 300. It’s true that Snyder spent a lot of time and energy trying to mimic specific pages of Frank’s work, but he also added a lot of other stuff to fill out the 117 minutes of playing time.

I disagree with Frank on this issue. I think he’s wrong, profoundly wrong. I think he’s far away from this issue, and getting his information from less than reliable sources.

But I don’t think he deserves to be called names. As grown-ups who defend the free exchange of ideas, we can disagree with each other. We should. But it’s bad for the country when we descend into name-calling.

In other words, this.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

‘Seal Team 6’ Comes to Print

‘Seal Team 6’ Comes to Print

Over the summer, Dynamite Entertainment asked me to rush edit a novel and sure enough, in under a week, I read, line edited, and completed my work on Seal Team 6, a prose novel by my pal Chuck Dixon. It was initially made available as an eBook, a first for Dynamite; and today, can be ordered as a print book in the new Diamond Previews catalog. If you like men’s adventure and military action, then this book is for you.

Here’s the solicitation copy:

160 page prose novel (6”x9”) • $9.99 • Teen +
Written by CHUCK DIXON
New York Times bestselling author, Chuck Dixon’s first ever novel from Dynamite
Entertainment! In the tradition of G.I. Joe, Punisher, Tom Clancy, Brad Thor, Clive Cussler, Vince Flynn, W.E. Griffin, and Dale Brown: SEAL Team Six: The Novel!

They are highly trained. Their missions are classified. They are our best and last hope. Yet they do not exist. Follow SEAL Team Six as they train, hunt and fight an enemy who reaches out from the most remote corners of the world to murder and maim. These highly-trained, military men are the unknown heroes who endure unimaginable hardship and murderous combat to protect our homeland.

Moonstone’s Domino Lady joins the iPulp Fiction Library

Cover Art: Uwe Jarling

Moonstone’s Domino Lady joins the iPulp Fiction Library at http://www.ipulpfiction.com/.

Decades before Wonder Woman and Charlie’s Angels, pulp fiction’s sultry Domino Lady intrigued and enchanted and then disabled and destroyed evildoers in her vengeful quest for justice as she dismantled political machines and exposed corruption in the courts and in the Capitol.

The Domino Lady stories available for $0.75 digital release include:
The Domino Lady and the Crimson Dragon by K. G. McAbee
Blondes in Chains by C. J. Henderson
Target: Domino Lady by Bobby Nash

Cover Art: Jeff Butler

Stealing Joe Crick by Chuck Dixon
The Claws of the Cat by Ron Fortier
The Strange Case of The Domino Lady and Mr. Holmes by Nancy Holder
The Devil, You Know by James Chambers
Plus, read the Forward by Joan Hansen for free

Moonstone’s Domino Lady tales are now available at iPulp Fiction for only $0.75. Learn more at http://www.ipulpfiction.com/.
For more information on iPulp Fiction, please visit http://www.ipulpfiction.com/
For more information on Domino Lady and Moonstone Books, please visit http://www.moonstonebooks.com/

The Domino Lady iPulp Bookshelf

ComicMix Radio: Dark Reign Looms At Marvel

ComicMix Radio: Dark Reign Looms At Marvel

Marvel and Brian Michael Bendis have teased the follow up act to Secret Invasion – it’s  Dark Region and with it comes some some major titles changes as well, plus:

  • Tobey and Sam and Spider-Man 4
  • Seth McFarlane launches his web cartoons
  • Chuck Dixon leads The Joes back to comics

And we hit the comic stores and DVD racks for the good, the bad and the "they did what??" – just  Press the Button!


And remember, you can always subscribe to ComicMix Radio podcasts via iTunes - ComicMix or RSS!


Chuck Dixon, Dean Koontz and ‘Frankenstein: Prodigal Son’

Chuck Dixon, Dean Koontz and ‘Frankenstein: Prodigal Son’

Earlier this month, our friends at Famous Monsters of Filmland posted a nice chat with writer Chuck Dixon about his work on the adaptation of Dean Koontz’ Frankenstein: Prodigal Son. The six-issue series features a story adapted by Dixon with art by Brett Booth, and is published by the Dabel Bros.

Here, Dixon describes the process of adapting the work of the noted horror author:

FM: How does one adapt a novel to a comic book?

Chuck: In this case it was easy! Dean breaks this stuff down like a comic script. Fast paced and lots of juicy visuals.

The process is like this: I read the novel through and then go back and re-read with post-it notes and a highlighter pen in hand. I highlight significant dialogue and mark page breaks and put in post-its for the issue breaks. Like I said, it was real easy this time. Usually I have to hunt for strong visuals as most novels tend to be internal. But this book gave me option paralysis with all the cool and gruesome stuff.

The first issue of Frankenstein: Prodigal Son is already on shelves. For the full interview, head over to Famous Monsters of Filmland.