Tagged: George Perez

The Legendary Mindy Newell?

One of the joys of having returned to the comics convention scene this fall was seeing old friends and industry comrades again after too many goddamn years – Walter and Louise Simonson, Marv Wolfman, Fabian Nicieza, Timothy Truman, Jim Salicrup, Dave Gibbons, Cat Staggs, and Jill Thompson, to name just a few – and to have a chance, at last, to meet, face-to-face for the very first time, a woman whom I’ve wanted to meet for a very long time, a woman of immense talent and of immense class

The first time Gail and I communicated it was through Facebook, by which she reached out to me to apologize for all the press she was getting about her assignment to write Wonder Woman, i.e., “Wonder Woman Gets First Female Writer” and so forth, and that she wanted me to know that she kept trying to correct the press.

I said something like this: “But, Gail, if they print that, if they call you the second ongoing Wonder Woman writer, there’s no story.”

Of course, Gail went on to write one of the best ever run of the Amazon’s adventures.

Anyway, that led to Gail asking me to participate in her “Five Questions with…” site. Check it out. I just reread it – it’s one hell of an interview!

Gail and I continued to communicate via social media, but we still remained only “Facebook friends” until…

At this year’s NYCC, knowing Gail was there, I walked up and down the aisles until I finally found her booth. She was off at a panel, but I was determined to make time to at last meet one-on-one. So at timely intervals I kept walking over to her table – it was about the fourth time that I knew that she was back because the crowd and line around it snaked up and down the aisle. I stood off a little bit watching her talk to fans and sign her work until there was a (very) momentary break – I slid in, with apologies to the fans at the front of the line (“Just want to say hello for a quick second”) – and felt like a complete idiot. I finally had a chance to meet Gail, and I was tongue-tied.

It felt like an eternity; but it was probably a maximum of three seconds, until I said, “Hi, Gail, it’s Mindy Newell.” (Like I was on the phone or something.) I think I stuck out my hand for a shake and said, “It’s so nice to finally meet you.”

She just stared at me. I thought I had done something wrong, so I think I said, “Well, I don’t want to hold anybody up,” and left.

Then, yesterday, I found this on my Facebook page:

Gail Simone

21 hrs ·


It was lovely to meet the legendary Mindy Newell briefly at my table at NYCC.

She’s the REAL first acknowledged writer of the Wonder Woman ongoing title

(something I get routinely, but incorrectly, credited as being).

She’s a huge inspiration and a lovely person, and when she came to meet me at my table I was too overwhelmed to do much more than just gasp out a hello.

But she’s a legend and I adore her!

Honestly, guys, the last thing I think of myself as is “legendary.” Legends in the comic books industry, to me, are people like Stan Lee, or Jack Kirby, or Steve Ditko. Or Neil Gaiman, or Marv Wolfman. Or George Pérez, or Alan Moore, or Karen Berger. (And yes, you, too, Mike Gold, as I kiss up to my editor here at ComicMix *smile*.) To me, it is absolutely incredible that I even know these people. Or worked with some of them. Or can call so many of them, and others, friends. Or that I knew and worked with Julie Schwartz, whom my daughter still remembers giving her pink sucking candies from the jar on his file cabinet in his office. Or Len Wein, who actually invited me to a poker game where sat around the table people who had only been names on a splash page before. Or Mark Gruenwald, who always made me laugh and actually hired me to work at Marvel.


I’ll tell you a secret.

Sometimes I feel like a fake. A fool. An illusionist.

Someone who didn’t try hard enough. Someone who gave up too easily.

Yeah, it’s easy to say, “I suffered, and still do, from chronic depression syndrome.” It’s easy to say, “I had a daughter to raise.” It’s easy to say, “I needed a job with benefits and a regular paycheck.” It’s easy to say, “I didn’t have any support.”

That’s not what legends say.

That’s what cowards say.


That would be Gail Simone.

Dennis O’Neil: George Pérez and his Big Balloon


None of us know what made us what we are, and when we have to say something, we make up a good story • Steven Pinker

Long drive to and from Secaucus. It was a convention-filled weekend and, judging by the contents of the jar that accepts donations, a profitable one for The Hero Initiative. That organization is mostly the reason I attend conventions these days and a noble reason it is.

Two rough spots: as I was leaving a stage after blathering for an hour, I stumbled and fell – whomp! No harm done – no kidding, none – except maybe to my ego.

That slapstick was the first rough spot. The second was much grimmer. Sometime Sunday afternoon someone said that George Pérez wasn’t in attendance because he’d been taken to the hospital. Later we learned that George had suffered a heart attack. Had been given angioplasty and was resting comfortably. Heart attacks are never a laughing matter, but some are worse than others and, apparently, George’s was not as serious as it might have been. Don’t uncross your fingers yet but there’s reason for optimism.

Little (medical) digression: The “angioplasty” that George underwent involves an empty balloon being threaded through a blood vessel in the groin area up into a blocked artery and inflated. This crushes the obstruction against the artery wall and opens the passage. A live X-ray machine lets the surgical team see exactly what’s happening in the patient’s body, and when I had my angioplasty some 46 years ago, give or take, the X-ray screen was positioned where I could see it. So, lightly sedated, I lay there and watched my heart beat. Pretty cool, actually.

Abrupt Change of Subject!

I’m not a diary-keepin’ kind of dude, but sometimes I wish I were. Last week, I mentioned (and please visualize me blushing here) that I’d published a book and, apart from not knowing how to promote it – apparently hype spinning is part of the job – I thought my book-related problems were over. Ha.

What you have to understand is that it took about six years to get this thing to the printer and not much of that time was spent writing. So whence the stretched chronology? There were a lot of snafus, all kinds of snafus and I can’t remember what they were. I just know that they weren’t related – they weren’t the same kinds of snafus that are often unintentionally caused by people who aren’t acquainted. This would be a much better story if I could be precise, if I could tell tales and allow you to share my frustration. But I don’t recall particulars. And I don’t have any kind of written record. So zilch.

A written record of what? Why, sir, of the composition of a novel someone has titled The Perils of Captain Mighty and the Redemption of Danny the Kid.

Thanks for asking.



Mindy Newell: Post-Election Blues Redux


First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

• Pastor Martin Niemoller, 1892 – 1984

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.”

• Attributed to Edmund Burke, 1729 – 1797

I am sorry if I am boring you, but simply talking about what series I am binging on now (Luke Cage) and how much I am digging it has been expunged by John Ostrander’s column yesterday.

I didn’t know that Humberto Ramos and George Pérez have decided not to attend any conventions held in any state that went “red” and voted for Trump until I read John’s piece, and I immediately clinked on the links to both men’s statements.

I am immensely impressed by their willingness to speak out and not to be one of those good men who do nothing.

I am immensely pissed off about the horrible vitriol flung against Mr. Ramos, whom I don’t know, and George, whom of course I certainly do. It’s really disgusting, especially the barbs slung at George – go ahead, read them, just scroll down to the comments section on the Newsarama page – and I can’t help wondering just what the comments would be if either man’s last name was “Smith” or “Jones” instead of Hispanic origin. Of course, as John said, it is the Internet, after all…

…But I also must point out that we now have a President-Elect who uses Twitter to insult and rant and threaten litigation against anyone he conceives to be against him; an about-to-be White House Chief Strategist (Steve Bannon) whose Breitbart News website is a haven for white supremacists and whose divorce filing included this statement from his wife about their kids’ education: “…the biggest problem he had…is the number of Jews that attend. He said that he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews;” an about-to-be National Security Advisor (retired Lt. General Michael Flynn) who joined the crowds at Trump campaigns in shouting “Lock her up” about Mrs. Clinton and who tweeted “Fear of Muslims is rational;” and a nominated Attorney General (Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama) who has called the Voting Rights Act of 1965 “an intrusive piece of legislature,” who endorses a ban on Muslim immigration, and, oh, by the way, was rejected by a Republican-controlled Senate for a federal judge seat after being nominated by President Reagan in 1986 because of his racism.

Bottom line: I am proud of Mr. Ramos and of George. They not only speak truth to power, but they have acted upon it.

As for me, I will do what I have always done – speak up when and where it is necessary, post on Facebook, and write this column. I will try not to bore you by turning this into a weekly anti-Trump diatribe, but please don’t expect me to apologize, either, if my thoughts about the pop culture world are interrupted by a frightening shadow that is about to become a reality on Friday, January 20, 2017.


John Ostrander’s Positions


Following Donald Trump’s election, comic artists Humberto Ramos and George Pérez have announced that henceforth they will not attend conventions in states that voted for Donald Trump. (You can read Humberto’s statement and George’s statement. Not to be wondered at, this has excited comments both pro and con on the Internet, much of it angry. Sadly, it has excited death threats on some of those who have sided with Humberto and George. Perhaps that is also not to be wondered at; it is the Internet, after all.

I’ve been considering my own response. I have one, of course, but I debated with myself as to whether or not I needed to make it public. I think both George and Humberto are perfectly capable or fighting their own battles without my help. However, given the times we live in and virulence of some of the reactions, how does one remain silent?

If I believe (and I do) that one needs to speak up in these cases, then I must as well… even though my position is somewhat mixed.

To begin with, I absolutely support Humberto and George in their decisions. It’s not petulance on their part. Both men are Hispanic; they feel that Trump’s words in his speeches and his actions since getting elected are threatening to them, to their families, to their friends, and to their communities. Both George and Humberto have taken pains to make it clear that their position is not directed at the United States or its citizens. As Humberto simply put it, “I know when I’m not welcome and I won’t expose myself to be offended or mistreated, there is no need.” I wouldn’t do that, either. Both men are men of honor and courage as well as great talent and skill. I admire them, I respect their decision, I support them.

All that said, I’m not joining the boycott. In every so-called “red state” there were plenty of people who also voted for Hillary Clinton – just as in the so-called “blue states” there were those who voted for Trump. In many cases, those states are more purple than red or blue. The fans I meet and greet may have been Clinton supporters or Trump supporters but at a Con they are my supporters, my fans. I can’t do a litmus test to see which side of the electoral spectrum they fit. For myself, I don’t want to punish possible Clinton supporters because the majority of voters in their state went all Trump-y.

So that’s why I hesitated to say anything. I don’t want to seem not to support Humberto and George but I don’t feel I can join in. To be fair, neither artist has asked anyone else to follow their lead. I can and should, support their position. I do.

Nor would I want anyone to misconstrue my words or my position as supporting Donald Trump’s election in any way. Based on what he has said heretofore and what he is currently doing as he looks to staff his Administration, I think he will be a disaster for this country. I am capable of not voting for a candidate but accepting their victory; no candidate has ever filled me with loathing and dread as Trump does. I fear for my country.

If we meet at a Con, let’s not talk politics. Let’s stay friends, if we can.

Mindy Newell: Denver, Stormtroopers, and Farts

X-Wing @ DCC, 2016

So as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by fellow columnist Emily S. Whitten calls “Convention Crud” and I called, last week, “Airplane Adenovirus”…

Me & R2I had an ABFAB time at the Denver Comic Con 2016!

That’s “Absolutely Fabulous” for those of you too young to remember the BBC show.

Overseen by the Denver-based Pop Culture Classroom, a non-profit organization whose aim is to use comics and other pop culture media to educate kids and inform the public, the con is held annually at the Colorado Convention Center, an edifice that puts the Jacob Javits Center here in New York to total shame, in downtown Denver. Incredibly yuuuge – it stretches over four city blocks – with many atriums letting in the sunlight of the Mile High City, the con never felt crowded, despite its 100,000+ attendance.

I was invited because of my connection to Wonder Woman, who was created by William Moulton Marston 75 years ago this year. I must admit to having some trepidation, because, to be completely honest, I didn’t think that my work on the Amazon Princess was remembered, and I had images of sitting alone and ignored for three days. To make it worse, I hadn’t thought to bring any samples of my work to put out on display, so my table was white and bare in comparison to my nearest neighbors, authors and artists whose work was exhibited in beautiful and multi-colored presentations.

(To be fair to myself, I actually have very little of my work here at home. Over the years I have given out 99% of my work to my daughter’s friends, to cousins and the children of friends for birthday, communion, and bar-or-bas mitzvah presents, and for Halloween treats.)

Getting Timey-Winy, DCC, 2016But those little fears disappeared immediately as I became entranced by everything at the convention. The first thing I saw when I entered the Exhibitors Hall was a “life-size” beat-up and dented X-Wing fighter, looking as if it had just returned from a rendezvous with the Imperial fleet. (I immediately took the above picture.) The next thing I saw were two Stormtroopers, and I handed my phone to the volunteer who was leading me to my table as I stepped between them; she obligingly snapped a photo.

I was, as my daughter had put it as she drove me to the airport, “with my people.”

I was on many panels, not all of them to do with “Women and Comics.” Pop Culture also features educational classes for kids and adults at the convention, and I was slated to lead “Creating a Four-Panel Comic,” which was for kids [I would say] from eight-years old and down. That experience is one of my most treasured memories!

When Alix was in elementary school I gave some “lectures” on creating a story for her English class, so I wasn’t at all nervous. I immediately involved the kids in the audience, not staying on the stage, but going into the audience and letting them talk into the microphone. The kids proved to be incredibly imaginative and involved. A young girl volunteered the superhero, named FlashDash for her super-speed. The villain was Lunchbox. This bad guy carries a lunchbox, and inside it are burritos. “Burritos?” I laughed along with audience, who were obviously enjoying themselves. “And what do the burritos do?”

“They explode,” said the young boy, who was about seven, and whose name I can’t remember, damn my menopausal memory!

“And when they explode, it smells like the worst fart ever! The smell will kill you!”

Well, I don’t know about you, but fart jokes crack me up. Just the mention of the word fart makes me go silly. So imagine the reaction of the audience and those within hearing distance – remember, me and the kids were using a microphone – when the young man said this. A gigantic Bwa-bwa-hah-hah! went up and echoed in Exhibitors Hall.

I didn’t want to embarrass the boy. “That is absolutely fantastic,” I said, still smiling and laughing a little. “Lunchbox uses the exploding burritos the way Hobgoblin uses his pumpkin bombs. That is so great.”

“So how does FlashDash defeat Lunchbos?” I asked. The creator of Lunchbox shot up his hand, and even though I really wanted to involve some other kids, everyone was looking at him, so I went with the flow.

Me & 2 Buddies, DCC, 2016FlashDash waves her cape super-fast and blows away the fart,” he said.

I’m tellin’ y’all, this kid is going to be a comics superstar in about 20 or 25 years, or even sooner!

Meanwhile, up on the podium, my artist, a really talented young guy named Colton, was drawing all of this out on an easel in four panels. We had three, so far.

“Okay,” I said, “So FlashDash, in the first panel, meets Lunchbox. The second panel shows Lunchbox throwing the burrito and it exploding.” Colton used wiggly lines to show the farts’s uh, “waves of stink.”

“The third panel has FlashDash waving her cape at super-speed, dispersing the fart cloud. So we have one more panel. What happens?”

A little girl, a very little girl, she must have been four years old, bashfully waved her hand, and I walked up to her. “FlashDash’s dragon uses his fire breath and burns up Lunchbox’s lunchbox,” she said softly. I’m telling y’all, this child was absolutely adorable.

“Oh, FlashDash has a pet dragon?” I asked her. She smiled shyly and nodded. I turned to Colton, who was already adding a little dragon hovering over FlashDash’s shoulder to the preceding panels. I said to the audience that this was an example of a writer and an artist “editing” their work, meaning changing it to make it better.

Then Colton drew the final panel, with the dragon’s fire breath melting the burrito-containing lunchbox.

DCC, 2016“And that’s the end of Lunchbox and his exploding fart burritos,” I said. “FlashDash and her pet dragon have saved the day.”

We weren’t able to photocopy the story, but many parents and kids came up to the podium and snapped photos of the “Four-Panel Comic.”

Yep, I had an AbFab time in Denver. I caught up with old friends – Andy Mangels, Barbara Randall Kesel, Timothy Truman, Trina Robbins, Peter David – and made new ones – Cat Staggs, Yannick Paquette, LJ Hachmeister, Joe Staton, Hannah Means Shannon (a.k.a. Hannah Menzies), Marguerite Sauvage, and Jeff Hendon and his wife.

I met so many terrific people, I could fill this whole column with their names alone. I met that at the convention, I met them at the hotel. I met Jae Lee on the ride back to the airport.

I sat on panels and signed autographs and took pictures with fans. Oh, yeah, remember how I talked about my white, bare table? I found Mile High Comics, and bought a bunch of my comics, including issues of Wonder Woman (including what I consider mine and George Pérez’s best work on the title, #46, “Chalk Drawings”), “Lois Lane: When It Rains, God Is Crying,” and “Legionnaires Three.” (I then gave them as a gift to my Exhibitors Hall neighbor, the aforementioned Jeff Herndon, an amazing illustrator in the Denver area, and his wife in exchange for a beautiful painting of Gail Godot as Wonder Woman. I wanted to pay for it, but he and his wife wouldn’t hear of it, so instead we did the “barter.”)

Comics. Celebrities. An X-Wing, Stormtroopers, and R2-D2. The TARDIS.

And farts.

It was a helluva’ weekend.

Michael Davis: The Problem With Jaden

Jaden Smith

With the possible exception of the Black Panther, no other black franchise has garnered as much “it’s going to be a major movie or TV show” hype within the fan rumor mill than Static Shock. Finally the Black Panther is going to happen. As for Static Shock … kinda.

In 2018 the Black Panther movie will be released from what is now the best superhero moviemaker bar none, Marvel Studios. Static will make his way to the Internet as part of Warner Bros’ Digital arm later this year.

I find that rather disappointing.

More than any other black property, Static pretty much already owns the Internet. The massive amount of love Static has on the net is nothing short of extraordinary. In the 22 years since Static burst on the scene the admiration for the character has only grown and at no point shows signs of waiving.

That’s simply remarkable and considering the half of a half ass way Warner Bros. has “supported” the franchise. Unbelievable. I will concede, on one hand it makes perfect sense to exploit the immense allure Static enjoys on the net.


On the other hand, Static is the only African American superhero with the overwhelming popularity created by African Americans and boy would it be nice to see him with a couple zillion dollars budget on the big screen or just a billion dollar budget on television.

Two white guys, Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan created Blade and I’m happy to say, Marv’s like family. I said as much to a sold out crowd at The Magic Johnson Theater on Blade’s opening night. When his name appeared in the credits, I could not control myself (story of my life). I leaped up and clapped like a maniac.

“What you clapping for?” Said a rather large black guy who was not amused at my outburst. Imagine that, someone pissed in a black theater over a loud outburst! Silly me, I should have remembered to only shout out during the movie.

“I know him.” I said, while eyeing the exits.

“Yeah? Is he a brother?” He retorted. Then I realized everybody black was now paying attention and except for a white girl some idiot had brought with him, everybody was black. Shit, I had to think fast…

“Yeah.” I said trying to sound hard. “He’s my brother.”

Big smile from the big guy and cheers from the audience. I sat down and my date put her arm around me. “Yo, white girl, what you doing?” I said as I took her arm from around my neck and whispered, “Hey, here’s some cash, take a cab back to my place.”


Todd McFarlane created Spawn…Oh! Some of y’all didn’t know Spawn was black? Yep. Al Simmons, Todd’s black pal, was the real life inspiration for Al Simmons a.k.a. Spawn. I guess that means Spawn is no longer in the running for the Tea Party’s favorite comic book character.

Todd’s a friend, and as far as I know still white. Cyborg is another character from my brother Marv and George Pérez. George’s a great guy also a friend and he’s Latino. That’s close, but not black.

Luke Cage was created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr. Both white guys, both part of comic book, each a dear friend. Archie gave me my first professional job in comics and when I met John I quickly forgot how I planed to kidnap him and hold him until Marvel brought back Gwen Stacy, my second love after Laurie Partridge.


So, I had a thing for white girls! Get over it. I did!

Archie died in 1998, leaving a comic book legacy that will stand forever. He’s still widely regarded as the best-loved comic book editor, ever.

Sabre was created by Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy. Both white guys … sort of. Don’s so cool he could be black.

Don means the world to me so much so I’d take a bullet for him. He’s a wonderful writer (one of the best) and just as wonderful a person. I’ve never met Paul but he’s on a very short list of artist I wanted to draw like at one time.

There’s a few more famous black superheroes but trust me all were created by white guys, the grand daddy of them all, the Black Panther having sprung from the two coolest white boys, nah, scratch that, the two coolest creators in comic book history, period.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Stan was and still is the man and Jack will always be the king. Stan and I used to have lunch a couple times a week. His office at Marvel productions a floor above mine at Showtime in the Westwood Los Angeles office tower at which both companies were housed. I became friends with Jack a few years before the king of comics left the building forever. Sad, sad day.

Unless one of those fantastic creators are hiding a past which includes a white sheet and a southern drawl, African Americans had no better friend in comics. Much like those in Hollywood who dared create movies and TV shows around black people that were not bellboys, slaves or servants these men fought our fight before we were allowed on the battlefield.

Imagine the sheer balls it took Columbia Pictures to green light and then distribute the ground braking film, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? That film, a love story about a black man and white women, is still not shown in certain parts of the south. Released in 1967 during the height of the C=civil rights movement more than a few death threats were issued.

Now, imagine its 1966 a year after the assassination of Malcolm X. There’s another side emerging from the civil rights movement. The Reverend Martin Luther King’s non-violent approach was being challenged by those who cultivated Malcolm’s original “by any means necessary” doctrine.

No group was more ready to go to war against there oppressors than the Black Panther Party.

With that as a back drop Stan and Jack create the Black Panther in 19stillhanganiggerincertainpartsofAmerica66. That takes the kind of balls reserved for those few men and women with a sense of purpose, a goal, and selfless heart.

In a very real way the sons of Stan and Jack created Static Shock. Co-created by my former Milestone Media partners and I a great deal of our inspiration was the Black Panther, Luke Cage and Stan and Gene Colan’s Falcon. As a kid seeing those Black superheroes I have no doubt they brought us where we are today, African American comic book creators.

Static Shock may not be as well known as those black heroes but without a doubt it’s the most well known black superhero created by black people. It’s time that black kids see fully what they are capable of.

Any positive black face on television or in a film is important but we all know people of color are still the stuff of, “wow there’s a black (fill in the blank)” or “the (ditto) now has a black (ditto, ditto).”

Shock and awe still accompany way too many occurrences in America when a person of color is placed in a station denied until then. Kids of color need for those occurrences to become as commonplace as images of the black thug, lazy welfare mom or absent father.

That, my friends is my long-winded reason I find a live action Static Shock debuting on the net rather disappointing. The most successful black superhero created by black people will be seen in media outlets where black kids have less access than any other group.

Not a whole lot of MacBooks in the hood. Hell, not a whole lot of any book or computers. If there is a computer the odds are it’s the family computer. Everyone having their own is about as realistic as Ted Cruz giving a fuck about poor people.

Why Warner Bros. Consumer Products never made Static Shock toys when the cartoon was a mega hit is just as curious to me as to why Static has never been a movie or why a live action version can’t be on television.

Speaking of the live action version, there’s been a pretty hot rumor flying around that Jaden Smith will be playing Static Shock. People are losing their damn minds, clearly hating on the kid because of his off screen antics or secondly saying he can’t act and he will kill the show.

Bullshit. Jaden Smith will do fine.

Reggie Hudlin is the show runner and a better person to spearhead Static I can’t think of. If Jaden sucked (he does not) there is no way he would have that gig, Will Smith or not, Reggie wouldn’t cast someone not right.

I’m amazed people who call themselves fans of Static want that kid to fail.

Newsflash, fan boys and girls. If he fails so does Static.

I know a bit about Static.

Trust me, I should know, I’m not just a co-creator I’m the lead creator having created the Static Universe as part of the Milestone Dakota Universe. Static’s world is based on life and family growing up.

Despite what you’ve read as few so-called entertainment “journalists” do any background vettes Static’s my baby. Funny, an entire lying myth has been created, a lie, based upon lazy journalism printed somewhere else and copied over and over has now become reality to most.

That “reality” doesn’t make it true.

I’m the lead creator of Static Shock. I based him on my family and my life. That’s the truth. A lie may prevent most from knowing but like global warming the truth won’t go away and neither will I.

Jaden Smith is a good actor his personal life doesn’t make him a bad actor.

That’s also the truth. Hating him for no other reason except his idiosyncrasies is the stuff of simpleminded fools. He’s not playing himself, he’s playing Virgil Hawkins, A role he was born to play, in my opinion.

The problem with Jaden isn’t his off screen antics or his haters. The problem is a great many kids he was created for won’t be able to see him until some genius at the WB realizes just how important Static is.

That may take another kind of Static.


Mindy Newell: Dear Supergirl…


Superman: C’mon, Kara…don’t give up. You’ll make it. Pl…please…please stay with us.

Supergirl: I can’t. B…But’s it’s okay…I knew what I was doing…I wanted…wanted you to be safe. You mean so much to me…so much to the world.

Superman: You succeeded in destroying the machines.

Supergirl: Thank heavens…the worlds…have a chance to live…y-you’re crying…please don’t,,,you taught me to be brave…and I was…I love you so much…for what you are…for…how good you are…

The Death of Supergirl, Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 October 1985, Marv Wolfman and George Perez

Dear Supergirl,

I watched the teaser. And though I generally don’t watch them because of their usually really bad quality, the bootleg version of the pilot episode mysteriously showed up in my e-mail box the other day; by the time you read this I will not have been able to resist. You are my favorite super-heroine of all time.

How many times have I mentioned you, Maid of Might – one of your nicknames back in the day – on these pages in the last two – or is it three – years? The last time was just two week’s ago in Occam’s Razor.

I was heartbroken when Marv and George decided to end your life in Crisis. I mourned both for you and for the death of my childhood dream. And I mourned for the end of an era – of all the changes that Crisis wrought, this was the one that struck me at my core, this was the one that felt real, felt irreversible.

And I felt old.

And even though you came back, you didn’t come back the same. You were no longer your cousin’s secret weapon, you were no longer hiding in an orphanage as an ordinary Earth girl named Linda Lee. You didn’t have a Linda Lee robot to cover for you when you were off doing super-missions on your own or for your cousin, and you didn’t have a best friend in the orphanage named Lena Thorul, whom you didn’t know was actually the sister of Lex Luthor, your cousin’s arch-enemy.

You didn’t have a cat – the only thing I didn’t like about you, because I’m a dog person – and you didn’t have a super-horse named Comet – which was another reason I loved you, because I’m a horse person – for the “strange brand” marking his hide. You weren’t a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and you didn’t have three boyfriends: the 31st century green-skinned, brilliant Brainiac 5, the Atlantean fish-tailed mer-boy Jerro, and ordinary Earthling and fellow orphan Dick Wilson.

Fred and Edna Danvers didn’t adopt you, and you didn’t rescue them from certain death, blowing your secret identity, which of course your cousin agreed you absolutely had to do. And the people of Earth never celebrated and honored you when your cousin finally said that you were ready to graduate and step out on your own, so you never met the President and you were never honored at the United Nations.

Well, there is one good thing. You were never kidnapped by Lesla-Lar of the bottled Kryptonian city of Kandor and brainwashed into believing you were she, living her life as a respected scientist in a city in a bottle kept by your cousin in his Fortress of Solitude while she lived your life on Earth.

All that history, and more, wiped out of existence as if it never happened, never inspired the imagination of one little girl and, I bet, thousands, maybe millions, like her, who read comics and dreamed of things that never were but could be.

All that history to draw from, to borrow, to homage, to even reinterpret…all the things that could be….

…when you, Supergirl, make your first debut on network television this fall.

I don’t know whether to laugh and cheer…

…or to cry and mourn once again.


Mindy Newell: Je Ne Suis Pa Charlie Hebdo

SoBigYesterday I had a thought – which I do have on occasion.

I have always considered myself a “socially conscious” comics writer. This means that, if you look over my body of work, you will notice that I have told stories that, in one way or another, reflect “real world” events and the consequences of those events on my characters. Notably, of course, in my 1986 Lois Lane mini-series about child abduction and abuse, “When It Rains, God is Crying” (coincidentally edited by ComicMix’s Robert Greenberger when we were both working for DC, he an editor and me a freelancer), but also as far back as “Moon River,” my first story in New Talent Showcase, an admittedly tyro effort to portray the outcome of a closed, dictatorial society on an individual. And of course there was “Chalk Drawings,” which I co-wrote with George Pérez for Wonder Woman, which was a story about suicide.

These efforts do not make me Edna Ferber (a member of the Algonquin Round Table, a group of renowned and influential New York City writers, critics, actors, and wits who gathered at the Algonquin Hotel every day for lunch from 1919 to 1929), whose “socially conscious” novels include, among others, So Big (1924), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize, Show Boat (1926), which was adapted into a musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, and Giant (1952), which was made into a movie directed by George Stevens and starred Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean – his third and last role before his death by car accident – who did admirable jobs in a no-way-was it-as-good-as-the-novel script adaptation. So Big was about the war between art and finance, Show Boat was about the racism between black and white and its price, while Giant dealt with the racism between brown and white, the antipathy between cattle ranchers and oilmen, and, as well, the clash between liberalism and conservatism. All are issues we face today.

Nor am I Laura Z. Hobson, whose 1947 Gentlemen’s Agreement attacked post-World War II anti-Semitism in the United States. It was made into a film produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, who, according to Wikipedia, was approached by Samuel Goldwyn and other Jewish filmmakers. They asked him not to make the film because it could “stir up trouble,” and feared that Hays Code enforcer Joseph Brown would not allow the film to get by the censors because of his openly known anti-Semitism. But Zanuck essentially said, “Fuck him,” and the film went on to be nominated for eight Oscars and to win three – Best Picture, Best Director (Elia Kazan, no stranger to controversy), Best Actor (Gregory Peck), and Best Supporting Actress (Celeste Holm). Just a brief aside here: in my not-so-humble opinion, John Garfield should have won a Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dave Goldman, a Jewish WW II vet and best friend to Gregory Peck’s main character, journalist Phil Schulyer. Oh, and young Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap’s Admiral Al Calavicci and Battlestar Galactica’s Brother John Cavil) played Schulyer’s son.

But, getting back to my original sentence, in which I said I had a thought…

Am I still listed in the phone book?

Of course it sounds silly. I mean, who uses a phone book these days?

But the point is, how easy am I to find?

And the answer is: All too easy.

So what if I offended someone out there? Certainly in these past two and so years I have stated my opinions loudly and frequently. And I’ve done the same on my Facebook page.

Is it that inconceivable some one could decide to meet me in the parking lot at work, or in front of my apartment building, or even in my apartment? Some one with a pathological chip on his or her shoulder and a knife or a Luger or a Kalishnikov?

Or maybe while I’m shopping at the Jewish deli?

No, I’m not inflated with self-importance.

No, I am not Edna Ferber or Laura Z. Hobson. Neither am I Lawrence Wright or Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein. I’m not Maureen O’Dowd. I’m not Rachel Maddow. I’m not Chris Matthews or Ed Schultz. I’m not Megan Kelley or Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter. I’m not Jon Stewart. I’m not Steven Colbert. I’m not Louis Black or John Oliver or Bill Maher.

I’m not Thomas Nast. I’m not Art Spielgman and I’m not Jules Feiffer. I’m not Nigar Nazar of Pakistan.

I’m not Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman or G. Willow Wilson.

I’m not Mike Gold or Denny O’Neil or John Ostrander or Marc Fishman or Martha Thomases or Michael Davis or Emily Whitten or Bob Ingersoll.

I am Mindy Newell.

Je ne suis pa Charlie Hebdo.

But I could be.

We all could be.

And so could you.


Mindy Newell: Baby Mine

Baby mine, don’t you cry. / Baby mine, dry your eyes. / Rest your head close to my heart, never to part, / Baby of mine. • From Walt Disney’s “Dumbo”(1941), Words and Lyrics by Frank Churchill and Ned Washington

So Donna Troy is coming back.

Only this isn’t the vibrant, intelligent, powerful, and oh-so-very human – with all the foibles and strengths inherent in homo sapiens – young woman that I came to know and love back in the day when Marv Wolfman and George Pérez created and collaborated on The New Teen Titans.

This is a Donna created through the teamwork of Meredith and David Finch, who has been granted life through the dark arts, through black magic, and as she rises naked from the brewing miasma of a black cauldron, and so we react with fear and horror, our intrinsic fear of human sacrifice, blood ritual, and “unnatural” life causing us to recoil in horror and to whisper a psalm of David, to cross ourselves in supplication to God, to ward off this, this thing with shaking hands making patterns in the air, signs and symbols as ancient and as useless as our dead forefathers who huddled in fear on the plains of Africa as the light left the world and the darkness arose.

This thing is something forged in fire and brimstone. This thing is evil personified. This thing is wickedness beyond redemption.

This thing is sin come to life.

Yet once there was a woman, whose soul was dying from longing. Yet once there was a woman whose arms reached to hold nothing but empty air. Yet once there was a woman whose life was desolate with the silence of her home. And so this woman prayed to her gods for relief from this sorrowful existence, begged them to release her from her solitary misery.

She fasted in repentance; she washed only enough to ward off evil odor; and she put off wearing colors and smooth satins and silk, and dressed herself in haircloth and solemn hues. She ate sparingly, only enough to keep her alive, and took the bounties of her kitchen to the sick and needy among her sisters. And yet, for so long that Queen Hippolyta of Themiscrya lost track of the days, months, and years of her travail, the gods were silent.

And her Amazons whispered behind her back, and some thought that she must be overthrown, for she was mad, they said, and death will come to us all in following her, as surely as it did to the daughters of King Cecrops of Athens, who threw themselves from the Acropolis, or into the sea. But others calmed them, saying that the melancholia in their queen’s heart would find respite in their loyalty.

Then, one night the queen had a dream. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, came to her and whispered instructions into her ear. “Do not speak of this to anyone,” the winged herald said. “For if you do the gods will turn away from you and your life, such as it is, will continue in solitude as you watch your sisters and this paradise come to enmity and fall into entropy and chaos.

That morning the queen bathed once again in the milk of heifers, and had her attendants clothe her in the magnificence that was her due. She perfumed herself with the musk of roses and broke her fast with jellied eels and warm bread, and once again slaked her thirst with the waters of the Pool of Life. Her attendants asked her many questions, but, remembering the words of Hermes, she silenced them and sent them away.

Alone now, Hippolyta made her way to the shores of Paradise Island, where in a hidden cove she stripped herself of her finery. Naked, the queen made absolution to the gods, smearing her face with the mud of the ocean, and also over her womb and breasts. She knelt in the wet sand, and from that same mud formed the figure of a newborn babe.

And she prayed, repeating the words that Hermes had whispered in her dream.

The sky darkened and night fell upon Themiscrya, though it was noon. A cold wind blew and Hippolyta shivered as it battered her naked body. She looked up into the sky and saw that Selene, the goddess of the moon, had eclipsed Helios, the god of the sun, for this was the time of woman.

She looked back down upon the clay figure, and as she did so, she felt her breasts suddenly grow heavy and milk leaked from her nipples. A great pain spasmed through her loins and up into her uterus, and the queen lay down, crying out in a moment of fear as her legs drew up over her stomach and something moved within her body. For what seemed a lifetime Hippolyta lay there on the beach, wracked with pain, unable to stir afraid, sure that she was being punished for her arrogance in not accepting the fate woven for her by the Morai.

“Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos, forgive me,” she groaned. “Forgive my presumption. Allow me to live to serve you and my Amazons.”

There was no answer.

And then there was a light, such a bright golden radiance, so that Hippolyta closed her eyes against it. And there were two voices.

“Do not be afraid, daughter,” said Leto, the goddess of motherhood.

“I am with you, as I am with all women at their time,” said Eileithya, the goddess of childhood.

Hippolyta opened her eyes. The goddesses, bathed in a glow that had no earthly source, stood before her.

“We have heard your prayers,” said Leto.

“And they are answered,” said Eilethya.

Suddenly the queen felt as if a great chariot lay at the doorway of her secret place, that place where no man had touched in so long. She felt, rather than saw, the two goddesses kneel on either side of her, then one was behind her and pushing her up into a sitting position, but taking the weight of Hippolyta upon herself. Opening her eyes, Hippolyta saw the other – was it Eilethya? – crouch before her, a blanket of silver cotton in her hands. “You must push now,” said the goddess. “Lean again Leto. She will be your rock.”

Hippolyta felt as though she was falling off a great cliff. From high above her, she heard the goddesses speak. Their brightness was as a pinprick in the darkness starting to envelop her.

“She will be the greatest of the Amazons, a gift not only to yourself, but to the world, for it is to the world she will belong.”

“A great warrior against the darkness, yet her soul and heart will be full of love,” said Eilethya. “All the glories and gifts of all the gods and goddesses of Olympus will be hers.”

“Her name will be Diana,” said Leto.

Warm salt water was in her nose and her mouth, and Hippolyta sat up with a start. The sun was warm on her hair and shoulders; it was noon, judging from the position of the sun; she was still in the cove, with only the sound of the surf and the cry of seagulls for company. Why had she come here? She had a memory of covering her face and parts of her body with mud, but reaching up to her cheek, there was nothing there except for a few wet grains of sand. She lifted her gown, which was soggy with ocean water. Her body was clean except for a few stray pieces of seaweed on her belly.

The queen shuddered. Had there truly been an eclipse? Had she dreamed it all? Or was she, as she knew many whispered, truly mad?


That wasn’t the sound of seagulls.

A baby was crying somewhere.

But there had been no babies born in Themiscrya for millennia, not since the last children were born to those Amazons who had been raped by the men of Greece and Sparta in that terrible final war. A war which had led Queen Hippolyta – she herself raped by Hercules, though no child had resulted – to lead those surviving sisters who were willing to turn their back on what came to be known as “Man’s World” to Paradise. The immortal island.

The baby – if that was what it was–was still crying. Hippolyta followed the sound with her eyes.

There. Just where the surf met the sand. Something was lying there. Shakily, Hippolyta rose to her feet.

As she did so, she felt a warm gush of liquid spurt from her breasts, staining her gown. And a trickle of blood slid down her inner thigh. As if….

She stared down at the baby. It had black hair, black like the waters of the River Styx, and eyes were a strange green-blue, reflecting the color of the Aegean Sea where it met the Mesogeios.

The queen picked up the infant, who was wrapped in a blanket of very fine and very soft silver.

“Diana,” Hippolyta whispered.

The baby found the mother’s nipple, and nursed.


Mindy Newell: Wonder Bitch

Wonder Woman“I’d love to kiss you, but I just washed my hair.” – Bette Davis

Over at GeekMom.com , founding editor and columnist Corinna Lawson wrote a review of both Wonder Woman #36 (featuring the new team of Meredith and David Finch) and Superman/Wonder Woman #13 entitled “Memo to DC: Wonder Woman Likes People. Honest.”

Corinna is not happy.

Neither am I.

Now it’s true that my opinion of the Amazon’s most recent adventures are tainted a bit by my experience in working on the title with two of the best people in comics, George Pérez and Karen Berger, in that I think we did the definitive version of Diana, incorporating and being true to the Greek mythology from which the character sprung. It’s also true that the tinge of envy I feel whenever I hear that a new writer has come on board the tile – Hey, DC!! What am I, chopped liver? – may color my reception of said new writer. And it’s also true that, if ever given the chance to write the character again, my take could be considered fairly radical – a feminist icon who is not pro-choice? Is, in fact very much anti-abortion. For reasons, good, logical reasons, I have gone into in previous columns.

But what bothers me most about Wonder Woman today is evident in the dialogue and scene descriptions that Corinna mentions in her review and that I read for myself. For instance, there is a scene in which two Amazons argue about helping their Amazon brothers….

Hold it right there!

Amazon men?

Can you say oxymoron? Emphasis on the moron.

And there’s a lot of complaining – uh, bitching – on her part.

“…how will you ever grow stronger if you need us every waking moment?” she grumpily says as she rescues some human civilians.

And she bitches while waiting for Clark to finish writing up an article, “Why does

this take so long? Do you need to learn more words? And why are you using this ancient relic of your laptop?”

And she bitches when Clark gives up the fourth taxi to someone else during a rainstorm even though it means they will be late to the theater, never mind that they are both soaked to the bone.

Because, you know, Clark is such a “super” gentleman, while Diana is an Amazon bitch.

Although there is no such scene, something tells me that this Diana certainly lets Clark have it when he leaves the toilet seat up.

Bitch, bitch, moan, moan.

•     •     •     •     •

“Remember…the Force will be with you, always.” – Obi-wan Kenobi

Have you seen the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens? It’s only 88 seconds long, but that was all it took for me to swoon and drool like Pavlov’s dog in anticipation of a return to that galaxy so far, far away.

13 months to go?