Born in 1952, Mark Evanier has been writing professionally since 1969. He apprenticed under Jack Kirby and wrote for Disney, Gold Key, and the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate before moving on to television.
There, Evanier worked on such series as The Nancy Walker Show, The McLean Stevenson Show, and Welcome Back, Kotter. Next he worked for Hanna-Barbera on several series, including Scooby Doo, Plastic Man, and Thundarr the Barbarian. Evanier returned to comic books as well, writing and later editing Blackhawk, working with Sergio Aragonés on Groo the Wanderer, and co-creating The DNAgents and its spin-off, Crossfire.
His most recent project is Kirby: King of Comics, a biography of his first mentor, Jack Kirby. Happy birthday, Mark!
It’s no secret that I think that people who worship celebrity are idiots. I mean, come on; do these people really think that Britney is thinking about them? Every night on a popular entertainment news program they have something called “Britney watch.” That is just nuts to me. This show follows Britney Spears everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE! If she goes to Starbucks there are camera crews watching her sip from a cup. I’m not kidding.
Most of the people we hold up as stars are also looked up to by many as heroes. Really? With that in mind I wondered what would happen if our super heroes acted like today’s stars.
My apologies in advance to DC, Marvel, Archie and everyone else. Hey guys, satire is good for the soul!
High above the skies of Metropolis an epic battle rages. For hours Superman and the evil super villain have traded blow after terrific blow. Neither asking for quarter neither granting any. Finally Superman looks into the face of the evil super villain and shouts, “You can’t win evil, super villain!” The evil super villain produces a green rock from behind his back. He thrusts it out at Superman who withdraws in terror! “ Kryptonite!” Superman says the word as if its very mention is painful to him. The evil super villain flies closer to Superman who is struggling to remain airborne. “Now you will die!!” The evil super villain declares as Superman plummets from the sky!
Maybe it’s because this presidential campaign is lasting more than two years, but lately, I’ve heard a lot of people bemoan their feelings of helplessness. The system is unchangeable, they’ve decided, and there’s nothing they can do.
When I was a teenager, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, we thought we could fix everything. War, poverty, pollution, inequality – it didn’t matter what the problem was. All we needed was ourselves, our energy and resolve (music and drugs were optional, but helpful).
Today, not so much.
I don’t know precisely how, but our cool rebellion and anti-materialist hedonism got co-opted by the very corporations we despised. The very culture we created sold us out. Maybe it was the 1970s, when the music business got huge, segmented radio and split us apart in order to sell to us more efficiently. Punk started in protest to this, but was co-opted even more quickly. MTV turned rock’n’roll into long-form commercials. By the time grunge was hip, Calvin Klein already had Time Square billboards with underwear models looking strung-out in Seattle.
Movies didn’t do much better. The rebellious, independent filmmakers who gave us Taxi Driver, M*A*S*H, Easy Rider and others were rejecting Hollywood’s glamour, glitz and phoniness. Somehow, they and their rebellious stars were absorbed into the studio machine even more quickly that the rockers. Maybe Jane Fonda wasn’t the deepest political thinker, but she looks like Noam Chomsky compared to Lindsay Lohan.
So, comics? They fall somewhere in the middle, and off to the side, as they do in so many conversations about media. Originally reprints of newspaper strips, comic books were seen as disposable, cheap fun, so anything could happen. There’s amazing, subversive energy is Jack Cole’s Plastic Man, just to pick one example. When comics became popular, the people in power objected, and put through the Comics Code to keep the kids in place. Hippies re-discovered comics, and started to make their own. From these underground comics came new distribution, then the direct market, and now, with the exception of a few political titles like World War 3, independents have replaced undergrounds..