Russ Maheras writes an incredibly detailed essay over at Pop Culture Squad about visiting Steve Ditko at his studio in the Times Square district, right around the corner from DC’s offices:
Steve was a fairly-thin, gray-haired older man. His thinning hair was combed back, and he wore narrow-frame glasses. He was wearing a short-sleeved soft-plaid shirt (with pocket) that buttoned up in front, a white t-shirt, and slacks. He stood nearly erect and appeared in excellent health. He was alert, moved deliberately, and had no signs of any age-related issues. His hearing was fine, and his mind was very quick and very sharp.
Read the entire thing– it’s as good a description as we’re going to get.
Stephen J. Ditko, one of the most iconoclastic comic creators of all time and creator or co-creator of Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, the Question, the Creeper, Shade the Changing Man, Hawk and Dove, Starman, Stalker, the Odd Man, Squirrel Girl, and his most personal creation Mr. A, has died at his home at the age of 90.
Famously reclusive (there are less than five known photographs of him) and fiercely independent, Ditko was found unresponsive in his apartment in New York City on June 29. Police said he had died within the previous two days. He was pronounced dead at age 90, with the cause of death initially deemed as a result of a myocardial infarction, brought on by arteriosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease.
There may be no better way to get a flavor of his impact on the field than the 2007 BBC documentary In Search Of Steve Ditko, hosted by Jonathan Ross:
So there’s this ancient Greek named Theseus who builds a ship. Over time the ship needs repairs and pieces of it have to be replaced and finally everything has been replaced. Not a single splinter of the original craft remains. Which brings us to what is known in some circles as Theseus’s Paradox. We ask: Is the ship our man Theseus ends with the same one that he built years earlier? Please remember that nothing of the original remains.
Want to push this a bit further before we introduce comics characters into the discourse? Okay, I’m a ratty rival of Theseus and I take every piece of what Theseus has built and use it to build my own ship. I add nothing, I simply reuse Theseus’s materials. And now the question becomes: Whose ship is this anyway, mine or Theseus’s? (Never mind that Theseus might be a big, tough Greek able to beat me silly and take the damn ship and not bother with philosophical niceties.)
Marifran and I spent a chunk of the weekend catching up on episodes of Sherlock, the BBC’s excellent reworking of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes stories. In the earliest teleplays the title character is Doyle’s cold, eccentric thinking machine who has no real friends. He describes himself as a “high-functioning sociopath” and, yep, that just about says it.
Gradually, the plot emphasis shifts from Sherlock’s dazzling detective work to Sherlock himself and his private torments. The later stories are about him and not about the puzzles he solves. (Do some of you think I have completely changed the subject? Please – a little faith?) In the final chapter, he has come to admit a deep affection for his companion. Dr. John Watson, has apparently overcome his demons and seems to be a rather pleasant chap. (Full disclosure: a similar transformation occurs in Doyle’s work.)
There have been hundreds – thousands? – of interpretations of Doyle’s creation, including a teevee program, Elementary, the premise of which is virtually identical to that of Sherlock. Are any of them – the television shows, the movies, comics, novels, plays – any of these the real Sherlock? Or only those written by Doyle?
The venerated Steve Ditko created a comics character called The Question that ran as a backup feature in Charlton’s Blue Beetle title, vanished, and returned in his own DC comic that I wrote. Wrote, and completely changed the hero’s personality. It ran for several years – a lot more Question than Steve’s version. So who’s got the real Question, Steve Ditko or me?
Superman, Batman, Swamp Thing, our newly beloved Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the ones I’m forgetting – all underwent changes, sometimes pretty quick changes, and each version has its partisans.
And should we care?
(By the way, I regret any unhappiness I caused Steve by my rejigging his stuff. I don’t think he could have approved of what I did to it. Sorry. And is it good form to end a column with a parenthesis? Well, what kind of question is that?)
Remember back in the good old days when comic books were fun to read? Before the never-ending cascade of deaths that are meaningless and temporary, multiple characters with the same name and pretty much the same abilities, and incessant earthshattering mega-events that bring together entire universes of superheroes just so we can see how much they hate each other?
For several years before the debut of the contemporary Marvel Universe, the House of Ideas published a lot of westerns, romance comics, teen humor, war titles – and some major tonnage of monster comics. I was probably in their prime target audience at the time, having just turned 11 when Fantastic Four #1 came out. That’s the first Fantastic Four #1. But for me, there was only one problem.
I never bought those monster titles. They just didn’t appeal to me. They looked kinda dumb.
Then Fantastic Four #1 came out, followed by Fantastic Four #2 and then the creation of the Marvel Universe as we know it today… more-or-less. And then Marvel decided to jump on the oversized annuals bandwagon, a cart already crowded by DC, Archie, Harvey and Dennis The Menace. They released their first two in the summer of 1962 – Millie The Model and Strange Tales. I was so surprised I immediately bought the latter and actually considered buying the former.
I bought it at Chicago’s Washington Avenue subway kiosk as I was about to climb down the stairs to go home. Yes, my mother let me go downtown alone: it was 1962 and we were a lot less paranoid back then. Anyway, I started with page one and got through all 76 pages before I hit Albany Park. And I had a blast.
Since then, Marvel has incorporated some of these monsters into their continuity, most famously Fin Fang Foom (my favorite, whether he’s wearing pants or not) and Groot. Editor/head writer Stan Lee later recycled some of the names for use as heroes and villains: The Hulk, Thorr, Magneto, Elektro, The Thing, Cyclops. Perhaps the spelling of the monster Thorr explains why the superhero Thor’s name was misspelled on the last panel of his debut story.
The Creature from Krogarr (the orange guy on the left) was recycled in a brief monster team-up in The Incredible Hulk. I guess he might have received greater exposure, had his name not been almost exactly the same as the mammoth supermarket chain.
So Marvel is doing a big ol’ event in January called Monsters Unleashed, recycling another Marvel name. As Captain Renault said with great insincerity, “I’m shocked.” But leading their effort is an oversized omnibus called “Monsters Vol. 1: The Marvel Monsterbus by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby.” It reprints Groot, Fin Fang Foom, Thorr the Unbelievable, the alien Hulk, the eight-foot-tall Magneto, and others. 872 pages in total. I don’t think I could carry that on the “L”, let alone finish it. The Marvel Monsterbus retails for a hundred bucks, or roughly the cost of a variant cover.
But I do not believe Krogarr is in the Monsterbus. At least, not volume one.
And I’ll bet volume two has a whole lotta Steve Ditko.
We could spend the rest of this year debating which American teevee show has been the weirdest, but Hogan’s Heroes has got to make the top 10 list.
The high-concept: Hogan’s Heroes is the story of a group of Allied prisoners-of-war who operate a highly effective spy and sabotage operation from a bunker beneath their prison building during World War II. Okay, that’s kinda weird. It’s also kinda in bad taste. Its weirdness is abetted by several additional factors, not the least of which is… there’s some truth behind the laughs.
There really was a WWII POW named Robert Hogan who did time in a place called Stalag 13. He was Lt. Robert Steadham Hogan, a B24 pilot who was shot down on January 19, 1945 in while on a mission over Yugoslavia. Because he was an officer, Hogan was incarcerated in the Oflag 13 camp outside of Nuremberg because the Stalags were for enlisted men only. However, Oflag 13 was next door to Stalag 13, or, to be overly specific, Stalag 13D. He and his fellow prisoners had a contraband radio that was discovered by the Germans… but they were allowed to keep it because that’s how the Germans got their unfiltered news as well.
Given that it was 1945, Hogan was a POW for a “mere” six months. The television show ran for six years, which, for you young ‘uns out there, was longer than the American participation in the War. Then again, Sgt. Rock fought that same conflict for about 35 years, give or take.
After the war, Hogan became a doctor in the Birmingham Alabama area. He enjoyed the teevee series, and, with his sons, met Bob Crane in 1966. However, the producers – obviously – maintain that all of this is a mere coincidence, albeit a fantastic coincidence.
Perhaps. But Hogan’s Heroes is weirder for other reasons as well.
Werner Klemperer, who played the notoriously bumbling commandant Col. Klink, fled Nazi Germany along with his father Otto, a famous orchestra leader in Germany. Werner also was classically trained, playing violin and piano and leading the Buffalo NY orchestra. Klink wasn’t Werner’s only Nazi role: he was a Nazi judge in the movie Judgment at Nuremburg, and he played the lead role in the movie Eichmann. According to IMDB, his last role was as the voice of Col. Klink in a 1999 episode of The Simpsons.
Robert Clary, who played Cpl. Louis LeBeau, was a French Jew (original name: Robert Max Widerman) who was incarcerated in the Nazi concentration camp at Ottmuth and was later sent to Buchenwald. Twelve other family members died in the camps. Like Klemperer, he had no problem performing in the Hogan’s Heroes series.
However, Leonid Kinskey did. He appeared as Russian POW Vladimir Minsk in the show’s pilot. When the show was picked up by CBS, Kinskey bailed. Upon reflection, he thought there was nothing funny about POW camps. He had a long and rich career in both movies and television, and is perhaps best known for his performance in Casablanca.
Finally, Hogan’s Heroes was so successful it fostered a Dell comic book of the same name. The artist on many issues was the co-creator of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and many other great comic books.
When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do • William Blake
Last Thursday, the Guardian – last real newspaper on Earth – carried a story by Sian Cain revealing Alan Moore was retiring from comic books. I guess Alan was promoting his William Blake-inspired novel, Jerusalem in a unique manner.
Being a professional cynic, my initial thought was “hadn’t he done that already?” No, Alan has quite publicly left the services of various and sundry publishers – DC Comics, Marvel, IPC – because he is a man of principle, and I mean that with the highest respect. And a reading of the piece reveals he hasn’t double-locked the door behind him, telling Cain “I may do the odd little comics piece at some point in the future, (but) I am pretty much done with comics.”
That saddens me, as I’m part of the rather formidable horde of readers that feels Moore is about as good as it gets. His current work in Cinema Purgatorio, one of the most interesting anthology comics I’ve seen since the debut of 2000 A.D., meets that standard. But I totally understand his point about what superhero comics mean to him and why it’s time to move on, and it is simply the rock-solid truth:
“The superhero movies – characters that were invented by Jack Kirby in the 1960s or earlier – I have great love for those characters as they were to me when I was a 13-year-old boy. They were brilliantly designed and created characters. But they were for 50 years ago. I think this century needs, deserves, its own culture. It deserves artists that are actually going to attempt to say things that are relevant to the times we are actually living in. That’s a longwinded way of me saying I am really, really sick of Batman.”
Damn, Alan. That’s right on the money. Including that last bit.
I’d said Alan Moore is a man of principle. In some ways, his behavior reminds me of Steve Ditko, another important comics creator who stands up for his beliefs. And like Steve, this behavior has bewildered some of his fans, promoted criticism well before the Internet made that totally defatigable, and even caused people to doubt his sanity because he wouldn’t simply take the money and run. I don’t have to agree with all or even most of Moore’s views to respect his stand, and I say the same about Ditko. Hell, I’ll say the same thing about me – I change my mind from time to time. I like to think of that as keeping an open mind, but it’s also the result of a short attention span.
Nonetheless, in this time of massive political turbulence in both the United Kingdom and the United States, Alan Moore’s most important contribution to our shared culture is that he has always been the real thing. If he were running for office… well, I might move if he won, but I think he would as well. However, unlike those who actually do run for office, I’m absolutely certain I know where he stands.
Alan is a man of principle.
I welcome to see his future works that he will be doing because they are outside of his comfort zone. But as far as his comics work is concerned, well, Alan Moore, so long, and thanks for all the fish.
Last week, DC Comics released a free preview of its new Gerard Way-curated imprint, Young Animal, with the tagline “Comics For Dangerous Humans.” Outside of the credits listed on the inside front cover and a couple appearances of the new DC logo, it’s made to look very different from what DC puts out. This sixteen-page preview is digest sized, in black and white, and has no ads for anything other than Young Animal titles.
The wraparound cover feels is a silver age throwback. Older iterations of the Doom Patrol are prevalent, as are Cave Carson and Shade The Changing Girl. This reminded me how both Doom Patrol and Cave Carson were co-created by Bruno Premiani. Hopefully they’ll showcase this in the credits of the comics. Bruno Premiani is an underrated artist in the grand scheme of things and more people read comics today should know who he is.
DC has been doing a good job as of late crediting creators in their comics so it’s very possible we’ll see that. Shade The Changing Girl is based off of the original male counterpart created by Steve Ditko, adding to the decades long tradition in comics of rebranding Steve Ditko creations for more profit than Steve Ditko made.
Once you open this preview zine, the interior cover has a letter from Gerard Way. In it he discusses not only the contents of the preview zine but how different Young Animal is for him than his previous comics outings. He inspires confidence in the reader, as well as the importance of collaboration and how everyone working on a Young Animal comic believes in the power of these characters and the power of the stories they’re telling with them. For me, this letter did exactly what it was intended to do: inspire confidence in the reader and make me more excited to read these comics than I was beforehand.
After Gerard’s letter we get a character profile of the lead from each of the four Young Animal comics. This includes Shade The Changing Girl, Cave Carson, Space Case from Doom Patrol (presumably the lead), and Mother Panic. Like in the old DC Who’s Who (edited by ComicMix’s own Robert Greenberger), these profiles are full of information that helps flesh out the characters and make us care about them before the first Young Animal comic hits the shelves. Good call on Gerard Way’s part.
The rest of this preview is filled with black and white, unlettered pages from the four different titles. The art for these titles does look top notch.
It all ends with a page showcasing the creative teams on the titles. Sixteen people in total. I had mixed feelings here.
On the one hand we have seven out of sixteen creators being women and that’s great. One of which, Tamra Bonvillain who I previously mentioned is also working on Alters for AfterShock, is trans. I don’t know how much queer representation we have on the creative teams beyond her, but it’s something. It’s especially promising that she is on Doom Patrol, a series that has dealt with queerness to some extent with Grant Morrison and even more so with Rachel Pollack, but not so much since then.
To have just shy of half the creators being women and having three of the of the four titles focus on women is important. We also get to see more of Todd Klein’s lettering and who would ever say no to that?
On the other hand, there was something missing: people of color. Seeing the creative team being all white or at very least all white with a couple or so white-passing (I don’t have DNA samples or their ancestry.com logins) made it stand out even more to me that the characters in all the books are white or white presenting. Yes, Shade The Changing Girl is an alien, but she looks white.
In all my online poking around, the only character of color I could see in preview images was Joshua from Grant Morrison’s time on Doom Patrol. Rebis might count technically, but was either referred to as Larry, the original cis white male host of Negative Man, or Rebis. The character’s blackness was completely erased save for one scene early on.
This is not anything that I feel is malicious or even intentional. Clearly Young Animal is trying to tell interesting stories and attract new readers or bring back old readers who enjoyed the early comics at Vertigo. They want to appeal to women as well. However, not all women are white.
That sounds harsh, but there isn’t really another way I can put it. I think Gerard Way is doing something great with what we know so far of Young Animal. I enjoyed Umbrella Academy. Each one of these titles look interesting to me and I will be giving them all a shot. I even plan on buying extra copies of Doom Patrol #1 to give to people to get them into it too. And every single interview I’ve seen or statement I’ve read from Gerard Way fills me with confidence in this project at a time where I’m not easily made to feel confident about a mainstream comics endeavor.
That being said, I do hope we see more characters of color in the comics than we’ve been seeing in the previews so far, and that as Young Animal hopefully succeeds and grows that we’ll see more creators of color joining the fold adding more comics with characters of colors moving the plots forward.
I’m excited to get in on Young Animal at the ground floor and I hope many others out there are as well.
Of course I always like seeing more queer representation too. Especially for titles like Doom Patrol. I heard a rumor that Rachel Pollack still has more Doom Patrol stories to tell and that this time she’ll get the recognition she deserves.
Kids these days… they’re all irreverent slackers, consumed in the little bubbles of social media and self-absorption, right? Not so fast! That’s not what I just experienced at all.
Each year, Bergen (County New Jersey) Community College is the site for the Bergen Teen Arts Festival. This impressive event invites outstanding high school students to participate in a daylong celebration of creativity, youth and the arts. It’s packed full of live performances – music, theater and more. An art exhibit showcases impressive drawing, painting and sculpting talent. The Festival offers more creative workshops than any student could ever attend in one day.
And the weather gods must support it, because it always seems to be held on a gorgeous, sunny day.
Evan Cooper, the Teen Arts Administrator is a focused and supportive guy with a great skill for setting the stage and then letting the students and teachers shine. Three years ago, Evan, along with creative writing expert Jim O’Rourke, recruited me to teach a class on creating graphic novels.
It’s been a fantastic experience. For my part, I try to distill some of my best (art) life lessons, learned from the likes of everyone from Scott McCloud to Joe Kubert to all my own art teachers. My goal is to help spark an interest in kids for the art form of comics. We have a lot fun in these classes, and if you’ll allow me to brag, they are always SRO.
Newsflash – they don’t really need me. They already get it. They’ve already earned their pilots licenses, or are in the process. I’m just the airport runway.
So, in fact, as the teacher, I have the opportunity to learn a lot in these classes. Here are some of this year’s observations:
Manga is a Second Language to Many – If you attended the Book Expo and talked with bookstore retailers, they might have told you that the Manga craze (i.e. Japanese Comics) is dead. That’s not what I saw at all. So many of today’s high school students, presumably having enjoyed manga in their formative years, love this style and love to express themselves in this style.
Today’s Cool Kids – Years ago, when I was in high school, I made the mistake of wearing Batman apparel and was mocked (by one of the school’s prettiest blondes, no less) for my absurd, immature pop culture tastes. Today it’s so much the opposite. This isn’t a newsflash to anyone who’s been paying attention, but it’s still just incredible to me.
In each of the three classes I taught that day, there were one or two kids who wore superhero shirts and they were instantly the experts. They’d talk about the recent Captain America: Civil War movie, or Steve Ditko or digital comics or AMC’s new Preacher series. They knew their stuff and everyone respected them.
Lots of Talent – These kids were good! One student had already had his work accepted onto ComiXology’s Submit program (click here for more details)there was such a wide range of imagination and creativity.
What a day! Can’t we just fast-forward to the near future when these kids are published and see what they have to say?
Labor Day. It sounds like a day when we all should be out there laboring our asses off – or, if you’re an expectant mom, the day you give birth. (Now that’s labor!) Instead, it’s a national holiday on which we all un-labor.
The United States Department of Labor defines the holiday as “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
There’s no mention of the bloody Chicago Haymarket Square Riot on May 4, 1886, or of the Pullman strike in that same city almost exactly eight years later, or of the appalling conditions in which ordinary workers, i.e., laborers, had to struggle to make a living wage. Three-day weekends? Are you kidding me? As the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) of Downton Abbey asked, “What’s a weekend?” Not only were there no weekends, there were no 40-hour weeks, no overtime, and no benefits. The unionization of industries was looked upon as a plot of anarchists, communists, socialists, and “foreigners” intent on destroying the fabric of American society.
It wasn’t until 1935 and the National Labor Relations Act that the right to organize and bargain collectively, i.e., to unionize, for better wages, hours, and working conditions, especially the safety of employees, had the bulwark of the U.S. government behind it. But immediately corporations en masse fought against the Act – which was progressively weakened until, in 2009, the corporate community used modern media tools and millions upon millions of dollars to create new lobbies, with “New Speak” names like the Workplace Fairness Institute and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. The bottom line is that these national lobbies and individual state “right-to-work” laws have effectively killed unions in this country–which claimed that any legislation protecting the right of unions to exist would take away workers’ right to vote for or against unionization in a secret ballot.
And then there’s outsourcing…a product of President Bill Clinton’s North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA). Everybody knows that the manufacturing industry has fled the United States. Basically, the corporations said, “if you can’t join them, fuck ‘em,” and moved their operations to countries where:
The minimum wage is $3.00/hr;
There are no child labor laws;
The work week is expanded to whatever the corporation decides;
Health and safety laws are non-existent;
Unions are banned; and
Environmental protection laws do not exist.
So. What does all of this have to do with comics? Well, there was an effort to unionize, back in 1978.
In that year, a group of then A-list writers and artists banded together as the Comics Creators Guild – which is sort of like a union, but for freelancers who are given work but not on an on-going basis. Led by Neal Adams, the group included Cary Bates, Howard Chaykin, Chris Claremont, Steve Ditko (which I admit is surprising to me since he was a follower of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism), Michael Golden, Archie Goodwin, Paul Levitz, Bob McLeod, Frank Miller, Carl Potts, Marshall Rogers, Jim Shooter, Walt Simonson, Jim Starlin, Len Wein, and Marv Wolfman.
Janelle Asselin of Comics Alliance wrote on May 11, 2015, “One of the things the group did was put together a list of recommended rates for publishers.” These rates were (and thanks to Janelle and Comic Book News for this):
Fees for First North American Publication Rights
Art Work, per page: $300.00
Script, per page: $100.00
Lettering, per page: $40.00
Coloring, per page: $70.00
Fees for foreign first publication rights were to equal 25% of the first North American publication rights, and fees for reprints would be 50% of the first North American publication rights. In addition, any work used in licensing agreements would result in payment to the “talent” equal to the first North American publication rights.
Janelle wrote, (and thanks for doing the math, Janelle!) that adjusted for inflation, these rates would be $1080.00 for artists, $360.00 for writers, $144.00 for letterers, and $252.00 for colorists. I am assuming that these are “entry-level” rates, by the way.
I remember talking about the Comics Creators Guild with Paul Levitz and Marv Wolfman when I worked at DC in the 80s; I never really understood why it failed, except that perhaps it is because that, on the whole, creative types are ornery loners. And that there are – despite the growth of other markets and web comics and independent press – still hosts of eager-beaver young talents willing to accept pittance and give up any rights to their work in order to write, draw, letter and color Marvel and DC’s four-color heroes. Still, Hollywood, that bastion of creativity in America (say that with a smirk on your face) is a union town. In fact, you cannot work in the television and movie industry without a union card, and that includes extras, or a guild membership.
Which led me to this thought:
Now that Marvel and DC are firmly in the land of La-La, perhaps the fact that Hollywood is a union town will influence and lead to today’s (and future) comics creators to form a union that lasts. Or perhaps one of the unions and guilds already established will take them under their wing, such as the Writers’ Guild of America – West.
We’ll see. Because, for at least right now, Hollywood is just about the only place in America where unions still have real power.
This is how devoted I am to you, Constant Reader. This morning of deadline day, just before I woke up, I had a dream. In that dream, Editor and Task Master Mike Gold was saying, “That new Doctor Strange movie is just an excuse for fangirls to obsess over Benedict Cumberbatch.”
(Note: I don’t actually think this is something Mike would say. I mean, I don’t live in his head, so maybe he would. The point is, some aspect of my subconscious, disguised as Mike, said it in my dream.)
In my dream, I answered, “So what? Pocketful of Miracles was just an excuse for men to obsess over Ann Margaret’s hymen.”
And then I woke up and realized I needed an idea for this column.
Luckily, the inspiration gods were looking out for me, and Justice Elena Kagan of the Supreme Court of the United States geeked out. As part of a majority decision on a case involving patent law as it pertains to Marvel Entertainment and the guy who invented web-slinging toy technology, Kagan proved she had fangirl cred.
For those of you who haven’t read her decision (or haven’t read the coverage of it, which is all that I’ve read), you may be delighted to learn that she name-checks Steve Ditko, cites the proper issue number for Peter Parker’s debut, and quotes “With great power comes great responsibility” correctly and appropriately.
Clarence Thomas, the other noted fanboy on the court, disagreed with Kagan, but did not cite any Marvel creators in his written opinion. I like to imagine them arguing at lunch over who would win in a fight, the Hulk or Superman (maybe with President Obama and Senator Patrick Leahy, and any other elected comic-book nerds). I doubt it would help our political system function any better, but it would make it much more relatable.
I would like to tell you that, because of Kagan’s opinion, I went and did the research on patent law and came to my own conclusions about patent law, which I now understand.
I did not, and I do not.
Instead, I wondered if maybe I should create a superhero with a secret identity as a Supreme Court Justice. It could work. Supreme Court justices are only required to appear in public for a few hours a day when the court is in session, and they are not in session at all from the end of June until the first Monday in October. They probably spend a lot of time doing research and writing opinions, but with the right staff, I bet that would still leave a lot of free time. The frisson between the highest upholder of the law by day and a vigilante by night could be awesome.
But that’s too much like work, so I looked for something else to think about.
And then, I wondered whether or not Justice Kagan wore a Spider-Man t-shirt under her robes. I wondered if anyone would cosplay as her at San Diego in two weeks, because that’s a really easy costume. You could even smuggle in snacks.