Tagged: The Defenders

Marc Alan Fishman: The Times, They Are A Changin’

Can you feel it in the air, kiddos? Whether it’s our President’s RussiaGate investigation picking off staff members and placing others under house arrest, or the massive movement of that other three-named comic book creator being snagged by their rival comic company. The times? They are a’changin.’

And while I’m apt to discuss my continuing thoughts on our super-villain-in-chief slowly devolving our country into the antithesis of what it was founded upon, I think it’s more apropos I dive in instead to the recent(ish) announcement that Brian Michael Bendis is headed towards DC Comics.

In 2000, which I’ll be double-damned was seventeen friggin’ years ago, BMB was brought in on a little experimental book Ultimate Spider-Man. The proto-millennial Peter Parker of Bendis’s pen was what a generation needed from their comics. He was young, unencumbered by decades of backstory, and full of delicious teen angst. Paired with the artwork of stalwart journeyman Mark Bagley, the book skyrocketed Bendis’s name-value into the upper echelons of the modern comic book fandom. And over the course of his career at the house funded by the Mouse, Bendis had amazing runs on Daredevil, The Avengers, Alias, and the X-Men. But you have access to Wikipedia too, so, let’s just call it a day with the basics, shall we?

While some would be quick to point out that BMB’s clout may not be at the same levels it once was, anyone with a Facebook feed like mine when the announcement dropped surely could argue otherwise. Every comic book fan and creator I know had something to say on the matter. Most all of it was purely positive – save literally for that one friend who literally can’t say they like anything, ever. But, pardon my French, fuck that guy.

With Bendis headed to DC, the potential energy here outmatches the kinetic force of his Marvel departure. With decades (plus) full of ideas for DC’s pantheon of super-powered beings, there’s a change in the air of mainstream comics – if only for the time being until his name is actually attached to specific projects with specific deadlines.

Simply take a look at the modern comic landscape, and you’ll see how BMB moved the needle of mainstream comics like a nuclear-powered sharknado. He made a generation believe that Spider-Man could become a legacy character through Miles Morales. He took the idea of a Wonder Woman, removed all heroic chakras, and gave us Jessica Jones. He whispered through Scarlet Witch “no more mutants.” He disassembled and reassembled the Avengers. And even recently, he created RiRi Williams – giving us the female Rhodey we never knew we wanted. Like I said: needle-moving creation.

Now, take that mind, and give it the keys to a new kingdom. This move allows us to build on the potent world-building of Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, etc., and grant carte blanche to introduce the humanity that Bendis has built a career off of… ultimately (natch) allowing DC to have its cake and eat it too.

 

If we think big picture, it’s easy to see how the street-level vision of BMB could breathe new life into staple DC champions like Batman, or Green Lantern. Or, Bendis could lend his pro-woman-writing wares to Wonder Woman or Supergirl. Hell, they could just let ole’ BMB nab someone like Jamie Reyes or Kyle Rayner (please oh please) and let him steer their ships towards brighter shores. Again: the possibilities are endless, and exciting. Oh wait! Could Bendis be allowed to work with the Endless?! I digress, I digress.

Yes kiddos, the times they are a’changin’. Amidst all the hellfire and panic that exists in the real world? I’m happy to know that the fake ones that exist on paper now have a new voice and energy to distract me from the impending doom. And that is a change worth subscribing to.

Mike Gold: How Are You Getting Your Marvel Stories?

In this very space last week, I suggested there was a reason Marvel’s sales are off that is in addition to the negative reader reaction to such events as Civil War 2 and Secret Empire.

Let’s spread some numbers around. Buying into these mega-events is expensive. Each consists of dozens and dozens of comics — mini-series, tie-ins, one-shots, and so on. Each event takes about 50 or 60 hours to read in their entirety. The post-event comics come out after that, and you might be compelled to check out a few of the ongoing titles where the event changed the characters therein, although Marvel usually abandons those changes around the time the next relevant movie comes out. That’s more money and more time.

The whole thing takes the better part of a year to unfold; longer, as these days each Marvel event tends to segue into the next. You’ve got to work hard and spend a lot of money to complete a satisfying story, even if – as in the case for many with Civil War 2 and Secret Empire, you didn’t find the story all that satisfying.

However, for roughly the price of three individual comic books you can buy a ticket to the latest Marvel movie and get what is usually a satisfying experience — and your friends can join you in that experience. Of course, one should add the cost of an overpriced box of Snow Caps or some such to the tab.

You can watch as many Marvel teevee shows as you can absorb, and many of them are quite entertaining. Or if you want, you can wheel a cooler filled with snacks and drinks into your bathroom, bring in a tablet or a laptop computer, and stream an entire season of one of Marvel’s many, many Netflix series. As long as nobody else needs that toilet, you’re in superhero heaven with a story complete with a beginning, a middle and an end. I, for one, found the recent Marvel’s The Defenders to be very entertaining. Your opinion might differ, but it really shouldn’t.

If you’re already a Netflix subscriber, it’s free. If not, well one month of Netflix costs a hell of a lot less than one week’s worth of the current Mighty Marvel Event and you get enough other Netflix shows and movies to fill the Pacific Ocean. You will spend less time, energy and money following your favorite Marvel media madness than plowing your way through a pile of event comics that are mediocre at best.

So, I ask you this: even this particular competitive environment… who needs to buy all those comic books? And maybe that’s okay by Marvel’s owner, the Mickey Mouse corporation. They understand how to make and how to market movies and video. This comic book stuff goes against everything the bean-counters learned in MBA school – as far as those suits are concerned, everybody in the comics racket talks like Bizarro Number One.

Indeed, the profit of Marvel’s new comic book output for an entire year is dwarfed by the profit from the last Avengers-themed motion picture alone — even if those publishing profits had somehow mysteriously doubled.

I’m not suggesting Disney might not want to publish new comics, but as a return on investment, those resources might be more profitably allocated to the media side.

Shhhh! Don’t tell the Mouse! He can be a real rat, and rats don’t eat staples.

Many wags think someday Mr. and Ms. Consumer will shout enough is enough and demand superhero shows be replaced by… I dunno, maybe westerns or something equally trendy. I’m sure we won’t be seeing half-billion-dollar cape flicks in the theater with the near-monthly frequency we’re seeing now, but who knows? We’ve always had superhero movies and superhero stories, from the Scarlet Pimpernel to Sherlock Holmes to Zorro to Tarzan. The only question is quantity.

Does Disney care? Well, they’ll say they do, but they own all those Disney properties which, these days, includes the Marvel characters, the Star Wars empire, the Muppets, and Pixar. It’s not like they won’t have anything to whenever the superhero trend fades a bit.

Disney did not do much in the way of original Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoons for several decades, and they don’t do all that much with them today. Yet they continue to sell a lot of Mouse and Duck product of all sorts. They do not need to publish Marvel comic books in order to keep Captain America and Groot in the public mind.

Dennis O’Neil: Team-Ups!

So it’s a ball boiler inside the Manhattan office building because although I’m pretty sure air conditioning existed it did not become ubiquitous until after the war that the good ol’ US of A was sliding into. What we’re looking at is an open window on an upper floor and somehow (are we pigeons?) we get inside and behold! Three middle-aged men, suit jackets draped over chairs, ties loosened, discussing the comic books they edit. They have had solid successes with characters a couple of young guys named Bill Everett and Carl Burgos brought in. The topic under discussion: more! More of Burgos’s Human Torch, of Everett’s Sub-Mariner: and yes, of course, more profits, and maybe this year’s Christmas bonus will be worth more than a subway token. Then one of the three (wise men?) has The Idea: Combine ‘em! Put them in the same issue…no, put ‘em in the same story.

And so they did, and a few months later your grandpa (great grandpa?) was sitting on a porch swing with his best gal reading about the meeting of Subby and The Torch, and being scolded by Best Gal for wasting time and money on those stupid funny books! (Okay, skeptics, can you prove that this stuff didn’t happen? Go ahead, Mr. Philosophy Dude, let’s see you prove a negative.)

Whatever the particulars, regardless of what did or did not actually occur, the Torch-Sub-Mariner stories went on sale and the few readable copies left are very early examples of what would later be a comic book staple, the team-up.

And then, the passing of years and The Justice Society of America, the Marvel Family, and a plethora of other costumed teams, until the arrival of the X-Men just abut the time when comics as a whole were getting a mighty, second wind and emerging from a decade-long obscurity, victims of the Eisenhower era witch hunts.

Comics were back!

And movies were following the trail they blazed. After a few single-hero flicks, the movies found the X-Men and a billion dollar franchise was born. Hold it! – not exactly born: rather, evolved from earlier existence as comic book characters. Fortunes were, and are, being made. More of them to come.

And the fossil who goes by my name can kick back and realize that the Netflix video enterprise, a first cousin to the movies mentioned above, is a super-group comprised entirely of character I’ve worked on. Yep, The Defenders, starring Iron Fist and Power Man, who were partners in their comic book home, and Daredevil and Patsy Walker.

Who?

Patsy made the giant leap from comics about post-teens to grim superheroic private eye Jessica Jones. Patsy’s light and bright escapades were closely related to other Marvel stuff like Millie the Model and if you didn’t know that, well, now you do.

As of this writing, I’ve only seen two of the Defenders programs and so have not earned the right to have an opinion about the whole series.

Catch me next week. Maybe by then I’ll have earned the aforementioned figured out the subject of the preceding 517 words.

Martha Thomases: Defending…?

Last Friday, my pal Larry Hama invited me to a “friends and family” screening of the first two episodes of Marvel’s The Defenders. I mean the new series debuting on Netflix today, not the classic television show, The Defenders, the source of many many jokes made during the screening.

Also in attendance: Tony Isabella, Michael Gaydos and his adorable son, Arvell Jones, and the families of Archie Goodwin and George Tuska. Plus a bunch of current Marvel folks who had probably already seen the whole series, but who were gracious hosts.

Before the screening began, I was feeling pretty warm and fuzzy about seeing so many of my old friends and meeting people whose work I admired. Hence, I was psyched to enjoy two hours in a comfy chair in a screening room.

Mostly, I had a great time. I have a huge crush on Charlie Cox, the beautiful man who plays Matt Murdock. And I love Rosario Dawson, Mike Colter, and Kristin Ritter. The production design for the series suggests the color schemes associated with each of the four main characters so that Daredevil’s scenes are dark and red, Jessica Jones’ scenes are blue, and Luke Cage’s seem to have been shot in the 1970s.

If only there were no Iron Fist.

I don’t blame Finn Jones. He’s working as hard as he can. Unfortunately, the way Danny Rand has been written for these series, he’s a narcissist. A benevolent narcissist, but still a man who only sees the world as it relates to him. Daredevil is trying to keep crime out of his neighborhood. Luke Cage is the Hero of Harlem. Even Jessica Jones goes out of her way to help a stranger.

Danny Rand only thinks about Danny Rand. Even in his guilt, he can’t see past himself.

I guess this makes a certain amount of sense, given that he was raised by Buddhist monks and taught to look within himself for strength. Buddhists can be rather solipsistic. They aren’t the only ones, certainly, and that’s not all there is to Buddhism, but that’s what I infer from the Netflix series. In any case, his self-absorption has the effect of making the character and his struggles seem less important.

(For another perspective on Buddhism and action heroes, you might want to check out this series, co-written by my high school friend, Tinker Lindsay.)

A few supporting characters from each series are here, so our heroes have someone to provide exposition. I like to see Colleen Wing and Misty Knight and Foggy Nelson and Trish Walker. Sigourney Weaver and Waitlist Ching Ho make excellent villains. And there are many many, many other characters, enough so that it feels like it’s actually shot in New York City, where many millions of people live.

I can’t give a real critical overview of a series from just the first two episodes. It felt like they were taking their time getting to the real story because when the screening ended, the four main characters had not yet all met each other. That seems to me to be a bit too slow.

Still, it’s the tail end of August. What else do you have to do this weekend? I certainly have nothing better.

•     •     •     •     •

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The Law Is A Ass

Bob Ingersoll: The Law Is A Ass #399

AS A LAWYER, RALPH BELLAMY WAS INDEFENSIBLE

It’s a good thing this story wasn’t part of the actual series. Otherwise we might not all be here right now.

I’m so old, I watched Perry Mason first run not on the reruns playing on every channel this side of C-SPAN. But it’s not why I became a lawyer. Perry Mason was unrealistic. A murder trial every week where the real murderer was dumb enough to sit in the courtroom and watch. No, Perry Mason didn’t make me want to become a lawyer. The Defenders did.

The Defenders was a show about a middle-aged attorney – played by E.G. Marshall – and his fresh-out-of-law-school son – played by a young, pre-permed Robert Reed. Although the show had some murder mystery episodes, most dealt with some of the complex and serious issues of the time; abortion, religious intolerance, capital punishment, civil rights, conscientious objectors… Come to think of it, those are still some of the complex and serious issues of the time.

I was young. I didn’t always understand The Defenders, but I liked it immensely. See for yourself, a DVD set of the first season is available from Shout! Factory.

The lawyers from The Defenders first appeared in a two-part episode of the anthology series Studio One in Hollywood called “The Defender.” Walter Preston (Ralph Bellamy) and son Kenneth (a young, and not-yet-needing-the-hell-toupée William Shatner) were defending Joseph Gordon (Steve McQueen), who was on trial for murdering a woman during a robbery. Father and son argued over how best to defend the man.

I knew about “The Defender” but had never seen it. Until I found it as a special feature on the aforementioned Shout! Factory DVD set. Now I have seen it.

And wish I hadn’t. Because it was stupid!

The actual pilot episode for The Defenders used the same basic story. The Prestons were representing a man accused of felony murder. Father thinks he’s guilty. Son doesn’t. They argue over how to defend him best. But The Defenders did the story much better.

How was it better? Well, let’s start with Walter Preston.

Wait! Actually, let’s start with the SPOILER WARNING! I’m about to reveal all the important plot points of “The Defender.” If you don’t want all the important plot points of “The Defender” revealed, you might want to stop reading. END OF SPOILER WARNING

Okay, now let’s start with Walter Preston. Walter was a jaded lawyer who took one look at his client and decided Gordon was guilty. Okay, that part’s not so stupid. Lawyers do that all the time. The stupid part was Walter decided his guilty client only deserved a competent defense but not one good enough that the jury might actually acquit him. Walter even refused to use the “guy” Kenneth found who might have been able to secure an acquittal.

Walter violated every legal ethic there is. And maybe even a few that aren’t but should be. Particularly the one requiring a lawyer to represent his client zealously. Walter was required to do everything he could to obtain a result that was in Gordon’s best interests instead of going through the motions with a defense that was just good enough to lose.

Kenneth, strangely enough, wanted to do the job properly and, you know, get Gordon acquitted. Kenneth was young, idealistic and didn’t understand the concept of being more jaded than a Chinese jewelry store. Kenneth even wanted to use the “guy. Walter didn’t. They argued. A lot!

Then Walter had a conversation with Francis Toohey, the prosecuting attorney played by a still-hirsute Martin Balsam. Toohey never cared whether defendants were guilty or innocent. They’d been indicted and Toohey was paid to get them convicted. So that’s what he did. Not caring whether some of them might actually be innocent was how he slept at night.

Toohey’s attitude angered Walter. It should also anger other prosecutors. See, the first ethical cannon for a prosecutor is that a prosecutor should seek justice, not convictions. If a prosecutor feels a defendant is not guilty, the prosecutor should not prosecute. And he shouldn’t not think about a defendant’s possible innocence, just so he can sleep at night.

Walter was so enraged he decided he should actually do his job and try for an acquittal. Toward that end he used the “guy.”

The state’s key witnesses were two eyewitnesses who testified they saw Gordon coming out of the victim’s apartment at the time of the murder. Nothing else connected Gordon to the crime. Maybe it was my legal training; my plotting experience from being a writer; or my many, many, many years of watching television clichés, but I knew who the “guy” was as soon as Kenneth mentioned him back in the First Act of Part One. I spent two hours waiting for a “surprise” conclusion I knew was coming since the first act. It was kind of like watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie, but with better directing.

You probably know who this “guy” was, too. But let’s play it out anyway. The show did.

Walter called the two eyewitnesses back to the stand and had them look at trial table. He asked them, “Are you sure this is the man you saw coming out of the apartment?” Both answered yes. Then Walter revealed the big Gotcha. The witnesses didn’t identify the defendant. Gordon was in the back of the courtroom. They identified this “guy” that Kenneth found who looked like Gordon and who they put at the defense table during some courtroom confusion to fool the eyewitnesses.

I had a few problems with this resolution. First the actor playing the “guy” looked nothing like Steve McQueen. When this episode aired, I was only 4 and I looked more like Steve McQueen. Neither witness should have been fooled into identifying the “guy” by mistake.

Second, Gordon never made bail. He was still in jail and was brought into the courtroom by guards and bailiffs. How did Walter and Kenneth swap Gordon out for the “guy” without any of the bailiffs or guards, who were supposed to be watching Gordon at all times, seeing what they did?

Third, what Walter was doing was so freakin’ obvious, both eyewitnesses should have seen through it and answered, “No that’s not the man I saw coming from the apartment. He’s in the back of the courtroom, where you tried to hide him.”

The case ended when the judge directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty, because he found the eyewitness testimony to be unreliable. That probably wouldn’t happen in real life.

In real life, a judge would let the trial go to the jury first and see what it did with the case. If it came back not guilty, all was well. The judge wouldn’t have to look soft on crime by acquitting the defendant. If the jury returned a guilty verdict, then the judge could grant a motion for acquittal non obstante veredicto; a fancy Latin way of saying, I find the defendant not guilty notwithstanding the verdict, because the evidence wasn’t sufficient to support a conviction.

That’s the way it would probably have happened it real life. But I can’t blame the show for not going that route. This two-part drama that was full of legal inaccuracies and some outright silliness had already gone on long enough. This quick end to the story was its way of putting it out of our misery. Consider it mercy killing.

Come to think of it, mercy killing was another complex topic handled much better on The Defenders.

Joe Corallo: Iron First – Lose / Lose

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Last week news broke that Marvel Entertainment has cast Finn Jones to play Iron Fist in their Netflix series slated for 2017. Jones is a blonde haired, blue eyed, straight cis white man and despite playing a character that in the comics would also match that description, this was also looked to as a chance for Marvel to cast differently as the character of Iron Fist appropriates heavily from Asian cultures. So, basically, this was a lose/lose casting situation for Marvel, and Marvel chose to lose.

To me the real question is not why they cast the way they did. My question is, why are they making an Iron Fist show at all? Sure, part of this is me being flip, but I’m also trying to make a valid point.

For those unfamiliar with Iron Fist, here’s a quick background. Iron Fist, a.k.a. Danny Rand, was created in 1974 by comic book legends Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. His primary ability is being a master of martial arts, but he also has some additional powers including an ability to concentrate his chi in his fist, which gives him his name. The character was heavily influenced by the early-mid 70s interest in martial arts in Western culture – even Jon Pertwee as The Doctor practiced a form of Aikido. Iron Fist started in the pages of Marvel Premiere, later getting his own title, then joining up with Luke Cage a.k.a. Power Man. After his “death” in Power Man and Iron Fist #125 in 1986, Iron Fist would fade in and out of the Marvel Universe, occasionally getting his own solo series again, most notably a run in the mid-2000s written by Matt Fraction. Oh, and like most other characters created at Marvel from 1974 and before, he’s a straight cis white man.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see how Iron Fist was problematic. Not only is this a character that appropriates Asian cultures, he’s been written and drawn almost exclusively by straight cis white men. Larry Hama has contributed to the character, but he’s one of the rare exceptions. Yes, I completely understand that Iron Fist is a white man, but maybe if you’re going to appropriate a culture you should have some input from people in that culture.

Iron Fist will be, if everything goes according to plan, the fourth solo Marvel Entertainment Netflix series. We’ll have had two seasons of Daredevil, a season of Jessica Jones, and a season of Luke Cage before Iron Fist has his own show. Maybe he’ll show up in Luke Cage. So why are people upset? Why does Iron Fist just seem like a bad idea now?

The primary reason for me, and maybe a lot of you out there who also aren’t thrilled by the prospect of an Iron Fist show, is the lack of diversity casting. Not because Iron Fist should have been cast different, but because he we don’t need an Iron Fist show. The TV shows have a much larger audience than the comics. And often a much different audience.

The people who have been enjoying the Marvel Netflix series, and even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been watching Marvel move towards more diversity. Daredevil featured a straight cis white man, but Jessica Jones was about a straight cis white woman and Luke Cage a straight cis black man. Having them go back to a straight cis white man lead after this comes off as a step backwards to many in the audience, and rightfully so.

Fans of the comics can yell from the rooftops until they’re blue in the face. They can point out how Iron Fist/Danny Rand has always been a straight cis white guy. They can call out people for being casual fans and criticizing them for having never read an Iron Fist comic. All of that misses the point. Marvel Entertainment on TV has been giving off the impression to its viewers that they care about diversity, and to many viewers out there this is a move against the expectations that Marvel has set up and a betrayal to an audience that expects more.

Some people may be thinking to themselves who else could Marvel have even picked. Didn’t Marvel Entertainment have to make an Iron Fist show if they wanted to do The Defenders? The answer is a resounding no. In all of Marvel’s TV and movie adaptations they don’t always follow the comics that closely. Sometimes they don’t follow them at all. If they did, the first Avengers movie wouldn’t have had Captain America, Hawkeye, or Black Widow in it, the first X-Men movie would not have had Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Mystique, and many others. Black Widow in particular was added to Avengers because of Joss Whedon’s instance to have more representation after all.

Marvel has many, many characters to consider instead of Iron Fist. In a conversation I had with fellow ComicMix columnist Molly Jackson, she suggested why not Moon Knight? What about Dakota North? Monica Rambeau? Squirrel Girl? Or the incredibly obvious choice of Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel? It doesn’t matter if these characters were in The Defenders or not, they could still just as easily be in the team. Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Agent Carter, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage all show Marvel’s willingness to use lesser known properties in a different medium to give them new life and a larger audience. Why not also use that strategy to expand other characters profiles to expand representation rather than adding yet another straight cis white guy to the mix? Marvel could still even just add Iron Fist to Luke Cage, just as Luke Cage had a big role in Jessica Jones. Iron Fist doesn’t need his own series for that.

Some will write this off as overzealous social justice warriors that just don’t understand comic properties and are searching out the next trivial cause to latch themselves onto. That is not what’s happening. What we’re seeing, as far as I can tell, is backlash to a tone deaf company that’s expanding its audience reach and not following through with the unspoken promise of better representing the audience that people like Joss Whedon worked hard to cultivate for them.

Ed Catto: Second Act and Good Deeds

perlin2This month’s Fortune Magazine has a career-focused article that I passed along to my daughter Tessa, a recent college graduate who just joined the workforce. One part of this article that stood out for me was when you enter into the workforce, it is the first time, for many, that the adults closest to you don’t always have your best interests at heart. For many fortunate individuals, they go through life with supportive parents, teachers, coaches and community leaders all who are trying to help them achieve success. But in the “real world” your boss might not a supporter. In fact, a boss’s self-interest might even be contradictory to your own success. It’s a sobering reminder about but it’s a tough world out there.

TCbNLixJ_0101151758371(Luckily Tessa’s boss seems to be a pretty good boss.)

But one of the nice things about a creative industry, like the wild, weird of Geek Culture, is that there’s often room for good things. Specifically kindness and second acts. Paradoxically, I’ll talk about second acts first.

Don Perlin is a long-time comics artist. He’s had a long and a varied career, but when I met him in the 90s, he was best known for his Marvel work on characters like Moon Knight, Werewolf by Night and The Defenders. Interestingly, before all that, he worked for a number of publishers including Hillman, Harvey and Ziff-Davis. And he even spent a short time working on The Spirit and PS Magazine, the magazine that Will Eisner was contracting for the government.

bs13In the 90s, I was working for Nabisco and needed to fill ad pages in Disney’s Adventure Magazine. We didn’t have any creative on hand, so I came up with the idea of doing a comic strip to promote the brand. The team at Valiant supplied the creative work for this strip called “The Dunkins”. It was sweet and charming and the type of thing that you don’t see too much anymore.

Don was an artist at Valiant at that point, and every time I’d visit Valiant I’d be to sure spend a little time with him. This was about the time when Valiant was red hot – every book they created was loved by readers and hoarded by collectors. And Don was the artist on one of the new big launches, Bloodshot. The debut was astronomical by the standards of the day, and the standards of today, and Don was treated like royalty at comic conventions.
Moon-Knight-First-Costume-580x356I remember him telling me that how touched he was when one young fan at convention said “You’re my favorite artist”. Don clearly enjoyed this newfound second act and was very grateful. He was that kind of guy.

Don has since moved to Florida and was continued his art career for several years. Recently, he was overwhelmed by medical bills following an illness.

And that’s where the kindness part of this article kicks in. Longtime comics guy and occasional ComicMix contributor Cliff Meth organized a campaign to ask fans to contribute to help Don wrestle with these medical bills. The proceeds went directly to Don. And it’s still going on if you’d like contribute.

4254654029_13f3c707d0This isn’t the first time that Cliff’s created something like this. He has a big heart and can do attitude and is excellent at mobilizing fans to help their artistic heroes. In this case, Geek Culture rose to the occasion with an impressive display of participation and kindness.

A lot rotten stuff happens everywhere. But I’m encouraged that so many positive things bubble up in Geek Culture. I’m impressed with Don’s perseverance and humility, Cliff’s “just do it” attitude and fans that step up to the plate. So here’s the question – what positive things are you going to do in 2016?