Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 7, 2014

Missed It: Mike Mantlo Chides Overreaching Marvel Critics

Here. I think this is important for a couple of reasons. One is that truth is better than fudging the truth. Always. The other is you don't have to fudge the truth to want comics to do better by creators. We get trapped in a legal way of thinking that every injustice has at its heart people cackling with evil and performing misdeeds that leave people devastated. That's so rarely true. Institutions may be inclined to ignore damages done, but most people mean well. Frequently those we see as victims are either doing okay or were doing much better at some point than they are now. When you insist on portraying complicated issues as melodrama, the audience is bound to be disappointed once they realize there's no one twirling a mustache. They may even turn on you.

I think comics and our culture more generally can do better by creators. I think there are a lot of ways to do that. None of them involve dismantling the law with our minds until they spit out a perfect outcome. Few if any are about punishment. None of the serious ones imply time travel. With Mantlo you can give money directly or agitate for others, including those who are going to be richly rewarded by their work with one of Mantlo's co-creations, to join you in any number of ways as a forthcoming movie throws a spotlight in the writer's direction. No one has to be denying Mantlo funds for that to happen; no family has to be destitute; no one has to be caught on tape making Bill Mantlo jokes at a water cooler. It's partly because so much has already been done on behalf of creators in terms of some of them quietly scoring new deals over the last 20 years, programs coming in and out of existence they never could have agitated for on their own, so many people pushing for proper recognition to be afforded all creators when their creations are discussed publicly, so many creators that take past deals as a bad thing and a model to work against in new deals, that I feel there remain so many creative, possible ways we can do even better by creators across the board. If you insist on creating phantoms to carry your concerns, you have to live with the possibility those phantoms will be dismissed. And then you're stuck.
posted 1:45 am PST | Permalink

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