Thursday, July 23, 2015

HIKIND’S PERSONAL PURIM



NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind was handcuffed today in front of Senator Charles Schumer’s office. He was arrested for disorderly conduct as he blocked the entrance to the powerful U.S. Senator’s New York City office. The question we need to ask is how in the world will this make any difference or help protect Israelis from the growing threat of Iran?

Let’s be honest: Comparing Barak Obama to Neville Chamberlain, or the threat of Nazi Germany to today’s Iran, is unfair. Obama is by no means as educated as Chamberlain was. Neither can we assume a similar altruism. Chamberlain genuinely believed he had achieved “peace in our time” for the United Kingdom. And when he eventually perceived how his miscalculation had only advanced Hitler’s quest for European dominance,  the former U.K. Prime Minister did an about face and wholeheartedly supported Churchill’s bid for Britain’s war with Nazi Germany.

Further, all bombs are not created equal. Atomic weapons arsenals in the U.S. and Soviet Union in the 1970s became deterrents that relegated a potential military conflict to a benign Cold War. But nuclear weapons in the hands of a State that currently boasts bragging rights to the highest rate of terror-supported activities in the world is another matter. Iran has, among other threatened and often-times successful atrocities, sworn to eliminate the State of Israel.

Comparisons of Iran to Khrushchev’s Soviet government are also misleading. The Soviet’s vantage point progressed from a seemingly virtuous but ultimately failed economic system. Its adherents formed the basis of a na├»ve worldview based, at least in theory, on uniting world workers. By contrast, the religious fanatics who will hold the keys to an Iranian nuclear arsenal are boisterous evangelists of a death cult. Deals and armistices and non-aggression pacts with such an aggressive player on the world stage hold little promise for peace.

How many times during an armed conflict with Israel did Islamic leaders raise the white flag of surrender or accept a negotiated truce only to fire upon the Israelis immediately after their guard was lowered?

One need not be a prophet nor science-fiction aficionado to anticipate the dark dystopia enabled by a powerful, nuclear-armed and genocidal band of Ayatollahs and their hundred-million legions of fundamentalist cannon fodder. The ability to extrapolate from recent history and sociological norms should make anyone of even semi-intelligence more than alarmed by a deal that gives America’s long-standing enemy, and Israel’s most dangerous and blood-thirsty adversary, the ability to produce a nuclear arsenal over time.

What can one man do?

One man can do plenty if he is Winston Churchill or Menachem Begin—if he is charismatic and capable and attains a position of authority whereby he can make a huge difference. But even the smallest among us are obligated to do our share.

Dov Hikind understands this instinctively. He understands that a N.Y. State Assemblyman may have little sway in the U.S. Senate or Congress. Nevertheless, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring attention to the village-is-on-fire seriousness of a nuclear Iran. Those who chained themselves to the White House fence or marched in Selma, Alabama for civil rights understood this, as well: All that’s necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to stand silent.

Of course Hikind’s arrest in front of Senator Schumer’s office was street theatre. But street theatre brought attention and an eventual weakening of American willingness to maintain immoral military actions in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Hikind was cuffed and charged so that others would wake up and also raise their voices.

There was a simple message for Senator Schumer, too—a message which echoed Biblical Mordecai’s plea to Esther the Queen: “Do not imagine that you, in the king's palace, can escape any more than all the Jews… And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"” (Esther 4:13)

Most of us are not elected officials. Most don’t even have a blog. But all of us possess a vote and a voice and social media and prayers. All of us should be willing to sacrifice now so that countless others will not suffer later.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Meet Paty Cockrum, Get FUTURIANS RETURN and (Maybe) Win a Dave Cockrum X-Men File Copy

Paty Cockrum's FOOM illustration of Marvel Bullpenners as members of the original X-Men.

Artist Paty Cockrum, the widow of beloved X-Men co-creator Dave Cockrum, will be a guest at X-Con this weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Paty was one of the last members of the legendary Marvel Bullpen where she penciled such titles as Amazing Spider-Man and Claws of the Cat and worked on FOOM. Her stories of working with Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., Marie Severin, Roy Thomas and Bill Everett are spell binding, to say nothing of her tales of Jim Shooter and Bob Harass (“Harass, you idiot!”)

Paty is also the colorist of Dave Cockrum’s FUTURIANS RETURN, which will soon be released by Aardwolf Publishing. With contributions from Neil Gaiman, Jim Lee and Bill Sienkiewicz, FUTURIANS RETURN is the final Futurians story written and penciled by Cockrum (who created Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, Mystique and many other characters for the Marvel Universe). Paty will have signed bookplates specially made for the FUTURIANS RETURN and everyone who purchases the book will be entered into a raffle to win one of Dave Cockrum’s X-Men file copies.

X-Con occurs this weekend (May 15-17) at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, 2101 North Oak Street, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577. For more information on the convention visit xconworld.info For more on The FUTURIANS RETURN visit AardwolfPublishing.com

Note: All customers who pre-ordered FUTURIANS RETURN via Aardwolf Publishing or the Kickstarter campaign are auto-entered into the drawing for the Dave Cockrum X-Men file copy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Speak Up: Cast Your Vote for Best Inker

Neal Adams and Clifford Meth delighted to support The Inkwell Awards.
I was pleased to be named a Special Ambassador to the Inkwell Awards this year. Now it's time to vote. Please join us.

Here's the official skinny:

The Inkwell Awards, a non-profit organization devoted to the education and promotion of the art of inking, invites everyone to vote for the industry's best of the past year. The official public ballot will be available on the Inkwell Awards' homepage from May 1 through May 15. Voting is open to everyone, from fans to professionals.

The ballot also lists the nominees for the internally chosen Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame lifetime achievement award. To avoid a popularity contest where recent names have more influence than past masters, the two winners were chosen by a separate, pre-arranged Hall of Fame Nomination Committee. Current nominees are listed as a courtesy. Past HoF award recipients can be found on the organization's web site.

New for this year is the Special Recognition Award (SRA) for an outstanding inking career of 25 or more years in American comics. This differs from the HoF award due to one or more factors such as the artist being out of the “public eye,” having limited name-recognition due to semi- or full retirement or death, limited-yet-influential output, social barriers such as gender/race, or other factors that would otherwise limit them from being nominated for a traditional HoF award. This award was also chosen internally.

“We’re always thrilled for this event, where the best of the best ink artists and their work get the recognition they deserve,” said Bob Almond, founder and director of The Inkwell Awards. “Inkers have their own fans and followers, yet often go unnoticed or glossed over by most awards events. Ours cater specifically to ink artists and allows them to be recognized and appreciated in various categories. We hope to have even more voters than last year.”

Once voting closes after May 15, the winners will be announced at the live awards ceremony at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC June 19-21 on Friday the 19th. Click here to vote.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Supporting the Gene Colan Scholarship


Sales of the following items support The Gene Colan Scholarship, which is awarded annually at the Joe Kubert School for Graphic Art. If you'd like to buy one of these items--or if you'd like to contribute something to this fundraiser--please email me at cliffmeth@aol.com

Meth, Colan and Other Theologians, which Gene and I did for Aardwolf Publishing some years ago, can be signed and/or personalized  - $18 each, postage paid.

This Bastard Planet  signed signed by Gene Colan, Marie Severin, Dave Cockrum, Paty Cockrum and myself that are $52 each postage paid. There are very few of these and, of course, Gene and Dave are gone, and Marie is no longer signing either.

God of War #1 signed by Marv Wolfman - $10, postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal file copies of Clive Barker's The Harrowers #1, #5 and #6 all in Near Mint. These books contain Gene's art and the set is $22 postage paid.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 signed by Gene Colan.  This 1990 comic is $20 postage paid. Note that Gene designed the Guardians.

Swamp Thing #50 (NM-) by Alan Moore - signed by artist Rick Veitch - $10 postage paid.

Teen Titans: Deathtrap GN - signed by Marv Wolfman $16 postage paid.

Teen Titans: Spotlight on Raven GN - signed by Marv Wolfman - $16 postage paid.

Vigilante #7 signed by Marv Wolfman - $8 postage paid.


Judenhass (Aardvark-Vanaheim) personally inscribed to Adrienne Colan by writer/artist Dave Sim - $15 postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal file copy of Creepy #1 (Harris) signed by Gene - $20 postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal file copy of The Curse of Dracula #1 (Dark Horse) signed by Gene - $25 postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal file copy of Howard the Duck #4 (Marvel) signed by Gene - $25 postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal file copy of Glamourpuss (Aardvark-Vanaheim) signed by Gene - $12 postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal copy of Kickback hardcover by David Lloyd, which was inscribed and given to him by David (see photo).  - $22 postage paid.


Just added: Tales of Suspense #39 reprint - signed by Don Heck, signed & remarqued by Gene. Click here to bid on this book.

Check back for updates as new items might be added.






Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Johnny Romita: Who Made Who?

My friend, the writer Mark Ellis, was discussing Stan Lee’s contributions to comics recently on his Facebook when an official card-carrying representative of the Jurists and Archivists of Credits for Kirby’s Overt Fundamentalist Fans (aka Jackoffs) swooped in with a standard-issue hysterical invective against poor, benign Stan. Why? Because, in certain Groth-pocked social-network circles, praising Stan Lee for even the ability to tie his own shoes is taken as an affront.

Thus:

“All [Lee] he wrote was dialogue,” opined the acolyte, “but he stole pay and credit for the whole writing job, in order to pad his bank account, and later, as a way to ensure the company owned the Copyrights. THAT's why they started pahying [sic] him a million a year-- so they wouldn't have to risk losing what they STOLE from other people. The sick thing is his fans not only refuse to see this, they also INSIST that the uncalled-for changes he increasibngly [sic] made toward the end of the 60s to other people's perfectly-good already-finished stories were somehow ‘improvements’, when in truth, they resulted in countless plot-holes, continuity problems, and characterization inconsistencies. Considering this guy to be some kind of creative genius, and brilliant writer, is the worst sort of self-delusion.”

The educated Mr. Ellis was quick to assign the vitriol to its rightful place, responding “I'm tired of opinion masquerading as fact. Opinion isn't indisputable, no matter how vehemently you frame it… Until someone puts forth some documentation or old movie film that shows Stan forging Jack's signature on a contract/check or stealing his wallet, all of this sturm-und-drang is based on speculation, conjecture and opinion.”

I’ve known and faithfully corresponded with Stan for three decades. I've also read numerous interviews with him. Never once heard any attempt to remove Jack’s all-important contributions from the creative history of Marvel Comics. But who cares what I’ve read? I’m just another face in the crowd.

But Johnny Romita isn’t.

Indeed, Romita’s position at Marvel was likely as close as anyone would ever again come to replacing Kirby’s all-important role as Marvel's unofficial chief creative officer. So I asked Johnny to go on record regarding his own contributions, and the “process” with Stan.

“Stan would leave a note on my board with a name,” writes Johnny. “The Shocker, the Rhino, the Kingpin, the Prowler, the Kangaroo, the Schemer, the Gibbon, Hammerhead, the Tarantula (not all brilliant)... The other editors would ask for costume designs like Wolverine, Punisher, and a few more… hardly any questions or suggestions… flattering to the ego… also did new costumes for older characters (Black Widow, Falcon, Submariner, etc... Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel also original...over 30 designs). Check out the poster with Alex Ross. He kept reminding of more and more as I sent sketch after sketch… biggest surprise was Roy Thomas and Len Wein not demanding a mask for the Punisher (never a word)… is this enough words? John R”

Further deponent sayeth not.