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After the Golden Age by Alvin Schwartz
Giving a glimpse into the formative years of comics and beyond.

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AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE for 09/23/2002
Volume 2, Number 50

Set Me Straight, Folks

At this very moment, some strange and frightening things are taking place around the world. I don't just mean 9/11, or the possibility of a war against Iraq, or the mess in the Middle East, or the terrible looming famine in Africa. I mean all of the above and lots more-including things I've talked about on this site for the last two weeks: a growing threat to our civil liberties, the big stakes battle for control of oil, and even whether the whole war bluster now going on isn't a plot by the administration to deflect public attention by using an old bad guy in Iraq from its own business backers at a time when business is beginning to look more and more like the source of a lot of major problems here at home-like crashing markets, unemployment. ripped-off stockholders... the whole schtick.

Now way back in World War II when my comics career began, you could read comics and know there was a war on. Today, except for Tony Isabella's columns, you'd barely even know anything much was going on in the world by looking at comics.

But maybe I'm missing something. I don't read a lot of comics, but I was struck by the fact that a new comic I received in the mail from a very gifted writer-artist team shows a cover with bad guys wearing swastikas! And I've seen more of the same. But that's what I need to be sure about. Is comics still 60 years behind the times or is it because I haven't read widely enough in the field? It's hard to get comics where I am. I get lots of archives. I get regular issues of Roy Thomas' great magazine, Alter Ego---but I don't see anything anywhere that's happening now, and yet alarmist headlines about war and terror are breaking out everywhere else.

So maybe I need to be brought up to date. I've prepared a small questionnaire. I know that the readers of this column are thoughtful people. After all, what other kind could I possibly write for. So take these few questions and answer them by number on the Round Table. For example.

Have you seen any comics lately that seem to be involved with contemporary world problems?
1. Yes         2. No

Just write down the number of any statement you agree with.

Is comics more involved in contemporary political problems today than in the forties and fifties?
3. Yes         4.No

If you wrote down the number 3, would you mind answering a small essay question by telling this ignorant one exactly what and where you've seen any significant contemporary world interest, either politically or socially?

And if you wrote down the number 4, would you tell us whether you think comics would be 5 (better) or 6 (worse) if they were more involved with the mess of contemporary problems I've referred to?

Then just post the whole thing, with your numbers, on the message board.

And of course, if you want to offer additional comments on this whole subject, explaining why you think comics is more or less involved with real world problems today than in the past, and whether this might have something to do with declining circulation figures, please say so.

We might just be getting to something that calls for some real sounding off.


<< 09/16/2002 | 09/23/2002 | 09/30/2002 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Round Table.

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