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-by Andrew Goletz

Various Reflections and Observations

So this is my first column as a parent. As I mentioned on the Publisher’s Page, I’ll be taking a brief leave of absence to concentrate on being a father. Everyone, including myself, has opinions about how this will change my life. Of course, I know it’s going to be a change. Most likely it’s going to change me in ways I can’t image. I am now responsible (along with my wife) for the life of another human begin. Small measure of anxiety mixed with an overwhelming sense of joy and anticipation. I pray that God gives us the strength to be good parents and above all, that we have a happy, healthy bundle of joy. Right now, nothing else really matters to me.

But the show must go on. Gotta finish this damn column before I can concentrate on the aforementioned family responsibilities, so let’s do this Larry King style.

The Observations:

Marvel’s Silent December promotion. An ‘event’ that is going to push the creative talents of all involved. Marvel’s been pushing the envelope in terms of what they’ve been willing to try with their titles. Having a month where their comics will have no dialogue or words whatsoever is going to truly show the cohesiveness between a good writer/artist team. This will be a fun way to end the year.

The Waiting Place. Written and created by Sean McKeever, this is the best comic book you’re not reading. It’s real life the way it ought to be depicted in comic books: honest, emotionally and lite on melodrama. Published by Slave Labor Graphics. for details.

Dave Sim. Needs more coverage from mainstream, indie and fan press. The creator, writer and artist of Cerebus recently published the 263rd consecutive issue of his self-published title. 263. It’s the comic equivalent of Cal Ripken Jr breaking the ‘Iron Horse’s record. 

Oscar Snubs. Every year there seems to be a couple films that aren’t recognized, but this year seems to have more glaring omissions than usual. No Wonderboys, High Fidelity or Unbreakable?

From Hell. Forget ‘Planet of the Apes’ or ‘Harry Potter’, or even ‘Lord of the Rings’. The film I’m anticipating the most in 2001 is ‘From Hell’, the Hughes Brothers adaptation of the greatest comic book ever produced. If it’s ½ as good as the comic book, this film will win Best Picture.

XFL. Professional football in the Spring! No fair catches! Owned by Vince McMahon! This is going to be a huge success for NBC and everyone else involved. Maybe The Hitmen will win a game by the time this column goes up.

CSI on CBS. So what if it slaps realism and procedure in the face? This is one of the most fascinating shows on television and while it used to be a reason to stay home Fridays, the move to post Survivor Thursdays has given the showed a well deserved, larger audience.

Voices of Insight. ‘Teachers of Buddhism in the West share their wisdom, stories and experience of insight meditation’. This book came out more than a year ago, but I was only recently able to read it. It’s a fantastic collection, edited by Sharon Salzberg and published by Shambhala Publications/Distributed by Random House.

Bruce Springsteen is the greatest living Rock and Roll performer in the world. Kudos to HBO for their plans to present a Springsteen concert in April. When are we going to be fortunate enough to get a new CD from this guy, preferably with the E Street Band?

Gangster Rap. Is there anything more ‘over’ in music than this? You’re bad. We get it. Next.

Drunk Drivers. Need to have their licenses revoked on the first offense. If you endanger the lives of others, a slap on the wrist, a fine or short-term suspension isn’t punishment enough. When you drink and drive, you’re committing an act of attempted murder, plain and simple.

Ignored Emails. Pet peeve of mine, considering the amount of time it takes to track down a comic professional or singer or actor’s contact information. The least one can do, after being asked about their interest in being interviewed, is a simple reply, even if it’s ‘no’. My intolerance for this may lead to a new feature here at GHM, which could be announced shortly.

Reader Mail:

Some of you were less than thrilled about my previous column, which called on web sites and web site administrators to take a more active roll in cleaning up their message boards through the banning of posters who insist on insulting other posters, slandering creators and spreading unfounded rumors all while saying safely anonymous.

“…I think it was unprofessional to single out your competitors like Wizard and Ain’t It Cool, just to make yourself look better. I’m sure if they focused on Gray Haven as much as you focused on their sites, they’d find plenty to talk about. Hypocrite...”

Me: The day we’re doing numbers like Wizard and Ain’t it Cool and can be called competitors will be a very good day. As for the challenge: let them (or you, if you’d like) find where I contradict myself and then we’ll talk.

“…Wizard receives 10 times as many visitors and gets 10 times as many messages as your site. It’s understandable that they’ll have more problems with moronic posters that will be difficult to monitor. Your column was needlessly harsh...”

Me: Good point, but I would argue that a larger site should have preparations in place before things get out of control. Whether the site is getting 5 visitors a day or 500,000, the people in charge should be ready to deal with it. It’s part of the responsibility of having a site.

“…I went to WW and read what you posted regarding the Quesada/McFarlane debate. You’re just as guilty as blatantly and blindly kissing up to Quesada as the people who attack him unjustly...”

Me: You’d think these were all from the same person, right? Wrong. Seems that comic fans reacted stronger than most to the column in question. As for this man’s statement, I think defending someone against slanderous allegations is a little different than posting lies and innuendos about someone.

“…I find it in bad taste for someone who runs a website of their own to criticize other sites. You should be able to rise above these discussions and lead by example, which means not participating in mud slinging...”

Me: I visit Wizard World and Ain’t it Cool and many other sites on the Internet. I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t like the sites themselves. The column was about the responsibility of those sites to monitor and react to the types of posts that are put on their own message boards. We’ve tried to immediately remove and or ban any message board postings on GHM that spread unfounded rumor, that slander people, or that are hateful in nature or criticize unjustly without offering an email address for response. That’s leading by example.

“…It’s interesting to see that a person who is a fan of comic books and films and creative expression is so quick to advocate censorship…”

Me: I wanted to debate this woman on our site, but she politely declined. Her letter was well written and insightful, although I didn’t agree with any of her points. Maybe she’ll change her mind after she reads this. As I mentioned to her in a follow up email, I don’t believe that deleting posts of this nature is censorship. When you post a message slandering someone or spreading a rumor you know is untrue, but don’t reveal your identity for the purpose of having a mature debate, you lose your right to self-expression.  Besides, there are certain rules that must be followed, even in cyber world. You can’t sell an adult magazine to a minor. We can’t post graphic pictures on this site as per the regulations with the host. That’s not censorship. One knows heading into it, that the site is maintained under certain guidelines. You follow them or you move on. I recommend that fans that are unhappy with the way we run this site do the same.

Me Again: Those weren’t the only letters I received about the column, and believe it or not, they weren’t even all negative. For the sake of entertainment, though, I decided to run the most interesting ones, which happened to be the negative ones.

The End (for now):

Thanks to everyone who offered their words of encouragement and best wishes. I appreciate it. We appreciate it. For the next couple of months, Gray Haven will be in the more than capable hands of Carrie Michael and Barry Wolborsky. Go easy on them, okay? And I’ll see you in a month or two. 


Copyright©2001 Andrew P. Goletz