Jim Steranko reacts to the Attacks on America

Mon, September 24th, 2001 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer/Publisher

Official Press Release

TERRORIST COMICS: Make Your Choice Now!

You're in danger!

We all are. We've watched as our beliefs, our work, our way of life, our

country, and our very existence has become increasingly corrupted. The 9/11

attack on America has pushed me and probably most of you to the razor's

edge of endurance for the destructive forces around us--and the people

behind them.

Those who know me can confirm that I've never thought of myself as one of

the good guys. But the malevolence I've seen in the recent past,

culminating in the WTC tragedy, has put that perception in a different

perspective.

Like many others, I'm repulsed by the plague of violence and death ravaging

our nation and feel frustrated, even helpless, to combat it. I find it

particularly disturbing that the artistic form with which I'm most closely

identified has seemed to turn its back on the virtues upon which it was

built.

Today's comics are possessed by brutality, destruction, depravity,

cynicism, and obscenity. No? Here's a press release I received a few weeks ago:

ENNIS, CONNER, PALIMIOTTI TURN A TRICK!

August 19: Ever wonder what it would be like to sleep with a

superpowered prostitute? Garth Ennis has and he's enlisted Amanda

Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti to flesh out the story in PRO, a 64 page

one-shot coming next summer from Image. Following the announcement on

the "Image All Stars" panel at WizardWorld, Palmiotti told the

SPLASH, "This will probably keep the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

very busy for the next five years. It's the world's first superhero

prostitute and pretty much every comic book character's run in with

her. It's done Garth style so it won't be the actual characters, but

it'll be like mainstream superhero comics with a prostitute thrown in

the mix. It's evil, it's gonna be worse than Hitler's testicles. It's

Garth, which guarantees it's madness. It's Amanda, so it's a woman

drawing this evil stuff, which makes it even more evil. And then it's

me and I usually like trouble anyway." Conner and Palmiotti signed at

the CBLDF table on Saturday afternoon to start building the war

chest.

If this is supposed to be funny, I'm not laughing. Are some of the

most-publicized talents in the field so desperate they've turned to

celebrating evil? Apparently so. They obviously think of themselves as

cultural terrorists and want the world to know they've allied themselves

with evil. They're welcome to it.

Personally, I'm sick of evil, particularly the psychotic, nihilistic

garbage that's pitched as entertainment and has signalled the twilight of

the comics era. All I have to do to witness evil in its highest form is to

look out any window--it's FREE! I don't have to pay $2.95 to know that I'm

surrounded by hatred, fear, destruction, and death. And I'll be damned if

I'll endure having it thrown in my face by those who clothe their contempt

for the rest of us with tragically-cool posing and bubble-gum arrogance.

Well, gang, if you fancy yourselves as terrorists, there are those among us

who'll treat you as terrorists.

I felt like my creative soul was crushed as I saw the Twin Towers collapse.

At that moment, most people realized the time for equivocation was over.

Now, it's a MATTER OF SURVIVAL! Our families, our friends, our lives are at

stake and it's time to take action, to take a stand AGAINST evil and all

those who ally themselves with it.

A few years ago, I asked Stan Lee about the bleak direction comics had

taken. It was easy to see that he wasn't pleased with it, but he said,

"It's what the readers want." I don't believe it. I do believe we want

well-developed characters, compelling dialogue, interesting plots, and our

money's worth of solid entertainment--God forbid, something that suggests

an atom of virtuosity or a new age of awareness.

Instead, we are confronted with an avalanche of over-priced booklets in

which it's no longer possible to distinguish between the heroes and the

villains because of panels choked with numbingly repetitive fangs and

claws, blood and gore, fan-boy rage and T&A chaos. Instead of social

mythology, the lillipop esthetic has produced a monument of intellectual

and moral poverty. It would be laughable if it wasn't so damned pathetic.

Am I being too subtle?

I'm alive, but I'm not all right. I'm in the same position as you and all

Americans are at the moment. We've let the world around us get out of hand

because we've been too complacent, too careless, too politically correct.

The everyday tradition of simply civility, gratitude, courtesy, and

thoughtfulness has been replaced by scowling indignation, virulent

language, towering disrespect, and open hostility. Our nation is being

crushed by evil. I don't know what you're doing about it, but I can no

longer turn my back on what I call the Kervorkian Age of Comics. I'm ready

to fight it using every resource I can muster.

If there's enough of us, we can put the irresponsible bastards out of

business and out of our lives with terminal efficiency--and if that doesn't

work, I'll personally provide tickets to the caves of the Taliban.

Is there anyone out there who's had it with devil-worshipping heroes who

aren't content unless they're picking shrapnel out of their skulls? Stand

up now and fight for the kind of ethics, values, and ideals you believe in.

If you don't, you deserve everything you get--and it won't be pleasant!

I'd like to know what side YOU're on.

Jim Steranko

 
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