Wright State Panel
posted on October 16, 2014
Last Monday I had a chance to travel to Wright State in Dayton, Ohio to talk with a class that had been using Lisa’s Story as a course textbook and then to appear on a panel entitled “Lisa’s Story: Cancer in Popular Culture”. My fellow panelists included:
Steven Bogner the director of the Emmy Award winning A Lion in the House.
Julian G. Cambronero, PhD., Brage Golding Distinguished Professor of Research, Department of Biochemestry & Molecular Research, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.
Carol Loranger. PhD., Chair, Department of English Language and Literatures.
Yufeng Wang, PhD., Professor, Humanities Department, Sinclair Community College and a breast cancer survivor.
When I was twelve years old, it would have been hard to imagine that comic books would one day be studied in a college classroom and even more so that one of my comics would be studied. Never came up. Just wasn’t on the radar screen back then. However, comics, comic books and graphic novels have been making more and more inroads not only into popular culture, but colleges and university classrooms as well. So it was with pleasure that I was able to be on a panel with such distinguished fellow guests. The conversation was enlightening and the questions from the students insightful. It was fun to talk comics in such esteemed surroundings. Rather than recapitulate what was said, I’m simply going to leave you with some quotes without further comment. The first was new to me and came from the slide show that was put together for the evening panel:
“If you do not say anything in a cartoon, you might as well not draw it at all. Humor which does not say anything is worthless humor.”
The second comes from a Stan’s Soapbox from way back when:
“A story without a message is like a man without a soul.”
And finally this quote from Maureen Dowd which my dear wife slid across the table in this morning’s paper for my attention.
“Art is meant to explore all the unattractive inner realities as well as to recommend glittering ideals. It is not meant to provide uplift or confirm people’s prior ideological assumptions. Art says “Think,” not ”You’re right.”
As Stan used to say: “ ‘Nuff said.”
Lisa’s Ongoing Legacy
posted on September 29, 2014
This past Saturday we had two Lisa’s Legacy relay teams in the Akron Marathon. Once again I have to give the Akron Marathon its props for putting on a spectacular event. First, they once again managed to call for beautiful Fall weather for the run. Couldn’t have been better. Second, the entire event was flawlessly managed. I didn’t go back to check what I wrote about last years marathon, but you could probably copy and paste it here except to add that the experience was even better. Every phase from the initial sign-up, bib pick-up, shuttles to relay zones and the final event at the Canal Park came off with impeccible precision. It made getting up at dawn on all of those summer mornings to head out to the soccer field or rail trail to put in all of those miles so much more gratifying and rewarding. Thanks to all of our team members for taking part in this year’s relay.
More importantly, we got to raise awareness for the Lisa’s Legacy Fund at University Hospitals in Cleveland and the important work they’re doing to find a cure for all cancers. It’s a daunting task and I’m happy that Lisa can still do her part to contribute. If you’d like to contribute as well, you can do so by clicking on Lisa’s Legacy on the home page of this site. A link there will take you the Lisa’s Legacy Fund for Cancer research and education. So just like the Funky characters are doing in this weeks strips, you can play a part in hopefully bringing cancer to its knees. As much fun as these runs are, I look forward to the day when cancer is beaten and the race is really won.
The Cardinal Takes on Bullies
posted on September 8, 2014
Awhile back I was asked by Kurt Kolka to write a preface for a book featuring his character the Cardinal and a story dealing with bullying. Almost from the first week in Funky, I’ve been taking on this topic in the strip so I was more than happy to add to Kurt’s take on the subject. The book is also a flip book with the flip side containing comments on bullying from a number of well known comics creators. If anything, the problem of bullying seems to be more pervasive than ever and a book like this is long overdue. I congratulate Kurt and I’m glad to have been asked to take part. The following is my preface for the book:
When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman, they were firing the opening shot in the comics’ war on bullies. Reaching back to the Golem, a legendary defender of the Jewish nation, they fused it with the pulp sensibilities of the times to create someone who would fuel the fantasies and desires of school kids across America. A hero who would set right the wrongs of an unfair world.
Comics today are accused of presenting a dystopian view of the world, but the first dystopian world I ever encountered was called a Junior High School. Junior High is where social and physical bullying are distilled and refined and turned into an art form. It’s where you run smack into the real world and learn that people can do things that are not always nice, not always fair, and which are sometimes downright evil. Owlhoots, ne’r-do-wells, and pettifoggers abound, and daily survival runs the gamut from knowing which restrooms to avoid to where and with whom it’s safe to sit at lunch.
Superman and all that followed provided a safe haven where you could count on bullies getting their comeuppance and things being set right. A world where heroes set a shining example of what was right and what was wrong and how with great power necessarily comes great responsibility.
In The Cardinal, Kurt Kolka has given us a hero in that grand tradition. And in A Bullying Story a morality play that tackles the issue head on with a story of hurt, pain and eventual redemption. A story that in our cyber age is sadly needed more than ever.
I think Jerry and Joe would have liked it.