Monday, January 17, 2011

In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Here at BAB we're grateful for Dr. King and his efforts to eliminate discrimination in our country. In his famous "I Have A Dream" speech from August 28, 1963, Dr. King said:

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

We can't help but think those words might have influenced Marvel's Roy Thomas a bit, when he wrote a speech for Hank Pym in Avengers 58 (Nov 1968). When the Vision is stunned to find that the team wants him as a member, Pym says:

"Is a man any less human because he has an artificial leg, or a transplanted heart? The five original Avengers included an Asgardian immortal and a green-skinned, tormented behemoth! We ask merely a man's worth...not the accident of his condition!"

This spirit of acceptance, of understanding, is something that early Marvel comics consistently conveyed to the reader. The two of us are grateful to have been exposed to it.

We hope that someday, Dr. King's vision for our country will be fulfilled.

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

6 comments:

Fred W. Hill said...

At their best, Lee, Thomas, Gerber, Englehart and the rest of the Silver & Bronze Age Marvel chroniclers did display a stong sense of ethics in their tales, not as something that was always easy for the "good guys", often even as wrought with difficulties. They regularly were torn between ethical dilemmas but ultimately did what they felt was right even if they weren't always certain. Just one of those things that appealed to me in the late Silver Age about Marvel Comics over DC Comics.
It wasn't until much later, btw, that I became aware of O'Neil & Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow series, which was definitely a significant departure from DC's typical style of the era and one of the marker's of the transition to the Bronze Age.

david_b said...

Fred, wonderful comments on behalf of the Bullpen. I loved the O'Neil & Adams series, primarily for the art, but on a higher level, like you mentioned, it's ability to depart from it's successful powerbase of comics writing with fairly-popular heroes (at that time..) and stretch towards more social relevancy.

In retrospect, the spectacular art sold it, and the writing was top-notch for the time, albeit a bit heavy-handed and preachy from issue to issue.

But it was innovative for that time and a very important step for DC to take.., if it wanted to compete with Marvel's initiative for steping beyond the Comics Code.

Was this movement away from the Code a primary definition of the 'Bronze Age' start, or a residual effect?

Karen said...

Fred, as you say, the silver and bronze Marvel books had a definite viewpoint on things that wasn't forced down anyone's throat, but you could tell it was there. Just like how original Star Trek had episodes that moralized, so did Marvel. I would have a very hard time figuring out what Marvel's current moral view is, if any.

Karen

Fred W. Hill said...

Karen, considering that under Marvel's current big boss, it was considered a great idea to have Peter Parker make a deal with the devil to save his Aunt May, I'm not sure I want to know what their current moral view is! Also, isn't it rather troubling that such an evil creature has enough power to change reality to such an extent? Good thing Mephisto is only a comic book character! Now, Joe Quesada on the other hand ....

david_b said...

I guess.. when 'reality seeps in' to todays comic world...: "Why, oh why would you make a pact to have your aunt live another 50yrs or so..?" Hasn't she suffered with..:

a) heart condition
b) amonia
c) marriage proposals from Doc Ock
d) Peter missing dinner again, and yes,
e) the 'dreadful' sniffles

I haven't needed another reason to lament the current comics scene for decades, but if another reason was warrented.., this would rank.

Karen said...

Yes, Fred, I was puzzled how Quesada could argue that having Peter (or really Mary Jane, since he wasn't man enough to do it himself) make a deal with the devil was better than a more realistic solution to the perceived problem. Is that really better than having him get divorced?

Of course, we also had Iron Man's and Reed Richards' actions in civil war, and now we've got Steve Rogers threatening to frame Dr. Faustus if he doesn't testify on Bucky's behalf...I'm having a hard time seeing the heroic aspect of this so-called "Heroic Age".

Karen

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