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Jim Steranko reacts to the Attacks on America

by  in Comic News Comment
Jim Steranko reacts to the Attacks on America

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

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

Today’s comics are possessed by brutality, destruction, depravity,
cynicism, and obscenity. No? Here’s a press release I received a few weeks ago:

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

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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