Posts Tagged ‘the flash’

We went to a presentation the other day featuring cast members and show runners from the CW‘s four superhero shows: Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. We had a fine time; all of the panelists were entertaining and the whole thing was moderated by Kevin Smith, who had the audience in stitches. Kevin’s introduction described how as a kid, he had read comic books to be transported, and how they always made him feel like a better person because they were all about the good guys and their triumphs.

This made me think: Literature is virtually always about the good guys winning. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, for example George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman (no relation to The Flash), but you’d really be hard-pressed to find a book or comic where in the end you weren’t supposed to root for the good guys. Oftimes, the good guys are bad guys, but those are anti-heroes, bad guys you root for because their adversaries are even worse. Are with you with me so far? Of course you are, this isn’t controversial.

So why is it, then, that comic books are blamed for the decline of Western Civilization?* These are highly moralistic stories. The good guys virtually always win. They put their lives on the line, without pay, issue after issue for decades, sometimes (in the case of Marvel heroes) in the face of public ridicule, scorn, and even persecution. Who doesn’t want to live in a society where everyone is ready and willing to take on evil and stand up to oppression? How can a medium which produced Superman be bad?

I know a lot of the knocks against comic books are the same as are leveled against science fiction: it’s juvenile, it’s poorly written, it’s unbelievable. And I ask each of those the same thing: Have you read this stuff lately? Have you ever read this stuff?

Granted, comic books have a tendency to make you believe that violence (no matter how reluctantly practiced) solves every problem. But I would argue that being a “force” is less important than being a “force for good,” or at least it was when I was reading.

When I was a kid, reading comic books was not viewed by my parents as an optimal use of my time. I would argue though, that comic books (and later pulp novels) did as much to form my moral outlook as religious education, or upbringing. I’m not saying I’m going to stand in front of a runaway truck or face down bank robbers–but I am saying that if I had a little influx of cosmic energy, you might hear…

“Who is that masked man, anyway? He’s straight out of a comic book!”


*Yes, there were the EC comics of the 1950s. But really, it was the 1950s!



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So it’s been an exciting week in my little corner desk of the universe. I’ve had a story go up on a Hugo-winning podcast (read by a Hugo winner), I sold a reprint, I had four other stories come back with less fanfare, another (for which I have had high, but unrealized, hopes for years) is due to be judged by another market at any minute, and I had a book giveaway on LibraryThing that was oversubscribed (i.e., more people requested it than there were copies available).* Given that I’ve had months go by without any of these events occurring, this is a whirlwind.

And yet, my life is essentially the same as a week ago. I am no more famous than I was (so far as I can tell), I am little richer than I was (nor will I be when I’m paid), and nobody’s called me to make a movie deal of my podcast story. I will admit that at the beginning of the week, with all of these events (most of which were predictable) ahead of me, I had high hopes that my time was now. And really, I’m old enough to know better.

This is not to say that my time is not yet to come, it is simply recognizing that fame, fortune, love, whatever it is you’re looking for, doesn’t simply crash down on you like a lightning bolt that gives you super-speed. This is a very difficult lesson to learn, because we don’t want to wait–we want our fame and fortune now.

When I was in school, I approached every date, every dance, every opportunity to meet girls as if it was my last. Not in a dashing, devil-may-care way, but in desperation. (I was not exactly the captain of the football team, if you see what I’m saying.) It wasn’t until I gained some perspective that I realized that things take time. The girl I was going to fall in love with was right there all along, but our relationship required time to develop into what it became, and still is.

So it’s okay to get all excited and think, “This is it! This is my big chance!” as long as you realize it won’t be your only chance. I have other stories out there, and maybe one of them will hit it big. Or maybe it’s the next story I write. I know a lot of writers who have been dying of despair in January and counting their award nominations in March. After all, J.K. Rowling was flat broke before “Harry Potter” hit.

On the whole, however, I’d prefer to avoid more weeks like this one. They’re exciting, but draining. If Steven Spielberg is going to call, I wish he’d just get it over with. Maybe I should check my messages…

… Okay, nothing. But tomorrow is another day… Hey, that’s catchy. I bet I could work that into a story.


*I have two other giveaways running on LibraryThing if you care to look.



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My mind was recently wandering (as it is wont to do) along paths not traceable by normal means, with odd ideas burbling up from places that probably require spring cleaning themselves (and have since 1995). I don’t think this phenomenon is abnormal, though; I challenge any writer to clear a shower drain and not think about Lovecraft.

Given such a start, however, I naturally (!) began to wonder what various fictional characters of a speculative bent might find themselves doing after they have vanquished all the evildoers in town, or completed their quests, or whatever the show runner has designed them to do. Some ideas follow. And if Hollywood attempts to use any of this, then we will know that they have truly run out of original concepts.

In a Flash Delivery Service. “You’ll have it before you know you want it.” Caution: In case of pizza delivery, be ready to grab it; deliveryman is always hungry.

Stargate Tours. “You’re on time or you’re out of luck.” The routes are rough and you have to carry your own bags, but they do take you places off the beaten track.

Star Trekkers. “Boldly go where no tourist has gone before.” For the more sophisticated traveler. Trips are really long (5 – 75 years), but all incidentals are covered, including a spiffy red company shirt.

Haven B&B. “Pack up your Troubles in your old kit bag.” Quaint atmosphere, but we recommend being very polite to the locals.

Sleepy Hollow Plumbers and Rooters. Motto: “Trust us, we’ve witnessed worse.” Tunneling work a specialty.

Insurance Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “We’ve protected much better stuff than yours.” Offices are hard to locate, but they do tend to show up when you most need coverage.

Arrow Exterminators. “Your pests will think they have targets on their backs.” Their equipment’s a little unconventional, and they have a high turnover rate, but one way or another they get the job done.

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