Dearly Belated: Postscript

Dearly Belated: Postscript

How did I forget this letter? It’s like it was written just to spur me on! (and to demonstrate that readerly “production” goes hand-in-hand with the sense of belatedness/distance from the characters that the Roy Thomas era ushers in). Anyway, here’s the letter, written by Dick Glass of UC Santa Barbara, published in X-Men #20:

Congratulations on X-MEN #17! I like your new corner cover logo, which, added to the sanguine, monochromatic cover, made quite an impression. The story held quite a lot of promise, since ol’ Lodestone Lips is supposed to be on another planet with the Stranger. As much as I never could stand Magneto’s gang, I do like Magneto and I hope he plays a single this time around. I enjoyed the beautiful four word description of his character– “I? I am power!” I can’t wait to see how Iceman saves the day. The fellas at the dorm think I’m ape over Marvel comics, but that’s because some day I hope to be part of the comics field, and I figure studying the best of ’em is a good way to get the feel of the medium. We write to the men responsible for giving the characters life and vitality, not the characters who are merely the concrete expression of their creative genius; to men who know what the “adult” comic reader wants, who listen and act on readers’ suggestions, who do not hide behind the front of “editor”; men who are recognized personalities! An integral part of the Marvel magic is the fact that the mags are done as conversation between you hip, fun-loving, romantically-optimistic, roll-with-the-punches bunch of fellas, and us readers who like to see one ray of hope shining through the mushroom cloud which hangs over our future — (yes, Virginia, there will be a future) — and who like to have someone honest and frank to talk to. Both the bullpen and the reader know that mag is entertainment, but that doesn’t mean it should insult one’s intelligence. The bullpen knows that the fans read as relief from studying for that vital exam, or to recapture one small bit of their childhood happiness which the world snuffs out these days. And the readers know that the bullpen is out to make money (a noble ambition–keeping America strong through the practice of its foundation–capitalism), but both have fun doing what they do, and a pleasant symbiotic relationship is formed. Pardon the philosophy gang, but I have my week moments. Didn’t say too much about the X-Men–what kinds letter of comment is this? Just keep your great stuff coming for those of us who appreciate greatness.

[Could there possibly be a more perfect demonstration of the “dialectics of excitement” in action? (Although I’m a lot more interested than Dick in the possibility that this particular capitalist process could generate a critique strong enough to stand in for the proletarian class-consciousness that we know we’ll never see…)]

good night friends!
Dave