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Wednesday, March 20, 2013 

A surprising revelation from Chuck Dixon

Multiversity Comics interviewed Chuck Dixon, focusing primarily on his GI Joe contributions, but what's really surprising here is what he says is an angle he took when he was writing Batman in the 1990s:
...speaking politically, your own politics are on record, and I wonder: as a conservative writing a military comic in a relatively liberal industry, what kind of challenges do you run up against? Related to that, how big of a role do personal politics play in writing something like G.I. Joe?

CD: I try and leave me politics at the office door when I write comics. I’m not here to spread any ideology. I’m here to provide escapist entertainment. When I wrote Batman I had Bruce Wayne and Batman speak out against gun ownership even though I’m long time NRA member.
Really?!? Surely that isn't a weakness or selling out to the views of the editors in charge at the time? Wish I had the specific issue(s) of Batman where this takes place in my collection, but I don't, or I could see just how it plays out. But the irony is that for someone who says he tries to leave out his personal politics in the work he does, he didn't leave out another side's when he was writing the Masked Manhunter at the time. Very strange indeed. Unless that was the result of an editorial fiat?

He is right about the following though:
That said, military stories are best left to those who are sympathetic to military realities. I would not even venture a guess at Larry Hama’s politics. They are certainly not on display in his work. But Larry’s BEEN there and presents an honest and sympathetic view of our men and women in harm’s way. I follow his lead.
A good point. Not many mainstream comics today written by liberals are favorable to the army.

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Not many mainstream comics today written by liberals are favorable to the army.

Not to mention faux military men like that idiot Micah Wright.

Good point there, Hube. I haven't heard anything about his idiotic Nazis-in-Texas project recently. I hope it's been shelved.

Back in the 90s, Denny O'Neill dictated that Batman hated guns because a gun had killed his patents. (IIRC, he also dictated that the killer was never caught.)

Dixon was following that editorial mandate.

Weirdly enough, the Golden Age Batman actually did use guns and did kill criminals semi-regularly. Until someone finally figured, "his parents were killed by a gun, does it look like right if he uses them, too?"

Agreed with Drizzt, as Dixon was likely following the editorial mandate. It does raise the issue of characters taking political positions that could be organic to the character's nature, vs. the writer using them as a standard mouthpiece (comics and TV are horrible in this regard, as writers often commandeer characters they don't technically own with political positions the characters may not naturally have -- now if an actual creator of a character does that, then I have less issue with it: their character, their rules). At least, here, Dixon is doing the opposite: taking a character who might have a legitimate reason to oppose guns to run counter to his own personal beliefs. However, again, I don't want to deny the mandate, either. But at least, he's more respectful about it than most comic creators, who usually don't bother or, worse, "everything for the cause of Liberalism."

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