An Open Letter to Cal Thomas

Dear Mr. Thomas,

My name is Joey Esposito — I’m the Comics Editor at IGN.com and a creator of comics. As you’ve probably deduced by now, you’ve sparked a flame under the bellies of comic book fans everywhere. I’m not here to write you another rage-filled letter, but I am here to tell you that you are wrong.

The matter of Superman’s actions is irrelevant; it’s a fictional story, and there’s no use endlessly debating the “new age pap” behind it. However, in your column, you fail to mention the actual point of the story — that Superman is meant to inspire hope to all nations, everywhere in the world. Is peace and hope exclusive to the U.S.? Superman’s actions in the story are there to help better everyone. It’s actually quite obvious, if one reads the story. But you didn’t read the story.

I find it highly offensive to your journalistic “integrity” that you state, quite obviously in your piece for Fox News, that you didn’t even bother to read what you were commenting on. Your basis for the entire piece you wrote was “from news reports.” And later, you go on to reference Captain Marvel’s Wikipedia page as a source of information when you try to make a point about the purity of superheroes. You can debate politics day in and day out, but it’s too much effort to do a little research on pop culture icons? Captain Marvel has been in existence nearly as long as Superman, giving him 70+ years of source material to draw upon, but instead you rely on Wikipedia. Not only that, but you speak about him as though he doesn’t exist anymore. Did the Wikipedia page not tell you that he’s still alive and kicking alongside Superman at DC Comics?

Secondly, even more offensive is your assumption that comic book fans can’t read. Your mentions of personal attachment to Superman make reference to the television show from when you were a kid; does this mean you’ve never actually read a Superman comic? You certainly neglected to read “The Incident,” but have you read any comics in the past 30 years? You speak of it as though it’s an illegitimate form of art, like comics haven’t won Pulitzer Prizes and high-brow literary awards. You speak as though some of the greatest living writers and artists don’t make comics regularly. I would never think to come into your arena and start spewing inaccuracies about politics, and I find it unfortunate that you think you could do so to us.

I respect that you have a personal opinion about what Superman should stand for. We all do. It’s what makes him an icon. But to assume that you can so easily lump comic books and their fans into a category without actually knowing what you’re talking about is terribly offensive and frankly, disheartening. I don’t expect you to respond to this letter, but the least you can do is look beyond Wikipedia before you make claims about an industry and art that you have no stake in. Some of us do take comics as a serious business and art form, and I just want to make sure that you don’t continue to misconstrue our love of words and pictures as unintelligence.

Sincerely,

Joey Esposito

You too can write to Mr. Thomas regarding his column at Fox News that greatly misrepresents the comic book industry, its fans, and its creators. Please show him how incredibly wrong he his by writing an intelligent, well-informed note from his website’s contact page, his Twitter account, call Fox News at 1-866-369-4762, or tweet the Fox News Twitter account. Copy and paste mine if you like. Just let him know how misinformed he sounds.

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3 Comments

Filed under blog, comics, news

3 responses to “An Open Letter to Cal Thomas

  1. Cal Thomas’ article makes me so mad. You can be sure I will have a blog about it later tonight. I’m still confused as to when comic book readers became commonly accepted as stupid.

  2. I grew up reading Superman comics and probably the adventures of most other super-heroes from the so-called Silver Age. I grew up watching “The Adventures of Superman” on television, too.

    But apparently Thomas lied when he claimed that he watched the show, because, as Thomas tells it, he remembers the show’s intro stating that Superman was “…Able to leap tall buildings AT a single bound.” In reality, though, the announcer stated, “IN” a single bound.

    Every kid who was a fan of the show knows that.

    Like all way-right wingers, Thomas sees conspiracies everywhere. He believes that America, even in today’s global community, must continue to protect baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, Superman – and Mickey Mouse too, I suppose – as sacred American property.

    In Thomas’ paranoid mind, if the rest of the world gets its grubby hands on everything “American,” then America is lost. But my sense is, if the rest of the world wants to embrace Americanism, that can only bring us all closer together for the good of mankind.

    And, personally, I always felt that the intro to the Superman TV show was pompous and presumptuous when the announcer states, with considerable conviction, “…fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!”

    The real Superman, the real defender of truth and justice, would defend those ideals everywhere, not just in America, and he would never takes sides.

  3. Jem

    Well said and well written. But I’m afraid one thing sums up this whole thing: Fox news. A crime of journalistic integrity in a network. Keep up the good work and fight.

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