Letters to the Editor

From the week of October 18

Comic Disbelief

Spiderman needs to kick some ass: I was appalled by the disgust leveled at superhero comics and the openly hostile depiction of the Fantasy Shop in your "Best of" issue [RFT, Sept. 27]. Comics readers were likewise skewered, though I don't believe fans deserve condemnation any more than the comics, which offer us simple, visceral enjoyment. Well-crafted storytelling is not entirely absent from the superhero genre.Has the reviewer read postmodern superhero epics like Warren Ellis' Stormwatch or Grant Morrison's JLA? Has he or she seen how reconstructionist comics like Kurt Busiek's Astro City and Alan Moore's Top Ten are putting the wonder back into hero archetypes? Superhero comics in America are a unique, dynamic medium which merits more study and respect than granted in this review.

Star Clipper has long advocated the virtues of small-press comics in addition to our love of classic heroes, and I earnestly submit that comics as an art form deserve more serious consideration. While Star Clipper is very grateful to be recognized again this year by the community, I fear the RFT does the industry a disservice by perpetuating the idea that comics are juvenile, contemptible or too anemic to bear critical attention. I look forward to the RFT reviewing comics in the future without prejudice or apology.

A.J. Trujillo
St. Louis

Ripping the Union Label

What Dad said seems to fit: As a resident of North County for the last 10 years, none of this surprises me [Peter Downs, "Pipe Schemes," RFT, Oct. 1]. Our current state representative for the district that covers Bellefontaine Neighbors and Spanish Lake (where the Pipefitters hall is located) is a pipefitter. Would they have it any other way?My father was a union man (different union), and I grew up hearing stories of organized-crime involvement, ballot-box stuffing and racketeering. None of this surprises me. Union strong-arming is alive and well. How do you think they keep their representatives in office? You want to see Goodfellas? Look no further than that little hall, north of I-270 on Riverview.

Name withheld upon request
St. Louis

Warp Screed
Beam me up, Scotty:
Except for the cutesy title and the unfortunate use of the term "sci-fi" (a term almost universally scorned by professional SF writers, except for the octogenarian who coined it), the article "The Starship Hits the Fan" [Byron Kerman, RFT, Sept. 27] was fairly decent. However, there was one historical misstatement which needs correction.Mr. Kerman quotes Larry Niven as saying that he once arrived at an Archon to be guest of honor only to find that the convention had been canceled without anyone telling him. Whether Mr. Kerman misquoted Mr. Niven or whether Mr. Niven simply misremembered and made an incorrect association -- that is, "St. Louis science-fiction convention equals Archon," I don't know -- but the incident in question had nothing to do with Archon. Mr. Niven was going to be guest of honor in June 1972 at Ozarkon 7, sponsored by the Ozark Science Fiction Association. Unfortunately, the OSFA membership/Ozarkon committee, all unpaid volunteers, were still suffering from the stresses and expenses placed upon them by running the much larger 1969 World Science Fiction Convention, St. Louiscon. The group simply burned out, and Mr. and Mrs. Niven were unfortunately, albeit unintentionally, also burned in the process.

Archon is an outgrowth of the St. Louis Science Fiction Society, formed in September 1972 by some young Star Trek fans who had no idea the other group had even existed. The first Archon was held in July 1977, and there's been one every year since then -- with no cancellations, even when then-Mayor Vince Schoemehl arm-twisted the Chase-Park Plaza out from under the convention on short notice for (ironically enough) the Miss Universe Pageant.

David K.M. Klaus
St. Louis

A Talent for Abuse

Lighten up, Ray: In his "Commentary" "The Reinvention of Jim Talent" [RFT, Oct. 4], Ray Hartmann revels in one of his fondest obsessions, bashing Republicans. The target of his poison pen this time is U.S. Rep. Jim Talent, who is running for Missouri governor. Hartmann calls Talent an "extreme right-wing hardliner comparable to Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, John Ashcroft," a group of men he extends about the same courtesy and respect as he does a floormat. After lambasting Talent's voting record as epitomizing "the infamous Contract with America," Hartmann downshifts and obligatorily states Talent is, nevertheless, a very decent man, but certainly not decent enough to warrant winning the governorship of Missouri.Hey Ray, methinks you've been in the political-commentary game too long. Chill out and get a life. The one you're now living has drifted so far left you are in danger of falling off the edge into the very abyss you so adamantly profess to abhor -- extreme prejudices.

Charles E. Lessig Jr.

Luck of the Draw

He'd Staake his life on it: Good choice! Bob Staake is one of the best contemporary illustrators ["Best of St. Louis 2000," RFT, Sept. 27]. His talent deserves recognition!Vlad Kolarov

CEO, CardsUp Greetings
Via the Internet

Bum Rap

Civic image isn't helped by crotch-grabbing Nelly: In sticking up for Nelly, Ray Hartmann obeys one of the cardinal rules of mindless political correctness: Rap can never be wrong [Ray Hartmann, "Oh, Fecal Matter! Nelly Is Naughty," RFT, Oct. 11]. Ray's still in a lather over Bill Clinton's criticism of Sister Souljah eight years ago. All she did was advocate killing people for racial reasons. What business does a president have speaking out against something like that?OK, Ray, you can slam Clarence Harmon for not doing his homework on Nelly before turning down his request for a proclamation, but the mayor got it right by accident. If he'd done a little research, the first thing he would have learned is that Nelly is an admitted former drug dealer who lucked into a more lucrative occupation.

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