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Steve Ditko – The Fountainhead Behind the Fountain-Pen

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oc1Even if you’re not a comic book fan, you’ve likely heard of Stan Lee. He’s been the mouthpiece of Marvel Comics since you were in little pants.  No pants, even. He had a hand in creating the most well known characters in comic book history like The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and X-Men, among others.

Stan has been criticized for sopping up the credit (and the cash) but the older he gets the more readily he admits to relying on artists and writers to flesh out the look and feel of his characters. Artists like Jack Kirby, who in a perfect world would be as well known as the Beatles. At the risk of being too allegorical; that would make Steve Ditko the Rolling Stones of comic book artists.

Every self respecting comic book fan knows about Steve, but your run of the mill types have no idea who he was or what he brought to the drafting board. He designed Spider-Man, tantamount to designing Mickey Mouse. There’s few characters as easily recognizable. Yet he didn’t receive a dime for any of the Spider-Man films. Thanks, Obama.

I didn’t exist in the sixties so I missed out on Ditko’s early Spider-Man work until I read Origins of Marvel Comics when I was maybe 12. By then the franchise was twenty years old and I was more accustomed to Johns Romita, Byrne, and Romita. Jr.. Ditko’s style seemed too old-timey for me. It would be some years before fell hard for that old-school style and devoured all the reprints. I mean… Dr. Octopus? Elektro, Green Goblin, Sandman, The Lizard?! Mysterio? Come on!

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DocOctASM12That same Origins publication included the Ditko creation Dr. Strange. I hear that was something of a shock to the system at the time. Very surreal and metaphysical, and more internalized than the spacey worlds created by masters like Kirby.

Late sixties drug culture took an instant liking to it. They sat around getting stoned and reading Dr. Strange like folks would do years later listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. The drug culture was certain they found a kindred spirit in Ditko, even though the man never used drugs and was more a student of Ayn Rand. His character Mr. A was a direct influence on Alan Moore’s Watchmen hero Rorschach.

Ditko packed up his pens and left Marvel. Some say he had enough of Stan Lee’s liberal politics seeping into the editing. Like most things, it’s probably more complicated and we’ll likely never know. Ditko ain’t telling. He’s not a fan of limelight in general and interviews in specific. Now, goddammit, get off his lawn.

The new Dr. Strange movie may not make Steve Ditko a household name, but maybe seeing him in the credits will spawn some sort of cultural reinvestment in the fountainhead behind the fountain-pen.

Ditko Panel

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OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS

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Dear Members of Congress,

The tipping point is here and we need to put aside our political differences to save this country right now! Silence and remaining behind party lines is no longer an option. A unified address by our elected officials in Congress on the issue of police brutality and equality under the rule of law is required to begin the healing process as well as ensure the future of this nation.

There are three steps that immediately need to be taken to bring this to fruition. The arrest and charging of the three remaining individuals involved in the death of George Floyd must occur as the first step of good faith. The second step requires clear and transparent action items stated to the public in order to address the issues at hand. Those action items should include:

  • The revision of Qualified Immunity to specifically address the problematic assertion that “Qualified Immunity means that government officials can get away with violating your rights as long as they violate them in a way nobody thought before – Institute of Justice
  • The reforming of Civilian Review Boards with the purpose of increasing the decision-making abilities on the disposition and discipline of police officers.

The third step is the creation and funding of a systemic racism task force with the goal of dismantling systemic racism.

  • Accelerating judicial system reform
  • Equating the public education system
  • Eliminating redlining

These are just the preliminary steps that will begin the framework of the changes we need enacted to better the experiment called the United States.

I look forward to seeing a response in the form of action on the behalf of the citizens of this country.

HB aka The World Traveler is fully committed to exploring and sharing with you what the world has to offer in travel and music. Get on board and enjoy the ride!

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Thank You Tulsa Oklahoma / Generational Responsibility

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Every generation has an unintended mission as it relates to the liberation of their people. That mission is based on the circumstances and is revealed either midway through or after that generation’s mission is complete.

Through land ownership and intellect, the post slavery generation (Reconstruction/Tulsa – Black Wall Street) revealed what was possible if America dared engage on a level playing field. They did an EXCELLENT job!!

Through newly established media, The Civil Rights generation exposed the world to racial injustice and an undelivered promise of liberty and justice. They did an EXCELLENT job!

The Hip Hop generation reinvigorated the notion of wealth, ownership, propagated messages of inequality and exposed the daily tribulations of Black American life to ALL of America. It was my generation’s obligation to gather overwhelming empathy and build an irrefutable emotional case against racial injustice. We did and EXCELLENT job!!

Through technology, Millennials unintended obligations seems to be gathering overwhelming and irrefutable visual and literal evidence against racial injustice AND expose it via social and regular media. They are doing an EXCELLENT job!!

Now that a select few have assimilated, gained some empathy and chosen to walk alongside us, they are also experiencing similar atrocities and destroying the sentiment that prior instances of injustice were one-offs and not systemic injustice.

As today marks the 99th Anniversary of the Tulsa Oklahoma Race Riots, I would like to acknowledge those who have shown us what was possible post slavery in America. There is a HUGE difference between returning home and trying to find a home in the first place. The candle lit by that generation is the same beacon that will navigate our eventual return. THANK YOU!!

Sidebar; All generations have had a separate and unintended but equally important mission. What is common is that all generations have had to endure to even make minor progress. We have no choice but to do the same. Sidebar Complete.

Alfred Obiesie is a writer with over 12 years of online content contribution (Onetrackmine.com, Cartermag.com, Essence.com) and author (You Made It a Hot Line; The most influential lines in hip hop.) The book chronicles hip hop lines from the genre’s most notable artists spanning almost 40 years. It is illustrated by Grammy award winning Illustrator Shah Wonders and has garnered praise from multiple media outlets (Sirius XM, Vibe, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, etc...)

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Realigning Your Moral Compass / Don’t Be Humble

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Remember when “keeping it on the low” was a high-valued asset in the lunchrooms of yesterdays past? It was a glorious and magical time where your ability to not divulge information or “brag” would lend you the trust and respect of all… except maybe the person who wanted said info. Conversely, being known as conceited or loose lipped oft resulted in social suicide. Once you understood and practiced the basic tenets of social operation, you were free to roam about the country. Then along came this thing called life and what was once generally accepted social order now requires constant questioning. Oh to be young again!

These days, you may find yourself at a moral crossroads where keeping information “on the low” could result in literal career suicide and stagnation of financial growth. I’ve seen coworkers get promoted because they would inform the entire world of every menial task accomplished like closing the fridge door in the pantry. I’ve also seen coworkers not be given any credit and as far as to be laid off because no one was aware of their value or responsibilities.  Who knew life was gonna be so complicated (besides every single adult?) Of course, “keeping it on the low”  a.k.a humility is just one of many self-inflicted moral codes we use to navigate for a majority of our lives. There are many others (selfish, greedy, manipulative, etc…) Now what if you hadn’t assigned a negative or positive value to these sentiments from the outset? Would you still be so hesitant to engage in their practices?

For the sake of proving my point, What if these “negative” moral codes were simply tools that could not be judged but simply used? Is it manipulative to convince someone to put a gun down and not shoot up a room full of people? Was Winston Churchill being manipulative in his efforts to convince the U.S to join WWII? Is it greedy to understand how much financial assets are required to provide the lifestyle you deem worthy for you and your family then pursue accordingly? Is it selfish to know when to tune the world out to achieve a goal that will be to the worlds eventual betterment?

The world is grander than whatever lunchroom your adolescent moral GPS was manufactured in and navigated you through. Once you graduate to encounter those larger moral obstacles, you rapidly realize that what got your through it before may not get you past it now if you cannot realign your moral code. It seems once one masters a particular set of skills, they immediately become obsolete as life advances everyone to the next level. What’s more likely is a majority of our decision making tools (like morals) are choice and should be treated as such and continuously revisited.  Good Luck.

 

Sidebar; To the aspiring entrepreneurs keeping their amazing ideas “on the low” until they blow up, you are delaying your own successes. To those who find the pursuit of money / capitalism as greedy /evil, you are delaying your own gratitude. Sidebar complete.

Alfred Obiesie is a writer with over 12 years of online content contribution (Onetrackmine.com, Cartermag.com, Essence.com) and author (You Made It a Hot Line; The most influential lines in hip hop.) The book chronicles hip hop lines from the genre’s most notable artists spanning almost 40 years. It is illustrated by Grammy award winning Illustrator Shah Wonders and has garnered praise from multiple media outlets (Sirius XM, Vibe, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, etc...)

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