Though I wrote for the zine somewhat, I'm not fishing for recognition. But I'm curious if the various brouhahas that involved the magazine ever impacted on your comics reading in any way.

Views: 366

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Jeff of Earth-J said:

What was it about the Ellison interview that Fleischer objected to? What did Ellison say?

Here's an article that covers the court case: "The Insanity Offence: The Fleisher/Ellison/Comics Journal Libel Case"

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

The one time I heard Ellison speak (at a Comicfest in Philly; maybe the same one where Peter David debated Todd McFarlane), he talked a bit about the Fleischer lawsuit, saying he meant what he said to be complimentary. I probably believed him more at the time than I do today; he was a charismatic dude, and was certainly very convincing when he spoke. But I hadn't read the interview at the time (I've only read quotes from it now), and "I meant it as a compliment" seems like just a facet of his legal defense -- some post-lawsuit damage control. Ellison was excellent with words; it seems like he'd be able to compliment someone without infuriating them to the point of filing a lawsuit. 

(I'd say more, but it would put me in breach of our rule not to say disparaging things about others, including comics creators.)

"Here's an article that covers the court case"

Thanks, Kelvin. I think the crux of the matter lies in the first paragraph: "Ellison said the series was 'bugfuck'; you had to be crazy like Robert E. Howard or H.P. Lovecraft to write like that." If Ellison had simply dismissed Fleisher's writing as "bugfuck" that would be one thing, but if he went on to compare Fleisher to REH or HPL, that's quite another. It's difficult to judge the quote out of context, but the fifth paragraph from the end indicates that Ellison did make the comparison. 

Then there's Rob's assertion: "Ellison was excellent with words; it seems like he'd be able to compliment someone without infuriating them to the point of filing a lawsuit." Well, yeah, you'd think so. I've read enough Ellison to believe that he did say it and he did mean it as a compliment. The Comics Journal's coverage of the case is another matter, and I have no opinion on that. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I think the crux of the matter lies in the first paragraph: "Ellison said the series was 'bugfuck'; you had to be crazy like Robert E. Howard or H.P. Lovecraft to write like that." If Ellison had simply dismissed Fleisher's writing as "bugfuck" that would be one thing, but if he went on to compare Fleisher to REH or HPL, that's quite another. It's difficult to judge the quote out of context, but the fifth paragraph from the end indicates that Ellison did make the comparison

Yeah, but a comparison to Robert E. Howard or H.P. Lovecraft is not necessarily positive, what with Howard's suspected mental illness and Lovecraft's overt racism.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Then there's Rob's assertion: "Ellison was excellent with words; it seems like he'd be able to compliment someone without infuriating them to the point of filing a lawsuit." Well, yeah, you'd think so. I've read enough Ellison to believe that he did say it and he did mean it as a compliment. The Comics Journal's coverage of the case is another matter, and I have no opinion on that. 

Trying to stay on the right side of the line here ...

Every impression I have of Harlan Ellison, from any description I've read of him, makes me think 

AAAHH! I can't do it! 

Suffice to say, even if Ellison meant what he said as a "compliment," it didn't land that way. 

Harlan Ellison is one of the most important literary figures of the 20th century. He had a great fondness for comic books. He was also opinionated, combative and, how do I put this delicately, had a tendency to believe his own clippings a tad much.

I had seen Harlan at cons. He would get wound up by the crowd. Loved him and his work, but wouldn't have wanted to be on his bad side. 

Philip Portelli said:

Harlan Ellison is one of the most important literary figures of the 20th century. He had a great fondness for comic books. He was also opinionated, combative and, how do I put this delicately, had a tendency to believe his own clippings a tad much.

An interesting point in the defamation suit was that Fleisher's income went up, not down, following Ellison's statements.

Wikipedia reminds me that editor Joe Orlando plotted the Fleisher Spectre stories with him and that it followed Orlando's mugging. The severe punishments of the criminals were dreamed up between them. The end of Fleisher's run on The Spectre (Adventure Comics 431 to 440) was most likely due to sales. The last issue with Fleisher's Spectre stories (Adventure #440) went on sale in April 1975. Ellison's comments.in The Comics Journal were in 1979, so they couldn't possibly have caused the end of his run, unless he made earlier comments.

I don't think Fleisher ever contended that Ellison's comments caused him to lose the Spectre job. The suit said Ellison "destroyed his business reputation." One of Fleisher's grievances was that Ellison said DC canceled the Spectre feature because "they realized they had turned loose a lunatic on the world." Essentially, he claimed Ellison was saying he was fired for being crazy. But he didn't claim Ellison cost him the Spectre gig -- just that his words did damage to his professional career going forward from the interview.

I would say that the most destructive aspect of the Fleischer suit did not pertain to Fleischer, but to the feud that erupted between Groth and Ellison as a result of the legal action. The two of them formed a mutual antipathy during the suit, and though there may have been wrong on both sides, I can attest to the truth of one of Ellison's grievances: that Groth kept taking shots at Fleischer in the pages of the Journal during the suit. This is a big no-no during a libel case, and from my minor interactions with Gary Groth I'd think it likely that he wanted to milk the event for publicity, whereas Ellison hoped that the whole thing would go away quickly.

Groth and Ellison then took assorted shots at each other for the next 20 years, many of which are documented in an even-handed article in issue nine of GAUNTLET. In fact, if I wanted to remember what incident provoked me to write the "Slanting Harlan's coverage" line in my parody-song, I might have to check GAUNTLET to refresh my memory. 



Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

I don't think Fleisher ever contended that Ellison's comments caused him to lose the Spectre job. The suit said Ellison "destroyed his business reputation." One of Fleisher's grievances was that Ellison said DC canceled the Spectre feature because "they realized they had turned loose a lunatic on the world." Essentially, he claimed Ellison was saying he was fired for being crazy. But he didn't claim Ellison cost him the Spectre gig -- just that his words did damage to his professional career going forward from the interview.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2021   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service