Quote MM: “…in the late ’50s or early ’60s. There’s something beautiful about America in that period, that Rockwellian perfection sold to the world, but with something more sad and real just underneath the surface.”
There was also very active effort on the part of many families - I should think particularly the families of veterans, but I’ve seen no numbers to back up this thought - to emulate and become that “perfect family”, especially in the Fifties. Folks went to a lot of effort to make their living rooms look like magazines, or the homes seen on that new TV thingie. The sadness was of course the knowledge that this was a good time, but not ideal, and that it would change and go away. By the mid-Sixties, it had, replaced by the next generation with their own ideas about co-habitation, sex, drugs, music and money.
Quote MM: “We live in a different world now where you can have a gay Green Lantern, but as a writer it was interesting to explore an era where getting busted in an L.A. police entrapment situation, for example, would be enough to have you thrown off a superteam.”
No, it would be enough to get a back-alley beating by the LAPD most likely resulting in a death and an unidentifiable corpse washing up on Venice Beach. There were burning crosses in peoples yards and disappearances. Coming out of the closet in the Fifties or Sixties was damned near a death sentence. Your family would disinherit you, no one would hire someone overtly “queer”. If you were white, married, had 2.5 kids, went to work in an office while the wife cleaned the house, cooked the food and raised the kids, you were still under suspicion. These were also the days of HUAC and McCarthyism, and it was everywhere.
Quote MM: “Even books like Kick-Ass are really idealism wrapped up in cynicism because it’s about a kid who dresses up to make a difference every night.”
That may well be the single factor I like best about your stories, Mark. It takes a boatload of strength and courage just to survive day-to-day and sometimes as little as minute-by-minute. Most of the regulars here know my story (I have no clue whether you have read my posts or not, mostly in the Pub - I’m sure GarJones or Will or particularly Jim Ohara could fill you in - it’s kind of the epitome of the Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”!). I’ve hit plenty of bumps in the road and fended off a couple of nukes that were after me with evil intent. Yet, somehow, I remain optimistic. Maybe that’s a form of psychosis - I dunno. We can’t get to idealism until we have an adequate supply of optimism; the faith that despite the moment, things will work out for the best in the end. Sometimes it feels like dogged determinism, a drive to get a goal accomplished no matter what. Sometimes it’s simply surviving as the clock clowly ticks to get to the point where things are not quite so awful. And there’s no giving in; not once, not ever.