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Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined

Title Page >> Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Afterword | Message Board

AFTERWORD: "Unfinished Business" (September 23, 2001)

I told you going into this that I didn't have the answers and, some 11,000 words later, you have discovered that for yourselves. All of us are going to be dealing with and thinking about the bad things that happened on September 11 for the rest of our lives, and there's not much I can do about that.

What I can do is continue examining how we can ask the right questions and what role our comics creators and publishers can play in the process. Jeff Gordinier, writing in the September 28, 2001, issue of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, examined the role of art in general in the anxious world around us:
Art is often hailed as the grandest expression of the human spirit, but we know now, if we didn't know it before, that the grandest expression of the human spirit is whatever it takes for a man or a woman to rush back into a burning building to save more people. Art, in comparison, can feel like a trifle, an indulgence; we undoubtedly spend far too much effort worrying about it. Even so, to the extent that artists and entertainers bear witness to what happens in the world, their work can expand our wisdom and tolerance, or, at the very least, it can put agony on hold for a couple of hours. The cotton-candy wispiness of a pop ballad or a cartoon might have something to do with our craving for it during the most mirthless of times. That's the conundrum at the heart of CABARET and SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS; it's the reason why razzle-dazzle musicals flourished during an economic collapse and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" flooded America with joy a few months after the death of a President. Sometimes, even for a moment, a song or a joke is enough to keep you going; the trick is figuring out how to relish the moment even though you know it's an illusion.
I titled this afterword as I did because I know I will always have more to say about heroes and hope, about villains and despair, about reality and imagination. In the midst of this global grief and horror, heroes still walk among us, people courageous and kind, our brothers and sisters giving of themselves in so many ways, simply because it *is* the right thing to do. I want to tell their stories and see their stories reflected in mine.

This HEROES AND VILLAINS: REAL AND IMAGINED should, therefore, be considered a work in progress. Perhaps we'll add columns to it from time to time. Perhaps the artists among you will be inspired to contribute drawings to this little corner of the Internet...and the writers among you inspired to add their own thoughts. Perhaps we'll do a print version of this material someday. Perhaps we, you and I, will think of other ways to proclaim the core truth I have tried to express herein:

There are heroes among us.

Tony Isabella

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board.

    Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined

    "My Back Pages" (September 22, 2001)

    Part One
    "My Heroes Have Always Been Heroes" (March 24, 1995)

    Part Two
    "There Are Heroes Among Us" (April 5, 1995)

    Part Three
    "Heroes and Hope" (April 10, 1995)

    Part Four
    "Crisis of Faith" (April 19, 1995)

    Part Five
    "Oklahoma City" (April 26, 1995)

    Part Six
    "Making It Right" (May 16, 1995)

    Part Seven
    "Columbine High School" (May 4, 1999)

    "Unfinished Business" (September 23, 2001)

Title Page >> Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Afterword | Message Board

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