Thanxgivers: Peter David, Free-Speech Superhero
(This was an extra Stripped column that was part of the "Thanxgivers" cover story on people who give back to the community. It appeared in the Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 1997, Long Island Voice.)
by Beth Hannan Rimmels
Peter David is a writer’s jack of all trades. Besides his chores on The Incredible Hulk, Aquaman, Soulsearchers and Co. and various miniseries, he’s also written several novels, such as the best-selling Star Trek novel, Q Squared, along with episodes of Babylon 5. Oh yeah, he also co-created Space Cases with Bill Mumy.
But another assignment has earned him a place in this Thanksgiving issue — his weekly column for Comics Buyer’s Guide. Why? Unlike other writers with a similar pulpit, David has used it on many occasions, as well as convention appearances, to talk about the Comic Book Legal Defense, which protects the First Amendment rights of comic book creators and retailers. While he’s not the only writer who regularly campaigns for it — Dave Sim, Jeff Smith, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller and others spring to mind — his "But I Digress" column allows him to respond rapidly to First Amendment controversies.
Why does he do it? Because society can be rather schizophrenic. "No one willingly gives up their own freedoms. However, they see the freedom of others, and it angers them and upsets them and prompts them to take away the freedoms of others. There’s a technical term for people such as this: The Enemy," said David.
"I find this country very frustrating," he continued, "It’s based on ideals that many of its citizens are not willing to live up to — but as they stomp on those principles, they loudly proclaim themselves patriots. I don’t suffer fools gladly, and when I see this attitude, it angers me. I don’t like to let idiots win, and so I feel the need to do something personal about it."
Column © 1997 Long Island Voice.