"Rose Colored Glasses"

Mania magazine ran a news item on Tuesday, March 28 that gave results for a poll conducted in Great Britain to determine who was the top icon for the 20th century. One of the tidbits that came out was this:

"Stranger still, video game diva Lara Croft finished eighth, just ahead of Mother Teresa."

We're all going to Hell.

So anyway… I'm baaaaccck.

I had given up writing this column in favor of doing an industry-related column for Psycomic. Things have changed, and I find myself with a little bit more free time again. (Remind me to tell you that whole story sometime when I'm not afraid of legal reprisals.)

At any rate, I've come to an alarming realization lately. I'm an optimist. One of those poor, deluded fools who actually believe everything is going to turn out all right. I used to think of myself as a pessimist, and then a realist, and I'm not sure if its me that has changed or if the world has grown so cynical that it bypassed me, but at this point, I'm more positive about the world than a lot of the people I read or talk to.

I'm more optimistic about the comics business. Warren Ellis and Steven Grant, over at CBR, seem to have made it their mission in life to talk about how awful the business is and how bad everyone is doing everything, and there are a lot of pros and fans who share their views. I just know that when I look at Avengers #28 and see Kulan Goth and say, "Cool, this could be a good story" their reaction is "Another nail in the fucking coffin." I know that everyone is complaining that nobody is buying comics and the industry will be gone in five years and everything sucks. And I hear the complaints, I know the industry is in trouble, but what I see is an ever-growing subscription list full of titles I can't wait to read (even at the unbelievable price of $2.50 a pop) and an industry that's still here, even though five years ago people were saying it would be gone by now.

I'm more optimistic about movies and TV. People talk about how movies and television are crap, and they're just rotting our collective brains. How intelligent fare never survives. And I know that's true, but I also know that I saw a lot of good movies last year, and that The Simpsons continues to entertain me and shows like The West Wing are gathering a following. I know that, as in comics, for every 100 good things that get cancelled, there will be one that survives and goes on to become so popular that it becomes trendy to hate it and say it's not as good as everyone says it is.

I'm more optimistic about the government in America. People talk about taxes being too high, or how the politicians are corrupt. Or how the police are abusing their power. And again, I understand it, and agree, but what I see is a place where I don't have to worry about being dragged from my house in the middle of the night and never seen again. Or having to navigate through armed military police to stand in line for four hours to get some bread.

Frankly, it scares the hell out of me. When you're cynical, nothing surprises you. Something bad happens, it's what you expected. And I've still got an element of that. When something bad happens to someone, I'm not shocked. Saddened, sure, but not shocked. I'm still not quite so deluded that I think humanity on the whole is good, and the bad apples are really rare. I know bad things happen every day, I know comics cost too much and film and TV have way too much to say about what our kids are doing and greedy corrupt politicians are the rule, not the exception.

But in the end, I still face each day with hope that things will get better. Hey… maybe it's not so bad being an optimist after all.

Randy W. Lander

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