Mark’s Remarks – Solo Avengers #6 (May 1988)

Why am I doing this? Why do I write three or four of these columns a month? Do I write these columns out of some over inflated sense of ego – as if what I have to say is so darn important that it’s worth eating up a third of my letters page space? Well, I do have things to say – that should be obvious – and obviously I think they’re worth obliterating 1/3 of this page for. But, is it purely ego? I don’t know. I can think of a number of egotisical things to do that wouldn’t involve as much thought or work as writing this column.

I guess I write M’s Rems because I’m a frustrated educator (my dad was a teacher and it must have rubbed off on me a bit). I get a certain pleasure out of explaining things, imparting information, and sharing ideas about subjects I know and like. And yes, letting my opinions be known, as well. I’m hardly an objective writer – I admit it. This column probably has two opinions for every fact presented. Of course, I’m as entitled to my opinions as anyone else is to his. The difference is that my opinions get to go in magazines with circulations of several hundred thousand.

Something a few of those several hundred thousand potential readers (I can’t be sure that just because they bought the book, they’re reading my column) write in to respond to my Remarks. Some say they liked what I wrote, other say they didn’t. I would not be truthful if I didn’t say that it disturbs me to read negative reactions to my writing; while I know that everyone is different and can’t love and approve of everything I write, I can never deny that everyone is entitled to his own reaction.

The major thrust of criticism I get is that I come off like a smug, arrogant, know-it-all. I don’t think I am one, but if that’s how someone things I come off, that’s how I come off to him. Any writing I do is bound to have an underlying sense of “I’m an editor and you’re not, so my opinion counts more than yours.” But deep down, (as Howard Mackie can attest) I don’t think I’m better than anyone. I just think that I have insights afforded me by my experiences and position here in the comics biz. I’m not the only one with insight – I’m just the guy whose insights are shoved in your face at least three times any given month. (I have this weird fantasy where all my fellow editors are forced to express their opinions to you in this manner in all their books – then you readers could see how moderate and reasonable my opinions are compared to some!) Maybe I should spend more time polishing my first-draft prose – sand off some of the hard edges of my crusty writing persona? Nah, I think I’m more honest this way.

So why do I write column? I guess because I want to be known as someone who likes his job…enjoys sharing with his readers…someone who talks straight and is willing to tackle the tough subjects. I offer them up to you, my reading public, so that you might learn something – even if what you learn is “This editor is a jerk.” Keep letting me know what you think, people, good or bad.

–Mark Gruenwald­­