Friday, June 03, 2022

LOC for Ray X X-Rayer #164

The following is a letter of comment sent to Ray Palm, editor of Ray X X-Rayer, commenting on #164.

Dear Mr. Palm:

It seems entirely plausible and likely to me that the Men in Black might develop skin conditions. Regardless of whether they’re merely quasi-government agents trying to quell discussion of unidentified flying objects and related phenomena or the cinema-styled front line against alien incursions, it’s reasonable to think that they’d regularly be exposed to communicable diseases, viruses, and other potential illnesses. I know that were I employed suchly, I’d at least experience exacerbated eczema or break out in mild hives from the on-the-job stress alone. So I’m not all that surprised you had to touch up the skin of your Mr. Man in Black in the opener to Ray X X-Rayer #164.

Small world smaller, it was a pleasant surprise to see you invoke Fred Argoff, similar to a recent mention by Mark Strickert in MarkTime #140. Argoff’s zines Watch the Closing Doors and Brooklyn! are both well worth seeking out. I miss him and his zines almost more than I miss Brooklyn itself. What a gift it must have been to receive that transit token. I’m glad you valued it enough to keep it, to photograph it—and to share the results. A token of his and your appreciation, if you will.

My son and I also watched Spider-Man: No Way Home—perhaps enjoying it more than you did. My son remarked that online scuttlebutt was that the movies’ writers cram so many villains and crossover superheroes into the Spider-Man films because Tom Holland isn’t strong enough to carry the movies on his own. I suppose that could be true, but I’ve long wondered why the makers of superhero cinema try to cram so much into the movies generally. Pace them a little more slowly, spread them out a little bit… let them breathe. Why force a multi-issue storyline or extended arc into one movie if you don’t have to? Comic books are by design and nature episodic. The movies could be, too. And sometimes I feel like they’re trying to do too much. Having recently rewatched half—the first half—of Captain America: The First Avenger, it’s clear that they don’t have to. One hero, one villain, one origin story. In and out, like a surgical strike.

It was also fun to see the letters of comment from Lloyd Penney and Fred Wright, who also reconnected with me on the publication of his new novel. Like Argoff, Wright is another correspondent and friend I met through zines before I got involved in sf fandom and its fanzines.

I hope that this letter finds you and yours well. This was my first exposure to Ray X X-Rayer, and I’ll be sure to return. Short, sweet, and interesting.

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