My copy of Wizard: The Comics Magazine lay waiting on my bed for me when I returned home from work on the night of July 1, 1999. Eagerly, I opened the plastic wrapper used to ship the magazine and its assorted goodies through the postal system.
Since discovering the publication while in middle school, I have eagerly and faithfully anticipated each succeeding issue. Even if I wasn’t able to afford to buy it in the past, I would read it on the newsstand. Missed issues became a lost concern upon ordering a subscription in college.
After seeing the cartoon (at right) of Krusty the Clown — with the caption denigrating the National Rifle Association provided by the Wizard staff — in the price guide section, I was outraged.
I quickly set to work writing a letter expressing my dismay at their lack of professionalism and mailed it off the next morning. Time will tell if it is published — or if an apology is made — or not.
The letter is published below:
Dear Magic Words,
Never before have I been so appalled by the comments made in your publication as I was after reading the anti-NRA comment on page 170 of the August 1999 issue.
Ever since I first discovered Wizard magazine in 1993, I have eagerly awaited the next issue, reading each cover to cover. You are the leading news publication in the comics industry. That gives you great power and, as we have learned from the pages of Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility.
You are journalists, specializing in the comic book industry, but journalists nonetheless. I understand how that field operates, being a copy editor for a major newspaper group in Southern California, and therefore a journalist myself.
What this boils down to is ethics. A picture of Krusty the Clown preparing to fire a cannon containing the Simpson family with the caption, “The NRA Theme Park: Faaaaaaaaaaaantastic!” is, quite bluntly, libel. Yes, I said libel, committed against roughly 70 million law-abiding gun owners in general and over 3 million NRA members in particular.
Contrary to the stereotype painted in today’s media, of which I am, at times, ashamed to be a member, the NRA is not a group of beer-swilling rednecks with more ammunition than brain cells. The NRA is composed of Americans from all walks of life, including students, teachers, doctors, astronauts, members of the armed services, police officers, several former U.S. presidents and, yes, even journalists.
To quote current NRA President Charlton Heston, “we [the NRA] condemn and fight gun recklessness or misuse in all its forms, just as we fight gun crime. And in our own use of firearms, we seek to serve as models of good judgement and personal responsibility.” I very often wish the mass media were able to make a similar statement of intent.
Even if you don’t print this letter, even if you don’t print an apology to the millions of NRA members you have slandered, at the very least exercise better judgement in the future and do some research before denigrating an entire segment of the American people.