Saluting some colourful characters

Editor’s Notebook

I never did outgrow comic books—as anyone who has glimpsed the collectibles in my office knows full well (they’re not dolls, they’re action figures). I know I’m not the only one, either.

Some of the most influential writers, filmmakers and TV producers around, people like The Fortress of Solitude author Jonathan Lethem, Buffy The Vampire Slayer mastermind Joss Whedon and Lost co-creator Damon Lindeloff (whose own works have been heavily influenced by comics), happily accept big pay cuts for a chance to script comic book tales about some of their own favourite caped crusaders.

One of the most critically acclaimed graphic novels to be published in recent years is Skim, a sensitive portrayal of how the teen years, like old age, aren’t for the faint of heart. The book’s author, Mariko Tamaki, BA’98, is one of four grads profiled in our cover story about McGill alumni working in the comics field. She and her cousin, illustrator Jillian Tamaki, have been earning armfuls of prizes and award nominations for Skim—the most recent being the Doug Wright Award for Best Book.

Truth to tell, we could have run a much longer story featuring many more grads. Like John Rogers, BSc’90, for instance, a screenwriter (Transformers, TV’s Leverage), who co-created the Blue Beetle, a young Hispanic superhero who appears regularly in comics and on television. Or Kid Koala (known as Eric San, BEd’96, while he studied here), one of the music world’s most celebrated DJs and turntablists, who will soon be publishing his second graphic novel, Space Cadet. Or Evan Goldberg, BA’06, who is using his recently acquired Hollywood muscle (he and writing partner Seth Rogan penned the scripts for Superbad and Pineapple Express) to pursue several comics-related projects.

As a tip of the pen to the comic book’s ongoing infiltration of popular culture, cover illustrator Peter Mandl presents James McGill as sixties pop artist Roy Lichtenstein might have imagined him. Lichtenstein, of course, became famous for repurposing comic book imagery as fine art—and fine art is certainly something that McGill’s chancellor-elect H. Arnold Steinberg, BCom’54, LLD’00, knows a thing or two about.

A widely respected businessman and an important figure in health care circles, Steinberg is a savvy appraiser of modern and contemporary art. He regularly turns up in ARTNews magazine’s annual listing of the world’s top art collectors and has contributed his insights for years to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as a member of one of its acquisitions committees.

Robert Rabinovitch, BCom’64, the chair of McGill’s board of governors, describes Steinberg as “a force of uncommon integrity and grace.” While there is little doubt that Steinberg will be a splendid chancellor, he certainly does have a hard act to follow.

Richard Pound, BCom’62, BCL’67, has held just about every senior position at McGill that’s not associated with a paycheque—president of the McGill Alumni Association, chair of the McGill Athletics Board, chair of the McGill Fund Council, chair of the board of governors, chancellor. There is ample evidence that he has distinguished himself in each of these roles. For one thing, McGill is always quick to find another gig for the guy once he steps down from one of these positions. Pound will soon receive an international honour, the Ernest T. Stewart Award for Alumni Volunteer Involvement, in recognition of his many contributions to McGill.

One thing is certain. Pound will continue to contribute to McGill. Dr. Doom couldn’t pry him away from his alma mater.

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