Stan Lee, left-wing culture warrior

Under his leadership, Marvel directly challenged societal norms on race, religion, war, gender and sexuality

Stan Lee, left-wing culture warriorStan Lee passed away on Nov. 12. The larger-than-life personality of Marvel Comics for seven decades, he helped create some of the world’s most beloved superheroes, including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Black Panther. The 95-year-old son of Romanian-Jewish immigrants, Lee was a genius and great innovator in the comic book industry –…

The man who shot Billy the Kid

Pat Garrett has been maligned for killing his "friend" in a "cowardly" way. Neither indictment is persuasive

The man who shot Billy the KidTo the extent he’s remembered at all, Pat Garrett (1850-1908) is known as the man who shot Billy the Kid. Reputation-wise, it’s been a mixed blessing. Although the shooting happened in Garrett’s capacity as a sheriff hunting down a convicted murderer, the fictionalizing of the Old West and the power of Hollywood storytelling often cast…

The crisis of diversity in the super hero realm

Look! Up in the sky. It's a bird, it's a plane … it's Daycare Dynamo of the Social Justice Warriors

The crisis of diversity in the super hero realmConsumers of popular culture, aware of the recent box-office success of the movies Black Panther and Wonder Woman, may have been puzzled by recent claims that the world of fantasy entertainment – comics, films, books – was deemed to be suffering a crisis in diversity. The days are long past when non-white male comic book…

Social recipe brews up a life that imitates a new work of fiction

Warren Kinsella's new novel Recipe for Hate chronicles fanatics insinuating their way into positions of power

Social recipe brews up a life that imitates a new work of fictionLife sometimes imitates fiction – and not in ways you’d expect. For example, I’ve just published a book called Recipe For Hate. It’s a novel. Without giving away the plot, I can reveal that Recipe For Hate is about fanatics insinuating themselves into positions of power and influence. It’s about zealots, on the right and the…

No clowning around: It fails Stephen King’s original

The gulf between facade and fact of the horror novel is wholly ignored in the film version that opened across North America on Friday

No clowning around: It fails Stephen King’s originalIt New Line Cinema 2017 Rated: 14A (No spoilers) It’s been more than 30 years since Stephen King’s 1986 novel IT first terrified an unsuspecting public and ushered in decades of prejudice against clowns of all shapes and sizes – many of them wholly innocent of mayhem and murder. It’s been nearly as long since the…

A summer reading list to challenge your perspectives

These authors examine death and dying, love and romance, the immigrant experience and cultural chasms, and the heavy burdens family members must often carry

A summer reading list to challenge your perspectivesSummer reading lists abound. From my reading over the last year, I recommend the following. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews is drawn from the author’s life. Her wit sparkles through the sadness of this story of two sisters, Elf and Yoli. Elf suffers from depression and is determined to kill herself.  She repeatedly…

Two women defined by and celebrated for a single book each

Two women defined by and celebrated for a single book eachBorn 25 or so years apart, Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee were each defined by a single book. Mitchell’s was Gone With the Wind, while Lee’s was To Kill a Mockingbird. Both women – daughters of the 20th century American South – situated their work in their native regions. Mitchell chose Civil War Georgia for her…