November 11 - Veterans Day. I'm just old enough to have personally known veterans from every major conflict, all the way back to World War One, which ended ninety years ago today. One of the "old guys" who went to the same church my family attended was a vet of the Great War. I was endlessly fascinated with him, and loved to listen to him talk (about anything, really...but especially about his experiences as a combat soldier). In retrospect, I feel very guilty that, as a rambunctious little kid, I coerced him to relive what must have been terrible events, but now I am so grateful that I did. His story has had great influence on me. This guy was literally in the trenches, facing "the Hun." He survived a mustard gas attack, and even participated in one of those amazing, impromptu Christmas Truces, wherein troops from both sides spontaneously laid down their arms for Yuletide fellowship. One of his most significant memories was when he found himself in a group of about eight lost guys who were temporarily folded into an "all black" regiment. He'd never even spoken to a man of color before that, but he was so warmly received that he from then on was a proponent of what would eventually be called "Civil Rights." It's not much, but my World War One character Superior Soldier is based directly on him.
As with many of my characters, Superior Soldier descended from a childhood creation, this one inspired directly by those great stories. Originally named Super Trooper, the character not only has atomic powers (of course), but he is also mentored by an African American. Like all of my little characters, there is a bit of me wrapped up in there, too. I suppose that I am, in a teensy-tiny way, trying to keep that hard-earned honor, and those hard-learned lessons, alive. I've never been in uniform (well, except for a Cub Scout uniform), mostly because I know that it's not my calling. If I'd lived when there had been a draft, or another World War, that might have been different. Who knows? Still, I have long felt that veterans from all wars have fought so that I could make such a decision, so, in my creative efforts, I try to honor that idea, even as we today honor them. My "old guy" friend died about twenty years ago now, but the ideals for which he believed he'd fought still live on...some of them within me. Thank you, sir. And thank you to all veterans. Now, in a complete 180 degree turn, I leave you with your Comic Book Politician Character of The Day - President Lex Luthor!