Gary Scott Beatty
Gary Scott Beatty

Peter David, Comic Buyers Guide and that Insidious Word "Got"

by Gary Scott Beatty

Gary Scott Beatty runs Aazurn Publishing, is publisher of “Indie Comics Magazine” and recently wrote the comic book retailer story “Number One.” The first alternative comic he produced (They were called “underground” then) was on his high school’s ditto machine, after hours, without permission. His Xeric Grant Winner “Jazz: Cool Birth,” a jazz club murder mystery, was inspired by ‘50s album cover design. He also colors and letters for the industry. Find out more at Gary Scott

Well, I'm in trouble again. I'm sure some of you know I shot my big mouth off in Comic Buyers Guide about a Peter David column using the word "get" and was recently dismissed by the writer of Supergirl and Captain Marvel. Details follow.

My initial letter to Comic Buyers Guide (June 30, 2000) was in response to the article by Mr. David about Dan DeCarlo's recent lawsuit at Archie Comics. I still don't know all the details of the lawsuit, but Mr. David didn't either, immediately pegging the corporation as the bad guys. My letter said, in part, "Publishers handle the details so creatives can create. I have nothing but respect for Mr. DeCarlo (mentioned in the column) and wish him well. But how many of us would be happy with 43 years of steady paychecks and the opportunity to work at a job we love?

"The concept of the evil corporation and the poor, used artist is giving aspiring artists and writers the wrong impression of how the world works."

Mr. David's response to all of the valid points in the letter was to dismiss my criticism of the word "get" in his headline, "What do the Writers Get?" I wrote, "Mr. David's June 9 column is immediately flawed by the use of that terrible, lazy word 'get,' a word I encourage all writers to avoid. What Mr. David is really asking is, "What do the writers earn?"

As you can see, dear readers, the word "get" was used, intentionally or otherwise, as a dodge to avoid clarity. Mr. David's response (July 14, 2000) was to lump my criticism of "get" in with those who are anal about proper sentence structure. My point was not the structure of the headline, but the use of a word that is nondescript, possibly with the intent to obscure.

I'm happy to engage in friendly discourse about "get" simply to bring the issue to budding and professional writers alike. I'm not sure I could win a clash of wits against Mr. David, so let's hope he accepts my letters as discourse and not arguement.

My letter in response to his suggestion to "get a life" reads, in part, "We in the comic book field are always crying about being taken seriously. Writers want their products to be thought of as literature. Well then, be literate. Ben Grimm might say, 'I got to go,' but Reed Richards would say, 'I have to go.' And searching for a more descriptive word than 'got' in your narration will only make you sound more professional. Isn't that what we want from writers, attention to the details of words?"

For a wonderful story with great attention to the details of words, check out Mr. David's Popeye Marries Olive. Yours truly colored this one-shot!

Comments on our can be referred to Gary at gary -at- comicartistsdirect -dot- com. All artwork copyright © by its respective artists and publishers.

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