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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Archive Post: Horton the Elephant and Your Own Personal Dandelion (Marvel Holiday Special)

Hi Ya'll-- With all the archive posts, I admit, I must resist the urge to rewrite, add to, update. But if I did so, then they wouldn't be archive, would they? And they would not be preserving the moment in time in which I wrote them, or the emotions I felt on that day.

The editorial below originally appeared in one of the "Marvel Holiday Specials" that I edited while at Marvel Comics. I was particularly fond of this project, which I conceived and spearheaded, and always had such fun working on this particular book. Mainly because it gave me the chance to work with so many creative people at one time, and the task of weaving numerous anthology stories into a cohesive whole under the umbrella of the title.

This issue contained works by: Arthur Adams, Al Milgrom, Brad Joyce, Darick Robertson, Ed Lazellari, Evelyn Stein, Fred Fredricks, Jim Starlin, John Costanza, Keith Williams, Larry Hama, Michael Golden, Patty Cockrum, Rik Levins, Ron Lim, Rurik Tyler, Steve Montano, Tom Grindberg, Tom Vincent, Ann Nocenti, Bob Wiacek, Carl Potts, Dave Cockrum, Ernie Chan, Fabian Nicieza, Glynis Oliver Wein, Joe Rosas, John Hebert, Kerry Gammill, Larry Mahlstedt, Mike DeCarlo, Peter David, Richard Howell, Ron Garney, Roxanne Starr, Sal Buscema, Steve Lightle, Terry Austin and Tom Morgan.

And now for my little contribution.

Best to all ya'll,


Your Own Personal Dandelion

Horton the Elephant! You remember him? How could any of us raised on Dr. Seuss and Cats in Hats forget?

I never have. Amongst the gobs of goo, and the Grinch that stole Christmas, that likable elephant has always been my favorite.

Why? Because he seemed so, well… human. He had the same doubts and fears. He was put upon by friends and teased by enemies. He was quite happy to go through life unbothered and undisturbed.

That was until one day he heard a very small "Help" come from a dandelion, and he discovered a parallel world, smaller, but none-the-less as important, as his own. At that point, he also discovered the hero inside himself.

Sometimes it IS the small things that make us think.

Let me give you an example. On a recent trip to Hong Kong, stuck in my room with violent monsoon storms raging around me I occasionally looked out the window at the dark foreboding sky and the sheets of water literally dancing down the street. And there , perched precariously on my ledge was an egg--an odd place to lay one for sure, and a mistake I'd hope not to make if I were a pigeon.

But, my heart still went out to that little egg as, like Buster Keaton on roller skates, it would dash for the edge then roll back at the last possible moment. The poor mother would come back often to frantically try to help it. And there was nothing I could do since my window wouldn't open. Helplessness is not a good feeling.

The last time I went to check it, the egg was gone.

Later, my friend Jackie picked me up and told me of the terrible destruction on Hong Kong Island caused by the storm. Mudslides had killed several people, and floods threatened the homes of many others. We were both silent…there was no other place in the world, no other moment in time, than where I was right then.

With storms raging all around us, the events that happen right before our eyes somehow seem so much more real.

It's that way with us. Until something slaps us in the face we don't really believe it's there. It's some vague, make-believe thing. Are there really only a thousand giant otters left in the world (Writer's note: Insert any number of endangered species)? Are people really being killed in Bosnia (Writer's note: Insert current country)? It's so far away from the streets we walk every day. Few of us take to heart the words of the writer who said: "I may never see a mountain gorilla, but I take great joy in knowing that they exist."

But, this is where we can learn our lesson from Horton. Remember, the elephant who is faithful "one hundred percent."

We could take this time of year to look past our own limited field of vision and be faithful to something-- a charity for hunger, disease or endangered species, perhaps. Give to it, watch it grow, learn about it…occasionally go to the window and see if it's alright.

Our own personal dandelion.

You might not hear that still small voice saying "Help" or even "Thank you." You may never hear it…but then again, you just might.

Something to think about . Happy Holidays.

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