Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Role Models in Journalism: Rex Graine at the Daily Crusader
My career has long been bifurcated by journalism and comic books, and here is inspiration derived from both of those worlds: As created by Steve Ditko in 1967, Rex Graine of the Daily Crusader, who has a penchant for putting on an emotion-free mask and turning into Mr. A, a judgmental vigilante who must decide on the spot who is good and who is evil. Inevitably, street punks, racketeers, and corrupt assistant D.A.'s get there comeuppance (usually with Mr. A's darling little business card as a consolation prize).
Graine writes a column for his newspaper in which he causes trouble by standing up for basic principles, and instead of attracting admiration, he garners loathing and suspicion. Even his publisher, Henry Rath, thinks Graine is a real pain in the posterior, but he can't get rid of him (or even edit his columns) even if he wanted to. As Rath bitches: "I'd fire that arrogant, uncompromising Graine if I could! He was my brother's pet when my brother was publisher. And his condition for me taking over the paper after he died was that Graine was free to print his column his way! If I interfere or kick Graine out, I'll lose the paper! My *#@$ brother!"
Well, thanks to a glitch in some old fool's will, Rex Graine and his damning column at the Crusader are here to stay and bother the hell out of the Lew Baggots of the world. Little does that Crusader newspaper know that they're bankrolling the operations of a vigilante in a suit and a Halloween mask, but the streets sure are quieter at night and often there is not enough crime to report on page one.
Rex Graine, we salute you for sticking by your guns and not bending to corrupt politicians and society's ills.
In related news, for the sheer love of the game, here's a compelling Ditko cover featuring a self-created knock-off of his Mr. A character (and the inspiration for a certain Watchman): The Question!