Harlan Ellison on ethics

“The comics industry and the people in the comics industry vastly amuse me. You know why? They talk a very big tough game. ‘This person’s a shit and that one is a rip-off artist.’ And the dumb fuckers are still having their art stolen from them, they’re still working for disreputable publishers who steal their work and reprint it overseas and don’t pay them anything and just use them and use them and use them. And they’re in the same rut they were in 1940. They couldn’t even get together a goddamn union! Neal Adams and the rest of those people put themselves on the line and tried to get a union started, said, ‘Hey, let’s get together,’ and don’t you know all the old fuckers said, ‘Ah, I gotta make my living, and support my fuckin’ coke habit,’ or whatever it was. And a lot of young guys did the same goddamn thing. It was Me-Firstism. They looked after Number One.

Do an article sometime. Go around to everybody in the industry and say, ‘Hey, when was so-and-so cowardly? Tell me about that.’ And they’ll all rat on each other, because they have no fuckin’ sense of ethics, almost all of these assholes. […] Ethics are a sense of belonging to the community of humanity and knowing that you have a responsibility, and not just to yourself, to make yourself feel good and to get the best for yourself, but if you’ve got any kind of strength and any kind of clout and any kind of courage, to fight for other people, goddamnit.

There’s never been a firebrand who’s gone all the way…Neal is as close to someone like that as I can think of… He’s got himself a terrible reputation for being a troublemaker. But Neal did, in fact, get Siegel and Shuster money. He did, in fact, get them recognition. He was a force for good. It’s an important thing. Once in awhile a Zorro in the crowd is a good thing to have.”

— Harlan Ellison (via)