I love Harlan Ellison. I also think he’s a cock at times. He’s also an amazingly nice bloke. He’s also an arrogant arsehole. He also fights for the right things, and the right people. Ellison is a mass of contradictions and when you read about him, he seems like this immense larger than life figure. So when I met him at a SF convention in Glasgow in the 1980’s I was partly shitting myself, and partly in awe of meeting one of my serious heroes, so to say I was nervous was an understatement.
He ended up being quite a lovely bloke to people who gave him respect. He spent some time chatting away to myself and a few others who were working in the dealers room. This was generally about comics, but also about Glasgow, and the city’s architecture. He also asked for my original Marvelman badge, which I gave for him in return for a nice little signed copy of the Glass Teat, which ended up being nicked about five or six years later which I’m still bitter about.
Ellison has also been one of those people in the media who says things at times that needs to be said. In this case it’s about what looked to be, and from all accounts is, a travesty of history which is Saving Mr. Banks, Disney’s new film about Disney’s attempts to get the rights of Mary Poppins from it’s creator P.L. Travers. Starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, the film looks to hit a few obvious marks by telling a story of how kindly Uncle Walt didn’t shaft a creator at all, oh heavens no!
Thankfully here comes Ellison to put things right in what can be best described as one of the most glorious rants you’ll have the pleasure of seeing.
Realise as well that Disney are still shafting creators. This isn’t history but is an ongoing process for Disney, but films like Saving Mr. Banks serve up a whitewashed version of history which reflects upon the present. Thanks to Ellison we can a chance of some realistic criticism.