I have never come across a comic book in which the hero is a miner. I have never read a comic book in which mining is praised or even shown to be a provider of the basics of life. Maybe it is time to rectify that absence. At least this was the conversation last night as we drank time away into the early hours of this morning. One of our companions has a daughter who has decided to make her career the writing and drawing of comic books.
“So are you going to support her draw the definitive mining comic book?” I asked.
“That’s the problem.” his reply. “Just how much money earned from mining am I to spend supporting her on a dubious venture?”
“You should!” was his wife’s emphatic declamation. “If you don’t, who will?”
“But she will have to define and bring to life a cute character who is into mining. How can that be done?”
We sat in silence in the face of this existential dilemma.
“Maybe there need not be a cute character,” I ventured. “Maybe we need a grand hero or heroine–maybe a lady making her way with courage, persistence, and fortitude in the face of the implacable wrath of the anti-mining NGO, who is sort of thin-lipped and mean of spirit.”
“That would be a nasty caricature,” protested the nice lady in our midst. “Why do all pro-mining activists have to be brave ladies? It is time some man of stature and charisma stood up to be counted as a sagacious profit of the benefits of mining.”
“But that would be sexist.” surged through my brain, although I wisely refrained from muttering the words, fearing grave censure.
Maybe we should send the aspirant comic book artist to some of those mines in beautiful places; let her draw the sun rising on a yellow rock dump; sketch the mid-day heat shimmering on an orange pool; and depict the moon reflected in the pale silver of the tailings pond. Then send her to a desert mine where the sands blow thick dust day and night and the sand dump gets smaller rather than bigger as the fierce winds transport the sand back to the dunes. Have her walk the snow-covered piles as the light reflects in brilliance off the landscape. Then to a city and the car she drives down crowded highways between the poor and dispossessed of no skills and little hope. Maybe she can contrast the privileged life she leads living in a vast 1920′s loft of bare metal columns and beams with the shanty town of those to whom mining benefits do not flow.
We got nowhere. We made no decisions. Instead we tapered of to Australian whiskey and to bed.
But if you have better ideas on this subject, let us know. I am convinced there is an opportunity—I just do not know how to bring it to fruition.