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VCON 43: Endgame

No Hope for an historian’s interview

Since its online debut in October 2013, Reeling Back has celebrated the opening day of VCON, Vancouver’s annual science fiction & fantasy convention, as our “official” birthday. Today (October 11), scheduled to be Day One of VCON 43, thus marks this website’s sixth year in cyberspace. Just four weeks ago, the West Coast Science Fiction Association (WCSFA), VCON’s organizing body, announced that it had cancelled the 2019 event “and work to rebuild . . . for a 2021 launch.” Needless to say, the convention’s unexpected demise disappointed a lot of people. For me, a minor program participant, it meant that I would not have the opportunity to sit down for a public interview with Hope Nicholson, the con’s Pop Culture Guest of Honour. A force to be reckoned with in Canada’s comic arts community, Nicholson is the founder of Winnipeg’s Bedside Press, an independent publisher of new works and classic comics reprints. I had looked forward to chatting with her about her multi-tasking as an editor, publisher, historian — her 2017 book The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen is a must read for any serious graphic arts fan — and advocate for indigenous comic creators. To let everyone know how seriously I take the chronicling of comics history, I was going to post a feature story that I wrote back in 1967, an opinion piece that was published under the headline The Crusade that Cleaned-up (sic) Comics. Oh, wait. I can still share it in celebration of Reeling Back’s continued survival.


local news

Short on real courage

Bias is built into the casting process

Given the advantage of a rain-soaked track, Native American runner Billy Mills won a gold medal on this day (October 14) at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. His turbulent life and upset victory were celebrated in director Don Shebib’s 1983 biographical drama Running Brave.

comics page

Seeing through the truth

Ethics are a matter of choosing sides

In 13 days, Canadians cast their ballots in 2019’s federal election. Born on this day (October 8) in 1943, actor Chevy Chase reminds us that transparency remains among the issues, just as it was in his 1992 feature film Memoirs of an Invisible Man.


Pandemic remembered

Film generates both anger and tears

An act of remembrance, the AIDS Memorial Quilt was first displayed on this day (October 11) in 1987, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Among the creative works that it inspired was 1989’s Oscar-winning feature documentary, Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt.


Plans set, goals met

My Blog; Your Guide to What's New

On October 4, 2013, the day that Reeling Back went live on the Internet, I thought I knew where all this was going. Five years, four months and 12 days later, I’m older, perhaps wiser and certainly more aware of the “innumerable confusion” of our times that Marshall McLuhan first noted in 1964.



A DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES is the Internet address of Michael Walsh, a Canadian living in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I spent my working life as a newspaperman. While others covered the waterfront, I specialized in movies. As a film critic, I published my views in newspapers and magazines, on radio and television, at conferences, conventions and in the occasional courtroom. It was my good fortune to cover 30 of the most exciting, innovative years in screen history (1965-1995).
Retired, but not inactive, I've launched Reeling Back in in order to recall and, perhaps, make sense of it all. Eventually, it will grow into an archive of the nearly 6,000 films I've reviewed to date. Because everything old is news again, each posting will include a note connecting these particular movie memories to the here and now.

And, yes, I intend Reeling Back to offer new material, including web-log commentary, reviews of current pop culture and additions to my own "works in progress" — four book-length projects still in the notebook phase.

From Will Shakespeare to Marshall McLuhan to Joss Whedon, the great thinkers have all reminded us that we live in a world of wonders. In this small corner of cyberspace, I'd like to share some of the wonders that I have seen.