Brainiac On Banjo: Hell Is For Whom?

They cry in the dark so you can’t see their tears. They hide in the light, so you can’t see their fears. Forgive and forget, all the while, love and pain become one and the same in the eyes of a wounded child. Because hell — hell is for children. “Hell Is For Children” written by Neil Giraldo, Roger Capps, and Pat Benatar.

Quick: What did Pat Robertson have in common with Marv Wolfman, George Pérez, Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson — and, evidently, not with Howard Chaykin?

No, no. I mean, besides that.

Back when he was alive, Pat Robertson hosted a cable teevee funfest called “The 700 Club.” I gather this offensive and bigoted daily video scree will continue despite Robertson being declared dead formally. What the hell, had Pat not been born in the first place, religious and sexual hatred would have lived on unabated. In that sense, Pat Robertson was superfluous.

So it’s time to borrow Mr. Peabody’s WABAC Machine and visit a historical item buried deep in the videosphere. One night about 40 years ago, when I was barely middle-aged, Robertson devoted most of his 700 Club to his analysis of the comic book industry of the time, that time being the early-to-mid-1980s. He was particularly upset that Dick Grayson, who I believe he called “Robin,” was nekked in bed with an extremely beautiful large breasted woman.

Okay. Perhaps Pat was jealous.

(Digression: What is it about “The 700 Club” that actually makes it a club? In this sense, what is the difference between a “club” and a “militia?”)

But while I was watching his news bulletin unfold at the time, all I could think of was “Shit, Pat, didn’t anybody tell you Dick was having sex with an alien?”

Robertson saved his most profound wrath for the X-Men graphic novel “God Loves, Man Kills.” This was one of the stories that earned writer Chris Claremont his well-deserved rep as a master storyteller. The story later served as a basis for the X-Men movie X-2. Published in 1982, it remains one of the most revered Marvel Comics stories of the 20th century — but, in the movie version, the main villain was changed from a Christian minister to a scientist. No, not a Christian Scientist, although that might have been interesting.

Anyway — Pat completely lost his tiny, tiny mind. He took all this as an assault on Christianity. Personally, I’m not in the best position to know; however, some of my best friends have been Christians and none of them complained. Had the network routinely followed The 700 Club with tryptophan commercials, they would have made so much money they could give themselves each an extra Rolex.

Evidently, Robertson got over it — or, more to the point, he moved on to other, similarly asinine complaints.

But I was left disillusioned and severely disappointed. At that time, I was the editor of a top-selling monthly comic book titled American Flagg!, created, written and drawn by Howard V. Chaykin. And let me tell you, if Robertson was so upset at Robin, Starfire (his beautiful long-haired nekked alien bedmate), and the X-Men, if he was so upset at DC Comics and Marvel Comics and all those massively creative and highly successful creators I noted at the top of all this, he overlooked the obvious.

Where was Howard Chaykin? When it comes to nasty objectionable behavior performed within a genuinely moral context, Howard has dedicated much of his life to that and, therefore, could run rings around anybody in the comics racket for pissing off the self-righteous. And, goddamn it, he still can.

So Pat Robertson, as far as I was concerned, short-sheeted the American comic book medium. Fortunately, despite the wide reach of The 700 Club his efforts really didn’t mean shit to a tree.

That’s kind of sad, but I guess right now Pat’s got other things in the fire.