Sunday, September 25, 2011

Just a couple of links this week.

Should this still be a headline? I say no.

After a gay Bat-Family member starring in her own book (finally), “Hey, a gay superhero!” doesn’t really seem like such a big deal, especially in the case of Random New Character #3 on a team title. Not that I object or anything—the DCU seems to have more gay lady characters than gay male characters, and maybe this is their first Mexican gay teenage character, which, when you get that specific, is breaking a barrier, if not as significant a one as, say, the first black superhero or the first gay superhero or whatever.

His superpower? It’s apparently the ability to generate pink energy Thing hands, judging from this cover.

On the subject of gay Teen Titans, I wonder why they didn’t just make Tim “Red Robin” Drake, Bart “Kid Flash” Allen or Superboy gay in “The New 52” continuity? From all appearances, they're all being pretty hardcore rebooted anyway (Superboy, whose solo book has already come out, is definitely being pretty rebooted), so if those three characters have all been established as completely heterosexual before, well, there’s no reason to imagine their sexual preferences wouldn’t be subject to change in the new continuity.

Making any of those three Teen Titans gay would be a headline, especially in the comics news-sphere. (On the other hand, a quick Google Image search for Superboy + Robin reveals there's actually a surprisingly sizable audience that would like to see both of those characters be gay. Together.)

Speaking of DC’s “New 52” (which I am now always doing, goddamit, DC created a friggin’ mindworm with this reboot/realunch that’s eating out the inside of my skull and laying eggs in it), if the publisher were gonna resurrect just one quickly-canceled title from the late-nineties starring a costume-less, trench coat-rocking super-character, why not Chase instead of Resurrection Man?

I didn’t read either series straight through, but read the majority of each via back issues. While Resurrection Man had a pretty compelling hook—every time the hero dies, he comes back to life with a new superpower—it seemed like creators Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Butch Guice got to tell a fairly complete story during their 1997-1999, almost-30-issue run, and that a new volume would be poised to simply re-telling it.

Chase, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as grabby a high concept—government type who works for an agency responsible for monitoring and policing superhumans has a few capes in her closet—but its premise seems particularly easy to revive at any moment. And with the DCU rebooted, with each title, character and franchise rebooted to different extents, a series starring a character and agency responsible for keeping tables on super-people would be a good opportunity to keep interested readers up to date on what’s what and who’s who in the new now now.

And if DC continues to push the Marvel-like worldview of superheroes being popularly perceived as dangerous by normal human beings, the series could have a new sense of urgency to it.

Have you guys heard this sad, sad story about where the books you buy from come from, before they appear on your doorstop in cardboard boxes with a smile on them? It’s pretty depressing reading, and, I suppose, one more reason to support your local comic shop (if you have one, and/or if your local comic shop sucks).

I just can’t believe that cute, roller-blading, twenty-somethings with dyed hair and access to hyperspace portals weren’t really involved, as Bryan Lee O’Malley had previously convinced me…

In general, I loathe these these weird gallery-type stories that Slate does—the format, not the content—but this one on “map monsters” by Ken Jennings, dealing with the strange creatures that would populate the corners and fill in the unknown spaces of ancient (and not-so-ancient) maps is actually pretty cool.

I more interested in monsters than in maps, but I may check out Jennings’ book Maphead based on this slideshow, if it's indicative of some of the subject matter in the book.

You know who draws the best sea monsters? Tony Millionaire. Those are some of his above.

Boy, is Dick Grayson ever short. I’m going to guess he must be about 5’2, and Tim Drake is around 4’11...? That, or Bruce Wayne is like 7’6...


mordicai said...

Bruce Wayne is wearing high heels. Even in his secret identity he has a certain sense of theatricality.

Eyz said...

I'll go with "Bruce Wayne is a giant". Seriously, have you seen some way Bats is always drawn gigantically, crouching over gargoyles and stuff..??

And I always took Superboy to be gay, sortof... I mean, be it in his original 90s series or on the recent Teen Titans comics..

David said...

Maybe Bruce was standing on a stepstool or something while Alfred adjusted his pant cuffs.

matthew. said...

I think "gay superhero" should be a headline for now, that is until the comics-reading culture is wholly accepting of such a thing, until gay characters become as "assimilated" as heteronormative superheroes. The reason being is that I believe comics should be entirely inclusive. Young people growing up need heroes to look up to. Superman and Spiderman represent wish-fulfillment fantasies, as well as moral guidance, along with entertainment. There are thousands of heroes for the white male to look up. For those young people who aren't white or straight, there's a dearth of possible icons. Somewhere out there, a gay Mexican teen is hoping to read comics and find strength through superhero fantasies. I think comics should provide that, or at least enough archetypes and models to fulfill a large population.

By instructing readers that such a hero exists, we're bringing attention to it, so that hypothetical young person, a gay and/or Mexican kid, can be made aware of such a character.

However, this logic rests on the idea that superheroes are role model, with didactic or moral purposes.