Sunday, April 15, 2012

(links + con reax)

Um, I think I have one, maybe two positive things to say this week...


Comics writer and Iranian-American Dara Naraghi didn’t care for the opening of Aquaman #7 either, but instead of simply making a smart remark in passing like some people, he penned a nice, reasonable open letter to writer Geoff Johns, noting his disappointment in seeing a new Iranian hero introduced just to be killed off immediately.

Naturally the anonymous a-holes of the Internet responded with ignorance and racism when offering their unsolicited opinions.


Would it have been better if it was a white dude who got killed in that same scene of Aquman #7? I think, plot-wise, it would still be boring and reductive, simply because I think it's lame to create characters just to kill them; in this instance, they are being killed to a) show that the villain is strong and mean, which can be accomplished in other ways and b) because that's how this particular story always goes.

There are more interesting, original and creative ways to demonstrate the strength and villainy of your villain or tell this same sort of story. I think it was rather eye-rolling in this instance because the villain was Black Manta, who Johns has been approaching with the same defensiveness that he's approached Aquaman, and thus the comic book seems to have a chip on its shoulder regarding its readers and how serious they take the characters.

I don't know. I thought Alex Ross and company did a fine job of making Black Manta seem like a badass in Justie without a scene in which the character not only butchers someone, or cleans them like a fish, I guess would be Manta's preferred metaphor, but also gives a little speech about how he's going to track down the victim's family and kids and do the same to them.

I suppose we will see a little bit more of that particular hero, as I have to imagine there will be flashback scenes explaining who she and her team are and what they have to do with Aquaman and Black Manta, but introducing a character just to kill them just seems trite and lazy, and the fact that it was a character from such an under-represented ethnic group in the DCU during a time when so many people in our country are calling for war against Iran only makes the whole scene seem worse.


Reading Dara's letter I was wracking my memory to think of an Iranian superhero in the DCU, as it seems like there had to be one, but the only one I could come up with was Sirocco, a speedster that Kurt Busiek created in his great, but too-short, run on Superman. I can't recall if Sirocco died or not; I think he died in a possible future that Arion recruited Superman to help prevent, but I don't recall if he died "for real" or not...


I...I have no idea who would win this particular battle.


Respect for Darwyn Cooke dropping... dropping


(By the way, if you're one of the dudes writing two of the stupid things and drawing one of 'em, how can you be "at a distance" from them, exactly...?)


(Also, dude has a much different understanding of the expression "kicking and screaming" than I do if he called Dan DiDio back and asked if he could do a book after all)


I try to do these chronologically as they occur in space and time, but I'm moving this up because it has to do with Before Watchmen: Please enjoy David Brothers taking down the Before Watchmen panel at C2E2.

Did you know that Dan DiDio expected a "more negative reaction" than the one he got (By my count, one person who writes about comics on the Internet under his or her real name was positive about the project), and that everyone DiDio talked to about the project had their concerns melt when they heard about all of the sub-par (my word, not his) talents involved with the Before Watchmen.

Dude, I can't tell you how many times I heard people at the comic shops say, "I thought Before Watchmen was a practically heretical concept, and then I heard Len Wein is writing a back-up story! Can you believe it? They got Len Wein! And the guy who wrote those awful Superman and Wonder Woman and Red Circle comics that no one read and no one, not even the writer himself, liked! No one can top Alan Moore, of course, but they got the six or seven next best things to Alan Moore! They even got the guy who wrote the six-part story in Superman Confidential #1-5 and #11!"


I asked for it, and I got it. Apparently the Game of Thrones graphic novel adaptation isn’t very good, and frustratingly so.


Oh wow, this sure is unfortunate…I was really looking forward to that collection, but that post sure puts a damper on my enthusiasm.


DC Women Kicking Ass caught that while the majority of the characters being featured in the just-announced National Comics series are female, all the creators are (surprise!) male (Unless you count Fiona Staples' contribution of one of the four covers).

The sharp-eyed observer of DC Comics’ female characters and creators also noticed that Amanda Conner isn’t just drawing the Darwyn Cooke-written Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre miniseries, but, as of the second issue at least, she is also co-writing it, increasing her culpability!

Tom Spurgeon noted that National Comics seems like a good way to get characters who might make for good licensing prospects in other media into comics briefly (you only need one issue for a media packet to give to producers, right?), without having to try and maintain comic books featuring them.

That sounds about right. It would certainly explain why the premise of the Kid Eternity issue sounds like a TV show pitch more than a awesome comic about a dead kid, his guardian angel and his power to resurrect the dead.

The Looker issue is interesting in that they're using a much later permutation of the character—she wasn't conceived in 1985 as a vampire, but became one about a decade later in the second volume of the series. Of course, her being a vampire probably explains why there's going to be a Looker solo comic at all.


Chris Butcher has a point in parts of this post, and there’s no arguing with his calls for better online discourse or grown-ups treating one another as grown-ups, but I disagree that a relatively high-ranking employee at Marvel shouldn't get all kinds of shit from people regarding Marvel being shitty.

If you work for a corporation, if you take money fromr that corporation, you're responsible for that corporation's actions. Even if you’re just the tiniest part of that corporation, you’re still a part of it.

And if you disagree with the actions of that corporation if you think it's unfair that you share in the blame of that corporation's actions, quit and get another fucking job.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the economy sucks, Marvel's one of the biggest company's in the American comic book industry—I don't care. That's a choice C.B. Cebulski or whoever else makes: Work for a company that does shitty things and share in the guilt and/or blame, or get a different job for a company you don’t think is shitty, and live a (relatively) guilt and blame free life.

Of course, that goes for consumers, too. If you don’t like what a company does, then you really should purchase goods or services from that company, and thus enable them to continue doing those things you don’t like. I still give Marvel $3-$9 a month, so I too share some responsibility in the shitty things they do.


I'm pretty confident that AMC's gonna find out that it's the zombies, not the Robert Kirkman, that makes their Walking Dead show so popular, but congratulations to Kirkman: his new book that looks like it was just a pitch for a TV show is apparently being developed as a TV show. (The bad news? This will only encourage more shitty comics that are just TV show pitches being packaged as comics).

If AMC had to adapt another Kirkman-related comic to television, I woulda preferred it be Super-Dinosaur, as that has a dinosaur in it.


Reminder: Eric Stephenson is a hell of a blogger. He makes an extremely convincing case that there's actually a lot of money in producing new comics featuring new characters and concepts, backing up his argument with a strong list of examples.


Tim O'Neil's "Tao of..." pieces on some Avengers characters are pretty great. Here's his "Tao of Iron Man" piece, and here's his "Tao of Hawkeye."

I imagine he'll be getting into Thor, Captain America and some of the other characters featured prominently in the upcoming Avengers film later, as he talks at great length about the core of those characters and how their film versions reflect their comics versions.

The Hawkeye piece was of particular interest to me, as I never really liked the character much, having never really been exposed to him at any great length before (In the very first Avengers comic I ever read, Brian Michael Bendis killed Hawkeye off, and the next two dozen or so times I read a comic featuring Hawkeye, he was being written by Bendis, so his characterization was basically just A Guy In A Bendis Comic). O'Neil boils him down to two essential traits: 1) he's not Green Arrow and 2) he's an asshole.

He then explains how both of those things are true, and he sold me.

Interestingly enough, though, Green Arrow is also kind of an asshole, so that means Hawkeye and Green Arrow are both assholes, but completely different kids of assholes.


(Hey, that last sentence had "asshole" in it three times; that is enough times that the word is starting to sound funny and unnatural to me. I am going to to take a break and go sit in a chair and just say "asshole" over and over again quietly to myself until it sounds like gibberish)


DC PR is now referring to the people making their Before Watchmen widgets as "iconoclastic," as in "Among the iconoclastic Before Watchmen creators attending C2E2 will be..."

I need to go check something.

Yes, the word "iconoclastic" still means "characterized by attack on established beliefs or institutions" like I thought it did.

I guess that's one way to refer to a group of creators doing something as shitty and morally dubious as exploiting the work of a giant in your medium for a great deal of money on behalf of a corporation, despite the pleas of that giant in your medium not to do it.

In this case, "the institution" is apparently Alan Moore, and the freelancers working for Warner Brothers/DC Comics are the iconoclasts, but it sure is hard jamming these particular players into that particular rhetorical structure.


I appreciate hyperbole as much as anyone, but calling any crossover involving Danger Girl the "crossover of the century" is going way too far.

JLA/Avengers was this century too, guys.


I feel weird that the announcement of a Battle Beasts comic got me temporarily excited, but what are you going to do? Such is the power of nostalgia.

I can't actually imagine how that comic will go, since that was one of the few toylines from my childhood that didn't spawn a cartoon to help sell the toys to me and my fellow grade-school boys, nor did it come with little comics explaining who was who and what was what.

I just remember thinking the designs were super-cool, and I folded them into the epic battles I staged with my friends using an assemblage of Transformers, G.I. Joes and He-Man guys and whatever other action figures happened to be in the respective toy boxes.

I hope the deer with the drill hand shows up in the comic. I liked the deer with the drill hand.


At this weekend's big comics convention, DC announced some digital-first comics I won't read digitally because I am a frightened old man (But I imagine "Digital-first" means "paper-second," so maybe I'll read them on paper later).

One of these new comics is a Batman comic, and they've announced some fairly strong contributors to it. I was most surprised to see "Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman," because I can't believe those two guys aren't Marvel exclusive—especially Parker.

And if they're not Marve exclusive, why on Earth wasn't Jeff Parker writing one of "The New 52" last fall...?

The other is Ame-Comi Girls, which is apparently based on the line of scantily-clad, manga-style statues featuring reworked versions of familiar DC superheroines.

They've announced the first five stars and creative teams, including artists I like a lot Ted Naifeh, Sanford Green and Amanda Conner, at least two of which don't work in anything even faintly resembling a manga style.

I hope these things are rated T+, if not M, and focus on the prurient aspects of barely-dressed super-girls, rather than serving simply as standard DCU fare in which the characters wear different costumes. If you've ever seen one of those statues, you know the two selling points are 1) sexiness and 2) manga-style, so I would hope that's the focus of these stories, although they're all being written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti instead of, say, Adam Warren, so I'm not holding out much hope.

It would be great if they could establish this as a sort of reservation for all the cheesecakey pin-uppery and inappapropriate festishization of the DCU heroines, a place for the creators to get it out of their system, and the fans who want it to get it, without mucking up the supposedly mass-audience focused DCU books.

So, for example, had this existed a few months ago, the version of Starfire that appeared in Red Hood and the Outlaws could have appeared here, and the DCU Starfire could have resembled something between the George Perez/Marv Wolfman version and the one on Cartoon Network's Teen Titans.

I can hope, of course, but, as with the "New 52" initiative, it looks like DC decided to go with who they already had around (Palmiotti and Gray) instead of someone new who happened to be more expert in a particular field).

If you read the piece in the The Beat, the picture seems particularly glum, as Heidi MacDonald says Palmoitti promised something closer to his run on Power Girl than the statues that inspired the series, and he notes that they're shooting for the teenage girl market which, okay, teenage girls (used to) really dig manga, but this brand is focused on selling really expensive nonsense to male perverts so, um, well, good luck gang!


So Marvel is going to do a Hawkeye series. That's what last week's teaser image that said "Coming Soon" that had purple and a phallic symbol in it was teasing (And not, as Abhay reported for The Comics Journal, a comic about Galactus' penis).

It seems like they just tried a Hawkeye series (2010's Hawkeye & Mockingbird lasted six issues). The Matt Fraction and David Aja team did a pretty good job launching an Immortal Iron Fist series, although they didn’t stick around long, and therefore neither did the title, which lasted 27 issues.

I wonder how a Hawkeye book will do in the long run, especially after having just read O’Neil’s piece on Hawkeye (linked to above), which dealt at length with the fact that Hawkeye is a great character to have in team books, but not the sort of character that really works on his own, which is why he’s never sustained a solo title.

The character should have a pretty high profile this summer what with being one-seventh of the Avengers line-up in the movie, but then, none of the Marvels seem to benefit much from movies, and Black Widow’s title that came on the heels of Iron Man 2 only lasted eight issues.


Finally: Fuck Yeah Mystery Science Theater Beatdown!

I hope he’s still going, because while that’s an awesome list, I found my self poring over it again and again to see if it included this or that person or monster. I didn't see any Killer Shrews, for example. (Via 4thletter)

1 comment:

JRC, the OWL Says Who said...

Great roundup of bits 'n pieces. Couldn't agree more about civility in the community. Projecting the blame back on the comic companies for rabid fanaticism seems backhanded to me though. Yes they encourage devotion to a fault, but people mouthing off like jerks is def' more of a choice created by internet anonymity.

Aside: Jimmy Palmiotti knows pervy: