Monday, July 23, 2012

(links)

This is maybe a little weird of me, but I couldn't wait to see the new Batman movie not because I was all that interested in the movie itself (I didn't like the first one, thought the second one was a bit of a wash, the bad Batman stuff essentially canceling out the good Joker stuff), at least not any more interested than I am in seeing any other movie in which Anne Hathaway appears, but because I really, really, really wanted to start reading reviews of the movie, but I figured I would end up writing one somewhere (and I did; I'll link to it tomorrow), and therefore I couldn't read any other reviews until I wrote my own, and I couldn't write my own until I saw the damn thing (I don't like to read reviews of things I'm gonna review, as I'm afraid of well-expressed and articulated opinions I agree with polluting my own reviews, and leading to some sort of inadvertent plagiarism).

Anyway, I saw it last night, and spent some time reading reviews today. I like this one the best, because Mr. Sean T. Collins spends so much time discussing the very best thing about the entire movie. I kinda wanna crack open a long box and sit around re-reading the "Knightfall" and other Bane stories, imagining all of his dialogue spoken in Tom Hardy's Bane voice.

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You know what's kind of weird? In a franchise where minor, one-off villains created to move a particular plot along, like Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle's Mr. Zsasz, become the focus of dozens of stories so other creators can avoid creating their own characters to gift to DC's IP crops, isn't it kinda strange that Bane's henchmen Trog, Zombie and Bird disappeared after "Knightfall"...? I don't even remember if they were killed somehow, perhaps by Bane himself, or The Joker; I just remember they played prominent roles in "Knightfall" and then I don't remember ever hearing form them again.

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Hey, here's a neat panel from Wolverine & The Black Cat: Claws II that I scanned but didn't end up using in my review earlier in the week:
I like that panel, and how the main characters replicate a common occurrence in so many Scooby-Doo episodes. (Well the two on the left anyway; I don't recall the redhead on Scooby-Doo using a blade all that often).

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Let's talk about some naked ladies, shall we...?

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Robot 6 recently interviewed photographer Scott Cole about a photography project he's been engaged in, recreating Tank Girl covers and poses using models. The results are predictably fun. And hot.

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So during the week of San Diego Comic-Con International, naked lady website Suicide Girls posted a free NSFW gallery of model Radeo Suicide dressed as Batgirl.

Aside from the gallery's obvious virtues—a hot girl with cool tattos doing a strip-tease that ends with her naked—it's also useful in the way it demonstrates the way a human female looks when she's wearing a spandex superhero costume. Because there is probably not something quite right with me, I found myself staring at her the way her butt and girl-place and breasts looked in the costume, and thinking about the way superhero artists usually draw their superheroines' erogenous zones in superheroe costumes.

Based on this example, artists usually get the butt and girl-place right, but not the breasts. The bat-suit seems to squish them down, rather than wrap around them like some kind of super-support paint. I don't think I've seen anyone draw Batgirl's breasts the way Radeo's breasts look in this suit.

Also: The gallery reinforces just how terrifying a vigilante in a homemade Bat-costume looks compared to someone in a Hollywood movie costume. Like, someone wearing Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl costume, or any of the Batman movie costumes running out of an alley to jump on you? Not that scary.

But imagine someone running out of an alley wearing this costume and starting to pummel you in the face with her fists. That would be terrifying. Look at this maniac in the homemade Bat-costume! This beautiful, beautiful maniac! With the crazy eyes in the homemade mask! Aaaa!

Also also: Whoever added the Marvel-ous phrase in the mildly amusing sting ending of the feature, I don't think you're allowed to use a Marvel phrase in something featuring a DC heroine like this. It's considered gauche. That last panel though, the look on her face? Like I said; kinda funny.

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I wonder if the next Batgirl artist will study the earlier images of this gallery, the ones where she's still wearing her costume, as a way to draw a better, more realistic Batgirl in...Oh, it's Ed Benes? Nevermind, then. I suppose he'll just draw the same naked, nipple-less Benes girl, with bat-ears and a cape, and the colorist can paint a Bagirl costume on her.

Wonder how long before DC cancels Batgirl now, or if DC's audience has warmed to the Simone/Benes team since the troubled last volume of the "Brightest Day" volume of Birds of Prey...?

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The headline at The Onion's AV Club reads "Writer Darwyn Cooke talks Before Watchmen and creating strong heroines," which sounds like it might be a joke in and of itself, but this is AV Club section of the the parody newspaper; that is, the part that doesn't have purposefully funny fake headlines.

I suppose the headline is mean to refer to the fact that Cook is writing the Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre miniseries, although the Silk Spectre is a character he rather famously did not create (I don't know if you've heard anything about this or not, but it turns out the character was actually created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and the former is somewhat displeased that he doesn't own this creation of his, and that people like Cooke are making comics featuring her).

After reading that headline and chuckling to myself, I stopped and though for a minute. Then another. Then one more, just to be sure, and gave up. Has Darwyn Cooke reated any female characters, strong or otherwise?

He did a decent Wonder Woman in New Frontier (although that was mainly a matter of character design; his characterization of her was of the pragmatic ultimate-warrior type that so annoys me), but she was created by William Moulton Marson. He wrote and drew some Selina Kyle/Catwoman comics, and redesigned her costume, but, again, that was the creation of Bill Finger and Bob Kane. I guess he wrote some of Will Eisner's Spirit girls during his run on DC's first 21st century The Spirit revival and...that's it, right? I honestly can't think of Cooke making any comics featuring original characters of any kind, let alone strong, female ones.

(To be fair, I guess that headlien could have been using "creating" to refer to writing dialogue and/or drawing pictures of pre-existing characters, but that's not really what it says, and there are better ways to write it to reflect that.

In a link to this article by The Comics Journal's Tim Hodler, Hodler writes,
[Cooke] also maintains that participating in the project isn't as bad as forcing children to starve. Which is true, but maybe setting the bar a little low?

Here's the entirety of the exchange in the context of the interview:

AVC: How did you brace yourself for the controversy that would come with the Before Watchmen announcement?

DC: I didn’t, really. I knew there would be a certain amount of it. In all honesty, I didn’t expect, “Poor Alan Moore.” I just didn’t expect that. So that sort of took me by surprise. I certainly expected people to have an opinion about whether this beloved material should be explored any further, and I believe that that’s a question, but it’s also a challenge that I’m happy to meet. All the stuff with Alan, I didn’t count on that or really give it much thought. It’s now an incredibly large issue. So, it is what it is. I guess the most important thing for me, and it’s funny because I have some friends in the business who I have an incredible amount of respect for, and they completely disagree with me on this thing. However, we all realize that we’re disagreeing about a comic book. Not about whether or not children should be allowed to eat. Not about whether we should be blocking the sun, so that Muslims don’t get any sun. We’re not burning the Koran. We’re producing a comic book here, and let’s keep it all in perspective.

Interviewer Oliver Sava then just goes on to ask his next question, rather than following up with, "You weren't expecting it? Are you an idiot? Do you not pay any attention at all to the industry you work in?"

Or even a, "Well, now that you're aware of it, can you see Alan Moore's point-of view regarding the project?"

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San Diego Comic-Con International link! Popular Batman writer Scott Snyder will be following up on Tony Daniel's shock ending to last September's Detective Comics #1, in which the Joker had his fucking face cut off, in an upcoming story arc entitled "Death of the Family."

Here's David Uzumeri summarizing Snyder's take on The Joker:
Since the court jester's role in a king's court was to deliver the worst news to make the king stronger, this is how Joker sees himself, and he feels that Batman's forgotten the Joker's necessity and wants to "punish" him for it. He will "rape and kill and mutilate" to bring terror to the doors of Batman's friends.
That's right, he'll rape! Don't worry fans of "dark superhero comics", with "dark superhero comics" here referring to "as much like the average comic book consumer imagines a superhero snuff film might be like," the "New 52" isn't so new that they've excised all the raping.

You know, the two least Joker-y moments in the Joker's 70-some years of transmedia existence are probably that scene in All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder in which the yakuza tattooed Joker strangles a lady after having just had sex with her, and that scene in Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo's Joker graphic novel where The Joker and his men gang-rape the point-of-view-character's significant other just to show him whose boss.

So, uh, this news not only grosses me the fuck out, it also makes me wonder how badly Snyder's take on the character is going to suck.

This is the best part of the con panel report though, and perhaps my favorite bit of comics hype ever:
Regarding Detective Comics, the #0 issue is written by Dark Knight writer Gregg Hurwitz, and will deal with why Batman has problems with emotional intimacy.
Fuck yeah, it's the secret origin of Batman's problems with emotional intimacy! Don't like stories of The Joker raping people? Why not try Batman's sister book, wherein we'll be exploring Batman's issues with emotional intimacy.

I...

You know, sometimes I think I might no longer be in DC's target audience anymore. The times when I hear them announce things and parts of my brain explode.

You know, I wasn't planning on getting TEC #0, in part because I've already read it, in part because I'm pretty confident I'm familiar with Batman's origin at this point and in part because it's drawn by Tony Daniel, whose art I can't stand, but damn, the special "emotional intimacy" issue might be worth picking up after all.

Oh, and for what it's worth, DC didn't use the words "emotional intimacy" in their solicitation for the issue, but rather went with, "Discover how young Bruce Wayne learned to wield the martial arts, and how a major villain was introduced into his life."

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Is this still uncollected? I would imagine DC would want all of it's Bane/Ra's al Ghul comics collected and ready for purchase by today.

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This is the weirdest thing I've ever heard. (At least since I heard about Detective Comics #0, which would reveal the untold origin of Batman's problems with emotional intimacy).

They decided to make Barbara Gordon Nightwing in their goofy Smallville Season 11 comic book instead of the previously-announced-to-mainstream-media Stephanie Brown, because Barbara Gordon is the more "iconic" version of the character (Batgirl; Dick Grayson is, of course, the iconic—and only—version of Nightwing, except for Silver Age Superman in a handful of stories, and well, you get the idea).

This is in a comic book spin-off of the television show Smallville, the
show that went ten years without Superman wearing his Superman costume, or being called Superman; the show that introduced Supergirl and Superboy before it introduced Superman; the show in which Clark Kent doesn't wear glasses, The Flash is Bart Allen, Jaime Reyes is Blue Beetle and Batman is Green fucking Arrow?!

I wasn't aware that what was "iconic" had anything at all to do with Smallville and, for evidence, I suppose we could pick out, oh, say, any DC Comics character, from Lana Lang and Pete Ross to Martian Manhunter and Mr. Mxyzptlk, and 19 times out of 20, the producers of Smallville will have went with a version of the character that is about as far as is possible from the most "iconic" version.

The weirdest thing, though, is that DC announced the change after already making a kind of big deal out of the fact that Stephanie Brown was going to be Nightwing in Smallville. It just seems like...erratic behavior, really, and Exhibit #7,349 of DC flying by the seat of their pants, making shit up as they go, and never planning further ahead then, say, next week.

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But don't listen to me, listen to Tom Bondurant. He writes about the issue more calmly, more elegantly and more persuasive than I ever could.

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Oh hey, here's Collins again, this time reviewing Batman: Earth One. I like the way he used the term "fancasting," which I've either never heard used before, or have and not noticed, and I'm glad he pointed out the "message about the redemptive power of torture and extrajudicial killing," of which there is far, far too much of in Geoff Johns' body of superhero comics work.

I don't even think he necessarily believes any of that, and I'm sure he'd laugh off comparisons to, say, the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and having Green Lantern mow down villains or Batman torture out a confession, but given the existence of the former, I see no reason to continue to celebrate or glamorize the latter, arguing for their efficacy. Perhaps the latter doesn't lead to the former, but even still, it's tacky, and it would be nice if we had writers writing superheroes who were smarter than their opponents, rather than simply bigger, tougher, meaner or in possession of more firepower.

8 comments:

William Gatevackes said...

The gallery reinforces just how terrifying a vigilante in a homemade Bat-costume looks compared to someone in a Hollywood movie costume

Really? After Friday, really, you make this point?

Jacob T. Levy said...

I...

You know, sometimes I think I might no longer be in DC's target audience anymore.


I know the feeling.

collectededitions said...

The Batman: Bane of the Demon miniseries was uncollected at the time of that post, but it's since been collected in the new Batman vs. Bane collection. Said collection just includes the first Vengeance of Bane and the miniseries, which is unfortunate, because it skips the second Vengeance of Bane and the surprisingly good Bane one-shot released to tie in with the unsurprisingly bad Batman and Robin movie.

What sells it, of course, is that Bane of the Demon is the penultimate Bane/Ra's al Ghul story, though I'm surprised they haven't re-released Batman: Legacy as well, the book where things really hit the fan.

Caleb said...

Really? After Friday, really, you make this point?

Well, I wrote it about two weeks ago, but posted it this morning, so--yes?

I'm not sure what your point is, though. Nor do I think a horrible tragedy perpetrated by a crazy asshole is grounds to cancel any and all discussion of comic books because they provided the source material for the movie playing when the tragedy occurred.

CE,

Thanks for the update!

Matt I. said...

@Will

I really think you're looking for a place to be offended.

A Hero said...

What I find so odd about Scott Snyder's comment is that so far I have enjoyed his work on Batman. So trusting in Scott, I tried to figure out any context that a raping Joker seemed like a good plot point for a story.

Not surprisingly I came up blank.

jim kosmicki said...

it's already been pointed out that the Bane of the Demon mini has been collected, but one point that I haven't seen posted anywhere is that that Bane collection is the ONLY comic about Batman or Bane available at Walmart right now to take advantage of the Batman movie. There's a big display near the checkouts of Batman videos, but the printed material is all children's books, coloring books, etc. In the actual book "department," there's the movie novelization, but the only actual comics about Batman that can be purchased is this Bane collection that, if I remember correctly, barely has Batman in it. They're good stories that showed that Bane had a better backstory than we'd supposed at the time, but they're not really BATMAN comics...

Akilles said...

What if the Joker raping-comment is simply a figure of speech? Like, "you raped my childhood by saying that" kinda comment. And not the actual act. Seems reasonable to me.

I sure hope that I`m right about that. Because suddenly, I`m having a bad, paranoic feeling about that Benes drawn Bat-girl comic, which is a part of The death of the family-arc.

But, considering what kinda covers he draws, I`m probably over thinking it.