Thursday, February 11, 2010

Three pretty random links

Hey, do you love the artwork of J. Bone, whose Super Friends #24 I was just raving about last night? Well then, you should check out my interview with Bone on Blog@. He was kind enough to share some art with us, including a couple of preliminary roughs for covers (those are the roughs for the Starro issue below the final cover above), as well as a great sketch of Metamorpho.

Oh my God am I dense: Have you ever been reading EDILW and thought to yourself, "Goodness, this Caleb character has no idea what he's talking about. What's wrong with him? Is he really that stupid?" Well good news! You might have been on to something. I've been reading comics for about, oh, almost 20 years no, and I've been aware of Mike Allred's Madman for probably about that long. Allred's one of my favorite artists, so I've snapped up any and all Madman back issues and trades I could find over the years, and was buying single issues from Dark Horse and then Oni and, where was he last, Image...? But it has honestly, no joke, no lie, never, ever, ever occurred to me that Madman's secret identity of "Frank Einstein" was meant to be a pun on "Frankenstein" until this morning, when I read this feature.

Hey, that little stuffed animal brings up a good point!: I've been trying to resist the temptation to comment on the Tea Party/Fox News/Some Tea Party Guy On the Internet Who Noticed It/Marvel Comics controversy, despite the fact that it has to do with comics, which I spend all my writing energy on now, and politics, which I used to spend most of my writing energy on before I started blogging. It's one of those insidious little non-story things that tends to make everyone who covers it, reacts to it, mentions it or even just looks at it sideways look bad. (I'm especially bummed out by Joe Quesada and Ed Brubaker's reactions, which I have a hard time even respecting as company PR or hucksterism—wouldn't having that fight or blowing off anyone actually taking offense at some tiny element of some background in a panel of comic book generate more publicity? Marvel Comics has always, at least with the comics press, operated under the "There's no such thing as bad publicity" philosophy or selling things...with the non-comics press, I think the game's new enough for them that they're not sure how to deal with stories they themselves aren't pitching. Brubaker and Quesada just seem dishonest and easily cowed. As Dirk Deppey noted today—in the process of kinda sorta defending Quesada for behaving like one would expect an adult to behave—of course it's about the Tea Party movement/mob. Wrote Deppey, "the idea that writer Ed Brubaker was discussing modern anti-tax protest movements but not the Tea Partiers per se might make a lick of sense if there were, you know, a second such movement anywhere in the country.")

Anyway, among those that did manage to talk about the Fox-forces-Marvel-to-apologize-and-dissemble-for-accurately-portraying-something-in-the-background-of-one-of-their-comics and come out okay were prominent bloggers Bully The Little Stuffed Bull and Chris Sims, who had some fun with Captain America's outragous behavior on their Twitter twatters last night.

For example, this one or this one from Sims, or this one or this one from Bully.

Joking aside though, I thought Bully brought up a very good point with this tweet, contrasting Marvel's apology for this instance with something a little more obviously offensive and hard to defend. It's certainly something to think about, what Marvel decides to defend versus apologize for, and why they might do so (Quesada and others at Marvel were pretty vigorous in their defense of the "Heroes for Hentai" tentacle rape-inspired cover, for example, and Brian Michael Bendis talked at length about the gang-of-male-villains-pistol-whipping-the-half-naked-tiger-lady-in-bed-while-video-taping-it-for-rebroadcast scene in New Avengers).

The hubbub over the crowd scene in a recent issue of Captain America reminded me of a scene in Secret Invasion, in which writer Brian Michael Bendis again turned away from the story of Skrulls invading New York City to focus on something seemingly trivial—making fun of liberal protesters, who were pretty emphatically identified with anti-war protesters.

Remember this scene?
If not, let Abhay Khosla break it down for you in his review of the issue in which it appeared:

Page after page, not of the first or second or even third issue, page after page of the SIXTH ISSUE-- it wasn’t spent escalating the stakes of the comic, it wasn't spent dealing with characters we care about, it wasn't spent paying off earlier scenes. The fucking SIXTH ISSUE was spent introducing an entirely new cast of straw-men liberal characters, and then attacking them for being naive about the nature of evil.

First, let me just say, on a political level, this comic can go fuck itself. You know-- one pretty easy way a person could read this comic if they were so inclined is that it equates protesting wars with supporting terrorism. I don't think the people who made the comic think that. I don't think they were thinking at all. I don't think they made a big priority of thinking.

If an anti-war protester who happened to have really big glasses wrote a blog post about how Marvel seemed to be calling her and her fellow protesters terrorist-sympathizers deserving of vaporization, and, I don't know, Keith Olberman (is that who people say is the liberal Glenn Beck? I try not to watch/pay attention to cable news ever) freaked out about it, would Marvel have apologized and have said they wouldn't include the scene in the trade?

Damn, I went on about this a lot more than I meant to. I just wanted to say that Sims and Bully made some funny jokes, and Bully brought up a good point. Here, let's take a few deep breaths and meditate on Bone's character designs for some Captain Marvel villains:
Ah, that's better...


Randal said...

If you wanna see some true Glenn Beck/Bill O'Reilly slams, check out Seige: Embedded.

Anonymous said...

This is such a dead horse. It's a comic book people! I'm surprised people get up in arms every time someone says something mildly offensive. Why are people so sensitive?

Hdefined said...

Caleb, I'm glad you did spend some time discussing the Cap issue (no mention on Newsarama?).

What's just pathetic about the whole thing is that there were any apologies to give. Shit, let's say that both Quesada and Brubaker do espouse liberal beliefs and oppose tea party protestors. Why is it wrong to put that in a comic? Yeah, it's bad form to preach your personal beliefs, especially if they don't reflect those of the characters you're writing (not saying they do or don't reflect the beliefs of Cap or Falcon - I don't follow the book), but these are stories that CAN be told. There is no reason to apologize for attempting to tell them.

Fuck, if Stan Lee and Denny O'Neil immediately turned around and apologized for their drug abuse issues in the '70s, our industry might still be stuck in '50s Wertham Land.

Randal said...

Hdefined, I think one of the links Caleb put up says it best - that wasn't a belief as much as a placard that was straight-up insulting to (possibly) large segment of the audience, and that's just bad business. I can't fault them for practicing good business (this is a Disney company now, after all).

Hyle Russell said...

It's the old double standard. The extreme right whines until a corporation or organization backtracks, while liberal complaints are discarded as a fringe minority.

This is why I go ballistic whenever someone brings up the so-called "liberal media."