Monday, September 24, 2012

So apparently at DC Comics, "restraint" means putting an attempted gang rape in an Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld comic instead of an actual gang rape....?

Go read Chris Sims on the first issue of Sword and Sorcery, a just-launched DC comic featuring a rebooted Amethyst written by the creator of 1980s cartoon/doll line tie-in Jem, a comic that is shipping at the same time there's an Amethyst short on Cartoon Network as part of of the channel's "DC Nation" programming block.

It's weird: I just read Rob Saklowitz's book Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture a few months back, and he argued rather persuasively that the future of comics companies like DC and Marvel lie in an effective "trans-media" strategy, a future that involves the challenge of reorganizing their characters and franchises across multiple platforms so that they all cohere into something recognizable, consistent and (ultimately) salable. And yet I've seen little—as in, no—evidence that anyone at DC Comics is even really paying attention to what's going on in their cartoons and trying to calibrate their relaunched comics line to those more popular and accessible takes on the characters.

Short of making Batman's costume fussier and redesigning Harley Quinn so that the two characters look a bit more like the versions of them that appear in the Batman: Arkham Ayslum video games, it doesn't look like DC has even attempted to meet the challenge of transmedia synergy yet. This despite an overhaul of their entire line that's barely even a year old.

Anyway: Attempted gang rape in Amethyst, the sort of thing a wag might make up as a hyperbolic example in order to parody the sort of screwed-up mindset evident in DC's publishing strategy, only ha ha, you can't make fun of DC for this kind of thing because there's nothing to exaggerate up to. Or down to, as the case may be.

Man. Attempted gang rape in Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld.

What's on the next ring of the downward spiral at DC, pedophilia in a New 52 Sugar and Spike, or bestiality in Shazam...? Keep reading to find out!

Wait, why would anyone keep reading this shit...?


Scipio said...

Every read the original Amethyst?

Attempted gang-rape of Amethyst herself. By ogres.

Page six.

Maxy Barnard said...

It's important to remember that that was totally acceptable and not also a terrible thing that shouldn't have been in the comic in the first place either.

LadyAmethyst said...

In an interview on Tangognat, Amethyst creators Dan Mishkin & Gary Cohn admitted that the rape scene in the original series was a mistake.

DC should have learned their lesson by now. The original series was setting up the true evil of Amethyst's captors(servants of the series main villain) - but the reboot's rapist? He very well could be just some random guy & never to be seen again. That's a big difference in story development alone. Time will tell at this point.

B.G. Christensen said...

Tawky Tawny is kind of attractive.

Anonymous said...

Personally I thought that scene was a bit dark, but the hero did avert it in the end. If we're just talking about what's dark, any time a secondary character is almost murdered should be brought up. Not to say rape isn't a more serious issue than murder (we see murder all the time), but I think we need to take some perspective.

However I totally agree that DC needs a better handle of trans-media synergy. I hadn't even heard of the Amethyst cartoon before this, but indeed having a rape scene in the first released issue - the one that a person HAS to read to understand the narrative - is kind of nonsensical given what Amethyst is. But that's nothing compared to Animal Man.

In the cartoons, it's a funny short with the protagonist voiced by Weird Al. In the comics, it's a war against death, decay, and gross zombies. It's kind of nightmare fuel, when you think about it. And we market this to our kids?

At least marketing Batman to kids makes sense. He spent the entire 60s camping it up. There's a history of lightheartedness as well as the Killing Joke. (Although there was that time in the Brave and the Bold cartoon where Bat Mite directly references The Killing Joke).

I think I just lost a handle on that "at least".