Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another Question....

Okay, I'm in the mood for a good time-travel story. Or even a mediocre one. Anything involving people from the future is good.

Can anyone make any recommendations?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Central Casting?

Okay, can I just say, David Boreanaz as Hal Jordan is the funniest casting choice I've seen in ages. That's hilarious.

As good as Wil Wheaton as Cosmic Boy or Will Friedle as Kyle Rayner.

Seriously. Seriously funny.


On another random note, I was watching old episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and I realized, I would totally cast the earlier captain as Alan Scott. I don't know why. But every time I see him I think "That guy's Alan Scott." Especially when he had an eye patch...

Now if only we could dress him up like a Christmas Ornament, I'd be able to die happy.

Monday, February 26, 2007

My "the Brave and the Bold" Team-up Wishlist

The Brave and the Bold starting up again, without ALWAYS starring Batman (I like seeing Batman in team/partner stories, but to be honest, I'm really glad they'll be playing with other team ups too), really makes me interested. I love team-ups. And weird partnerships. Basically any time characters who don't normally interact are suddenly thrown into an adventure, I jump for joy.

Which got me to thinking about my wishlist for future Brave and Bold style partnerships:

Stargirl, Mary Marvel and Ms. Martian: Okay, it's a three-for. Still, I think it'd be cute. They're teenaged girls, they're fun, altruistic and cute. I'm not sure what kind of adventure they can go on together, but I think it'd be really good for something relatively lowkey and light-hearted. Bonus points for including Pat Dugan somewhere.

Maxine Hunkel and the new Terra: Mostly because I like teaming up characters with a theme. The elemental powers seem like they could be fun to explore together. The threat would probably be something magical. And I think Maxine could use a few non JSA adventures. Also, I like seeing young girl characters bond with each other. Bonus points for appearances by Ma Hunkel.

Obsidian and the Shade: I find the notion of shadows and shadow worlds and things like that pretty neat, and I think it'd be fun to play around with that for an issue. I'd especially like it if the Shade took Obsidian under his wing a little. Todd's not always the most effective with his powers and I think he could benefit from some training. And the Shade is always cool. Bonus points for a bonding moment between Hope O'Dare and Damon.

Green Lantern (I) and Green Arrow: Okay, I admit, this one came up because I was reading O'Neill era GL/GA again. Mostly because I want to see Alan's reaction when Ollie calls someone a nazi. Bonus points for reaction shots from the rest of the JSA.

Hawkgirl and Guy Gardner: Because if anything is funnier to me than Alan and Ollie, it'd be Kendra and Guy. Hopefully she won't kill him. Fortunately, Guy is kind of ultimately unkillable. The plot could have something to do with Vuldarians and Ancient Egypt, maybe. I don't know. I just want to see the violence. Bonus points for any appearance by Carter.

Oracle and Mr. Terrific: They're brilliant and tech-y, I think it'd be interesting. Maybe a chance to play with some cyber-punk or virtual reality fun. Bonus points for adding the Thinker.

Roy Harper and Sanderson Hawkins: I have the strangest urge to sigh and say "That poor boy," and I have no idea why. Bonus for...well, honestly, the mere idea of the partnership is a bonus for me. Again I have no idea why. That poor boy.

Nightwing and the new Commander Steel: Because Nightwing totally can't win in an angst-off against the guy who got his powers from being vomited on by a nazi. Bonus points for including the phrase "vomited on by a nazi"

Finally, any team up involving Snapper Carr. My current favorite is Booster Gold, but I'll be happy with pretty much anyone. Bonus points if the logo on Snapper's shirt matches whoever he's teamed with.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Exercise in Egotism: My Ideal Supergirl Story

I was thinking about the post I made yesterday. The idea of Guy as Kara's mentor was largely a joke, but the more I think about it, the more I can see it as, weirdly enough, a genuine way to make the character more approachable/appealing.

Kara is growing on me, honestly. She really is. I still think the "being programmed to kill Superman" angst and the crystal spikes are a pretty silly idea, but I think at her core, Kara has the possibility to be an appealing character.

The thing is, for me, the appeal of the post-Crisis Kara is that she's, deep down, a stupid teenager. Hey, I can sympathize with that. I was a pretty stupid teenager once myself. I think most of us were. We know what it's like to be angry and lost and confused, to have to live up to the seemingly impossible expectations of authority figures who couldn't possibly understand what we're going through, while trying to get out from the overpowering shadow of those same figures...

Or maybe it's just me. :-)

Kara's the most appealing for me when she gets to act like a teenager. Crushing on Nightwing. Even the inappropriateness of her relationship with Boomerang. The whole issue where she was at school (except for the end...WE can't just fly away like that). Even her "Thinking isn't my strong suit" sort of self-deprecating joke. These are all things I resonate with, and I'd imagine a lot of youngish women would too.

Kelly's actually really good at that part, I think, but those threads get lost with everything else going on, and well. Honestly. The end product isn't very appealing to me.

I was thinking though, a big difference between a teenage character that gets on my nerves and a teenage character that I actually like has to do with the presence of a guiding figure. The constant presence of a truly guiding figure has the advantage of reminding me that yes, this character is a teenager and she's going to make stupid mistakes and be incredibly silly. The guiding figure starts to provide a stabling influence, someone for the teenager to bounce off of, rebel against, grow accustomed to, allowing for the exploration of different sides of the character.

Ideally, the guiding figure gradually earns the reluctant respect/trust of the teenaged character and through that respect/trust, the seeds of the growing hero start to become visible.

Some teenaged characters don't need the presence of a guiding figure, being self-sufficient enough to operate largely as a miniature adult. However, Supergirl's clearly not equipped for that. She's all fire and attitude with no experience, and honestly I think she needs someone to reign her in. Superman is too distant of a figure to really cut it. Batman is too scary. And Diana has her own problems.

But Kara needs someone or something, I think. Original Kara had Clark, who might not have been perfect, but he was much more of a presence there than he is now. Most sidekick characters really come into their own through their relationship with their mentors. Kara would really benefit from that chance.

You know what I think would work? After this current mess with Power Boy and the Outsiders and everything else. I want Clark to have a good look at his cousin and realize, hey, she needs discipline and guidance, more than I can give her here. And ship her off to military school.

By military school. I mean Oa.

Seriously. The Green Lantern force is hierarchal, authoritarian, and has strict rules. Admittedly the Earth Lanterns are all crazy idiots, but they're focused and directed crazy idiots, and if nothing else, maybe a breather away from Earth would be of benefit of her.

I don't think Kara should necessarily show in the GLC book, but heck, if she can spend a few issues of Supergirl hanging around the Outsiders without showing in that book, she can do the same thing with the Corps.

And the Corps are full of characters that are smart, empathetic, compassionate, and would not have a whole lot of patience for teenage angst. They have respect for Superman, but he's not the overwhelming presence on Oa that he is on Earth, so she'd have some time to escape his shadow. And EVERYONE is an alien and out of place on Oa, so she shouldn't have trouble finding friends within the new recruits.

And considering that the Corps include everything from lizardmen, germs, mathematical equations and planets, a Kryptonian that grows spikes is not that freaky.

There's also the advantage of quite a few potential role models. I mentioned Guy in my last entry. He's got the educational background to understand her issues, and well, a lot of experience with being angry and juvenile. But there's also Soranik Natu. Soranik's cool, professional, competent and independent. There's Boodika. There's Kilowog. There's even Salakk.

Okay. Maybe not Salakk.

The advantage of the setting is that it's a really good place for her to really experience being a teenager, without all the baggage that comes from being on Earth. It's a good setting for action. (There's no reason Kara can't help out on some of the rookie missions, after all.) A good place to develop a rapport with many different types of characters: kids and adults, and explore some new aspects of her personality.

And finally, there may be a solution to my real problem with the Kara Zor-El character right now, which is the apparent lack of real altruism. I don't have any trouble with flawed or erratic superheroes, but ultimately I'd like to see some sign that they're doing this because they genuinely want to help people. I don't get that from Kara yet.

But maybe exposure to the sort of everyday, professional type of heroism we see in the Corps (akin to what we see in firefighters, cops or military in the real world) may reach her where the flashy superheroics on Earth can't, inspiring her to find her own inner hero.

Mostly I just think it'd be fun!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

This should be entertaining:

Okay, somehow I seem to have missed the little bit of information that Green Lantern and Supergirl are going to be in a Brave and the Bold comic soon.

And by "Green Lantern", I mean Hal.

This amuses me far more than it probably should.

I mean, on one level, you have Oliver Queen's token moderate-conservative foil, who's both a military man and an intergalactic beat cop, used to authority and particularly known for arrogance. And you have the current incarnation of Supergirl: a rebellious, angsty, emo, angry teenage girl.

This is going to be PRICELESS.

Honestly, I can't think of a more entertaining mix. Kyle wouldn't work, as he's got the emotional maturity of a teenager himself. (And would probably be crush material, and Kara's growing on me enough that I'd rather not see her dead just yet.) John wouldn't be phased by anything she did. And Guy...

Well, considering the shit GUY's pulled over the years, I think he'd more likely just laugh his ass off. This is the guy who called Superboy Prime a crybaby.

Though come to think about it, that partnership might actually be good for Kara: a guiding figure with a background in psychology and education, who won't really blink much of an eye at teenage antics, who has no fear and probably would react to her sprouting crystals out of her back with a bit of "What the hell?!" at the most. He's incredibly deliberately obnoxious, which'll give her someone to rebel against without ever realizing she's actually doing what he wants her to do. He's also got no real awe of Superman, which might give her the chance to feel like she's escaping his shadow more.

And he likes to annoy Batman, and you can't tell me that wouldn't appeal to a teenager. Seriously.

Darn, now I'd really like to see that partnership at some point. I think Kara could really benefit from a mentor figure more obnoxious than she could ever hope to be. And I never get tired of seeing Guy Gardner verbally smackdown idiot teenagers. (I always seriously thought that when it came down to it, Guy is the Earth Lantern that would make the best parent. And heck, in the case of emergency, there's always Kilowog for backup.)

Still, Hal and Kara will be hilarious. If Guy's the most suited to working with a kid like Kara, Hal's the least. This should, I hope, be amusing as hell.

...Thank god, Geoff Johns retconned away that problem with Arisia...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Audience Participation?

As I'm too lazy to really post anything of substance today, I figured I'd do my usual cheat of "Ask my readers!". Today's question is: "What moment (if any) in comics really got to you and made you all misty-eyed like a little girl?"

I hate to admit this, but my misty-eyed moment came about at the last panel of Identity Crisis. When Ralph reaches across Sue's empty spot in the bed. I always thought, whatever his flaws, Meltzer had a knack for using captions. Also there's simply something so wrenching about the image for me. She'd been a part of his life for so long and now there's nothing but emptiness where she used to be.

Okay, yes, I'm a sap. Shut up.

My runner up moment is probably that panel in Countdown where Ted Kord wishes his successor would do a better job than he did. It's just so... Ted was RIGHT. He was right and no one listened, and the only person who really had confidence in him was the man who was about to kill him, and...

Honestly, I'm so incredibly easy when it comes to things I read. Even when things are so obviously meant to be emotionally manipulative. I buy into it every time. This probably explains a lot about my lack of relative dissatisfaction in comics today. :-) As long as there are little moments that get to me, I can buy the most trite or cliched or heavy-handed crap around and I'll be pretty happy about it.

I never claimed to be any sort of connoisser of good taste. :-)

So anyway. What moments in comics really get to you guys?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Fleeting Thought:

Huh, I had a random thought, while watching the trailer for the new Spiderman movie, specifically when Spider-Man's fighting the Sandman (Sand-Man?).

Sanderson Hawkins is really kind of the amalgamation of three different Sandmen isn't he? He's following in the footsteps of his Golden Age mentor, as a detective with sleep gas. He's got the prophetic dreams to tie him to the Vertigo/Gaiman Sandman. And he's made of earth and dissolves and smashes things like the Marvel one.

Only, not evil.

Actually, temporarily-evil Sand might be kind of awesome. He'd be scary.

I have to say though, in a fight between Sandy and know where my money's going. Either way, the sheer snark factor would make this a fight worth seeing. :-)

Isn't it old news?

I was thinking, I keep reading a lot of complaints that Geoff Johns has suddenly become very violent as a writer. Mostly because of Infinite Crisis and the new JSA. And I have to admit to being a bit nonplussed by the accusation.

I won't say that Geoff Johns doesn't have a knack for random gratuitous violence, but crossover events are known for that sort of thing. Crisis of Infinite Earths and Zero Hour both featured a lot of deaths. Infinite Crisis perhaps lingered a bit more on the gory death scenes, but I'm not sure that's not a product of the time.

The part about JSA baffles me. I can definitely understand why the murder of the new Commander Steel's family is too much for some people but honestly, when I read the issue, it hadn't really occurred to me to be surprised by the violence at all.

I mean, this is JSA. The series that actually began with a teenaged hero getting hunted down like a dog, an octogenarian taking a nosedive off a mountain and a poor schmo keeling over, his own weapons in his back like in one of those old murder mysteries. (The lights go out! Suddenly the butler's on the ground, stabbed)

My perspective might be different because I'd actually read most of the Robinson-Goyer-Johns JSA stories all at once, sequentially. But honestly, nearly every story featured gratuitous death as far as I could see. The aforementioned deaths in the first issue, (coupled with Mordru out to slaughter an infant), the way Obsidian murdered his abusive father while torturing many of his teammates in the next story...

Atom-Smasher's mother and Courtney's family were both killed pretty gratuitously, even if they were restored at the end of their respective storylines. Johnny Sorrow's introduction came rife with a bunch of dead Golden Age heroes bleeding from still-open eyes. The Geomancer ended dead via a passing reference in Stealing Thunder. And poor poor Alex Montez's death was pretty damned shocking to me.

Now admittedly, most of the aforementioned deaths are costumed types rather than innocents (much in the same vein as Infinite Crisis), but the death of innocents did seem to happen a lot in JSA as well. Especially in the set-up issues of the storylines. Honestly, maybe I am jaded, but the deaths in the current arc really didn't seem to be that much more over the top than what came before.

I can definitely understand why the violence in the new JSA is getting to some readers. It's definitely a bit on the gratuitous side. I can also understand why a lot of readers find Geoff Johns's particular tendancy toward violence alarming. But when people start acting like it's something brand new, I can't help wonder what comic they'd been reading all along.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dammit DC!

52's FINALLY almost over. I thought this finally meant, you know, a non-weekly drain on my wallet. I promised myself I wouldn't buy another weekly series.

But...darnit. Countdown looks really freaking cool.

Heck, Jimmy Olsen is involved! Jimmy Olsen. And Mary Marvel! Though Pied Piper is a villain again? That makes me sad. I know Bart's much less interesting than Wally, but that's no reason to go all Dark Side, man!

From the sound of it, this one won't be a flashback, which is very cool. I liked 52 a lot, but I thought the flashback format weakened it. Especially when all this stuff that was big during 52 never got mentioned OYL. (Though considering how long a year in comics tends to be, I'm not terribly surprised anyway. Things get forgotten pretty quickly.) Of course a lot of it's because they hadn't thought of everything cool pre-OYL, but still, it did make things a little awkward.

And I guess this means Kyle does survive Ion 12! (I never thought they'd kill him, well, permanently anyway. He's an appealing, interesting character that's proven himself capable of carrying a series, and he's in a franchise that supports multiple heroes without them becoming redundant. Of course, they could always kill him in Countdown... Fortunately the franchise also supports gratuitous resurrections.)

It does sound like the format will be different than 52, which is probably a plus. I do like 52, but no one can say it's without flaw. A different approach sounds interesting.

I'm also not really surprised by a new weekly comic, 52 proved it could be successful after all. And anything described as the "shit blows up" book can't be bad by my standards.

...darnit. I did like having money once upon a time. :-)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Random Thoughts from Working in a Toy Store

These are a collection of random thoughts related to being a comic geek working in a toy store. :-)

It's really cool, working in a toy store, to see the toys/action figures based on comic book movies. I'm not much of a collector myself, so I'd probably never even see them otherwise.

I single out comic book movies only because when I was a kid, action figures based on real people tended to be kind of sucky looking. It's not their fault, just the techniques used to make them didn't really allow for that sort of precision.

Whereas the action figures for Ghost Rider that actually have Blaze's human head alongside the skull really really do look strikingly like Nicolas Cage. It kind of freaks me out actually.

Brandon Routh and Ioan Gruffudd also, for some reason, tend to be pretty recognizeable in action figure form. (The rest of the Fantastic Four don't, as much. Except Ben, but Ben kind of doesn't count.)

The Batman figures don't look as much like Christian Bale, but that may just be because of the mask. On the other hand, for Halloween we'd carried this pail that was Batman's head. Now, if you looked at the nose/jawline of that pail, the resemblance was very striking.

I really liked carrying those around, because they had really creepy intent stares. Fun to freak out your friends.

The JLU figures are neat, but I've never found the three pack with Sand in it. Much to my sorrow. I did however end up using the package with Kilowog and the two other Lanterns in my initial hiring interview.

That was a very strange interview.

We have a lot of the black clad Superman sets though. And Aztek for some reason.

On my first week of the job, I had to have "points of articulation" explained to me by a comic book geek.

Before he explained it, I figured that all of those action figures just talked very clearly.

I can be kind of dumb sometimes.

The Batman lego sets are surprisingly detailed. I particularly like the tiny lego poison ivy. It's cute.

I always regretted that I started working at the store too late to buy that Wonder Woman Barbie doll with my employee discount. The Poison Ivy and Batgirl/Supergirl dolls were cute, but the one I'd really hoped to find was Diana. I could get it on Ebay I suppose, but it's not the same. :-)

The Young Avenger action figure fourpack actually got me reading the comic book. I remember being mildly bemused by the way the little Hulk-lite character had earrings and a mesh shirt. Asgardian's costume was cooler than Wiccan's later was, I have to say.

I had this friend who'd collect various anime and comic based (male) action figures and pose them in suggestive positioning. I thought about giving her Asgardian and Hulkling, but figured a canon couple would probably ruin her fun.

I always feel sorry for families looking for action figures from any previous season of Power Rangers. It's a very out with the old, in with the new franchise. Right now we're on Mystic Force and Operation Overdrive.

I'm disturbed by how easy that is to rattle off. I blame my Power Rangers-fan of a roommate.

We have Lost action figures for characters who'd died two seasons ago. That strikes me as weird. I don't know why.

The fact that we have Rocky action figures is awesome. But the awesomest thing ever is the fact that we have an action figure of "the meat".

We have an action figure of a CHUNK OF MEAT.

Coolest/Stupidest thing ever.

Monday, February 19, 2007

What Worth An Effort?

There's this perpetual idea that I've been coming across ever since Ragnell and I began compiling for WFA that I have to admit tends to irk me a little.

This idea, paraphrase, ends up as: "Well, why bother with superhero comics? You can get much better portrayals from manga or indy comics. Superhero comics aren't worth the effort."

This idea, usually from otherwise intelligent posters, just really tends to make me twitch.

First of all, "better portrayals" really depends on what you're reading. I've been a manga fan for more than ten years and I have to say that personally, my experiences have been varied. I've read quite a few excellent portrayals of female characters, true. But I've also read quite a lot of stories that made superhero comics look like bastions of sanity and feminine asylum. Manga is so varied that it's really hard to pigeonhole it as really better or worse than any other style. .

In the case of superhero comics, no one really denies that sexism still exists, but I tend to prefer the manner in which it's expressed in superhero comics than the manner I tend to see it expressed in manga. It's just a personal taste matter, really.

I've never read much indy comics, but I'd imagine it's very much like manga, in which it really depends on what series you're reading. But there's nothing that makes either series innately more "woman friendly" than superhero comics.

(There are admittedly more female creators in the manga industry, but the thing about institutionalized sexism is that it can be practiced by men AND women. And anyone just needs to look at a certain subset of the romance novel genre to see that female writers can be as sexist as men can. I definitely want to see more female creators, don't get me wrong, but their presence doesn't necessarily make an industry less sexist.)

I suppose it just irritates me because I love superhero comics and I get annoyed when people attack them. It's one thing to say "superhero comics have a lot of problems" or even "I don't like superhero comics", but somehow it's different when I read "superhero comics aren't worth the effort."

I like superhero comics. I like spandex. I like powers. I like nazis riding on dinosaurs, alien invasions, body snatching, and stupid plot twists. I like insane premises like guys with the head of a flaming skull on a motorcycle. I like the overwhelming sense of history and continuity that comes from characters/properties that have been around in one form or another since the sixties or the thirties.

I like the character interaction and I like the story structure. And I like having the feeling that even by the time I'm dead, the properties will probably still be around in some form or another.

I love Barbara Gordon, Lois Lane, Power Girl, Lady Blackhawk, Dinah Lance, Storm, Ms. Marvel, and many many other strong female characters that really make reading superhero comics a joy.

There are a lot of improvements I'd like to see. A LOT. And I don't deny it. But I definitely think it's worth the effort. There's so much awesome about superhero comics that I'd hate to see up and abandoned.

Besides, when it comes to racism, sexism, homophobia, religious/cultural intolerance and misrepresentation, and other such injustices, there is nothing that isn't "worth the effort". Nothing.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

That Settles It...

Okay, because the majority seems to have spoken, I'm gonna switch this to full feeds. At least for now. Until I get bored and change my mind again. :-)

Thanks for the input!

A Question for Feed-Readers

Okay, I've got a question for anyone who reads PFP via feeds.

Right now, I've got it on "short" entries. I do this because the full feeds don't seem to recognize spoiler cuts, and I'd really rather not flood anyone's blog reel or friends' list with spoilers if I can avoid it.

But now that I've started to read blogs via bloglines myself, I've realized that I tend to prefer reading full feeds myself. I'm not sure, though, whether I want to change my feed to full or keep it on short. I'm curious, which, if any, do you prefer?

Let me know?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Quick Reaction to Ghost Rider

Okay, so I saw it. And honestly, it was as stupid and awesome as I expected.

I won't go for an in depth review yet, because it's a bit soon for spoilers and I'm too lazy to spoiler-cut. I should also warn that I have never read the original comic, so I can't judge it on merit as an adaptation.

But! It had Nicolas Cage. His head caught fire. He's on a motorcycle. It was awesome.

I was really impressed by the Roxanne character. She was smarter than the average superhero-movie-love interest, and she seemed to have a clear, decisive grasp on what she wanted during the movie. The relationship felt more adult to me than most superhero-type relationships. There seemed to be a decided lack of melodrama to their interaction in general. I liked it.

And she wields a mean shotgun.

Also, in green, she WOULD make a freaking fantastic She-Hulk.

Nicolas Cage tends to be give or take for me as an actor, but he seemed to be having a blast with the role. And the fun was contagious.

I always did like spaghetti westerns.

The casting was good in general. Though honestly they couldn't have picked a guy that looked LESS like Nicolas Cage to be young!Johnny if they tried.

So in summation: utter cheese, campy, really dumb and pretty damned awesome. I'd go again. :-)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Art vs Writing: Why I Review the Way I Do

Over at Dick Hates Your Blog, Dick Hyacinth makes a good argument for discussing art with reviews and it got me thinking...

Now, I rarely write actual reviews, I prefer to go with my immediate emotional reactions: "That was funny!" "Hey, cool!" "That sucked." that sort of thing. Even so, I almost never discuss the art.

This is a failing, I know. A review of a comic that doesn't discuss the art really is an incomplete review. In my case though, my only real excuse is that I don't notice the art.

That sounds odd when put in writing, I'm reading a comic book of course, but I'm a very story-oriented comic reader. I pay attention to plots, character development and dialogue, especially with regard to what came before and where the story seems to be going. And I'm not saying that the art doesn't play a big part in the first two, but I rarely notice the art for its own sake.

If you put two issues of a comic in front of me, I can tell you which artist's style I prefer but generally I couldn't tell you why. Most of the time, I don't even think about it in terms of art. I DO have a grasp of reality, so I know that they're only drawings on paper. But in general, I'm too wrapped up in the story to look beyond that. This is probably a little stupid, but, I tend to think of the drawings like actors. It's usually "Wow, for a playboy millionaire, Bruce looks kind of ugly." Or, "Kyle's looking pretty today." Or "Yeesh, Guy looks haggard."

I admit, I'm one of those philistines who get really bored in art museums unless the art seems to portray a story. I'm not a huge fan of cubism, for example, because I tend to not understand what the heck is going on or what I'm seeing. A lot of modern art is the same way for me. I like tapestries though, for obvious reasons.

Part of it's also that I really have no background in art. I can't draw a straight line. I have absolutely no real artistic skill whatsoever. (Much to my dismay, as I'd taken three years of high school art classes to try to fix that). I'm not a very visually oriented person. I recognize names better than faces. That sort of thing. While I can say "I like this" or "I don't like this", rarely I can say why. And I don't tend to feel comfortable criticizing on the basis of art, because I wouldn't know the first thing about what I'm talking about.

In contrast, I fancy myself a writer, so I can talk with a bit more confidence about plot developments, characterization, dialogue, pacing, that sort of thing. But basic panel construction, perspective, visual symbolism...even if I do notice, it's pretty beyond me.

The only time I ever really mention the art is when something about it starts to pull me out of the story. Like for example, my many complaints about the shininess of Phantom Lady's breasts in Freedom Fighters. (Though, I've backed off some. Since there are other women now that aren't drawn that way, I've concluded that it's simply "the way she is."). Or, the embarrassing fact that I've never been able to get through Dark Knight Returns because I can't abide the way the figures are drawn. Billionaire playboys are not meant to look like gargoyles.

So, while this is kind of cheap, all I can say is that in the end, my lack of comment on the art is intended to be the highest compliment I'm equipped to give: "It fit with the story." It's the best I can do.

I sincerely hope no one who comes to PFP is coming for intelligent or insightful art critiques, because you're really not going to get any here. I'm sorry. :-(

Thursday, February 15, 2007

JSA: My Thought...

I was thinking about JSA. And the fact that we still haven't seen Obsidian yet. And it occurs to me that it's reached the point that I honestly think it's deliberate. There were a number of points where having Todd stand in the room in costume would have been very easy. But instead, we've seen no sign of him.

And I realized, I have a possible idea as to why.

We've got bad guys hunting down all the descendents of heroes. Todd naturally should be part of this storyline. But he's at the JSA headquarters playing security guard (if he isn't on a beach somewhere and having some shadow puppet do the work for him. :-)).

The badguys are going to attack the JSA headquarters. It's a natural progression. Todd's there. Jessie Quick/Liberty Belle is there. Rick Tyler is there. The Commander Steel kid is there. Libby, Ted's brat and Pat Dugan will probably be brought there. So it's a very likely target.

Which is why I think we haven't seen Todd yet. He's descendent of a hero, so a likely target. He's got one of the awesomest looking powers on the team. And he's home-base security. With an eminent invasion.

Remember how prone Obsidian was to grandiose gestures as a villain? (Or even in Manhunter as a hero?) I think we're due for one HELL of a Grand Entrance!

I am admittedly an optimist, but I do think that Johns seems prone to slow build-up and occasionally dragged-out pacing, so I'm really really hoping for a payoff within the next two issues.

It's Craaazy, Redux: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

This may not be a shock to anyone, but I love Modern Age revisitations of older comics. It's not that I don't enjoy the originals, of course, but often I think that the stylistic elements of the time occasionally tend to make certain stories less emotionally resonant than they might be. Or there are throwaway ideas that I think are just so weird and warped that they could be a lot of fun with a second look, through the lens of modern perspective.

So imagine my glee when someone clued me in on the fact that "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" was retelling/modernizing/adapting/whatever Hank and Janet Pym's wedding.

(caution for spoilers for Earth's Mightiest Heroes #6)

Sometimes It's Fun to Think About It Now the original story was a cracked out, insane spectacle. You have some jerk of a guy show up, claim he killed Hank Pym, kidnap Janet Van Dyne, who later decides to MARRY him in a huge spectacle while the other Avengers look on in horror. Ultimately it's revealed that Yellowjacket (the aforementioned jerk) IS Hank Pym, and Janet gloats about having bound him to her legally.

How do you top that?

By making everyone on Earth, or more accurately everyone on the Avengers plus Jarvis, Nick Fury, and some psychiatrist helping out the Vision, recognize Yellowjacket as Hank Pym right away.

I mean, it makes perfect sense. By this point, Yellowjacket had been Hank's fourth costumed identity. If they could recognize him in the quite different costumes (and sizes) of the Ant-Man, Giant-Man and Goliath, why wouldn't they recognize him in the Yellowjacket costume?

Where the original story goes for surprise, this story bypasses that entirely. Everyone knows that Hank Pym marries Janet Van Dyne. And pretty much everyone who follows the Avengers knows about the Yellowjacket mess, heck, he's using that identity again now! Instead we get the story of how the Avengers try to deal with the fact that their chairman just showed up one day in a new costume (which wasn't really a new thing) and claiming that he'd murdered Hank Pym (which admittedly was a new thing.)

Jarvis's reaction in particular is priceless.

So they've all been advised not to tell him, for fear that it could cause a deeper mental break, so they're trying to play along for now while they figure out what to do about their crazy, crazy chairman.

This series goes a long way toward redeeming Janet, actually. She's not seizing on the opportunity of netting him into marriage, she's staging an event in a last ditch effort to snap him out of it. The marriage isn't real, the priest is really a SHIELD operative.

I'll admit, if this is supposed to be canon, (I'm still a bit confused about that, especially with Marvel), it goes a long way in making me sympathetic to Janet. In real life, a victim is a victim of course. But since it isn't real, as a reader, it was really hard to give much of the moral high ground to a woman who would entrap her lover during a genuine psychotic break and GLOAT about it afterwards.

Instead, this is a woman who's trying to play along to help her crazy, crazy boyfriend, while watching him verbally express tremendous amounts of self-hatred and scorn, worried that she might never get the real him back.

It's also, in a weird way, going a long way I think toward redeeming Hank himself. The abusive label was always, in my opinion, unfair. At least in the 616 universe, as he was clearly not in his right mind when the single hit happened and Janet left INSTANTLY after that. (I think the retconned idea of ongoing abuse actually does HER more of a disservice than it does him. While anyone can have their will beaten down, Janet's got a very powerful sense of self and has since the her introduction. Janet knows what she wants and reaches for it, but she also knew well enough to get out that moment Hank crossed the line. That's a tremendous amount of strength that not everyone possesses and I rather resent the later writers who've latched onto the domestic abuse angle for taking this away from her)

But as the domestic abuser label seems here to stay, this story goes a long way in adding a sympathetic element. Both the stories in the Ant-Man compilation and this one include reference to psychotic breaks, but they're very casual and never examined very closely. In the Ant-Man stories, a side reference is made to a period of disorientation and memory loss after the murder of his first wife, Maria. (Who really doesn't look anything like Janet, except for being both female, for the record), but it's not really revisited. The Yellowjacket thing was pretty quickly dismissed for quite a long time, until long after the fact.

This story takes the same premise, but makes it much more obvious that it's a serious mental break. For all the comedy inherent in the reactions, the characters are actually taking it seriously. The addition of the mental health professional legitimizes the break as a genuine mental illness.

I'm not saying of course that a history of mental illness excuses abuse, of course. But it gives him a little more room for believable redemption. If he's sick, then, he's got a chance to become better. He appears to be seeing a shrink, (as of She-Hulk), taking medication and making a genuine effort to gain mental stability.

And he was cool in Beyond!. I liked Beyond! a lot. He has labs in his pocket. That's just awesome.

(I admit, I was a bit annoyed though that they took out his apology after kissing her at the hideaway, as that was a pretty important moment in the original story. I guess though that Janet's "Okay, I get it now" reaction was more important. Still, it's annoying. At least he looked appropriately stunned.)

So yeah. I like this one. I want to read more modernized old adventures.

And I REALLY want Creature in the Velvet Cage. It's my dream project! It'd be fun!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ms. Marvel is Cool:

So I finally got a chance to read some original Ms. Marvel. It's a blast and no matter how much of an ass she can be, I will always love Carol for this scene (from Ms. Marvel #1):

She just handed Jameson his balls there. I approve!

(edited to fix a tricky word choice. :-) Thanks guys.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ruminations on Psylocke

For some reason, I started thinking about Psylocke today. It's very weird, because I tend not to think about the character. She doesn't appeal to me at all. At least now.

I actually find Betsy Braddock surprisingly appealing in her pre-Kwannonized appearances. When she was just a purple-haired telepathic supermodel who kind of sucked at fighting. I thought she was cute and I liked her personality. And that weird butterfly-aura she used with her powers was nifty-looking.

I'd really like to track down the comics where she temporarily replaced Captain Britain, because I find that very intriguing.

I guess the original Elizabeth Braddock wasn't interesting or appealing enough, because once they did that whole body-swap thing with Kwannon/Revanche, she might as well have become a different character entirely.

Oh and by the way, can someone explain to me why a ninja assassin who is (I assume) supposed to be Japanese is named "Kwannon". With a code name of "Revanche"? Those aren't anything resembling Japanese names/words. They're utter nonsense. Is it that hard to find a name that's remotely Japanese sounding?

And the fact that Betsy, brainwashed and in Kwannon's body, calls herself "Lady Mandarin" makes me twitch. And it's not like this was the 1940s, when some racism was pretty standard (though not excusable, of course). It doesn't take that much to do some research. Japan =/= China. (And if Kwannon is supposed to be Chinese, why the heck are they going around calling her a ninja? That's very nation-specific, you know...)

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, as much as I like Marvel comics usually, this is the company that keeps calling Wolverine a freakin' Samurai.

I know I've complained about the seeming arbitrariness of Cassandra Cain's Asian-ness, as it seemed more there simply because "Asian martial artist girls are hot" rather than a real attempt at an Asian-American portrayal (your mileage may vary, of course), but she will always be vastly preferable to me over the fact that they took a British-Caucasian character and shoved her into a new body and decided "Okay, she's a hot asian martial artist now".

I mean, if you're going to have a hot Asian martial artist, why not create a character to BE a hot Asian martial artist? It's not like new characters didn't float in and out of the X-teams all the time!

There is some very disturbing symbolism in the way a white girl is written to suddenly assume Asian identity, which Jenn from Reappropriate gets into here.

Really though, I just miss Captain Britain's perky, fun twin sister. I don't have any interest in the angry faux-ninja sexpot she became. It seems like such a loss.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Two Random Ridiculous Realizations for the Price of One

Okay, I admit, I haven't read the comic that this post is referring to, but all I can think of right now, is how someone once told me that Kyle Rayner was the Peter Parker of DC.

It's totally true. :-)


My other realization came about when talking to my friend Flidget over AIM. See the conversation had naturally gone to how Wonder Man and Jean Grey should breed, because their children would be the Marvel Universe equivalent of Weebles (Always wobble but they don't fall down).

She commented: "yes, but what utter assholes they'd be!"

That's when it occurred to me. Red-haired, asshole, and always coming back from the dead?

Their children would be Guy Gardner!

Do you see what I see?

I meant to blog about this image (a sneak peek from Justice Society #3) earlier:

Ray and Loren have some really thought-provoking critiques of the image. I highly recommend reading them if you haven't yet.

But I have to admit, I didn't notice any of that myself. My only reaction was... "OMG! SAND! YAY!!!"

Sorry, it's the first time since 52's first issue that my favorite character got panel time. Yay! Sand!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The movie I'd want to see:

Thanks to Mike, I've come to a realization:

More than Wonder Woman. More than Power Girl. More than pretty much any other hero in existance. I want a She-Hulk movie.

Mousy female lawyer becomes powerful green dynamo! Who couldn't enjoy that?

Jen's a great heroine. She's got a simple, easy to follow origin: (timid lawyer, shot trying to help her cousin, got blood transfusion, becomes giant, green and awesome), she's charming, smart and funny. And she makes a fascinating contrast to the Hulk, because for her, the transformation is a source of strength rather than an out of control curse. It allows her to free herself from her own fear and anxiety and embrace her confidence and inner power.

It wouldn't be a terribly deep movie, but it'd be feel-good, cheesy and fun. There's also a lot of potential for an underlying feminist theme, based around the fact that becoming She-Hulk might give her a physical boost, but it doesn't change who she is. Everything that makes She-Hulk truly awesome has always been within Jennifer the whole time.

Also, she's hot and green and punches things, and you can't go wrong with that.

Especially if she gets to fight an alligator.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Okay, this cheers me up far more than it probably should. I LOVE when Stan Lee pops up in random things. He's like Hitchcock, in a way!

Okay, maybe not. :-)

Still, I have fun playing spot the Stan Lee when I watch anything Marvel. For the record, I suck at it, but my roommate's pretty good. I also really like Heroes (especially now that they've introduced Claire's mom. A female character with full control of her powers! Sweet! And now that Simone has stopped fighting the insanity and is just winging it, she's winning me over too.)

So yay! Spot-the-Stan!

...I'm totally going to forget which episode he's supposed to be in and subsequently forget to look. :-)

Friday, February 09, 2007

So Stupid it's Awesome!

Okay. I confess.

I'm really excited about the Ghost Rider movie. I have no idea why, as I have NO familiarity with the character in question.

I think it's actually that one trailer line where Nicolas Cage is all "I feel like my head's on fire, but that's okay." Something about the line delivery makes me laugh every time.

And I'm not usually a Nicolas Cage fan.

I guess it just seems like one of those movies that go so far along the spectrum of stupidity, that they somehow manage to end up on the other side, into "awesome".

Between the concept, the repetitious awareness everyone seems to have about the stupidity of a guy with his head on fire, the tongue in cheek, modern day Western acting style, the motor cycle...Nicolas Cage...

Oh yeah. I'm gonna laugh my ass off and enjoy every minute of it. I can't wait. :-)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bandwagon Jumping: Thursday 13

Well, Ragnell's doing it, so I figured I'd take a shot too. Besides, maybe it'll motivate me to actually sit down and finish one of these...

Thirteen Projects Kalinara is working on...

1. Studying for LSATs. This is a very short term project as my test is Saturday. Wish me luck.

2. Related to the first: Law School Applications. Egads.

3. Script for this thing. Also side-stories.

4. My November National Novel Writing Month project. A vaguely noirish mystery story starring a married couple. I figure I might be able to actually finish by NEXT November. Maybe.

5. A comic script draft about a teenage girl werewolf, high camp factor (I'm on page four! Go me! :-P)

6. High-fantasy: Girl crossdresses and joins pirate crew adventure. (Need to do more research about ships and piracy. Also: need plot)

7. Long term urban fantasy story with aliens, conspiracies and a secret global monolithic magical society. (In various stages of incoherent as it sounds)

8. "Undercover Dragon" story. High fantasy. (Naturally)

9. College-set superhero project with you.

10. Highschool-set superhero project with you.

11. Figuring out if 9. and 10. take place in the same world.

12. Something for Zamaron

13. Tomorrow's Point/Counterpoint. And a blog post.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Ragnell

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

What's in a name?

In an earlier post about Wonder Woman, I blogged that I could really go for a Power Girl movie.

The more I think about it, the more I think the movie could work. Power Girl's a very dynamic, modern sort of character. She's forceful in personality, connected to Superman, and with very traditional superhero powers. Her backstory is simple enough, if you decide to start with a Earth-2 set origin story.

Sure she doesn't really have any name recognition outside of the comic geek communities. But that could actually be a good thing.

Anyone who hears about Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Fantastic Four, they're going to know immediately that these are comic book movies. This is good, because a lot of people know who the heroes are and will come to see their childhood heroes on the silver screen.

But there does seem to be a market for generally unknown or original superheroes too. When Blade came out, I had actually had no idea it was a comic book first, and I know I wasn't alone in that. My Super-Ex-Girlfriend did reasonably well, without starring any sort of familiar hero. The success of "Heroes" definitely implies the public is open to new superhero mythos.

The advantage to a movie about Power Girl is that the general public won't hear the name and immediately think "Oh, it's a comic geek movie". Power Girl's got the perfect cheeky personality to lead a witty action-comedy type movie, one that can downplay the comic book tendancies while playing up the appeal of a flying girl in skimpy clothes that punches badguys.

Okay. That may not make a whole lot of sense. I'm tired. Give me a break. :-)

I just think it could be good and if marketed correctly could be used to attract a wider audience than expected. Heck, I can't think of a character more designed to appeal to casual male viewers aged 18-40 on casual glance.

And personally, I think her self-aware wit would be a much better fit for someone like Joss Whedon than Wonder Woman would be.

I think someone should give it a try. Heck it can't turn out worse than Helen Slater's Supergirl...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


It's my birthday today! Yay! And I'm going to celebrate by...

going to sleep.

Before I go, here's a party favor; my favoritest villain EVER:

You can't keep a good creepy lovecraftian-reject-worshipping-silent-film-actor down.

G'night everybody!

(ETA: Forgot to credit my scan! It's from JSA Classified #7!)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Because Property Damage is Fun:

Okay, I've been promising Sally that I'd write about Kilowog and Guy for ages and she's been really patient with me, so I figured I'd probably, finally, get off my ass and do it.

The thing that I've always found interesting about Guy and Kilowog's friendship is that really, it was a total 180 on their original interaction, but in a way that weirdly enough worked for me.

I mean heck, they nearly killed each other and almost caused a nuclear war with the Russians. (Oops). The next time we see them interact, they're best friends! It's a total about-face. Not only are they casual drinking buddies, which isn't unheard of between ex-adversary characters, but they're actually genuinely close. Guy is one of the few, besides Arisia, who keeps in regular contact. And even tells him stories about the JLI. They're not true stories, by any means, but the nature in which they're false (Ice being the girl he's going to marry, for example) are very revealing.

(It's interesting to examine actually, Guy's time in the JLI as an extended child's fantasy of adulthood. His very erratic, moronic and posturing behavior was such a caricature that the best comparison I can make is seeing a five year old girl playing dressup in her mother's clothes. The little girl pretends to be a grown-up lady with strange affectations and exaggerated mannerisms/gestures. They reflect the child's perception on adulthood.

And if you're a deluded, bratty eight year old with really really BAD male role models, a violent, hyper-aggressive, domineering jerk makes perfect sense. And it makes perfect sense when doubled back on the more openly childish portrayal in the Jones Green Lantern.

-By the way, the Jones-written early Guy Gardner series also makes a lot more sense as a child's surreal perspective of the world. Think that old Howie Mandel cartoon Bobby's World but with more punching.)

It would be easy to write the friendship off as just writers not caring about continuity in favor of a humorous joke set-up, which is not unheard of for the Justice League International, but the notion of friendship between the two characters ended up extended beyond JLI. In Jones's Green Lantern, Kilowog mentions that he'd miss Guy, when the latter got his ring taken away. And it was Guy's ability to manipulate Kilowog's sympathy in his own series that led him to be able to keep the yellow ring.

And in Emerald Fallout, the pivotal moment of the storyarc was Guy finding Kilowog's skull.

I think the sudden friendship between the characters really worked partially because neither Guy nor Kilowog were the main character of the series. This led to a reconciliation being possible off-panel. And for all of Guy's obnoxiousness and their political differences, the two characters are very compatible.

Both characters are rough-and-tumble sorts of characters that became so more out of circumstance than temperament. Kilowog was originally a geneticist (I'd imagine since Emerald Dawn got retconned away again, his original origin returned...maybe), and Guy a teacher. Both characters are inclined toward compassion and forgiveness. Both characters seem to need other people around as some sort of surrogate family. Both had suffered tremendous loss and landed on their feet, fighting. Both tend to take on mentor type roles to characters like Kyle or the nightlights

It's weirdly plausible that of all the Lanterns, Guy would be the one to stay in touch with an Earth-bound Kilowog. (John always had his own thing going on and Hal is a self-absorbed doofus) Guy may not have understood much, if anything, resembling complex emotion or situations, but he'd clearly felt them as his relationship with Ice showed. (Or this scene), and Kilowog, who really is one of the most perceptive of the Lanterns, would have quickly picked up on a few things that would perhaps make it easier to get along with Guy.

And they got to beat up on each other and destroy a house. Hee.

The friendship as expressed in Recharge is pretty interesting. Both characters are in positions of authority. Kilowog seems to have taken a more older brother role, calming Guy down and reining him in as needed. Actually, weirdly, I thought in a few cases that Kilowog seemed a little too gentle/supportive, given the interaction seen in Recharge. But then lots of things happen in a year.

I'm definitely enjoying this current arc in GLC, but I'm hoping Kilowog shows up again in the next one. And that eventually they start fighting and break shit. Because that is how things Should Be.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Because I Lost A Bet...Sorta...

So. Anyway. I lost a bet with Canton...or maybe I won. It all gets a little weird. (It was about Zach's sexual orientation on Heroes, BTW, so you can imagine that we're both a little confused about who actually won.)

Anyway, we both agreed to do a review of a comic from the other's pull list, and now it's my turn!

The comic I decided to choose was the Marvel One-Shot of Ms. Marvel. Now. I admit it freely, I know absolutely nothing about Ms. Marvel. Except that she's hot, apparently on the pro-registration side of Civil War, got her powers/mind sucked out by Rogue and she was quite useful in Ultimate Alliance. I figured I'd probably be lost in her regular series right now (given that I'd be dropping smack dab in the middle of the tie-in stuff) so the one-shot seemed like perfect timing!

First of all, I'd like to say that using one's old unbelievable superhero experience as the basis for a science fiction novel is a remarkably clever idea. It's a much better way of exploiting one's lifestyle than taking pictures and selling them to the Daily Bugle. Less chance of a malicious-minded editor-in-chief using it against you, at the very least.

Though, is it just me or does Wonder Man die a lot? It seems like every thing I see him in, he dies. He's like Earth-8 Jean Grey or something. Or perhaps he and Jean could have the world's most annoyingly self-repop-able children. It'd be like living in a really big MMO-RPG. Or playing with weebles. Knock 'em down, pop back up, knock 'em down, pop back up.

I liked Carol in this. She doesn't seem to take much nonsense and she was quite clever. I wouldn't say the ending of the story was precisely a victory, but that really can't be pinned on her head. She did the best she could and if it was a mistake, at least it was an understandable one.

Besides, I've always liked her costume design. Especially the Binary costume. It's like Starfire with added attitude.

Overall, the issue wasn't bad. Decent standalone plot with interesting possible future hints. It made me want to read more about Carol Danvers, which is probably the point. So, I'd say as one-shot comics go, it's not Winter Soldier, but it was pretty darned enjoyable. I'd recommend it!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I Get It Now!

I'm watching the Batman movie. The ADAM WEST Batman movie. It's brilliantly stupid. I love it!

Watching it though, I suddenly understand why Batman keeps everything labeled so clearly in the Batcave. It's in case he gets amnesia! That way he'll know what everything does! Makes perfect sense!

In Defense of Wonder Woman...

I have something to say. Something that is, as of this very moment, a very very important thing to say.

I love Wonder Woman. Princess Diana. Diana of Themyscira. Diana Prince. Whatever you want to call her. I just love Wonder Woman.

This is, admittedly, prompted by my friend Flidget's essay here. While I agree with her that Power Girl DEFINITELY deserves a movie. A Power Girl movie positively couldn't lose, in my opinion. I simply can't agree with her position on Wonder Woman.

Flidget has some really good points of course. Diana is from a society of all women. She is immortal. And yes, there is nothing "feminist" about the fact that she's never had to face the challenges that women have to face here in the real world. She's never had to deal with an overpowering legacy, and when she came to the Patriarch's World, she already had more than enough confidence that the disapproval and discouragement of people of our society could never phase her. She was invited to the Justice League. She didn't have to fight for their respect. She never had to prove herself to anyone who met her.

And that's ultimately her appeal to me.

Because Princess Diana of Themyscira never really had to truly fight for anything in her life until she came to Man's World. She could have had everything she could want on Themyscira. Pain, suffering, disrespect is meaningless there. No one told her she couldn't do anything that she set her mind toward. (Except possibly leave.) No one told her she wasn't strong enough or smart enough. She had family. Friends. The adoration of an entire island, for whom she was the only child in centuries.

And she gave all that up. To come here. To try to make a difference.

She had no idea what she'd face in the Man's World. And I'm not just talking about villains and monsters. She didn't know what our culture was really like. She didn't know about all the conditioning that young women in our culture face from childhood about what is really feminine and what isn't. She certainly wasn't prepared for the disapproval and discouragement of our male-oriented society.

But it didn't matter. Diana came and people stared. Diana talked and people listened. Diana punched and people punched back. She stood tall and strong and unyielding, rather than moving aside for people, and people moved aside for her.

The point of Diana, from Marston to the modern day, is that she is Diana. She will always be Diana. And there isn't anything anyone else can do about that.

She's been accused of being a bondage fetishist's toy because she was always tied up. This ignores the fact that she always breaks free. Because nothing can hold her

So why is she an icon to so many?

I think it's because she shows us that ultimately those invisible factors of disapproval and discouragement do not matter unless we let it. That the only reason we are restrained is because we haven't yet realized that we CAN break free. The conditioning that cages us isn't something inherent to being a woman. It's something we've been taught, drilled into our heads, and it is the ONLY thing that really holds us back.

The only difference between Diana and any other heroine in the DCU, than any other woman alive, is that she doesn't know. She doesn't know that she's not supposed to be what she is. Thus she, and we, have limitless potential.

If we can stand up like Diana and keep walking, our eyes on our goals. If we do not deign to notice the pressures and boundaries that hinder us. Then they're nothing.
They can't stop us. They can't stop anyone!

Power Girl is wonderful inspiration for the fight that feminists face every day of their lives. But Diana is the goal. She's what we're ultimately fighting for. A day that our daughters never have to know a feminist struggle just to be themselves.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bizarre Thought...

I was just reading something that described each of the Titans East members as "dark reflections" of the Titans kids.

Which got me thinking. I personally think they're setting Batgirl up for a redemption arc. Especially as she hasn't done anything worse than Rose had, and I remember DC Panels at the conventions last year talking about "returning Batgirl to her origins...

But that's a tangent. I just had the thought about Batgirl as a reflection of Robin.

But which character is seemingly predestined toward evil? Having shot/Will shoot Dualla Dent in the face in at least one future? Has been trying to clone his best friend?

Heck, which character allowed Shiva alone with a dangling King Snake in one of his origin miniseries with the verbal acknowledgement that he didn't believe the latter would come out alive?

Are we SURE which one is intended to be the "dark" reflection? :-)

Non-Comic Post: So THAT was that book!!!

Every so often I find myself trying to hunt down dimly remembered books from my childhood/adolescence. This time I actually found it. (It helps that this time I remembered some of the lead characters' names. And I mostly only remembered them because "Boniface" is a papal name...)

Anyway, the book this time was the Element of Fire, by Martha Wells. I remember liking it because the characters were awesome and the gender roles were interestingly reversed theme-wise.

Reverse gender-roles in books are interesting to me when done "right". For example, I never could quite get into the mass male-oppressive matriarchy in Melanie Rawn's mageborn series, because the metaphor was too in depth. Women owned property, men had little to no social status except for their value to women, aristocratic men were often sheltered possessions, they were also only to be seen in public with identity cards and their heads covered...

It was an interesting idea, but a bit too closely mirroring traditional domination of women for me. Not that this isn't interesting to explore, but I can't quite get my head around it, because most of the restrictions on women had rationales that while crap, don't really apply the other way around. Even with the backstory of it being colonists on another planet, yadda, yadda.

Men having to cover their hair for fear of "enticing women into depravity" (whores went around uncovered sometimes) doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you consider that in Ms. Rawn's book, the men and women are described similarly enough to men and women of our world/time. On average, most men are physically stronger than most women. This isn't to say that a woman can't rape/overpower a man, but in general, it's quite a bit less common. The idea that the phenomenon is so widespread as to be a justification for the additional apparel is frankly a bit hard for me to swallow.

Many of the social structures parallel Earth pseudo-medieval structures without taking into account the factors that childbirth plays into it. Men do not give birth, thus the rationale for the structures, flawed as it is, is gone. The structures simply make no sense.

This is not to say that a female-dominated society can't be portrayed believably, but the structures should not be exactly the same as the male-dominated society we know. The exact mirror is lazy, sacrificing believability for familiarity.

Anyway, Wells's book doesn't involve anything resembling that complex worldbuilding found in Rawn. In fact, it's pseudo-medieval setting seems to bear most of the patriarchal trappings expected. But it's in the narrative roles that the genders are switched.

There is a very strong ruler, aging, with a weak, passive heir to inherit. However, the heir's illegitimate half-sibling, who is also very strong-willed and formidable ends up coming in to save the day.

There is also a "competent concubine" sort of character ( Lady Jessica from Dune), who has obtained power in the ruler's bed (and is much younger) and ultimately ends up with the strong-willed half-sibling.

The trick of course, is that the strong ruler is a woman. The Dowager Queen Ravenna. While her weak and passive son Roland is King in name, she is the one that exerts strong, guiding rulership over the land.

The bastard offspring is a woman, "Kade Carrion", who begins on the outskirts of court society, a snarky rebel, but ends up instrumental in the battle against the bad guy. She's also half fae. Which means she has neat powers.

The competent concubine is a man, of course. He's a skilled fighter, smart and charming, the captain of the Queen's guards. But the majority of his power and identity within the story is based on the fact that he is sleeping with the Dowager Queen. (There's a point when dealing with the Fae that his partnership with Kade Carrion is used the same way...he is continually defined by his female companion)

It's particularly interesting because for years I never really noticed how each of the principle characters' roles ended up defying gender convention. They just managed it in a way that didn't run counter to the plot or setting.

And ultimately I liked it because the characters were interesting and fun. Even the weak King ended up growing up a little and becoming decidedly sympathetic.

And then there's the best exchange in the book EVER:

"Don't take me for a fool, Captain."

"I don't know what else to take you for."

"You can take me for a man who did not acquire my power in a Queen's bed."

"Yes," Thomas agreed. "In her bed, on the daybed in the anteroom, on a couch in the west solar of the Summer Palace, and other locations too numerous to mention, and if you had the slightest understanding of Ravenna at all, you would know that it never made one damn bit of difference as to whether she took my advice or not."

Ten years or so after the fact, that was the quote that popped into my head and got me to hunt down the book again. Now all I need is to go back to my parents' house and dig the damn book out. :-) I can hardly wait!

Procrastinating a Post of Substance...

Okay. Darnit. I give up. I'm too tired for a post of any sort of substance today.

So instead I've decided that this is a post about favorites! In the comments, tell me who's your favorite character and why. (Go as little or as much in depth as you want! And if you want to choose more than one, go ahead!)

Anyone who's a regular reader of my blog knows I have four favorite characters. Two DC and two Marvel. But for repetition's sake, my favorites are:

Guy Gardner: Because he makes me laugh and is weirdly complicated, and is great fodder for analysis.

Sanderson Hawkins: Because I like quiet, snarky, competent characters that always seem like they have more going on under the surface than they show. Also, he is frequently naked.

Bucky Barnes: Because his resurrection ought to have been stupid, and he angsts better than Nightwing. (Though he and Cap really need to hug!)

Hank Pym: ...Honestly, I don't know why. He's crazy but oddly compelling. Also, he's like someone shoved Scott Summers and Reed Richards into a blender on high and added extra crazy. Besides, his family tree is impressive for a man with no biological children.

So what about you guys?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Holy Rusted Memories, Batman!

I was working on my post about Guy and Kilowog for Sally when I got distracted by something else I have very fond recollections of.

The Adam West Batman tv show. :-)

I loved that show as a kid. I'd watch practically religiously. I'd stare intently at the credits trying to will Yvonne Craig's name up there, so that it'd be a Batgirl episode. I was also happy if it were a Catwoman episode. I was particularly fond of the Julie Newmar Catwoman for some odd reason, though I liked them all. (Nowadays, I favor Eartha Kitt. No one is as awesome as Eartha Kitt. NO ONE!)

I always loved the sets for that show. The commissioner's office with that phone. (I loved that phone. I love the Bat Signal too, naturally, but I liked that they had other ways to communicate with Batman. In case of bad weather. Or, you know, daylight.)

And the Batpoles! I love the Batpoles! They were so cool!

And Batgirl had a wig! I always thought that was impossibly clever! Who'd ever suspect the masked long-haired redhead to be the girl with the short brown hair! (Why don't more superheroines wear wigs? Even Black Canary traded hers in for hair dye. It's a much less effective disguise!)

And for years I thought that Star Trek episode where the bad guy turned Chekov and Ensign Cannon Fodder into cubes by taking out all their water was a bad ripoff of that one movie.

I need to watch that movie again. It's been years, I'm ashamed to admit.

When I was seven, I'd get in arguments with the neighbor boys, none of us being comics readers at the time, whether Batman's costume was blue (like the tv show) or black (like the movie). Now that I've read comics and seen that the 1990s version did indeed appear to be more blue-ish, I'm retroactively gloating. Take that, Bobby and Eric!

I think a part of why the show was so fun because everyone involved seemed to be having such a blast, villains and heroes. And there was punching. Punching and kicking. Yay.

Oddly, I never got around to seeing the Green Hornet. Which is funny as my mother apparently loved it. Every time I start babbling about Green Lanterns, she asks me about Kato. Every time. It's entertaining. (And much less traumatizing than that time she was reading over my shoulder and complimented the size of Hal Jordan's package. I've still not gotten over that, MOM...)

I'm sure I'll like it. I like pretty much every cheesy comic-related tv show. Except Smallville, no idea why.

Clearly I must go a video-renting!

((And I promise to post the Guy-Kilowog thing soon!. As well as that review I owe you. I promise!))

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A non-spoilery Reaction to Teen Titans:

Leave it to the guy who made Parallax a Space Bug to figure out a fixable explanation for what happened to Cassandra Cain. :-) I may not be a fan of the character myself, but this seems like the best sort of solution. This way they can play around with her as a villain for a while, but then, at the end, they can fix her pretty easily.

She's definitely going to have more angst, I'd reckon, with the whole killing people thing, but oddly I find the thought of this guilt-angst trip a lot more palatable than the first. (I'm not sure why, because honestly this time she's even less accountable than she was as a child. But I never claimed to be logical.)

I am not actually bothered that neither Bruce nor Barbara noticed a problem yet (Well, pre Robin OYL). Cass was over 18 at the end of Batgirl, when she seemed to drop off the grid intentionally. They probably felt she was old enough to make that decision herself. I am slightly more bothered by Bruce's seeming indifference in Robin, but maybe there's something in WWIII to explain that. I hope so. Bruce is a jerk, but not an unreasonable one.

I'm actually looking forward to Beechen on Teen Titans. He wasn't bad on Robin once he found his swing. Admittedly the Cass-transformation had severe character inconsistencies that a simple read-through of the last few issues of Batgirl could have avoided, but I wonder how much lead time he was given when the editors sprung the change on him. It's possible that he just didn't have time to read all of it, and thus was forced to cram as much from the 73 issue series as possible into his head, real fast.

His Robin is pretty good about referencing and working with past continuity (especially Dixon's) so the man does seem willing to do his homework. (I'm giving a pass on the Lynx-suddenly-not-dead thing, because Detective Comics had a few other characters suddenly-not-dead at the same time. I always felt they were being used to make a quick point about the "New Earth")

So yeah, I'll give him a shot. I think he's good with teen characters. And to be honest, much as I enjoy Johns, I've really felt Teen Titans to be his weakest title (especially now that Superboy has left). I'm curious to see what another writer will make of the characters. Especially, if I may say so, Wonder Girl. Cassie's the one character whose development I'd really like to see take a new direction.

And hopefully the man's learned his lesson about Batgirl. :-)