Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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

Monday, April 30, 2007

Musings on Gender and Accountability

Rachel Edidin's recent column examines the incidents of rape involving both Jack Knight and Oliver Queen. It's a good post and I recommend reading it.

It actually reminds me very much of the incident in Nightwing 93. In both cases, the male characters were taken advantage of by female characters, but neither comic ever really gave the incidents the proper resolution. The Nightwing scene is different because it's ambiguous as to how much consent Dick is actually giving at the time. The story after seems to vacillate between treating it as a rape or not, but doesn't really bring any sort of resolution regarding Tarantula. Whereas the Ollie story is unquestionably rape, but the story never treats it that way at all.

The thing is, if the scenes were structured the other way around, the reaction would have to be different. If Shado was a man who molested a delirious Olivia Queen, or even if Tarantula had initiated sexual intercourse with a traumatized Dee Grayson, there would be more of an outrage. Shado is a RAPIST. Tarantula may or may not be depending on how one reads the comic, but the assholishness inherent in pushing sexual attention in that specific situation would, I think, not be given quite as much of a pass if she were a man.

There are other examples of this sort of phenomenon. Hank Pym hits Janet once, in the midst of a psychotic break, and is forever known as a wife beater. Kate Kane punches Renee Montoya, in full possession of her facilties, and is never called on for it. I say this as someone who enjoys Batwoman's appearances in 52 quite a lot, but that was something that would never have flown with Bruce Wayne.

Let's look at Kendra in JSA for a moment. She undergoes a pretty rough time as the whole Hawkgirl reincarnation stuff starts to hit. She's angry, confused and doesn't know which way is up. Twice, in the heat of the moment, she strikes a male team member. Now admittedly, the target of her rage is a sand monster and thus not likely to suffer any permanent damage. But let's say, for just a moment, the circumstances were different. Carter's the one undergoing the confusing reincarnation crap and he up and belts Power Girl. Would that really fly?

What about Jade? Her relationship with Kyle is pretty creepy if you look at it the other way around.

I'm not saying this as a condemnation of these characters, they're usually pretty interesting reading and most of these stories are written by writers that I tend to enjoy. I do think there's a noticeable double standard. For whatever reason, female heroic characters appear to have less accountability for their actions. This strikes me as a shame, honestly, because I think there could be a lot of interesting fall-out if these situations were treated with the same severity as if it were the other way around. Having heroes come to terms with less than glowing behavior can make for really fascinating stories, especially if gender assumptions do start to come up during the course. I think I'd like to read them.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ak-sen-chu-ating the positive...

You know, it occurs to me, that I almost never post about feministy things except to rant. So today I'm going to post a list of some of the things that happened in DC comics to make my inner feminist happy.

1. Hippolyta is back!

(True, I'm not sure where the story's going or if I'll like it, (I tend to like Pfeifer though, so I'm withholding judgement), but she's back and that means she can be written as the asskicking phenom she should be soon enough!)

2. Ice is back!

3. Jaime's mom can cow Guy Gardner!

4. Kara is finally chairman of the JSA!

5. Dinah is a founder of the JLA AND Diana is given equal status to Superman and Batman!

6. Dream Girl coolly cutting off Doctor Destiny's connection with her powers.

7. Manhunter's not cancelled.

8. Natasha Steel taking pride in her work, and starting up Steelworks

9. Renee as the Question will never stop being awesome to me.

10. Kory keeping her promise and collapsing on Buddy's doorstep, while Ellen kept faith in her husband's return.

Yep, I'm a very happy feminist comics reader right now. Sure things aren't perfect, but hey, it's the good things like these that are why I find such enjoyment out of my hobby, so I'm going to celebrate a little! Yay!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

This probably would have been more apropos last week:

A panel that never stops making me snicker, every time I see it. From JSA 30:



Now if I were someone prone to memes, I'd suggest some kind of caption contest here. But I'm not really, so I'll just point and giggle. Sometimes you just have to embrace your immaturity.

My inner perverted twelve-year-old claims victory this day!

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Question Game!

Okay, it's well into the morning and I'm going to have to resign myself to the fact that the post I had planned for today will be postponed a little (You really didn't need to know that much about my abject hatred for General Glory anyway. :-p).

Anyway, this means the need for a blatant place-holder post for today. So I decided to play the question game!

For today, ask me any question in the comments to this post and I will answer it for you! It's a rare opportunity! (aww, come on, just humor me! :-))

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Green and Blue

This month's Blue Beetle really illustrates why I want to see more team-ups between Guy and younger heroes. Because he really is good at it. He tells Jaime exactly what the kid needs to hear and gives him some long term help too, via Liddell-Hart's Strategy.

Also, as a fan of Ted Kord, I was really pleased by the recognition that Guy gives him, which I'll quote for any Ted Kord fans who read this blog who don't read Blue Beetle:

"Ted Kord had no powers, kid. He was always "overpowered". But he always won. I saw him mop the floor with guys who ate stars. because he was smarter. He was smarter than Bats, although nobody ever noticed. You can beat these punks. But you gotta stop thinkin' like some scared kid with fancy power armor...and start thinkin' like the Blue Beetle."

I love this. I've always liked the interaction between Ted and Guy. Even the fistfight, (though I was horrified that the rest of the group allowed this to take place. For one thing, pitting an olympic level martial artist against a brain damaged school teacher is basically just a set-up for the abject humiliation of a teammate. Even if said teammate is a jerk. Besides, you have a geek with confidence issues and a past of having been bullied and you're pitting him against a thug with a lot of issues relating to humiliation, and you think that's going to turn out at ALL well? I blame General Glory. One day I WILL write my General Glory hate post, just you wait!)

I particularly liked how as JLI/JLA went on, Guy and Ted really did become less adversarial. They really worked together well. Like when the Weapons Master had them all captured and Ted had to move them on the chessboard. When he realized that moving the piece freed them momentarily, he moved Guy, so Guy could steal his ring back and act. He trusted Guy to know exactly how to act and when, and that's just awesome teamwork. And when Guy got Ted to steer the car when taking out his evil clone...And Ted was the first person Guy went to when his ring started failing/Parallax was on the rise.

Anyway, I'm glad to see Guy hasn't forgotten that friendship (of course he wouldn't!) and I love seeing him be mentor-y with Jaime. I love that he isn't trying to teach Jaime his own method, which totally wouldn't work for him, but instead is showing him how to be a proper Blue Beetle.

Now how about sending him to straighten out the Teen Titans?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Second Bananas

I was thinking about the supporting casts in superhero books and how quickly they tend to rotate in and out of the main character's life. (Especially with changes in venues or creative teams.)

I know for me, a character I always wanted to see more of, was little Terry from Green Lantern. Mostly because as he was, he seemed to be only used as Judd Winick's 'Give me an award, plz!' character. The gay-bashing story was very heavy handed, turning a very complicated issue into black and white, and didn't even really give Kyle a chance to explore his anger and the aftereffects thereof.

But I did really like Terry, himself, in those rare occasions when he was allowed more characterization than just 'the gay assistant!!!' I even enjoyed the story where he initially came out and his crush on Kyle was made apparent. It was nice to have an enthusiastic younger character that Kyle could mentor.

In a way, he reminds me of Damon from Manhunter. In the sense that both are younger, gay, somewhat innocent/inexperienced professional colleagues of straight superheroes. Of course, Damon's handled very differently (and better, in my opinion) than Terry ever was. But I look at Damon and I think a bit on how interesting Terry could have been.

I also miss Radu. Because Radu is awesome. And sticking with Green Lanterns, I really really want to know what happened to Guy's incredibly terrifying mother.

What about you? What minor/supporting characters would you like to see again?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Secondhand Badassery

I was rereading JLA (My reaction to this past issue was mixed), particularly that splash page at the end.

For my sanity, I choose to believe "Stargirl" is just Maxine Hunkel cosplaying.

Anyway, I was thinking of the Sand and Geo-Force exchange. (Jon's got a scan of it in his blog entry here.

I'm actually pretty intrigued by this exchange. Geo-Force is also in the preview for the JSA issue, which is interesting. I've always wanted Sand to interact more with non-JSA heroes and this is a good opportunity.

I'm a bit skeptical of Geo-Force's current, well, what I call the "secondhand badass phenomenon".

Basically, that's what I call any situation in which a character categorically proven to be good at something compliments another character on that same trait, despite that character not really having proven to deserve it (at the time).

In this case, a man who held together the Earth by sheer force of will (not to mention being legitimately badass in most of the JSA's standard battles, swatted away a handful of powerful E-1/E-2 heroes while preoccupied with stopping an earthquake, and even lasted a hell of a long time in a fight against Power Girl while basically an animated magma-corpse) is praising the earth-powers of...

well...

GEO-FORCE.

I mean, it's cool that Geo-Force has Terra's power and all, and the gravity thing is pretty neat. He's got a pretty decent grab-bag of powers. But has he really done anything quite the level of, I dunno, manhandling the freakin' ROCK OF ETERNITY and slamming it into a villain's cranium?

To be fair, Sand was not actually comparing Geo-Force to himself.

He was comparing Geo-Force to SWAMP THING.

That's like double whammy of Secondhand Badassery right there.

Now, there's not necessarily anything wrong with Secondhand Badassery if it plays out well. As long as the character is shown to earn it later, or it's relatively unimportant to the plot and is conceivable off-panel. (For example, when Batman mentions something about Sand's detective skills. We don't see him use them, except the intro of one issue, but that works, as JSA isn't a mystery comic and we did see enough of an intro of him, Mid-Nite and Terrific working together to believe he's capable off-panel. Also, in the Golden Age stories, Sandy was as often as not the brains of that duo. As Wes is a moron.)

Something like having a resonance with the Earth possibly on level with Swamp Thing is a bit much to be written off as off panel. Which means, Geo-Force is going to have to do something seriously fucking badass to make this worthwhile.

Or it'll be like those romance novels where all the minor characters say the heroine is an absolute intellectual wizard when she acts dumber than a box of hair.

Oh well, if this all gets my favorite character more panel time then they can fall down and worship Brion Markov as a god for all I care. I just think the whole thing is tremendously amusing. I mean, dude. It's GEO-FORCE.

Sand must be flirting with him. That's the only explanation.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Yayay!

Okay, I got bored with Snapper Carr Appreciation Week. Much as I love him. I'm fickle that way.

Anyway, something more important's come up! It's Ragnell's Birthday!

So as per her request:



A Guy Gardner ass-shot! Scantily clad and doing gymnastics too!

Happy Birthday, Ragnell!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Snapper Carr Appreciation Week, Day Four:

You know what's a cool villain name? The "Star Tsar". It's one of those so stupid it's awesome sorts of names. You have "Star" which is a pretty cosmic sort of word, and then you have Tsar! Like the Russians!

Okay, so Snapper wasn't the REAL Star Tsar. It's still an awesome name. :-)


Oh and just to annoy someone, a picture of Snapper doing what he does best:



Rocking an awesome shirt, of course!

Oh, and snapping. It is his name after all.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Snapper Carr Appreciation Week: Day 3~

You know what's cool about Snapper Carr? He shares a quality that I like to see in my favorite characters in that he actually grows and changes. The Snapper of the early Justice League comics isn't the same as the Snapper in Hourman who isn't the same as the Snapper who served as mentor to Young Justice.

Snapper in the JLA was pretty much an idiot and really really annoying. I don't deny that and Sally has some wonderful examples for you.

But that Snapper is also a kid, and as someone who was herself a really stupid and annoying kid, I can't help but sympathize a little. And besides, that just makes him cooler now!

Snapper Carr in Young Justice is supervisory and easy going. He's got the same ease with people that he has in Hourman, with some added wisdom and maturity. Snapper in Hourman was a gaping emotional wound hiding behind a veneer of prankster humor, but the series took him face to face with his own issues leading to actual growth and maturity. Which makes Snapper in Young Justice even more great, because he really knows how to deal with the kids.

Like here, in Young Justice 49. The kids have decided to invade a foreign nation for perfectly understandable reasons that I'm too lazy to get into right now. How does Snapper deal with that?





Snapper's in a tricky position as a supervisor here. He wants the kids to trust him but he also wants to be a good supervisor and keep them safe. And he does exactly the right thing here, in my opinion. The kids were going to go anyway, if he just put his foot down, they'd just rebel and run off half-cocked. This way, he might not be able to stop them from going, but he can at least make sure they're prepared and increase their chances for getting out in one piece.

And that Nightwing shirt is still awesome.

Young Justice 55 has a really nice bit with Snapper as well. In brief summation of what had happened before, Secret, the ghost girl, had gone a bit... Well, the stress of her situation had gotten to her. It was a bad situation that could have gotten worse if Tim hadn't managed to talk her down in a very nice speech that basically encapsulated what the series was about.

The situation was a very important growing experience for the kids. There were a lot of consequences to deal with and there wasn't any easy answer. The kids do handle it well though and they come out of it having grown some. Afterwards, we get a scene of the adults talking:



Snapper could have called in adult interference, of course, but he chose not to. This may have been an irresponsible decision (Red Tornado certainly appears to think so), but it really shows the amount of trust he has in the kids and an understanding of what they are going through and what they have to deal with. Sure it could have gone very badly, but it didn't! Sometimes the hardest thing for an adult to step back and let the kids work through it on their own. Snapper does this because he's a good mentor.

So now when I read the old annoying Snapper bits like what Sally has, I'm all "Awwww, he's grown so much!"

And he still snaps. Which is as it should be. :-)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Snapper Carr Appreciation Week, Day Two!

This was going to be a more interesting post, but I've got a bit of a deadline to work with, so that post will have to wait. Instead, I've got a short reason to like Snapper:



He loves his kitty! (For the record, the kitty got injured during an attack by Amazo. It was very sad!)

Even better? The cat's name is... Starro!

(I'm also not sure who's logo he's wearing this time. It looks like the symbol for Jupiter, I think. The one that looks like an unconnected four. Anyone know that reference?)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Snapper Carr Appreciation!!!

It occurs to me that certain people lack a proper appreciation for one of my favorite comic characters ever, Lucas "Snapper" Carr!

...

Yes, I said Snapper Carr. Anyway. I feel, as is my hypocritical right, that I must amend this atrocity by using this week to highlight the many reasons to like Snapper Carr!

Okay, maybe not the WHOLE week, but at least until I get bored!

Today I want to showcase one time in which Snapper was actually, legitimately, cool: Hourman #8. Wherein Snapper Carr gets to save everyone! With food stuffs!

A brief bit of background, everyone's acting odd and cranky and ill-tempered and somehow, Snapper subsequently figures out that there's a demon involved and messing with people. This leads to:



Amateur Demon Summoning! Via Ketchup!

Now, naturally summoning the demon leads to a bit of trouble. Hourman, by the way, is too busy to help as he's got a crisis of his own. But Snapper has a plan! Involving cheesecake!



So, the demon does indeed like the cheesecake, but wonders what the point of all this is. Snapper explains, using some career counseling 101:



Which leads to a nice happy new friend! And a lesson in homophones!



So see, Snapper summoned a demon, talked it into a job change, and got a new friend! All while wearing a Blue Devil tanktop! Snapper is GREAT!

Oh and in honor of this being my 600th post here on Pretty Fizzy Paradise, I'm going to add a bonus image for everyone. The single greatest Snapper Carr T-shirt ever (from Hourman 10):



Good night everybody!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thoughts about Dick Grayson...

Okay, I'm about to do something that's going to likely completely ruin my fun. I'm going to try to examine rationally my irrational hatred of Dick Grayson.

It shouldn't be a shock to any reader of my blog that I hate Dick Grayson. I get such sheer enjoyment out of hating Dick Grayson that it belies any sort of reason. There was a temporary span of time (when Wolfman took over Nightwing) that I believed I hated Dick less. As it turns out, while I found Wolfman's Grayson more enjoyable to read...I still hate Dick Grayson.

And the thing is. I have no idea why!

On paper, I should like Dick Grayson. I readily admit, he's a nice guy, open sort, fairly intelligent. He's a skilled fighter. Definitely competent. All things I tend to like.

He's good looking, definitely, he's got silly taste in clothes, good taste in women (Babs and Kory are both too good for him. :-P), he interacts in interesting ways with characters I like, he's even made me like characters I'm normally indifferent to (Supergirl)...

Sure he can be portrayed incompetently, but when he's good he's really really good. (Obsidian Age will always be the pinnacle of adult Dick Grayson portrayals for me).

And yet. His presence in a comic makes me twitch. I read his lines and I grind my teeth all "why is this person clogging this panel time". And for the life of me, I just don't get it myself. He's a largely inoffensive character.

I used to think he could be "salvaged", but now, he pretty much is, and I STILL can't stand him.

I think maybe it's the angst. I love angst in general, but I tend to prefer characters that respond to angst in particular ways. I enjoy characters that are stoic, that suck it up and repress the angst until the point that it gets quite problematic. I enjoy characters that are defiant, that externalize the angst in anger, violence and hitting things.

I don't tend to enjoy what I call "the wallowers". I tend to figure, if a character is aware enough of their unhappiness to mope about it (as opposed to self denial in the form of sucking it up or hitting things) they should probably be trying to find ways to deal with it. (I'm not saying it should be FIXED and that the characters shouldn't ever backslide...just that I'd like to see some effort in that direction)

It's why I like Obsidian much more now than I did when he was a basket case in JSA. Now he's clearly gotten help, he's much better adjusted, and I'm sure if he DID have an angsty moment or two I would be much more sympathetic than I was when he was raving, whiny and evil in JSA.

On the other hand, this is Dick we're talking about, so it's very likely even if he went to a psychiatrist every day, stopped serial dating and just decided to clear his head for a while, cleared up some of those daddy issues with Bruce, and became a happy well adjusted person, I probably still would irrationally hate him.

It's my thing. :-)

Is there any character you guys irrationally hate for no sane reason at all?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Really?

From the solicit for All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder:

Batman and Black Canary get down to business — the business of criminal skull-cracking! Things heat up on a storm-tossed shipyard as the pair hunts down the mystery man behind the murder of Dick Grayson’s parents. Plus, Black Canary isn’t the only one of Gotham’s fairer sex to be aroused into action by the Dark Knight’s war on crime!

"Aroused into action"?

"Aroused into action"??

Okay, I've always wondered if ASBARtBW was an intentional parody, if Frank Miller was actually in on the joke. I still don't know if he is, but I really hope so. Otherwise, well, when even the solicit writer sounds like he/she is making fun of you...

Well, let's just say, I really really HOPE he's in on the joke.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Green Arrow Movie?

Scipio's post about the Green Arrow movie reminded me that I haven't posted my reaction yet.

I'm honestly puzzled as to why they chose Green Arrow for this. Because of his popularity in Smallville? Because honestly, this isn't going to be a movie about "Green Arrow" as much as it'd be an "Oliver Queen in prison" movie, and this doesn't really seem like the sort of situation where Ollie would shine.

Now, if I were going to pick an "Oliver Queen" rather than a "Green Arrow" movie, I'd have done one loosely based on the OYL arc. Because I'd actually watch a political thriller starring an ex-superhero. As long as the climax involved shooting people with arrows in a bad Robin Hood costume.

In this sort of movie though, since there's nothing in it particularly tailored to Ollie (yet at least) I don't see why they don't make an original non-powered costumed superhero. It's not like the superhero identity's going to be featured much, from the sound of it. And "Oliver Queen" is honestly not familiar enough of a name to draw the non comic fans.

Actually, you know who I'd have used for this? Dick Grayson. Because dude, everyone knows that name. He's unpowered as well, and his luck sucks enough to get shoved into prison. And non-comic fans are gonna want to know how Batman's sidekick got shoved into prison and how he'll get out.

Besides, the cheesy, stupid tagline about "caged birds" pretty much writes itself.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Job = Good

Sometimes I really like working at the toy store. Especially since today I plunked down twenty five bucks to get this:



I love this doll. So much. I mean Dorothy and Glinda are cute enough, I guess, but this doll is positively gorgeous. I particularly enjoy her facial features, they're less "cute" than Barbie faces usually tend to be. I particularly like that nose.

And she's green. How awesome is that? I've wanted a green barbie doll since I was six years old! And now I have one!

Seriously, this doll is so beautiful I actually felt a pang of guilt taking her out of the box. And that never happens to me! I don't believe in collecting dolls and leaving them in a box, if I wanted pretty things to look at I'd collect posters. This doll is for dressing up in a pink mini-dress and wielding a gi-joe's semi-automatic rifle damnit.

Or in this case, a magenta kimono and a lightsaber. But still.

Now I really wish I could sew though. I'd totally make her a She-Hulk and Jade costume. That'd be cool!

Most of all though, I'm still on the "OMG! GREEN BARBIE DOLL!!!" kick.

Yeah, I'm not getting anything constructive done tonight. My inner nine year old girl is calling...

(I swiped that particular image from Amazon.com)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I changed my mind...

It occurs to me, I was wrong in my recent post when I determined that teleportation would be the super-ability I'd want the most. Actually the power I *really* want is Banshee's scream or Dinah's Canary Cry.

I DO already have a fairly decent lung capacity. (I did a lot of swimming and singing as a kid. I am rather better at the former than I am at the latter, though. :-)) I am also rather skittish and easily made nervous when in the dark or outside at night.

I like the scream powers because there's a strange sort of reversal involved. Screaming is usually part-and-parcel with being a victim. Damsels in Distress scream when tied to railroad tracks or when in peril by a dragon. Horror movie teenagers scream before getting slaughtered mercilessly by a masked madman in a decidedly improbable fashion. Screams are expressions of pain, helplessness and fear.

And in the hands of certain superheroes, they're weapons. And that's awesome. When Dinah screams, she's not being a damsel in distress. She's kicking ass. When Banshee screams, he's not being a coward. He's fighting proud.

That's so cool to me. Like a battle-cry (which I like too!) taken to ultimate form. That's the power I want. It's just the perfect, proactive channelling of otherwise potentially crippling emotions into something powerful and angry. Also, it's very satisfyingly destructive.

So yeah, I want THAT. (Of course knowing my luck, I'd then get larangytis. :-P)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Nonsensical Ramblings about DCAU versus DCU

Green Lantern Corps is good this week with one of those "God-damnit, I gotta wait another MONTH??!?" endings. This naturally reminds me of something I meant to blog about earlier but forgot as my mind is best compared to a leaky sieve.

Last week, the JLU comic heavily featured Guy Gardner and was pretty nifty in general, with events that make me, a bonafide Guy Gardner fangirl very happy.

But I have to admit, while I smiled reading the issue, I didn't enjoy it as much as say, that triumphant oath-leading moment at the end of Green Lantern Recharge. And I guess I know why.

I don't care a lot about the Animated Universe.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the DCAU quite a bit and I find it an entertaining diversion. (Especially when randomly I recognize voice actors, I mean, dude, Scotty from General Hospital is playing Ollie Queen?!) But I've never been as emotionally invested with it as I've been with the comics.

Basically, what it comes down to, is that these characters aren't MY characters. The DCAU Guy Gardner is entertaining, but he doesn't have the history that really hooks me to a character.

I admit, I'm one of those fans, the ones that delight in things like continuity porn. It's what really appeals to me about JSA, for example: the history and the connections, how everything fits together. I get that not everyone enjoys the wallowing in it like I do, but I will get irrationally defensive against people who say "I might like JSA if it weren't for the continuity porn". That's what the JSA IS, damnit. Most other series shouldn't wallow in that sort of thing, but the JSA is different. Leave my series alone! But I digress.

I can't just look at one writer's run on a character. I have to try to look at all of it, to incorporate all the different takes and perspectives into one whole. It's probably why I prefer to stick with characters that have backstories not terribly altered by the Crisis of Infinite Earths. (i.e. characters that only existed on Earth-1 or Earth-2, but not both) Pre-Crisis Green Lantern and Post-Crisis Green Lantern can be read in direct sequence without much alteration. The JSA's crossover adventures require a lot of alteration, but the Golden Age, Infinity Inc and the Modern Age stories flow pretty nicely. I'm not a huge fan of retcons in general (unless they take out things I didn't like, of course. :-P), and I cheered when I found out Emerald Dawn I and II were not in continuity anymore.

Paradoxically, I tend to enjoy characters who've undergone drastic changes and turnarounds in characterization at some point in the past. When different writers have such disparate ideas on where to take a character. That, while frustrating at the time, can really make for a stronger developed character in the end.

Guy Gardner, for me, is the best example of this. I've often argued that Guy is the most complexly characterized of all of the Green Lanterns and I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that he, alone of the Earth Green Lanterns, was NOT created to be a heroic main character.

Guy was created to be a one-shot "What-if" sort of character, so that Hal Jordan could see what it might have been like if someone else had the ring. He was pretty empty in characterization at the time, a nice young teacher, a bit more even tempered than Hal but similar enough to have had much the same sorts of adventures (off-panel). Then he gets one original adventure, where his teaching background helps him save a bunch of kids, dies and sends the ring to Hal. It's the sort of story that has no real lasting event on the plot, aside from making Hal a bit more reassured that there's someone out there that could do his job if the worst case scenario happened. It doesn't appear at this time that the character was intended for anything more than this story.

Guy's next appearance is almost thirty issues later, where his sole purpose is to get hit by a bus off a cliff (which is, admittedly, terribly amusing) so that Hal has reason to meet his new understudy, John Stewart. Unlike Guy, who was characterized basically as Hal-lite, John was given a strong personality with very distinctive differences from Hal's, so that they could interact. He was clearly even then being created as a long-term heroic counterpart/colleague, where Guy was only a bit part.

Guy did end up with a very distinctive personality himself in his third appearance, some twenty issues later. In this story, Guy, now recovered, is commissioned by Hal to temporarily take his place while the latter deals with some personal issues. This is the first time (aside from brief bits during the hit-by-a-bus scene) where Guy is given a real, non Hal-lite, characterization. He's sweet, gentle, extremely polite, a little overwhelmed and awestruck by his new job. He listens intently to Ollie, who's placed in a mentor role, and learns quickly. He even forces himself to compliment Ollie's chili!

Of course, this is all so he can be blown up with Hal's battery and get kidnapped/tortured by Sinestro so he can be Hal's vegetative motivation. He's the martyr/victim/sacrifice at this point, and won't really be revisited beyond a few angsty Hal scenes for another hundred issues. After which he gets woken up, recruited by renegade guardians, spends a brief stint as a more standard angry-villain type before settling into the brain damaged moron characterization we all know and love.

Before this point all of Guy's notable characterization takes place off panel. He appears. Serves a plot point. Disappears. Now though, he actually gets characterization! Different characterization! Jones's characterization of Guy as basically an angry but very childlike little brother/sidekick/antagonist/foil for Hal. Giffen's characterization of him as a more openly antagonistic, posturing moron as the resident jerk of the JLI. The incredibly surreal portrayal in the Guy Gardner comic book.

Sure they contradicted a little, but it's not like Batman acts exactly the same in his own book as he does in JLA, in Robin, in Batgirl, et cetera. Just like I don't act the same around my parents as I do with my friends or at work. Contradictions become facets.

Even better though, where heroes like Hal or Bruce or even Kyle (after moving past the newbie stage) don't have a whole lot of room to grow and change, seeing as they have to remain heroes. Guy's role got to constantly evolve. Sometimes he was an enemy, sometimes he was a comrade. Sometimes he was a friend. And then, once he had his own comic, he started to be moved toward becoming a viable hero.

That's really the key for me. All the other Lanterns, they were supposed to be heroes from the get-go. They were created to be long term heroic characters. Guy wasn't. Which meant that he had to be slowly inched toward a heroic role...in a way that was actually plausible. And they did! By the time Beau Smith took over Warrior, Guy was already working WITH the Justice League (as lead by Diana) and in his own comic as a legitimate (if still slightly tongue-in-cheek) anti-hero type. Smith's run on Warrior took the anti-hero and repositioned him as an actual hero. And it WORKED.

Sure, Guy's enjoyable on his own, but when I look at the whole history as one very long, cohesive story, it becomes something else for me. It becomes a story of someone innocent, who was brutalized and broken, who lost everything imaginable including his sanity and mental acuity (which is my own worst fear, as evidenced by the fact that Flowers for Algernon still gives me fucking nightmares), but still managed to claw his way back, spitting in defiance the whole time. It's a survivor's story, a very human story, and one that has an embarrassing level of emotional resonance for me.

There is no moment in comics that has ever hit me harder than that moment at the end of Green Lantern: Recharge where Guy leads that oath. Sane, stronger than ever, a Lantern again like he was always meant to be... It's the culmination of a thirty year storyline and it is WORTH it.

I like the DCAU, I do. I liked the stories and the characters. But in the end, for me, they're no match for the "real thing."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Querying!

Every so often, I see a lot of folks ask the question, "What kind of superpower would you want most?" It's a good question, one that can reveal a lot about a person. My ideal power would be teleportation. Mostly because I am lazy and perpetually three minutes late and I like going places. Also I could then teleport to that Gyuudon place in Sannomiya, which I've been craving for a good three-four years now.

I am not going to ask that question. As it's boring. :-P

My question is: which superhero powers would you be most likely to abuse in the most ridiculous/stupidest way possible?

Mine would probably be a Green Lantern ring. Because, dude, I'd be a freaking terrible Green Lantern. Also, remember Sins of Youth? How Kyle had a different outfit every panel? That'd be me. I'm not much of a clothes horse now, but I'd never be able to resist the temptation.

Seriously, mid sentence it'd go from standard uniform to gigantic taffeta ball-gown. The more tasteless the better. Then it'd be samurai armor. Then it'd be a giant goat costume. Just because I could.

I'd be using it to fuck with people too. Talking to Batman, green cat-woman costume... Oh lord, would I mess with Batman. The conjurations I would make...

I'd die in my first battle. If my comrades didn't kill me themselves out of sheer annoyance. If I didn't go absolutely power mad and trade it in for a yellow ring first. I always did have something of a meglomaniacal bent.

So what about you? What powers should you never never have because of the stupid things you'd do?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Interlude:

Sometime relatively recently, I was working in the toy store and I got to talking with the vendor and a customer about upcoming Spiderman movie toys. Eventually the vendor had to leave to actually do her job, but the customer and I started talking. (I could do this because it was a slow day and the managers like us to "develop rapports" with the vendors and customers.)

It was interesting because despite what you see in Shortpacked I don't actually see adult collector-type customers come in very often. I know they come in, of course, but I'm usually too busy or not scheduled at the right time to really talk to them. This guy was only a few years older than me and not in any particular hurry so it was a good opportunity.

It was a nice conversation, fun. Wandered back and forth through different comics and characters, action figures and the like. Definitely a good way to kill an otherwise boring half-an-hour. He was friendly and polite. I had fun. In the process of the conversation however, he insulted Banshee (I have a bizarre unexplained fondness for poor Sean), mocked Ghost Rider, and proclaimed seriously that Nightwing is the greatest character in the DCU.

I will probably never see the guy again. And even if I do, the odds of me actually recognizing him given my abject lack of attention span and really poor memory for faces, are pretty negligible.

Even so, I realized. I found my nemesis. He is out there. And one day we may have to fight to the death. Or go for hamburgers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kincaiding...

Okay, so Betacandy and Ragnell have both posted about the "Kincaid Effect".

Basically, to sum up the post, the "Kincaid Effect" refers to a female character that starts off cool but then has her characterization change rapidly to accomodate a male character and his storyline. This includes unlikely romance. (The name refers to Jill Hennessey's character on Law and Order).

I was trying to think of examples of the Kincaid Effect in comics, and honestly, I'm gratified to realize that I find them very hard to recollect. The closest I can think of is possibly (in my opinion) Storm and Black Panther or when Babs and Dick get together. And even then, those cases are pretty mild as Storm and Babs are still pretty awesome. In general I tend to enjoy comic book romances for however long they last.

I can think of an example of a reverse "Kincaid Effect" though. At least for me. I'd imagine it'd be a "Kincaid Effect" for anyone who liked the character already. That's Kitty Pryde in Warren Ellis's Excalibur. I'll be honest, the last time I liked Kitty Pryde I was eight years old, and mostly just liked her name.

I've posted before my dislike for the character and her l33t hacker/ninja/ballerina/dragon-holding/genius chess player/whateverness. I'm not gonna get into it again. I know lots of folks like the character for a lot of perfectly good reasons, but she annoys the crap out of me.

In Excalibur...she didn't. Well, initially she did. But sometime around the middle of the series, she changed for me. I wasn't sure what it is, but she was suddenly being written in a way that I actually liked. The l33t ninja/child prodigy elements were toned down. The story focused on her as a genius hacker who was smart and a good fighter, but didn't seem gratuitous about it.

Even more interestingly to me, she was, for the first time that I could remember, being portrayed as an actual adult rather than teenage jailbait. And the cause of this was pretty obvious. The adjustment to her portrayal came about coincidently around the time that a new mutant, an ex Black Air operative with a snarky sense of humor and a smoking habit.

There's no way Kitty as she was originally characterized would be compatible with Pete Wisdom as a couple. For one thing, the age difference wouldn't work. For another, Pete was the sort of character to want his lover to be an equal partner, one who could fight back and bicker and had a will/mind of her own. Kitty-as-she-was may have been precocious but she was much too young.

It really is a "Kincaid Effect". Kitty's entire personality changed and she ended up dating a guy she'd probably never have considered before. However for me, it was a really really GOOD effect. I liked Kitty-as-an-adult. I liked her personality and wit. I liked her relationship, and I was always annoyed with the manner in which it ended. (I knew it wouldn't last, but I'd have liked the breakup to fit their characterizations more).

Now she's back to normal though, which makes me sad that this wasn't a Kincaid Effect that stuck.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Peace Offering!

Okay, so my last post offended a certain somebody, so I decided to post a peace offering.

A panel consisting of Wesley Dodds' rear end!



He might be a moron in a stupid costume but he does have a nice posterior!

Panel cropped from Adventure Comics #84

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Truly Outrageous...in which I hate on Jem.

Yesterday, Ragnell was telling me how she found the pilot of Jem and the Holograms. It reminded me that, while I loved the show as a mini-kalinara, Jem is one cartoon that I regretfully admit I haven't been able to sit through as an adult. And I LIKE 80s music.

I think my biggest issue was in the entire premise. Okay, first. Why couldn't Jerrica just front a band as Jerrica? Was there some clause in her ownership of the company that I'm just not remembering? If so...why? Jerrica Benton inherited half of Starlight Music from her father, right? The same man who invented the holographic computer Synergy and set up that nifty little hideaway for them. When they first find Synergy, they find her in a hideaway with costumes and instruments and other nifty things.

So we're supposed to believe that the man who'd set all this up for his daughter would have some inheritance clause about her not being able to perform AND head up his company?

If someone who's watched the explanation episode more recently than *counts on fingers* 18 years ago can remember and clarify this for me, I'd appreciate it. :-)

I also don't quite understand why Synergy was necessary to begin with. Okay, say Jerrica DID have a clause where she couldn't perform and head the company. It's not like Jem's facial features were any different. And none of the other band members really looked any different. You'd think someone would have said "Wow, it's interesting that the holograms consist of a purple haired African American with the body of a supermodel, a blue haired Asian-American with the body of a supermodel, a younger red head and...that other girl that joined later. Isn't it funny that Jerrica Benton's foster sisters are a purple haired African American girl with the body of a supermodel, a blue haired Asian American girl with the body of a supermodel, and her younger sister is redhaired and in the band?"

Not to mention that their goal was to save the Starlight House, and all that.

I know that 80s cartoons are cheesy, but I always appreciated how in the case of He-Man for example, I totally understood why no one figured out his identity. (They may share the same height/weight/hair-style, but He-Man appeared to be very mediterranean to Adam's germanic coloring. That sort of thing is hard to fake. Heck, when his mom figured out, I distinctly remember there was something weird about the lights/colors of their location. And Cringer was distinctly smaller/younger looking than Battle-Cat.)

Jem...really didn't make sense considering that Jerrica was the ONLY one who was in disguise.

Also, can someone tell me why, in certain episodes, there'd be a frantic search for the star-earrings and she couldn't be Jem without them...why couldn't she just wear a wig?

For that matter, I remember one episode where she loses the earrings because she gets golden heart earrings as a gift and feels obligated to put them on.

Which okay. Fine. So why couldn't her holograms that defied any sort of plausible explanation anyway make those pink earrings look like gold hearts?

Also, don't get me started on the Rio/Jerrica relationship. He was a jerk, two-timing one for the other, and she was even worse because even though she knew he was getting close emotionally to her alter ego, she never could come out and TELL him she was Jem.

Yes, dumbass, he probably will be angry about it, and he has every right to be. You're lying to him. And the more you keep quiet about it, the more he's going to be angry. So either dump his ass or tell him the damn truth.

The music was cute though. And I find myself having this weird sort of fondness for Eric Raymond (eeevil manager of the Misfits) in my old age.

Odd.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's still Friday SOMEWHERE...

I decided to get in on this Friday Night Fights thing on the last minute, but um, it's still Friday on the Pacific Coast at least?

Anyway, here's my entry, from Adventure Comics 82:




...I'd edit the text, but honestly, I can't top that.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Taking the Chair

So...Dinah is the JLA's chair(wo)man now?

Honestly, I don't know how I feel about this.

When Power Girl was named Chairwoman of the JSA, I was grinning ear to ear. I loved that development. From her first appearance, she'd always struggled so hard to prove herself to the old, sexist fogeys that were the legendary super-team. She's rebellious, driven, courageous and she never backs down. She's grown a lot as a character since then too. She knows when to take advice and when to take charge and now that she knows where she comes from and who she is, she's really got no more lingering questions or doubts to hold her back. She is one of the most experienced of the younger generation which has a nice future-oriented symbolism.

It was the perfect development. (And I liked that it wasn't posited as Karen being a better choice for leader than Michael, merely that his role as White King was a greater priority. That means a lot to me, for some weird reason.)

I'm more uneasy about Dinah as JLA chairwoman though. And it's not anything against Dinah as a character. I love Dinah. And she's very experienced, very determined and more than capable of that sort of leadership role, founder or no (on a tangent: I love that Diana's a founder again, but why in the world couldn't both Diana and Dinah be on the founding team? It's not like they have redundant powers after all. But I digress.)

It's just, for some reason, I am very uncomfortable with the idea of the JLA having a chairperson.

I guess it's because the JLA always seemed so very egalitarian to me. What with the round table and all. I mean sure, there were people who'd take the lead at specific times during specific adventures, but it wasn't always the same person. The trinity may have been the core of the team, but it felt like everyone was meant to be equal within. Step forward and lead or follow as you will.

Now the JSA is a bit different. The JSA has always been family themed for me. Even during the Multiverse adventures, but especially nowadays. The JSA aren't all equal. Stargirl, Jakeem Thunder, Maxine Hunkel are no where near the level of Alan, Jay or Carter. And that's okay, because they're the kids and still learning, while the others are fogeys.

The Chairman office always felt right to me there, in part because of the origins during WWII and the All-Star Squadron. It always made sense to have a single field commander/leader. In the modern day, I felt like the chairman role still fit in a different way. As a bridge to keep the old fogeys and the new whippersnappers focused and united.

Notice the Chairpeople so far have been Sand, who might be from the forties, but is time-displaced and thus still very young. He was a child back then and thus tends to be in a strange not-fogey, not-kid area. Michael was more secure in his position as one of the successors, but he (as well as Mid-Nite and Dinah) are the oldest of them. He's confident and secure in his abilities like most of the others weren't. Power Girl, of course, has the background in Infinity Inc, loads of experience and a very forceful personality. Each character functioned to bridge the old, experienced geezers with the naive green youngsters.

It fits for the JSA to have a chairperson. But I don't honestly see where it suits the JLA. It's the team of Icons (versus the JSA as the team of Legends). The A-Listers. Some of the most recognizeable and iconic heroes around along with some that are just plain cool. No one icon is supposed to be greater than the other, and they're supposed to be equal and egalitarian, with the Trinity at the core. Having a chairman seems to throw off this balance somehow for me.

Hey, I never said I made a lot of sense.

That said, I'll give it a shot of course. JLA's started slow but the upcoming crossover with JSA (LOVE) will keep me reading at least until the end. Maybe this Dinah as chairwoman thing will work for me. Right now, the thought is still weird to me...oh well.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

I was rereading the Winter Soldier one shot and I got to thinking again that I want to see Sandy get some props as the first DCU child sidekick.*

Well, Dick was probably the first, but since Crisis bounced him forward in time, he doesn't count anymore. All the other child sidekicks like Roy or Garth got moved forward too.

Heck, the only other child sidekick I can think of that's still in continuity as being active in the 1940s is Dan the freakin' Dyna-Mite.

Which means that all of the DCU's long running traditions of child-endangerment comes from one cute little kid in golden pajamas that gets rock-monsterized via silicoid gun.

Which really makes me wonder how anyone subsequently thought child-sidekickdom was a good idea. :-P

It occurs to me that I've never seen Sandy and Tim Drake interact at all. Tim is like the DCU's pet fanboy/stalker. Dick Grayson, Ted Kord... It seems like his reaction to the First Child Sidekick Ever (Post-Crisis) would be kind of funny.

(Especially when you consider how often in Golden Age comics, Wes was a total doof and leaving Sandy to be the actual competent one. Unlike Robin, whose competence seemed to come from being taught by Batman, it actually tended to seem like Sandy learned his competence in SPITE of the Sandman.)

Mostly I just want Sand to interact with more characters. Because he's neat and I'm biased. :-)

(*This is not to say that I would mind seeing Pat, Wing, Doiby and others get love too, but they were professionals and adults, not children. :-))

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Search Terms and Trivia...

Okay, according to Statcounter (my audience-stalker of choice), my last few search engine keywords are vastly entertaining, so I figured I'd share...

deja vu girls lansing mi

I think that's a strip club, actually, I bet a few of my friends would know for sure...

A little known fact: There is a strip club named Henry the VIII near my parents' house. I always thought that was a cool name for a strip club.

kara zor-el

A keyword that actually makes sense given my topic du jour! Awesome!

A little known fact: My posts on Kara Zor-El and Cassandra Cain have probably given me the most traffic I've ever had. Except maybe the Nightwing/Tarantula rape post that's kicking about on Wikipedia. (Hee, I got linked in Wikipedia! That will always be cool to me. I'm a *reference*)

virgin sluts

...that's a guy thing isn't it? The whole fantasy of being with a prostitute for her first time? I don't honestly get that. I'd think if someone were going to solicit sex, they would want it done by a professional... Quality control, you know?

A little known fact: "oxymoron" is my favorite word in the English language, followed by "mastication" and "defenestration".

superhero couples

Topics that make sense are boring. Come on, bring on the weird/offensive ones!

A little known fact: I think romance is cute. It makes it more fun to fuck with the main characters.

michigan asian girls

Um, well, can't help you there. I'm German/British/Italian/Pennsylvania Dutch (a.ka German) with only a teeny dash of Cherokee to keep me from being the ghostliest thing in the freaking state.

A little known fact: As I'm olive toned but I avoid the sun whenever possible, my actual skin coloring has a faint resemblance to wax beans.

virgin sluts

...I think someone's short term memory is worse than mine. Eek.

A little known fact: My family name translates to "descendent of the curly headed man". I am forever curious about this man and why he is so remarkable as to be immortalized in my name. I bet he was creepy. He was German after all.

superhero trivia

Crap, again with the making of sense. Yeesh.

A little known fact: I am horrifically and scarily addicted to salt. I put salt on bacon and pizza. I fully expect it to kill me before age 50.

my cosmic space fashion show

This ended up going to my Cosmic Boy fashion extravaganza...

A little known fact: I played the princess in my second grade play of "the Golden Goose", because I was sarcastic in my "audition". For the record, I sucked. My dress was pretty though.

steve rogers/ tickle fetish

I wish you good luck with your search and I request links to any fanfic you find.

What?

A little known fact: I once read Transformers porn involving Soundwave and Megatron, plugs and sockets. (For the record, Megatron was on top...I think.) This is probably what inspired the planet porn.

nude male models tend to be well endowed

Yes, I'd imagine they do.

A little known fact: When I was twelve, my voice and my mother's were strikingly similar, especially on the phone. This, incidently, is how I found out my father had a vasectomy. He was really careful to NEVER mistake mine and my mother's voices again.

girl characters in the odyssey

...fought over a golden apple?

A little known fact: When I was five, I got bit in the breast by an angry four year old. Nineteen years later, I still have the scar. This is why, while I like children, I prefer them out of a two foot radius. Just in case.

lesbian weightlifting fantasy

And you, whoever you are, win the non-existant prize for best search term ever! Huzzah!

A little known fact: When I was a child, my primary adult ambition was to be an acrobat/computer programmer/cat. This probably should have been a warning sign...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My Unconventional Dream Couple:

I was rereading Checkmate and remembered something that I've thought frequently but somehow never got around to blogging (I hope, it's pretty damn inevitable that I'm gonna end up repeating myself eventually on here...if I haven't already).

I'd pay a lot of money, a LOT, to see Alan Scott hook up with Amanda Waller.

What?

I know Alan's married, but honestly, Molly's always been something of a non-entity to me. The only thing I remember her really making an impact for me in was when she sold her soul for youth in that Green Lantern Hero's Quest story. And that impression was: "Are you a fucking idiot?!"

One only has to look at Joan Garrick, how she manages to be a background/side character with a genuine presence, to realize how disappointing Molly is. I figure they should just ditch her. It's not like anyone would notice. :-) Oh, okay. She could get some sort of dignified exit.

I like the thought of Alan and Amanda because, well, they're probably the only two people in the DCU who could really match each other in terms of personality/will. While I love Mr. Terrific as the White King, I miss the power struggles between Alan and Amanda. His wider scope, global ideology versus her calculating loyalty. That whole "Are you questioning MY patriotism?" scene...

She'll call him on his old-fashioned sexism and arrogance. He'll match her machiavellian scheming. Neither will back down, and honestly, I've always thought that sort of force of will to make for really really hot romance when things finally get around to it. Their relationship would be messy, twisted and wrong and awesome, I think. The world would shake with their lovers' spats.

I've always thought that Waller should get to have more romantic entanglements too. She may not have most superheroines' conventional beauty, but she's an attractive woman nonetheless. Visually, she and Alan would be as striking in contrast as their ideologies. And it would make any crossovers with the Corps' Lanterns automatically rife with entertainment possibilities.

I'd read it at least. :-)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Meme Time!

Brandon's got a new meme up. So I figured I'd try to beat everyone to the really obvious joke:



:-) Someone had to do it...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Not today...

I couldn't think of any funny pranks for April Fool's Day, so I decided to take the day off from blogging instead.

Good night everyone! :-)