Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Random Reaction to A Certain OYL matter:

I admit it: I don't understand it. I don't know the reason behind it. I'm sure other people could find incongruencies with plenty of past source material. But I just have one thing to say:

Alan Scott's eyepatch is sexy.

I don't care why or how he has it. Or even if he's physically capable of losing his eye considering. I don't care if he *has* lost his eye or he's just playing at being Pete Wisdom for a while. It just works for me.

Whenever I read Alan, I always get the impression of a lead pipe wrapped in velvet. He's not very subtle, but he's formidable, implicable, and more of a bludgeoner than a stabber, shall we say. But it's always beneath this exterior of class and dignity that doesn't exactly soften the bludgeony weaponness, but it does mask it a little.

That patch changes everything. It's piraty, uncivilized, savage, barbaric... It's intense. Alan got himself into something that's so intense that while he must have triumphed, he left something of himself behind. No more velvet or kid gloves.

Alan's playing for keeps now and he is going to (pardon my french) fuck your shit *up*!

So anyway, the eye patch thing? Totally works for me.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Wardrobe Malfunction:

You know, I like the current Crimson Avenger. I think she's a neat concept. I also like that she's a woman and black, because white-washed worlds are boring and more female heroes are always a good thing.

I particularly like that she's portrayed as pretty damn kickass at what she does, and gave Ted and Karen a very serious challenge when she was hunting him down.

I think her costume is nifty too, the blindfold gives her this marvelous impersonal, blind justice quality.

There's just one problem:

I really wish she'd pull up her damn pants.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Lex Luthor is a big old copycat!

Seriously, that whole villain as President of the United States thing?

Someone had that idea long before good old Lex!

Hmph, copying from Etrigan! For Shame! least he didn't rhyme.

(ETA: forgot to say where it came from: Demon v3, issue 29)

So what's up with the Guy Gardner obsession anyway?

I only cut this because the word wrapping kept screwing my blogroll...I love Guy Gardner. I'm sure this shocks you. I've blogged about him many times, (though probably about equal to the amount of time I've blogged about Kyle or Sand, but I've never counted to be sure).

Somehow over time, probably with the end of Recharge actually and when I finally got a chance to sit down and read pre Kyle Green Lantern as well as Warrior, he became one of my two all time favorite DC characters. (If you can't guess the other, you're new here, I'd bet. :-) Oh well, it's not like I've ever claimed to be varied in my topics. Eventually my attention span will shift again. Maybe.)

Most of the appeal comes from his Warrior, post-healing-of-brain-damage personality. I liked his interactions with Kyle. I liked them with Arisia. I liked him mooning Batman and verbally poking the nightlights to get their asses in gear in Recharge.

I find it incredibly amusing that he was a sweet guy who after finally healing himself apparently decided being a jackass was more fun, but still lets glimpses of his squishy center show. I also like that every so often, he's a scheming manipulator, poking and poking until he gets the results that he wants.

Really, I probably like him because if I were a man, I'd probably be Warrior/Recharge-era Guy Gardner, without the cool powers. And that's a little disturbing.

Besides, my narcissistic tendancies are not the topic here. He's just a fun character whose actually quite a bit more intelligent/deductive than he seems, is more complex than he seems, and says and does things that make me laugh. A lot. I think it'd be really easy to write dialogue for him...though I'd have to cut back
on the foul language. Comics code and all that. (The dialogue I imagine is just a little unpublishable, so it'd need toning down to be comics-appropriate.) And he got turned into a woman, which is just damned funny.

But the version I tend to end up posting about and focusing on and dissecting the most is the brain-damaged, idiot/jackass version. The one I wouldn't know where to begin to actually write. The one that tries to take control of the Justice League, gets punched by Batman, says horrible things to pretty much everyone, smashes phones and hates Power Girl's cat.

I suppose some of it could be traced to the Guy-Ice thing, how she manages to extract those teeny fragments of humanity out of his prickly, egotistical, dimwitted self. And that's a part of it. I do like their relationship. A LOT. As well, some of it comes from my interpretation of him as a bratty, confused, eight year old in an adult's body (emphasized by things like this and even this which ties into the Ice thing too.) Part of it has to do with my attraction to dynamic growth in characters, I mean, each stage of the character's evolution is vastly different but tied together in a narratively-logical manner. Which is a pretty good trick.

But most of it is because of, well, this:

This is an excerpt from an "article" out of a tabloid magazine "Spy" in JLI/JLA v2 38. It's a little hard to read but it basically involves the reporters having gone through a magazine collection. There were a lot of dirty magazines of course, but then they continue with the excerpt, which I'll type as it's hard to read:

"What struck us as oddest in this collection, however, were a number of various children's magazines, all carrying mailing labels bearing Mr. Gardner's name. Why, we wondered, would Guy Gardner be interested in THESE? Interestingly, all the magazines of this type we found were dated within a six month period, ending six months ago. Examining them closely, we discovered that all the activity and coloring pages were dutifully completed, straight through to the crossword puzzles -- although we hasten to point out that most of the answers there were incorrect. In some places, two or three letters were entered into a single box. Beyond testifying to Gardner's sub-human IQ level, we were at a loss. Could this boorish, super-powered lout have a soft, child-like underbelly? Or was this just some sort of phase he was going through?"

The truth is, I find the entire concept of brain-damaged Guy Gardner viscerally horrifying. My fascination with this version of Guy Gardner has more to do with why other people watch scary movies or play Silent Hill with the lights off than anything else.

When I was seven or eight, in school, they made us read Flowers for Algernon. This was the first book I'd ever read to make me cry. This book seriously gave me *nightmares* for weeks. It didn't matter that Charly was only reverting back to his original state, for me, the sheer concept of being an intelligent and articulate person, even if only for a short time, and having it stripped away again...and to *know* that it's been taken away...

That's my idea of Hell, literally.

So this little article snippet is one of the most genuinely horrifying things I'd ever read. Here you have a man who at one point was a very intelligent person. He graduated college with *two* degrees. That's not easy to do. That's a lot of work. That's a lot of exams and papers that would require a decent capacity for analytical thinking and logical reasoning.

Reduced to a mind that can't complete a child's crossword puzzle correctly.

And there isn't any memory loss or amnesia involved. Guy gives every sign of remembering things that happened before the damage. He certainly remembers Hal's role in the whole thing. That implies that he remembers having the intellectual capacity he would have needed to get his degrees, he'd remember being able to take tests about Freud and Jung and Kinsey, write reports on educational theory or technique. He'd remember being able to do all that.

And he can't correctly complete a child's crossword puzzle.

For me, this is quite possibly the most intensely horrifying concept in all of superhero comics. It's the most devastating loss I could ever imagine. I'm no genius, I'm not particularly gifted academically, but if somehow that happened to me, I sincerely would not have been able to take it.

Which in turn makes the character hit something else for me. Admiration and amazement. This character's endured something I never could, survived, kept going. Kept completing those kid's puzzles, even wrong, even though it must have been incredibly frustrating and painful.

And eventually another thought occurred to me, have you ever tried to complete a crossword puzzle incorrectly? *Especially* using a few letters to a box? It'd have to work across and down, you know. And from the derisive tone of the article, they'd have said if it was completed in gibberish. From the sound of it, there were actual words in the puzzles.

And that's pretty damned amazing. That takes determination and real creativity. The intellectual crippling is definitely still there (it's pretty unmistakable in JLI/GL) but's *breathtaking*.

And now he's *better*. When he became Warrior, through his own determination and will and not some bestowed gift from above, it *healed*. And that is incredibly gratifying. It's...beautiful and impossibly gratifying.

I've heard comic book fans talk about the true and real feelings of awe and amazement that Superman instills in them. That's what this entire concept does for me. It's just that damn powerful to me.

Or I'm just crazy. There's that possibility too. :-) Besides, it's my blog, I can obsess about which characters I like. :-P

(Ack, I just had a disturbing thought... Between those crosswords and the fact that in Warrior, he speaks Ice's language well enough to have complex conversations with her mom, which he would have had to learn from her while having the intellectual capacity of a drunken, concussed the hell smart is he with his brain *intact*?

I'm not going to think about that anymore. I'm getting a headache.)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

An Exercise in Egotism 2: What to do with Jade

I've never made it a secret that I am not a big fan of Jade. And how the fuck unnerved am *I* to have had enough critiques of Jade to produce that many links...

But I digress. I don't like the character. In fact, I don't know of anyone who *really* likes the character. I know a few who liked the *concept* of a woman with Green Lantern powers, as well as Alan Scott's daughter, but almost no one who liked Jade specifically for Jade, for who she is behind those things.

I'm sure Jade has fans, but most of the defenses of her I've seen are based on Infinity Inc comics published around the time I was *born*. It's a common defense that Marz/Winick didn't understand the character. Which might well be true, from the few Infinity Inc comics I've read, she still seemed pretty shallow but she had some measure of charm that she's lacked ever sense.

Most of the critiques I've seen of her death had more to do with how she died or the prevalence of the "Women in Refrigerators" syndrome than Jade as a character. I've heard of one person who left comics because of her death, but the reason given was that her death showed "a lack of respect to Alan Scott." Apparently because of his vow to always be there for his kids...honestly, I don't get it either.

So Jennie-Lynn Hayden went from being a mildly charming if ineffectual member of a charming but ineffectual team to being a self-centered, manipulative, incompetent twit who was constantly the weakest of any of her associates. And it's not like it was a sudden transformation. Her death was pretty much an eventuality.

But did she really need to die? Well, I suppose for the drama with Kyle. But I'd imagine they could have figured out another way to do that, or another storyline for him altogether (much as I'm enjoying Ion).

In some sense though it seemed like Jade's death was house cleaning. Getting rid of an unnecessary and unappealing character. But...again, did she really need to die? Or could she have been salvaged?

I really, honestly think that there was a character with a great deal of potential there, one that was definitely not unsalvageable.

How I would have "fixed" Jade:Jade has something in common with Nightwing. She has fans. A lot of them. But just like Nightwing, most of those fans seem very disappointed with the directions taken with the character.

I can't blame them really. At distasteful as I find the character now, she must have once been a very appealing character to still have so many comic fans remember her so fondly.

Now, I'm at a bit of a disadvantage here because I've only read a little Infinity Inc. But I've managed to find a few more issues lately, and actually, I have to say...I'm starting to understand. She really does have an appeal, one that was lost along the way.

See, for me, at least, the appeal of Jennie-Lynn Hayden in II was that she was refreshingly normal amidst all of these other folks with extraordinary backgrounds. She was just an ordinary young girl with an ordinary childhood with adopted parents that suddenly developed neat powers, got green skin, and discovered a father and brother she never knew.

In a sense she's very much a wish fulfilment character, a normal girl who discovers that there's something extraordnary deep down. It's the long lost Princess thing. And you know, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Because she was easy to identify with, really. Easy to sympathize with. Her normality was refreshing and appealing. It was easy to see why Todd, with his dark, confusing powers, abusive background, and repressed homosexuality, would cling to her. She was a warm dose of sanity and acceptance.

II was more of a soap opera with superpowers than a true superhero comic, and that was fine really. Not to everyone's taste of course, but it was an ideal setting for a character like Jade, ability wasn't as important as empathy. She wasn't there to fight bad guys, she was there for the soap opera. And she was good there.

Of coure once Jennie-Lynn got transplanted out of this nice setting into one that required more in the way of fighting and competence, she had a problem. And the emphasis on the Corps aspect of the Green Lanterns meant that she would languish in the background until Kyle's run, really. When room would open up in the form of a giant massacre via Parallax. Kyle was now the only Lantern, he needed a supporting cast, she was perfect.

Except she wasn't really. She was *redundant*.

You see, Jade's appeal in II was to be the normal one. The one that thought, felt, reacted in ways that were similar and understandable to the audience. Now with a character like Alan, stoic and occasionally imperceptible, or Todd, tortured and angsty under pressure and pain that we can't completely understand, Jennie-Lynn is a wonderful character. A dose of sympathetic normality that becomes our window into these characters lives.

But in Green Lantern, we already *had* a character that thought, felt, reacted in ways that were similar and understandable to the audience. And his name is Kyle Rayner. We didn't need Jade as a "window" character, because Kyle was doing just fine on his own.

And really, Kyle's main writers were men. Naturally they're going to stick with a male viewpoint character whenever possible. It's perfectly normal and understandable to do so.

Unfortunately it meant that we see everything from Kyle's perspective only. Never Jade's. And we identify with her. So when Jade is undeniably cruel to him, we automatically sympathize with him and demonize her.

The thing is nothing she did was completely irredeemable. Even cheating on Kyle, while an awful thing to do, could have been portrayed more sympathetically: She's confused, in a relationship with a man who she may not love like she initially thought. He's changing, growing, but the person he's becoming is a stranger to her.

She owes him. He gave her back her powers. Actually, everything she has is from him. From the apartment to her powers. Hell, his ex-girlfriend gave her *customers* for her photography business. She's happy being a hero but she owes everything to him. And he's such a nice guy. Sweet, sensitive, she doesn't *want* to hurt him. But she finds herself being petty and cruel, trying to drive him away. If *he* breaks up with *her*, it won't hurt him so much. They can both be free!

She comes back to Earth for some space, to get her head together. She was almost *pregnant*, with the child of a man who's off on some wild crusade in space. Where is there room for her, does she *want* room?

Then an attractive guy expresses interest. One who finds her mysterious and exotic and amazing. She hasn't seen Kyle in ages, and this is something without all that baggage. She makes a stupid mistake. She makes several. He comes back and it explodes.

The thing is...I've been there. Sans powers and lanterns and all that good stuff. But I've felt stuck in relationships with people I've fallen out of love with. I've acted like a passive aggressive bitch to try to get *him* to be the one to break it off. I've watched myself, horrified at my own behavior. And maybe if some non-pressured alternative had come by at the right time...from that perspective, as vile as her behavior is, I can understand it.

Well, anyway, the problem with Jade is that she's the sort of character that needs to be the center of the story. We need to see her emotions to keep her sympathetic, hear her thoughts to understand why she does the things she does.

Of course, the biggest problem remains. She's acted horribly. She's *still* incompetent.

But that could be fixed. But she's another character that needs to be extracted, transplanted, away from Kyle in particular. Even away from the Outsiders (at least until she can get her act together, though she was a bit more tolerable there).

If she does get resurrected somehow, extracted from Kyle or something (hey, if *Alan* is living Starheart, she might *be* that power she gave back to him too, it's vaguely plausible...), she'd need to be kept far away from him.

What I'd do is have her, first, relocated to a place like California. Somewhere where she could resume her photography career. Or start something new. She could be an actress again or something. Who knows.

Anyway, what the character needs is an immediate way to get audience sympathy. What I'd personally do is have her adopted parents die. I know, it's a little cheap, but it's not like we've ever seen them in ages. If they're already dead, their belongings can be removed from storage. She has to catalogue their belongings.

I would have her find childhood pictures, trophies, ribbons from school. Pictures of her adopted parents. I would have her realize that somewhere in the process of her life, she's lost touch with them. She spent so long adopting the hero life and playing around as Alan Scott's daughter, she forgot the family who raised her. The mother and father she loved so much. She took them for granted.

Then she takes stock in her own behavior lately and realizes changes have to be made.

See, this has an advantage. Many women have been in her shoes, have made her mistakes, and we actually tend to be *harsher* than men who see it. Because most of us have reached that stage where we look back on our mistakes, flinch at our idiocy, our cruelty, then we move forward and try to change.

Jade can do that too, she should, it would go a long way toward endearing her with female fans.

Anyway, she does a lot of soul searching. She's lost her chance with her family, and she discovers, looking at these pictures, that her life hasn't gone the way she'd wanted it to.

So she decides to change it. She's still young. She's got all these possibilities ahead. Maybe she goes back to school. She'll continue to be a hero, but she'll realize she should and could be a much better hero. She'll train and practice.

This way, when she makes stupid mistakes. When she does badly, we'll be more sympathetic. She's trying, she's working to get better. And she will get better.

Jade could be a great character to attract more adult female readers to superhero comics. An adult woman, who's not all T&A, who's made a lot of mistakes, but is making efforts to fix her life. A lot of women will understand that and be attracted to the series. Her situation, her resurrection and heroism would become an allegory for many women's struggles to reclaim their lives after divorce or sudden loss. It would be a strong draw.

And Jade would actually be likeable.

Or they could just leave her dead, that works too.

ETA: More musings derived from comment ideas can be found here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Conventions, Constantine and Catholicism

Okay, so I'm going to get to go to my first comic convention in June. Heroes Convention, in North Carolina! Yay! I've been to a few anime cons, but never a comic one, so I'm excited. Hope it's fun.

In other news, I finally saw Constantine (in my Anthropology/Religion class here at Michigan State. Fun class, really, but I digress). I have to admit, it wasn't as bad as I expected. It made for a passably decent occult movie.

Of course it wasn't anything like Hellblazer, but that's life.

I even thought Keanu Reeves wasn't that bad. I admire him for sticking to roles that consist of him being broody, close-mouthed and pretty. He's good at that and does it well.

Of course, John Constantine shouldn't be such a role, but that's not his fault, he didn't write it. I also didn't like the revisioning of Chaz as would-be apprentice. Chaz is appealing to me because of his opposite status to John, he's the physical guy, the brawn, and even if John is a manipulative bastard, he can punch him, and things are oddly balanced. The subordinate role takes that away...but then this Constantine doesn't need the humanizing element of the comic one.

I thought the redemption element was decently done, if cliched. Comic!John wouldn't have one of course, at the end of the movie, he'd be still smoking away. And it wouldn't have been God and Lucifer fighting over his soul but rather Lucifer and yet another demon. And the girl would have ended up dead too.

One thing bothers me, the rampant "Catholicism" in the movie. Now I'm placing Catholicism in quotes because the Hollywood portrayal of Catholicism never bears any sort of resemblance to the real thing. People have such a fucked up idea of real, everyday Catholicism that it's really freaking weird.

A) Since Vatican II, very few masses are conducted in Latin. There are usually 1-2 churches that still practice in Latin per diocese, official church documents are in Latin. Your average everyday Catholic doesn't speak Latin, and probably has only heard Latin a few times in their entire lives.

B) Exorcisms are rare and not really conducted like you see in most movies. They're actually reasonably quiet, sedate, somber affairs. There are very few practicing Exorcists in the United States, and most are in Archdioceses (or whatever the plural of that is, I'm a bad ex-Catholic).

C) The average Catholic is not very dogmatic or extreme in belief. You will not see a lot of bible-thumping Catholics. There's a reason for this. When the center of your religion condemns *condoms*, you tend to take what they say with a grain of salt. Seriously. Do what you want and Confess later is the most common philosophy. (Or as my mom says: "If God really wanted us to follow all that, he'd have carved it on a rock.")

Religion actually doesn't play a huge part in the average Catholic's life. At least no more than other religions play in the lives of most Anglicans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists or Secular Jews. (Just to name a few examples.)

D) Most Catholics won't be able to quote verse or passage from the Bible. See, Catholicism tends to teach out of their own translations, the Catechisms and the Gospels seperately as well as other church traditions. In my experience, though it probably varies with particular groups, sects, you'd be more likely to hear a devout Catholic mention the Gospel According to Matthew/Mark/Luke/John than to hear one say "Corinthians 2:18" or "John 3:16". That shorthand is more common among Protestants, I think.

Besides, King James I was an Anglican Heretic, why the heck would we be quoting his version of the Bible. :-P

E) Catholics do not worship Mary, Mother of Jesus, or the Saints. they *venerate* them. There's a big difference. Catholics only worship God in his Holy Trinity. (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). They do pray to other beings sometimes, but it's not the same...see, *this* is the "Hail Mary":

"Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us Sinners, now and at the hour of our deaths. Amen".

That's not worship, that's the spiritual equivalent of asking for a *recommendation letter*.

F) We don't have any more experience with the Occult than the rest of you. Seriously. Stop it.

Serious. *Hellblazer* didn't/doesn't have anything to do with Catholicism. I'm pretty sure John Constantine isn't even Catholic. (If he's anything, I'd imagine he's Church of England). Why the hell are Catholics all over this movie then?!

Oh wait, I know, it's the robes and the Latin and the crucifixes, the candles and the wine and the altars, the Gothic Cathedrals with all the stained glass, buttresses, gargoyles and hunchbacks in the belltowers. All that lovely imagery to play with. It's "exotic". Hmph.

I'm not Catholic anymore, I'm very much ex-Catholic. I'm the spiritual equivalent of a College Freshman on her first week on campus and all that entails. But this is still my *culture*, you're fucking with here. Please, just one time, try to get it right.

Or at least a little less wrong.

Thank you.

(Gabriel was pretty awesome in that movie though.)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Random Ridiculous Realization #-whatever

It occurs to me, every major humanoid character with a speaking role in the Green Lantern Corps wears very skin-tight spandex-like costume. Hal, John, Kyle, Soranik, Katma, Vath, Isamot...heck, even *Kilowog* wears his costume to show off his...assets.

And then you have Guy Gardner, who wears a turtleneck, Jacket, and pants that aren't even terribly tight as of Recharge.

That's just a little weird isn't it? You have everyone else in what amounts to spandex and one guy wearing *layers*. And no one ever says anything about it. Not even a passing, "Dude, what's with the jacket? Aren't you hot in that?"

I dunno, it just seems like the equivalent of wearing a sweatsuit to the beach...there must be some sort of issues there. Or something...

And it occurs to me, almost every one of my favorite male characters dresses like a freak:
Guy is the only fully clothed Lantern. Kyle wore a crab mask and a dog collar. Sand is a quiet, repressed boy whose outfit appears to be strongly inspired by Japanese Bondage. Cosmic Boy's corset in space was one of his better costumes. Tim Drake is the only Robin that got to wear tights (Steph's are countered by the skirt), Ted Kord let robots pick out his civilian clothing with predictable results...

I'm not sure what that says about me, but at least my favorite females are dressed mostly sane...comparitively...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Can Always Get Worse...

I heard a rumor once that Max Lord wasn't the only possible choice for Countdown's villain. There were other options for being the guy who put a bullet in poor Ted's head.

And one of them, according to this rumor, was Snapper Carr.

Which is mind-boggling and oddly awesome. Max as a choice kind of made sense. He was always a little shifty or off-balance. I'm sorry to see a lot of his human development seeming to be discarded, but I also think it's not implausible that given the events in his life, like the cyborg stuff, for example, couldn't have driven him over the edge. It was a bit of a stretch, but reasonably plausible in the end...

Snapper Carr, especially as he's developed in Hourman or Young Justice, makes much less sense in that capacity. Sure he turned on the JLA once, but as it's portrayed in Hourman at least, it was accidental and he was haunted by grief. And he's always been relatively sane in his adult portrayals.

So yeah, between them Max is really the better option, especially as he's got the personal history with Ted. But how awesome would Snapper Carr as the Black King of Checkmate have been?

Especially as, when he shoots Ted, he'd be wearing a fanboy t-shirt!

I mean the possibilities are endless: The OMAC eye shirt from Young Justice, the Booster Gold shirt from his intro in Hourman...

A stylized beetle?!

It could have been priceless!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sanderson Hawkins is a Mouthy Little Bitch

In the JSA, Sanderson Hawkins has the reputation of being a quiet, responsible, sort of fellow. A little bland, naturally, but a nice, polite, proper guy.

But, every so often, when he was still Sandy the Golden Boy, he actually showed signs of being *gasp* a mouthy little bitch!

Of course, he's a sidekick. It's in the job description, but it's fun none the less, because while all sidekicks are mouthy, Sandy tended to be a little more acerbic, shall we say, than, for example, Dick Grayson was during the same time period.

So anyway, here's my tribute to Sanderson Hawkins's inner smartass.

Sometimes, little Sandy can be a little snide. As is evidenced in this scene when Sandy and Wes visit their bumbling detective friend:

See, he calls him "Watson" because he's a detective. *nod*


Now, one role of the sidekick in 1940s comics was to give the hero a sounding board so we can all appreciate how smart they are. The Sandman stories are really no different, but sometimes it seems like Sandy finds his own role just a little annoying:

What really makes the Sandy-Wes relationship much more interesting than the Batman and Robin relationship of the same time period is that every so often you get the distinct impression that as much as Sandy adores Wes, he also thinks he can be completely full of shit.


Like in this one. He's not actually *saying* anything smartass. But the expression pretty much says it all:

And what it says is "You are so full of shit, man, and if I weren't a creepy stepford child, I'd actually tell you that. But I'm snickering on the inside. And what possesses a grown man to wear burgundy? I still can't believe you go out in yellow and purple spandex."

(I know that later comic book writers try to blame the yellow and purple on Dian for sewing it, or Sandy for suggesting it to look more like other heroes. But I maintain that if they did, it was all subtle revenge against Wes for something. Because *they* actually know how to dress.)


Of course, while Sandy does get to be a bit sharper tongued than his panty-and-elf-boots wearing counterpart, he still gets to say the fun battle wisecracks as well, like here:

I am amused by the contrast between Sandy's intellectual critique of his ammunition while the criminal maligns the poor English language with bastardizations like "moiderin'".


No one quite belittles people like Sandy, though I think he's still upset about the being sucker punched by a little person and left on a railroad track thing...


Even being a god (and having previously beat the crap out of him) won't spare you from little Sandy's sharp tongue.

(Though, on an unrelated note, Sandy looks vaguely like a girl in that panel. I think it's the fit of the night-shirt. Heh, you know he's probably had to do the crossdressing thing too. Sidekick rite of passage...

He's clearly a Summer.)


Of course, now that he's an adult, he's mostly grown out of the smartass stage.

Except maybe when being chained to a rock by a sick fuck:

Or when Black Adam is trying to be intimidating:

Don't let that genteel disguise fool you, the inner smartass isn't dead, it's just buried, ready to strike at the right provocation.

...that is of course once they finally BRING HIM BACK. (*glares petulantly at DC*)


(These panels were taken from Adventure Comics 491, 492, 495 and 499, JSA 20 and JSA 21)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Field of Dreams?

Too bad Ragnell is incommunicado, as I think she'd get the same kick out of the Jim Lee cover for IC 7 as I do:

A view of god knows how many Lanterns from the angles that suit them best. :-)

I've said it before, the guardians/rings recruiting people based on their ability to overcome fear is complete hogwash.

They recruit based on what your hindquarters look like in spandex.

Friday, April 21, 2006

An Exercise in Egotism: Fixing Nightwing

Okay, so now that I've figured out what my problem is regarding Dick Grayson. I thought I'd try to answer how I, personally, would try to fix this whole mess.

It's an exercise in egotism really, but it's my blog so I can. :-P

How would *I* Write Nightwing
The first thing I would do would be a relocation. Again, I know, but I really think that as long as Dick stays in NYC, where there's Cheyenne and the modeling, and not to mention the Jason Todd mess, he's going to be bogged down with whatever's going to happen here.

So after this Jason Todd mess is over, I'd like to see him relocated. There are lots of cities in this country that aren't in or around New York City (or New Jersey). Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, to name a few.

A fictional city loosely based on one of these would be fine. I prefer the thought of him on the West Coast for a while. This naturally would make his presence in crossovers a bit more difficult, but really, before he's up for crossovers, efforts really need to be made to define the adult Dick Grayson outside of his relationship with Bruce.

It seems like for too long they've been using "Bruce's Prodigal Son" as the sole defining characteristic of the character and that has to stop. The character has to work in his own right first.

So anyway, yeah, a relocation farther away would be my first step. Dick would decide after all that that a) he really needs a break from all this chaos and b) he needs to figure out who he is beyond his anger at Bruce and all the mess with Barbara, and all that crap. However, and this is key, he should Not be isolated completely. He should be portrayed as talking on the phone or via the computer with Tim, or Alfred, or Barbara, or even Bruce occasionally. These phone calls would allow for the maintaining of personal conflict and will be in parts wistful, wry, friendly and comforting. But at least for now, the physical distance is important.

When he does come back for crossover events, he'll have to hop a plane to do so. Which means his presence will be worth even more, and maybe he'll have time to let go of some of those complex struggles with Bruce.

Now, naturally, he needs a day job. I always liked the cop thing. It was a wasted opportunity in early Nightwing, because Dixon went with the corrupt cops thing instead. Which basically meant, Nightwing's role with them paralleled Bruce's with the Gotham PD.

I'd like to do that differently. Dick Grayson on an uncorrupt police force has a lot of potential. Especially if there was some way to plausibly swing him taking the detective exam. He's young, but you can't tell me Bruce's protege couldn't pass it.

One of the biggest differences as I see them between Bruce and Dick is that Dick isn't really in a mask. Whether he's Dick or he's Robin or he's Nightwing, what you see is pretty much what you get. And that's a strength of the character, a reflection of his spirit. Batman gets things done through fear, so he needs to be as distinct from any mortal, human identity as much as possible. Nightwing should work more through inspiration, and thus it's not as important.

Whereas Justice *is* important, and it really suits *my* idea of the character to have him fighting for justice by the light of day as well as by night. Being a Detective would also allow him to better exercise a lot of his personal emotional and people skills. The skillset that Batman decidedly lacks.

We would get to see him interact well with witnesses, where his charm and guileless niceness would both comfort and coax answers out at the same time. (One can imagine his partner will be of the more temperamental type. If I could I'd want to steal the woman he had in Dixon's run, I liked her. Or Montoya. That sort of personality might do nicely. Or we could run counter to that, I suppose, and get a Briscoe type older male mentor figure. But I like him partnered with an older woman that he will not be sleeping with.) He would also kick *ass* in interrogations. He was trained by Batman after all.

Now the advantage to a non-corrupt police station, is that we'd get to see Dick's natural ability and charisma pull the other characters into his orbit. He's very young but he's got Bat-training and Titans-honed leadership skills. He'll help them focus when case-solving, teach them to look for the right answers, he probably even practices hand-to-hand with beat cops and officers, giving them much better fighting training than they'd get normally. Maybe he can even form some familial bonds, like he used to in the Titans (and wasn't allowed to do in the Outsiders, weakening him). He can be the precocious little brother to his partner, the son to his lieutenant, big brother to a lot of the officers... The emotional ties would be the most important part.

Of course, one can't neglect the vigilante aspect. The nice thing is that, as a detective, Dick will already have the inside track. And Nightwing can go where Detective Grayson couldn't. The Nightwing stuff will be the same as expected really, though he will be decidedly competent. The challenge will be in using what he finds during his day job to save lives and keep the peace at night. I'd also like to see him on good terms with the Police Department. Good enough terms that possibly certain characters will make the connection between them, characters that are trustworthy enough to keep the secret.

I'd actually kind of like to wait a few issues before he actually puts on the costume again though. Let him have the chance to develop his interpersonal relationships in his new life before going back to vigilantism. That might not be feasible though, as the series would be called "Nightwing", fans would have expectations.

I think personally if *I* were writing, I'd avoid romantic entanglements right away. (I do like Clancy though, but it probably wouldn't be reasonable to somehow bring her along...). There will be a lot of female characters of course, but the relationships will begin completely platonic. If sexual tension does develop, we'd see where we'd go from there, but for a while at least there will be no sex. Because I think the character tends to get lost in the man-whore-dom.

Don't get me wrong, I definitely believe in fan service and male-objectification. But it'll be solo for a while. Changing clothes, possibly shower scenes. That's it. The romantic stuff should be built up to slowly, and the model stuff was pretty ridiculous. (Though I'd definitely have some of the other cops tease him about that. Heh)

There'd need to be a lot of well-developed minor characters. Dick is the sort of character that works best with others. I would focus, primarily, on the cops. And possibly some neighbors that *aren't* ex-villains or ex-heroes. Most of his villain set right away would have to be new. I don't really have any ideas for villains we've seen before, and I'd like to keep Dick away from Deathstroke for a while. Possibly I'd go back through old Titans books for a few villains, but mostly I'd focus on new ones. Meanwhile his fellow cops would be the minor characters to get real development, as I'd want to foster a titans-like familial relationship with them. The partner, some of the younger cops, a few bitter/jealous older cops that slowly come to respect his abilities, the lieutenant...that sort of thing.

Though it'd require quite a bit of research. All I know about cops come from Law and Order, Homicide and other TV shows. which won't make the most accurate portrayals. It does make me want to make a hot, vaguely-Angie Harmon, style ball-breaking prosecutor. But that'd require more thought. I wouldn't want to clone Kate Spencer (much as I love her) anyway.

The big thing though would be the tone of the series. As I mentioned in my last entry and here, the difference between Batman and Robin/Nightwing is that the latter is about inspiration and hope rather than fear. In that sense, Nightwing should be more like Superman. People should see him and be grateful and happy rather than afraid. Seeing him in action should make younger cops ready to work very hard to improve, and older cops inhale a breath in admiration. He should become a symbol for the police in a sense, even if his vigilantism is less than always legal. He embodies the sense of justice that inspired most of them to go into this line of work to begin with. Nightwing should make average people want to make a difference, leading teenagers to tackle that purse snatcher to return his prize to the old lady down the street.

That sort of thing. There would still be angst of course, but the series can't be saturated with it. That's what Batman is for. Nightwing, the series, should be, at heart, fun and uplifting. It should be about Justice in its most optimistic sense. Dick Grayson is *still* the symbol of morning and hope. He's a sign that things will be getting better.

So anyway, if I were writing the series, that's where I'd go with it. What about you guys?

A Favorite Set of Panels, from GL v3 13:

I've said before that brain-damaged Guy is basically, mentally, a very angry ten-year-old boy at heart. And this was really, really made obvious in Green Lantern version 3, where they'd play it up.

See this example:

These images are some of my favorites ever in the Green Lantern comics. Mostly for the depiction of Guy, which I think is quite exquisitely done...ignoring the migrating green of his uniform between those two panels. It must have been difficult to strike the right balance to draw a character that's physically an adult, but mentally not. But the use of body language and expression here is *perfect* I think.

The dialogue doesn't hurt either, but I think a lot of the impact would have been lost with a different artist.

I also really like Hal in this too. He's actually doing it *right* for once. Because honestly, as annoying/obnoxious as Guy was, Hal was as much at fault for most of their quarrelling, I think. Hal let things like residual guilt and irritation and anger make him forget that he really was dealing with someone of very diminished mental capacity.

Here though, he seems to remember. He's being coaxing and supportive. He's being brotherly. And gosh, if I don't have such a *thing* for Hal being a big brother.

He's so *gentle* here. I'm practically swooning.

(I'll tell you one thing though, I can *not* read these issues right before reading JLI. When I read JLI on its own, especially the part where Batman takes Guy out in one punch, I laugh because it's damn funny. But if I read this first, then I get annoyed. Congratulations, Bruce, you basically knocked out a *kid*...and then I stop and think about how unfair that whole thing really *was*. I mean, Batman's a martial artist, his body is his primary weapon. Guy's is his ring. For all his temper, he's never been a physical fighter. Guy takes off the ring to fight Bruce he's at a severe disadvantage. So yeah, Congratulations Bruce, you knocked out a *kid*...who was taking a *handicap* for you. And you can't tell me *Batman* didn't know about the injury to begin with, not when his hospital/sanitarium stay seems to have been public record.

So, yeah, much more fun when you don't read those issues first.)

(ETA: Scans given to me by Ragnell, yay!)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Strange Thought: Accents

It occurs to me, that I tend to be really bad at considering regional accents when it comes to characters.

I mean, some are obvious. Like Guy Gardner. The fact that he's from Baltimore's automatic. If I stop to think about it, I can "hear" it. (I'm not schizophrenic, damn it, I've just watched way too many episodes of Homicide...which was filmed in Philadelphia anyway...but in my head, when I imagine him talk, his speech pattern is definitely Baltimorian.)

Foreign characters are pretty easy. Bea is Brazillian, Maura Rayner is Irish, Tora Scandinavian. I'd imagine Magneto still has a trace of an accent...

But then there are some that aren't so obvious. Like...if Bart Allen is from Alabama, does he have a southern accent? A speedster with a southern accent just seems like...well a bit of an ill fit to me. I'm trying to imagine talking really fast with a southern accent. Is that possible?

Of course, he *did* grow up in the future...what kind of accents do they have in the future?

For that matter does Sand speak with that weird cadence/intonation that they tend to use in old movies? Or is that stylized? I'd imagine Alan, Jay and Ted's speech patterns changed over time, but he was in a tank for sixty years...

I don't think it was ever stated, but most folk seem to take Gotham (and Bludhaven) to be in New Jersey. Which is really weird to think about. Bruce and Tim probably have that upper class, Princeton-esque speech pattern. Alan too, I'd reckon. Not sure about Dick, as he did grow up in the circus first. And does Jason then talk like a New Jersey kid on TV?

I mean I figure Dick's had a lot of time with Bruce to smooth out a lot of any really birthplace revealing accent, but Jason didn't have nearly as much time, and seemed more likely to be stubborn and resist any type of vocal training out of pride. So shouldn't people be able to tell both Nightwings apart by the way they talk?

Ted Kord's from Chicago, Jaime Reyes is from El Paso, John Stewart and Sandra Woosan are from Detroit if I recall they probably all talk different from each other, which is something that I find fascinating.

I don't know why I care, but sometimes it's fun to think about. Folks from different places talk differently, and tapping in on that can add a nice personal, natural feel to the dialogue. Individualized. And the word choice won't always be the same. Even little things like "subs" vs "hoagies" vs "grinders"; "soda" vs "pop" vs "coke".

I don't really have a point to this. But I do find it all very interesting.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Okay, *Now* I'm Disgruntled...

Found this while surfing around for info. It's a little bit old news but I'm perpetually behind...

And now I'm irritated. Looks like my hopes are out. I'll give the first issue a try but...


I suppose the main character sounds like an interesting personality, but it kind of irks me that he's going to carry on a legacy when the more appropriate candidate is being neglected.

There are some interesting tidbits though worth musing over:

"It's almost more rewarding than looking for forgotten or neglected characters. Aspiring comic writers, hear this: you can spend six months finding a minor character that you feel could be and should be a major character in the universe of your choice. And you can talk to a totally benevolent and receptive editor, who will ask around, and tell you, a week later: consensus is, no one is interested in that character. That character is dead.

“And you can pitch the same character nine months later, because you haven't been able to dismiss your involvement with the character, your sense that someone could really do something with the character--and be told, sorry. That character is all tied up at the moment. They're the center of a huge crossover event. Or they're the pivotal character in a team book miniseries under construction. In one universe or another."

This makes me wonder if he wasn't trying to get ahold of Sand first. He isn't exactly forgotten, but I could see it taking a long time to get people interested in the idea. And the huge crossover event *could* be Infinite Crisis. Sand's not been a terribly huge part, but as an Earth 2 character he would be indirectly very caught up in it.

Which makes the team book miniseries thing possibly intriguing. I had wondered if perhaps he'd show up in Checkmate or something like that.

He's got a later comment in the thread that seems to confirm my assumption:
"the story doesn't allude to sandy or sand for a couple of reasons. for one thing, when i was initially plotting 'sleep of reason,' i was under the impression that he was dead. more recently...well, there's really no contact between the protagonist of this story and sand. but if there is a sequel to 'sleep of reason', it would be interesting for the characters to interact. kieran never actually met wesley dodds. but he knows him very well--from the inside--after dreaming about him for years. while sand knew wesley in a more real--but possibly not as revealing--way."

The trailed off "more recently" intrigues me. It sounds like maybe there *are* plans going around for the character. I hope so. A crossover sounds like it could be good too.

The other part that interested me was this:

“But that's not ice I have to walk on, working with this character. From the Golden Age stories--Wesley tucking that creepy little mannequin into a tiny little bed before he goes out night hunting--to Neil's suggestion that the original Sandman embodied, in some strange way, a fragment of the nature of the Lord of Dreams, to the Sandman Mystery Theater stories, to Wesley's death in JSA #1. The pieces all fit.

...creepy little mannequin? Now, I admit I'm still very slowly finding issues of GA Sandman. So it could be very possible that I missed something important...

Or that was a slur on my favorite character. :-) Heheh, I kind of hope it was. Because it's kind of true. AND part of the appeal. :-)

Random Thoughts about Recent Comics:

Today I'm going to post some random thoughts about recent comics and the current solicitations. There may be spoilers.

Force of July is a really dumb name but Freedom's Ring is worse. I think someone lost a bet. Or got really drunk.
-At least they're pretty. Lady Liberty's costume is neat and I bet she gives a mean headbutt. And Major Victory's hot. I like 'em uptight.
-Gardner Grayle's kind of hot too.
-But the floating fetus in the tank is kind of scary.
--But not as much as the Phantom Lady's breasts.

The fact that Hal Jordan's callsign is "Highball" never stops amusing the hell out of me.
-Bet Guy never lets Hal hear the end of it. Dude. It's *highball*. *Highball*.

I still think Conner'll be back soon enough. Too many parallels to "The Death of Superman".
-It'd be funny if he came back to find a clone of *himself* running around and wreaking havoc.
--Reminds me of how my mother used to curse me with "I hope you have three little girls just like you."
---Hmm, I might want to get my tubes tied just in case...

Still no sign of my favorite JSA-er...this is getting irksome.
-He better be in the new SMT damnit. The only person who should inherit Wes Dodds's mantle is the one he ended up turning into a monster and keeping in suspended animation for fifty years.
--That's called paying dues damnit. Or something.

I really want to see how they incorporate the Earth-2 stuff into New Earth. If they *are* going to, that is. Are they really ballsy enough to have the main Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne *not* be the first Superman and Batman?

Cosmic Boy kicks more ass than Magneto. Seriously. In pre-reboot Legion, there's a point where he just loses it and starts flinging people around by their blood. Magneto needed to inject more iron in.
-Magneto's a pansy.
--And he so doesn't have the figure for a corset.

I've mentioned this before, but the most terrifying fact in the entire DC Universe is that Guy Gardner has degrees in psychology and education.
-*Guy Gardner* knows how you *think*.

Kyle vs Hal has the potential to be a really kickass fight.
-or at least an incredibly homoerotic fight.
--I'm buying three copies.

I would read an entire issue of just Kate Spencer and Todd Rice bantering.
-I wonder how he got his powers back anyway.
--And would Damon convince him to...experiment? *cough*
--Superpowers must make for one heck of a sex life.
---Now I want to read the DCU version of Cosmo. Heh.

Blood of the Demon's gonna get cancelled. Rats. Even if I was the one of three people who actually liked it.
-I read it for the gratuitous nudity. Demonic transformations are hell on the clothes.
--I'm *never* gonna find out how Harry became not-a-pillow am I...

I don't know about Sue but I'd choose Reed Richards over Namor anyday.
-I want to eat his big sexy brain. Rar.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Random Musings: Power Girl and Body Image

You know what's funny? The majority of people that I've seen complaining about Power Girl's admittedly gratuitous breast size tend to be male. I'm not saying that all women are Power Girl fans, but I've never actually seen a woman who dislikes the character bring up her...unlikely proportions as a reason why. (Her costume, yes, her breast size, no.)

I think that's interesting, really. I won't try to conjecture why this is. But I can talk about why *I* don't mind Power Girl's improbable bust size. And this is simply because I don't find it terribly improbable.

There are many women out there with sizeable assets. And not all of them have had artificial enhancement to do it. A woman with Power Girl's exact proportions would be...quite unlikely, but large chests happen. Frequently. I know. My mother is so gifted actually. (Which was irritating when I was growing up, as I am...well...not.)

The thing about Power Girl is that she feels natural, in a weird way. She is very well-endowed, yes, which isn't a shock among comic women. But she seems to treat them with the same mild irritation as I've seen my mother treat hers.

When she jokes about how she doesn't need a mask because no man looks at her head, I'm reminded of my mother's ironic comment about how in high school none of the boys seemed to realize she even had a neck. Power Girl dresses to accentuate her chest, but honestly, I've seen my mother do that too. What *is* nice is that in every panel I've seen Power Girl in she seemed to be...supported.

There is nothing more irritating than seeing very well endowed women run around braless on television. I know it's nice to look at, straight guys, but you have no idea what that feels like for even someone with modest proportions. A woman built like most of these actresses? Or Power Girl? That would start to get really uncomfortable, real fast. Whereas in Power Girl's case, even the famous boob-window seems to be designed to provide some support.

And the really nice thing about Power Girl is that her chest really isn't her defining aspect. I like her personality. I like her feminism. (And yes, it is possible to be both feminist and well endowed at the same time. It is even possible to be both feminist and proud/happy with your endowments at the same time). I like that she'll call the guys on when their eyes spend too much time slanted downward. I like that sometimes she's even a little over-defensive about it. I like that she doesn't tend to take crap from anyone. I like that she hits things.

And I really like that she ended up surviving getting shot by the Crimson Avenger because her *chest* slowed the bullet(s) down.

Hey, can't argue with functionality. Heh.

Monday, April 17, 2006

My sick mind is ruining my childhood memories:

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that I should never reread or rewatch anything I enjoyed as a child.

Not because it's bad in retrospect, because I have a very strong tolerance for cheesiness, camp and just plain crap.

But because somewhere along the way I've developed a very sick mind.

And that means I will see something like this (from the He-Man mini-comic: Mantenna and the Menace of the Evil Horde):

And I will snicker madly. Because I am sick.

There was a time when I was sweet and innocent and not a twisted person. Really. Honest. For a good six months! Or something like that.

(On a less silly note: I love the font they use in these. It's so easy to read even with the image shrunk!)

(On a more silly note: "Mantenna" is and always will be a horrible name for a villain in anything. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to why.)

So What Do I Mean By That?

In my last post, I use frequently use a phrase to describe Nightwing. This phrase is "fangirl-bait." I think maybe I should elaborate on what I mean precisely by this term. I should warn you though, that I am very tired and thus...this is quite incoherent compared to my usual posts. (And given the general lack of coherence i my usual posts, this is indeed a dire warning. :-))

I think it's safe to say that men still compose the majority of the audience of superhero comics. However, there are quite a few women, as is obvious if you have eyes, that are also interested in the genre.

Of course, not all women look for and like the same things in comics. That'd be ridiculous, just like men, we all have different tastes. However, there are some undeniable trends that the market can't help but intentionally or unintentionally cash in on.

"Fangirl-bait" is what I use to describe the characters that I think are specifically designed to appeal to a certain idea about what women like to see in male characters. They are for us what characters like Starfire are for a lot of straight male fans. Not all "fangirl-bait" characters are directed toward female fans in the same way, but there is an obvious, I think, bias. Largely I think they tend to be successful, though when it goes overboard (like Dick Grayson becoming a model) even the target audience starts to get particularly bemused.

The most common type of "fangirl-bait" character in DC comics I think is the "cute vulnerable one". This character is usually found in a group of like characters. The Gotham clan, the Green Lanterns, the Flashes... This character tends to be among the youngest of the group. They are smaller, cuter, and usually more emotionally vulnerable. Often times they are the usual victim/target when something goes wrong, so that the normally stoic, more traditionally masculine hero can angst.

Dick Grayson is pretty much the living embodiment of this type of fangirl-bait. Pretty, angsty, smaller than Batman, emotionally vulnerable, open and friendly. Tim Drake is also fangirl-bait, really, though less so. His personality doesn't lend itself as well to fangirl-bait status, but that is countered by his physical stature. In major crossover arcs, like when the Clench hit Gotham, you know misfortune is going to strike *one* of them.

Kyle Rayner would be the "fangirl-bait" of the Green Lanterns, as the young, sweet one. Though the victim status is more evenly distributed among the Lanterns. Alan's victimhood is centered around ways to take him out of the battle. Like a gaping wound of green flame, or being imprisoned by the Ultra-humanite in a giant tank. Hal gets the mind-control and random head wounds. Guy gets the absolutely devastating injuries, like brain damage, years long comas, eyes and vital organs getting ripped out, quality versus quantity sort of injuries. John gets the soul crushing "I blew up a planet", "I killed my little sister" sort of emotional blows. And Kyle gets...pretty much everything else. Kyle has the advantage of being the prettiest and the most emotionally approachable. While he manages to mask pain and suffering from other characters, he doesn't as much from the audience, which tends to appeal to maternal natures. He's also delightfully vain and metrosexual. Girls like the metrosexuals.

Under certain circumstances, both Wally and Bart would be fangirl-bait. Bart is more overtly so being cute and funny and hyperactive. He's the male of Young Justice and Teen Titans that is the most physically expressive and least caught up in a pseudo masculine image. Wally tends to be the fangirl-bait more often in his JLA stories, (As well as the cartoon), where his temperament and relative youth make him the most likely to suffer prettily (after Kyle).

Another type of fangirl-bait is more often seen in manga, the over-feminized uke-boy. (uke is a word denoting the "bottom" in a homosexual relationship in manga, which more often than not is associated with very particular physical and mental/emotional characteristics.) He looks very much like a girl and tends to act like the most irritating stereotypes of manga girl characters. He is over-emotional and cries at the drop of a hat. And spends most of his time thinking wistfully about more overtly masculine characters, coming just shy of doodling their names amidst hearts, on a notebook cover. Or crying. There is lots of very pretty crying. These are many theories as to why these characters appeal to many women, many of which can be found in essays about yaoi manga if you are interested.

A third type is the dashing suave charming rogue guy. Which pretty much can be seen *anywhere*, from movies to comics to romance novels. He's impossibly handsome, often speaks with an accent, and is often a lady's man.

The ultimate example of this sort of "fangirl-bait" character is Gambit of the X-Men I think. Not only is he handsome, witty, with a tragic past and exotic accent, he's a lady's man involved in a tragically unfulfilling relationship with a woman who can't touch anyone.

Arsenal/Roy Harper is another one that loosely fits this idea. Though, as an ex-sidekick, he also has some residual elements of being the cute vulnerable one (though most of those have transferred to Connor).

Now, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with being "fangirl-bait" (or more properly, being a character directed and marketed toward female fans) It's great having a variety of characters, and I definitely like a lot of the characters mentioned here. Some of them are even among my favorites. Others I don't care for, but they certainly make things interesting. And most of these characters *are* very much loved by female fans and thus are successful at what they are intended to do.

Anyway that's what I mean when I say "fangirl-bait"

Sunday, April 16, 2006

On Dick Grayson:

From a Newsarama interview:

NRAMA: Okay…he needs help on a big problem...who does he turn to?

FN: Ghostbusters? Seriously, I am of the very firm opinion that if you want anything done right in the DCU, you turn to Nightwing, so... there you go. We did say lots of guest-stars!

I wish that the people who actually wrote his title believed this.

What is Wrong With Dick Grayson... I've said it before, I dislike Nightwing. But I don't want to dislike this character. I *want* to like Dick Grayson. There are some great things at the core of the character, but it's so damned bogged down with the fangirl-bait angst and worse *incompetence*.

Look, I don't mind that Dick will never be the detective Tim and Bruce are. But he has 10-15 years of experience. That experience should show, damnit. He should have some measure of competence. Especially having undergone Batman's training. Hell, he *became* Batman for a little bit and did decently if with a different style than Bruce.

I'd like anyone who's read Nightwing lately to tell me that they seriously believe this man could *ever* have taken over for Batman.

I think I know what the problem is. And it's not any particular writer's fault. It's that from the inception, the Nightwing series was flawed.

I don't mean that a series revolving around Nightwing on his own is necessarily flawed in and of itself. But mistakes were made, irreparably...

See, the problem with giving sidekicks and ex-sidekicks their own comics is that they have to be completely independent and self sufficient, without interference from their mentors. It's why early Robin issues constantly suffered from the "broken communicator" problem. Robin would stumble across the Penguin or the Joker and think, "Oh no, this is too big for me to handle alone." He'd then try to call Batman, but for whatever reason can't get through, so he'd have to solve his problem alone.

Nightwing should have been easier, and was, in a sense. Dick's an adult, and thus relocation is plausible, keeping him from being under Bruce's direct influence. Making him a cop as his day job was an interesting idea as well, a way to explore justice in both a civilian and vigilante direction.

The thing was, the creative team wanted it both ways. They wanted Dick able to act independently from Bruce, but they wanted him near enough to participate in any and all crossover events. Thus Bludhaven, only half an hour away from Gotham, might has well have been the other side of town.

Given that Dick was so close, they'd need to manufacture additional reasons to keep him separate from the others. Which led to constant isolation.

The problem though is that Dick Grayson's strength is in his interactions and bonds with people. But by isolating him, they turned his emotional strength into a crippling weakness. What use is it being the charismatic, diplomatic liaison character when there's nothing to liaise. He was fine on the Titans because he could lead, thus his primary strength remained a strength, but in Nightwing?

On his own, his greatest strength is a weakness. And unless they wanted to go with constant crossovers, they had to play it up. So the Batman/Nightwing relationship ended up constant repetitions of: Misunderstanding->"Bruce doesn't love me!"

So the angst starts piling up. Now, at the risk of being sexist, I think it's fair to say female fans tend to be more attracted to angst than male fans. Soap operas, romance novels, and chick flicks tend to play it up. Not to mention that at his best, Dick is attractive, sexy and charming.

So they play that up too, Dick becomes a giant playboy, with Kory, with Barbara, with other women. Because it's fun. As well, the angst rises too. The relationships by nature can't really work out because pairing off a solo character tends to be tricky. Yeah, they managed with Superman, but that was after how many years? And especially with such a fangirl-bait character. Dick can't marry Barbara because it would mess with both of their solo comic lines. Dick can't marry Kory because, honestly, the relationship tends to lack a lot of the resonance that Dick/Babs has for long term fans. Kory's a great character, but I don't think anyone seriously believed that marriage to work out.

Now, a natural side effect of the conflict keeping him artificially isolated from the rest of the group is that when he *does* show up in crossovers, the Batman/Nightwing conflict starts to dominate. Leading to more "Bruce-doesn't-like-me" woe. It's a vicious cycle.

When the Titans is cancelled with Graduation Day, Dick loses the outlet for his good points. Outsiders was/is fun, but Dick's constant dwelling on Donna's death left him acting like an's depressing that that characterization is still more appealing than what's in Nightwing.

But the downside is that where there had been *one* comic where Nightwing wasn't angsty, and got to show his strength, now none of them do that.

Now Dick Grayson has been made synonymous with gratuitous angst instead of Batman-level competence with a more approachable, cheerful demeanor. And writers like to tear him down even further.

To give Ms. Grayson credit, I believe her tear-down-Nightwing arc was meant to ultimately make a stronger character in the end. The problem is, that kind of long term plan doesn't make sense in a comic format. Because unlike a book, readers have to keep buying issues, and if they're not having fun, they're going to stop. And editorial mandate can interfere, as they probably did here, and leave you with an unsatisfying conclusion.

But what does that leave us with? A character whose *status quo* is his emotional torment and enforced isolation. So naturally to keep the quo, they're going to take more from him, up to and including his natural ability.

And it's especially annoying because some of this is *fixable*. The Nightwing portrayals that have been the best thus far, Obsidian Age and Infinite Crisis *also* took steps to help resolve things between Bruce and Dick. Which the Nightwing writers seem to be ignoring.

The Bruce/Dick conflict is *unnecessary*. Bruce trusts Dick enough to do his job, and now he's farther away from Gotham anyway, that interference from the Bat is not an issue. The writers of Robin have figured out that Tim is independent enough to maintain his own adventures with only the occasional appearance from Batman.

And even Batman writers have realized that it was time for a change. He's actually being a *mentor* to Tim, treating him as a very competent young man who still needs some guidance instead of his destined successor to be molded. And he apparently took Tim and Dick to a team building thing in Budapest.

Which means he's *trying*. He's reaching out to Selina and Helena also.

Before OYL both characters made steps. With each other in Infinite Crisis, with others in IC, Dick proposed to Barbara (which I honestly doubted would work given their temperaments...and I don't want to see a great character like Barbara stuck with that wet blanket...she deserves better), and Bruce even ended up reaching a break through with the Birds of Prey.

But where Bruce gets to keep his development and growth OYL, Dick's back to the depressingly repetitive status quo. I have never liked Batman, but now...I'm liking him more than Nightwing. And that's just wrong.

The thing is, Dick Grayson isn't unsalvageable. Yet. But something drastically needs to be done. First, the creative team has to finally let go of the Dick=angst idea. A little angst is fine, but this is ridiculous. They need to finally remember who Dick Grayson is supposed to be. He's more than a grown-up Robin. He's a man with all of the training necessary to be a Batman, but who also knows how to work with people, how to lead and inspire without fear.

Once, Ms. Simone said with regards to Barbara Gordon: Barbara is Batgirl is Oracle is Batgirl. The strength that initially inspired a young librarian to dress up and fight crime in high heels and a mask is always in the character even as she herself has grown into a strong woman.

The same should apply to Dick Grayson. We should be able to say Dick is Robin is Nightwing is Robin. But I think people have forgotten that.

They've forgotten that Dick Grayson is *supposed* to be the strongest of the Batclan, not the weakest. He's the boy that, having experienced the same crushing loss as Bruce, did NOT let it corrupt his indomitable spirit. The first Robin wasn't a flawed and reckless boy killed in the line of duty, nor was he a lonely, brilliant child looking for human connection in the form of a man in a mask.

When Tim Drake became obsessed with the Batclan, it wasn't because of Batman, it was *Robin*. Robin had been his inspiration and his draw. Tim Drake became Robin because "Batman needs a Robin", but his initial idea was to get Dick Grayson to do it again. Because Batman needed *that* Robin. He needed Dick Grayson. He needed *light*.

The Robin is the bird of the morning, the light of hope in the dark Gotham night that things are *going* to get bright again. That day is on its way. And no one embodied that more than Dick Grayson. The strength to see the darkness of the night and yet firmly belong to the day, unwavering and optimistic and bright and beautiful.

And that's what Dixon, Grayson and Jones and their editorial teams have forgotten in all the angst and sex. But just because Dick has grown past Robin, doesn't mean he should lose everything he was. Dick Grayson is light.

Don't let Jason Todd overshadow Dick in his own damn title. Let Dick *be* what he's supposed to be. Bring that light back to the DCU!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Reason #46 to love Guy Gardner,

It occurs to me that Guy Gardner is one of those characters that can do pretty much *anything* a plot requires and it'll be hilarious and yet oddly fitting.

Anything from opera singing, cooking, sewing, juggling, riding a unicycle. *anything*.


It'd be like:

Lantern A: "Wait? You mean we've got to bake a *quiche* for 14 people in the name of Galactic Peace?! And we can't use our rings?"

Lantern B: "What the hell is a Quiche?!

Then, we have Guy, who rolls his eyes and pulls on an apron, "Step aside, rookies." And he will show them how it's done.

It'd be completely random, and'll be somehow completely believable every time. Sure he can play the pan-flute! Why *wouldn't* he know all the words of "H.M.S. Pinafore"?! Of *course* he can speak Norse-Ice-Deity!*

(*I didn't make this one up. He speaks Norse-Ice-Deity in Warrior 25. Ice taught him.)

It doesn't work with sane characters like Hal, John or Kyle. But Guy, Guy's just crazy enough to be able to do *anything*.

Except style hair.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Geoff Johns is a Mean Man:

Once upon a time, circa 1999 to be exact, there was a mini-series out called JSA Returns. It takes place in the forties and has different issues centering on different folk. My favorite, which I've posted scans from before, is "A Terrifying Hour", which involves a team up of the Sandman, Sandy, Star Spangled Kid, and Stripsey.

It's cute and fun and very similar in tone to old Sandman issues. But there were a few bits, that keeping in mind what's gonna happen in their future...well, they're just mean. I've quoted them before, but I've never posted scans. NOW I have pictorial evidence.

Like this one:



...darn you, Mr. Johns! You couldn't just have it be a cute fun story! You had to put those...little asides in didn't you? Just to make *me* wince!

Darn you!

And as a bonus, Pat Dugan was a great guy, but his costume was really really bad.

...and really bad in this case actually means horrendous.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My First Comic Experience

For First Comic Week:

I honestly can't remember my first comic, though I have the vague recollection of being a Fantastc Four issue picked up at a flea market. The only scene I really recall from it was Johnny Storm, in college, getting heckled by some students and finally losing it, his head bursting into flame.

I wasn't really into comics at the time. At all. But I remember finding that scene interesting. Especially how he berated himself afterwards for his lack of control. I mean, here was a hero who not only had no secret identity, thus having no sanctuary from anyone with a grudge against their hero form. I remember also being intrigued by the unique pressure having weird powers would cause. The responsibility that even hot-tempered and impulsive characters have to restrain themselves around other, weaker people.

That scene did more to highlight the issue of power and responsibility for me than any stupid web-slinger's catch phrase.

I think it's also why in general, I tend to like a lot of the uptight, restrained characters. Scott Summers is my favorite X-Man, for reasons that seem to be shared by no one else. :-) But I admire him because while he's as flawed as any of the others, he has to keep himself to a higher standard. It's easy, I think, to be the cool rebel like Wolverine. To bitch about the boss and lash out at authority. All the guy fans admire your freedom and take-no-shit attitude and the girls (well, the straight girls) fantasize about being the one to awaken your romantic side.

But see, Wolverine can do that because the others don't depend on him to be anything else. He's pointed in a direction and let loose.

When you're the responsible one, you can't do that. Because people depend on you and if you fail them, bad things happen. And look at powers for a second, Wolverine can be so unrestrained because his powers are effectively passive. His healing power isn't going to hurt anyone else, and his claws, while deadly, still have to get controlled by his damn arm.

But characters like Scott, like Ororo, like Jean. Characters with powers that react to their emotional state or *can't* be controlled by any means but iron restraint and ruby quartz glasses. Well, they can't afford to be like Wolverine. If they were, well, we've seen Dark Phoenix (before the clone retcon) and Ororo lose their minds. We've seen Cyclops, without glasses or visor, keeping his eyes clenched very tight so not even a glimmer gets out to hurt someone. And if you've ever tried to keep your eyes clenched shut like that, you know. It *hurts*. A lot.

I love comics that explore what it really means to be powerful and have to hold back. Like in Supergirl 5, the saving grace of that series was Clark telling Kara (s) that because he developed his powers in a place where he could seriously have hurt people, he *always* held back. And had for all his life. And then he does the smackdown. And it's awesome.

The Lanterns are good for this too. Even the ones you wouldn't expect. One of the first Guy Gardner related stories I read was a JLA crossover (Which I was reading for the Blue Beetle), where one moment, Guy Gardner was being his usual jerk self and trying to take over, and the next...he'd killed a bad guy. And then caused a great deal of havoc. The entire Justice League barely kept him contained. With some help from a ragged looking Guy Gardner. Who reveals that basically this guy is him without the restraint. Which causes skepticism in the others...but he's right. The evil Guy Gardner *is* him without restraint, without some subtle bit of humanity that the original maintained. It's really does make one take a closer look at the character.

Circle of Fire had a similar element, with Oblivion wreaking havoc from Kyle Rayner's subconscious. He took out the *Justice League* man. With his repressed emotions. It's a failed attempt at control but interesting nonetheless. Kyle's temper is pretty formidable, but he's never lost control of his abilities. He even takes off his ring now when he sleeps, because unlike every other Lantern, his powers work while subconscious.

Even the initial Superboy/Superboy fight in IC tied into this for me. Like almost everyone else I was getting really impatient with Conner to get up and *do* something already. I was starting to really dislike his inactivity after Luthor had taken control. I sympathized but wanted to scream "Get over it!". But when seeing the sheer lack of restraint of Superboy Prime. His inability to control himself, to slow down, to consider truly the people around him... Well, it made me a lot more sympathetic to Conner. He might have been sitting on his ass...but he was doing it in a dumb attempt to not be that guy. In contrast, I didn't pity Superboy Prime at all. The first death might have been an accident, but the moment he saw that and *didn't* *stop*, I lost any sympathy I had for him.

(And for the record, I think there was way too many parallels between Conner's death and Clark's, up to and including slightly crazy genius type trying to clone them. I think in much the same way that Clark came back with a mullet to find a little clone of him flying around and wreaking havoc, Connor's gonna find a clone of *him*-sorta- wreaking havoc itself. Maybe without the mullet though.)

This amazes me really, because I'd never thought of it before. But it really does all tie into that *one* single scene I read way, way back when. Even though I wouldn't start reading comics with any real interest until January of 2005...many, many years later.

That's so bizarre.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Context is for the WeaK...Again!

How about this panel from Adventure 495:

DC Comics have changed a lot over the years, but one thing will always remain the same.

It kind of sucks being Aqualad.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sibling Rivalry and Harbingers of Doom: Musings on Hal and Guy in Green Lantern

I'm sure it's a shock to no one by now, that I love the Lanterns. I love all of them, though not equally. I love reading about them. And I plan to buy GL, GLC, and Ion when they come. I also like reading older issues as is probably evident, for different things.

Something I particularly look for in older issues is the relationship between Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner. It fascinates me. There's a lot of complexity there, for all their surface rivalry. And it always seems like I'm noticing new elements the more I read. And today I'm going to ramble incoherently about them.

It occurs to me that no matter how much of a jackass Guy's portrayed as, no matter how damaged/crazy/irrational/childish he is, he's got very clear and understandable reasons to be furious at Hal Jordan.

Because Hal Jordan is a curse on Guy's existance. Seriously. I love Hal, but it's true. And Hal is a dick which doesn't help.

Sorry, he is. In fact, that's one of the reasons that I never really understood the Hal-is-too-perfect-to-be-interesting argument. Because honestly, reading old and new issues. He's *not*, he's got a lot of very very obvious flaws. And a lot of these can be seen in his interactions with Guy Gardner.

Hal is a control freak. He's largely incapable, especially at the beginning of his series, of having an equal relationship with anyone. He's a taker and he doesn't like yielding any ground. We can see that a lot in his relationship with Carol. When she gets promoted, a lot of his forwardness is to get her back of course, but a lot of it is also to establish dominance. There are many scenes in her office where he's leaning over her, using his physicality to establish a more powerful position. And when he becomes Green Lantern, that identity plays into his little power games.

We see that with Guy as well. When he first meets Guy, it's because he finds out through his ring that he and this young gym teacher in Baltimore were equal contenders for the ring, and Hal won out because of distance. Hal decides that he will meet this guy and make him his alternate. Which seems like a good plan, and is.

But the interesting thing is how Hal goes about it. According to Secret Origins 7, which revisits this meeting (which I presume is back to being canon now that ED/EDII is retconned out) Hal just shows up out of the blue at the gym. He never says the real reason he's there of course, and instead says that some guys at the gym recommended him as a ballgame opponent. That's very telling. Either he's lying, or he's telling the truth. If he's lying, that's another way for Hal to establish his dominance. *He* knows why he's there. He knows their connection, which Guy picks up on a little but doesn't understand. And if it's the truth, well, it still means Hal is establishing dominance...he'd deliberately coaxed information about the person he's coming to see to prepare him for the meeting. Guy would never have that advantage.

Interestingly, despite the rapport between them on that trip, when Hal's having trouble with his ring and decides to go to Oa and chooses Guy to take his place, he does it as "Green Lantern" not as Guy's friend "Hal Jordan". And while I understand the secret identity thing with regards to relationships, he was picking his replacement here. One he knew and sought out specifically because he knew the kind of man he was. But instead of approaching as a friend asking for a favor, Hal goes for the awe instead.

It's also interesting that he gives Guy no training whatsoever for the role, though it's implied that the Guardians dropped some basic knowledge into his head. But for all intents and purposes, Guy Gardner had probably *less* training for the role than Kyle Rayner (who at least got to train with the Justice League, Alan Scott and the Titans).

Of course what happens next, the explosion of the battery, sending Guy straight into Sinestro's clutches, isn't really Hal's fault. He had no way of knowing what would happen. But if you look at it from Guy's perspective, especially after he wakes up from that seven year coma, crazy as a loon and severely mentally impaired, it becomes easy to see Hal as the bad guy. Hal was a friend, that even if they'd only really hung out for a few weeks, had established enough of a rapport that Guy was excited about the prospect of meeting up with him in California when he's with the kids on their class trip. So all the poor guy understands is that this person he'd thought was his friend sought him out under *false pretenses*, handed him a ring with no real preparation or warning, just in time for the battery to blow up in his face the second time he uses it, and then slowly woos his girlfriend and is about to *marry* her, while he's being tortured by Hal's enemy, just to get at *Hal*.

And he's really lost everything at this point. He's just spent seven years in a coma, the kids he's taught, probably in college now. Casual friends, well, they've long since lost touch I'd imagine. And he certainly can't go back to his job. Teaching kids now? When he's pretty much got the mental capacity of an angry ten year old himself?

And it all came about when Hal entered his life.

It's fascinating really, how every occurrance of Guy being depowered comes about because of Hal. Guy ends up losing the Green Lantern ring because Hal comes out of *nowhere* pretty much and decides he wants his job back, then they fight for it.

Then for a while, Guy's got the yellow ring he'd stolen from Sinestro's grave. How does he lose it? When Parallax, through Hal, reabsorbs it. Parallax also killed alot of people Guy had grown to care about by Kilowog who'd become a very good friend, despite explosive beginnings. And indirectly, though I don't think Guy has ever blamed him for this, he's the reason Guy wasn't there when Ice was killed, as Guy was looking for the means to get powers again and help stop Hal.

Even as late as Rebirth, Hal is the Harbinger of trouble for Guy. The re-emergence of Parallax (again through Spectre-Hal) indirectly causes Guy's Vuldarian DNA and powers to turn against him. And this isn't power even remotely derived from Hal, like the rings could be said to have, this power was Guy's *birthright*. It's both inheritance and earned through Guy's own quest. The explosion also destroys Warriors in the process.

Guy's once again lost everything, but the ring and the Corps.

But what's really interesting is that for all this, Guy doesn't hate Hal. Guy's actually, it could be argued *never* hated Hal. He liked to fight with Hal, but GL v3 actually tended to play up the rivalry aspect more than anything else.

And Guy genuinely cared about Hal when he was Parallax. In Emerald Fallout, he was trying to reach Parallax!Hal even as they beat the crap out of each other. And he actually let Parallax!Hal remain at Arisia's funeral, because of what she meant to both of them. Parallax!Hal had a monument in Warriors as well, with the rest of the Lanterns. Guy wasn't like Kyle, he truly believed that Parallax was just Hal having lost his mind, but in a way that makes those things even more powerful. Because he really *did* care.

In Rebirth and Recharge, he pokes at Hal a lot verbally, but it's more like a game than anything else. Like a kid brother trying to get a rise out of the older one. It's fun. Besides it *was* dumb that Hal flew without his damn ring. 'Bout time someone called him on it.

Guy Gardner: Warrior actually made a lot of the Hal/Guy relationship from Guy's perspective make a great deal of sense. In a early story we're introduced to Guy's backstory, through alien induced flashbacks. And there we become acquainted with Guy's older brother, Mace.

Mace was quite a bit older than Guy, somewhere between five and ten years from the look of it, and he was the golden child. Star athlete, good at school. Everyone loved him. From the teachers to his father. Where Guy himself couldn't do anything right. The thing is, Mace had a flawed streak, from when little Guy caught him smoking pot, and didn't tell his father. A few years later, Mace, now a cop, took it upon himself to scare his little brother straight, involving lots of physical pummelling naturally. But it's when his brother is shot and paralyzed, presumably in the line of duty, it comes out that he'd gone bad and was now in disgrace. Mace apparently commits suicide after that, but later turns up as the bad guy Militia. In a metal suit, and pretty much intent on wreaking havoc on his little brother.

The thing is, for all that they fought, they were still family. Whenever Dementor or Major Force targetted Mace, Guy was there to try to stop them. It was clear that no matter what else, Guy loved his brother, even if they never got a chance to reconcile.

The parallels between Mace and Hal are pretty easy to spot. Hal is also, one reckons, about five to ten years older than Guy. Hal was also the golden guy, the exalted, perfect Lantern. Hal was flawed, but no one ever seemed to see those flaws, whereas Guy always ended up stuck being compared unfavorably. Hal finally went bad. When he was good, Hal was overbearing, insensitive and self-absorbed, like Mace. When he was bad, well, the fight in Emerald Fallout's pretty fucking brutal.

They even both like nifty armor.

The difference of course, for Guy, is that where Mace is lost completely (dead, though probably easily resurrectable, I hope they do. Mace is fun), Hal *came back*. Hal rose up from his own ashes, and Guy's gotten *one* brother back.

Now where it'll go from here? Who knows? But I'm really really looking forward to when they both team up in GL...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Rebirth: The One Thing I Hated

You know, as much as I loved Rebirth. Which I certainly did. But I am very upset with Mr. Johns for one thing.

No, it wasn't for bringing back Hal. I liked Hal. It wasn't for retconning Parallax, I think the retcon makes sense and adds an interesting element to Hal, basically naming him *weakest* of the Lanterns by being first to succumb. It wasn't for marginalizing Kyle, as Kyle was, as I see it, the hero of the piece as much as Hal.

It *certainly* wasn't for restoring Guy and John, or even getting rid of the Vuldarian-ness.

But it will be a long time before I forgive Mr. Johns for the unceremonious way he destroyed "Warriors".

I understand that Guy needed his ties to Earth cut dramatically, so he could be made the familiar human face of the space-based GLC. I understand that with regards to his character, having the bar had outlived its potential.

I would have been fine if Guy had left it. Or if he'd set someone else up to run it. Or if he just closed it and let it lie.

But in a burst of uncontrolled power, Warriors is destroyed. And that seriously upsets me.

Because that place wasn't only a bar. It was a museum to the superhero community. Lobo's cycle was there. JLA artifacts were there. Monuments to commemorate the Green Lanterns were there. Kyle's panting of all of them together... It was a marvelous way to put an accessible face on the superhero community, because anyone could go there and possibly comingle with heroes...even if they were in disguise. This is valuable! And would be even more so now, considering how often they're showing Diana snapping Max's neck on every tv screen in the country.

But it's more than that. Warriors was a *memorial*. Not just the Parallax statue, mind you. Though that's what gets the most attention. There were statues of *Ice* in there. Tora Olafsdotter as only a few people remember her. There was in particular a small figurine made by Queen Olaf herself of Tora and Guy, in her daughter's memory, given with deep, genuine love for the man she now called her son. Those are probably destroyed. Even G'nort's water bowl was there, apparently, behind the stairs...I'd imagine Arisia had some items displayed for commemoration as well.

Some of what was lost: (From Warrior 39)

I might be sensitive. My highschool was located in a museum, and I worked an internship there. And there's one thing, that even when the museum itself started to get boring (as anything would after every day for four years), I never could forget. These things there...they belonged to people. People like you and me. People who were probably long dead. Some might be in the history books, some never would be, but even the history books lie. They exaggerate. They make assumptions. No one really remembers the man or woman behind the legend.

But what we do have left from them are these things. Material objects. Completely worthless in their own right, but as the symbols of these people who are gone and forgotten...they're priceless. And the thought of something happening to these things, these things that commemorate people I will never even's heartbreaking.

And Mr. Johns just did that. Yeah it's fictional, but it was symbolic. And he just destroyed it so *casually*. Turn the page, well, Guy has the ring again. Back to Hal and Kyle.

But as horrifying as I'd find the loss of the worse would it be if the memorials were of people I knew and remembered. If these paltry little items were all that was left beside my own memories. All treasured and displayed with all the love and emotion I never showed them.

And to have it destroyed with his own *power*. Without even a nod afterwords. It's monstrous. And even moreso that we never saw what happened when this sank in. When he realized what was lost.

I mean if nothing else, last we heard in Warrior, his mom was living upstairs, ya know.

I know the loss of objects doesn't compare with the loss of people, but when you've got something like a museum. Like an exhibit. Like a memorial. The objects take on much much more meaning than that. They become important in their own right. Like the Museum has for me, Warriors had to have seemed almost like its own entity to the characters in the comics.

Its "death" deserved a lot more respect.