Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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

Friday, June 30, 2006

Random Thoughts, Special Convention Edition

I stole this bit from Mallet, as I'm too buzzed to do a real entry, so here goes the special Friday Convention edition.

-Conventions are fun!
--12 hours in a car isn't.

-I like West Virginia. It's lovely at dawn.
--Virginia on the other hand is very foggy and annoys me. In fact I think I hate Virginia.
---The speeding ticket might have something to do with that... :-)
----Hey, my first ticket! A milestone...if an expensive one. Ouch.

-J.M. Straczynski is a funny guy.
--Dan Didio is also very amusing.
---I got to ask the question Ragnell wanted me to ask. Seemed to surprise them. :-) AND got to ask my own question. I'm happy. And I got a pin!
----Also got a picture with him and got to chat a little, that was pretty neat!
-----The others were funny too. :-)

-I still think Nightwing should have died.

-Dealers rooms are fun too.
--Lots of things I can't afford. Especially given my dislike of Virginia (:-P).
---I'm happy though, apparently one of the dealers has Young All-Star issues that he didn't bring, so I might be able to finally buy them, yay.

-I'm sad though that I can't go to the Writing Workshop, that was the panel I was looking forward to. But it's at noon on Sunday and I have to go back so the roommate can go to work.
--On the other hand, tonight we're going to see Superman Returns! Yay!

Catch you guys later!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Convention, ho!

Okay, so I'm going to be heading down to Charlotte for my first-ever comic book convention (road trip, yay), and I'm not completely sure how much Internet access I'll have while there.

It might be that I manage to post something Thursday Night/Friday Morning but there's the chance I won't be able to post until Monday.

This might be my first posting gap in the (relatively short) history of PFP!


Find a New Defense, Guys

We've heard it before. The defense for the objectification/over-sexualization of women. "Guys are objectified/sexualized too!" The defense for the predominance of rape or sexualized violence. "Guys are victims too!" And really no one's denying that.

But it's not a defense either.

Let's take a core issue for Girl-Wonder here. The treatment of Stephanie Brown. It's true that on one hand, I don't share their crusade for the memorialization of Steph as Robin, but there is definitely one aspect with which I agree whole-heartedly.

The inappropriateness of the sexualization of Stephanie Brown's torture. At Project Girl-Wonder, the comparison is made to Jason Todd's death as portrayed in the same series. Which is a pointed comparison indeed. However, I'd like to examine a comparison from another angle.

As it is, the defense could be made that Jason's death is portrayed differently because his death was relatively faster. It's not, one could argue, in character for the Joker to linger over his victims, to torture them, the way Black Mask does. The Joker's beatings are not as inclined to leave such decorous looking victims.

And it is true that some male characters are given quite sexualized torture/domination scenes as well. So why not, I ask myself, make the comparison with one of those? Let's see how "it happens to men, too" really applies.

Warning, Graphic Images Within

All right, first, the Stephanie Brown images (Taken from

Okay, I don't know about you, but I'd call that sexualized. Notice how the Spoiler costume, normally loose and unrevealing, happens to cling to every curve. Notice the arch of the back, the positioning that very much highlights breasts and hips. She's being tortured to death and she looks *sexy*. It's like something out of a snuff-fetish film.

Black Mask verbally adds to the sexualization of the scene when he says, "... you're pretty as a peach, but not exactly one of Batman's smarter minions, are you? Maybe he used you for your other, more obvious advantages, eh? Keep up morale? Keep the troops happy?"


Now for the comparison, this is the torture of Sanderson Hawkins as seen in the JSA Elseworld, The Unholy Three:

Now, see, to me, I'd say this scene is of comparable sexualization as the first. He's not as pretty, of course. He's allowed to be blood covered. Also as he's a male character, it's a bit harder to make his sexual characteristics as obvious as they've made hers without crossing the invisible line between eroticism and pornography. However, noticing the posture and scene dynamics of the first panel, there's a faint trace of sexualization as well (in the line of the body), but nowhere near to the extent of hers. However, his subsequent panel features the villain *climbing on top of him*, which brings up the sexualization quotient to equal the first scene I think.

There's even a comparative when the bad guy, an alien, says: "...But I'll also learn everything about you. From the little-boy nicknames your mother called you, to what you prefer for breakfast each day, to the time and place you lost your virginity."

It's less overt than Black Mask's, on one sense, but the manner in which the example veers toward sex (coupled with the notion of mental invasion) could be seen to add a similar, verbal sexual component.

So yeah, it happens to men too, so we shouldn't complain, right?

Wrong. Because it happens to men *differently*.

See, even though I find the panels themselves to both be quite sexualized, that doesn't mean the circumstances involving each are even remotely the same.

The torture of Sanderson Hawkins comprised of exactly two pages. We saw the aftermath of physical torture and the initialization of the next phase (which the character will not survive). After these two pages, the story proceeded with the other characters and plot events.

The torture of Stephanie Brown encompassed an entire comic book. There were a few interlude scenes with Batman and/or Tim Drake, but the bulk of the book was devoted to this character's torture.

The torture of Sanderson Hawkins was in Unholy Three, an Elseworlds story specifically centered toward adult readers.

The torture of Stephanie Brown was in Robin, during the War Games event. Regardless of whether War Games was adult oriented or not, Robin is a book geared toward young readers. *Kids* are reading Robin.

The torture and death of Sanderson Hawkins was in an elseworld. Not in main continuity. Sure *that* version might have died quite ignobly, but the "real" heroic version remained alive and well. (And when the superhero "died", temporarily, it was during dramatic, heroic self-sacrifice.)

The torture and death of Stephanie Brown wasn't in an elseworld. That was it. The character that many people cared deeply for, tortured and died like that. Portrayed as coming from her own mistake. She doesn't get a heroic self-sacrifice. Her death is portrayed as being ultimately of her own doing.

Then to add insult to injury, remember the male victim is an adult in his early twenties. The female victim was a teenager.

And this is the kind of thing we're upset about. Even if the storyline called for Stephanie Brown to die, she didn't have to die in such a sexualized fashion, when her male counterparts had much more neutral deaths and the only comparatively sexualized scene involving a male victim that *I* can think of was in a for-mature-readers Elseworld.

There's something off there. I'm not sure what. But there is something distinctly unequal and distinctly not right. And it's something we have to stop.

Damned List B Side, Progress Report

Okay, so I'm sure you guys all know about Ragnell and my little project.

Anyway, we thought now's a good time for an update. For the most part, it'll look the same as last time, I reckon. A few things changed around, a few references added, a few confirmed/rejected. But here's where we are on the guys' side right now:

(Please note that this is NOT the full list, it's a work in progress. We're still working on tracking down and confirming these instances. The complete list will use the checklists shown above, with specific citations and context information.)


Apollo (Authority 14)
Bigby Wolf (Fables 14)
Bruce Banner (Hulk: Future Imperfect)
Clark Kent/Superman (Action 592-593)
Dick Grayson/Nightwing (Nightwing 93)
Foggy Nelson (false pretenses, ref. needed)
Gim Allon/Colossal Boy (false pretenses: ref needed)
Grant Emerson/Damage (Titans 17-19)
Guy Gardner/Warrior (Warrior 39)
Hawley Griffin/Invisible Man (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen v2 #5)
Herr Starr (Preacher #14)
Jack Knight/Starman (Starman 16)
Jo Nah/Ultra Boy (false pretences: ref needed)
John Constantine (Swamp Thing v2, 27)
Johnny Storm/The Human Torch (false pretenses, ref. needed)
Kon-El/Conner Kent/Superboy (Statuatory, Teen Titans Annual)
Mikaal Tomas/Starman ("Stars My Destination")
Namor (false pretences: ref needed)
Oliver Queen (ref needed)
Peter Parker (Spider Man/Power Pack PSA)
Simon Williams/Wonder Man (ref needed)
Swamp Thing (Swamp Thing v2 #60)
Tom Strong (#4)
Tom Strong (#23)
Vril Dox II/Brainiac (ref needed)
Wade Wilson/Deadpool (false pretenses: off panel between Deadpool Vol. 1 #12 and #13)


Bruce Banner/Hulk (Rampaging Hulk 23)
Jack Knight/Starman (Stars My Destination)
John Constantine (Tainted Love)
Wolverine (ref. needed)


Andreas Struker/Swordsman (ref. needed)
Jason Todd/Robin (Dark Knight Returns)
Guy Gardner/Warrior (Warrior 22)
Lobo (Hitman/Lobo One-shot)
Maxwell Dillon/Electro (ref. needed)
Roy Harper/Arsenal (Outsiders 17)
Sanderson Hawkins/Sand (JSA 18)
Scott Summers/Cyclops (ref. needed)
Todd Rice/Obsidian (ref needed)

Symbolic: (violations that are not sexual in nature but still rob the victim of autonomy of mind or body, includes possession, mind control, forced transformations)

Guy Gardner/Green Lantern (GL v2 124)
Guy Gardner/Warrior (Warrior 25-referring to GL v3/JLI period)
Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (GLC 213)
Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (Parallax Storyline)
Jack Hawksmoor (ref needed)
Jason Blood (Demon #0)
Jean-Paul Barbier/Northstar (Alpha Flight, ref needed)
John Stewart/Green Lantern (Mosaic)
Kyle Rayner/Green Lantern (Green Lantern 131)
Rokk Krinn/Cosmic Boy (Legion of Super Heroes v4, 96)
Sanderson Hawkins/Sand (Creature in the Velvet Cage)
Sanderson Hawkins/Sand (DC Comics Presents 47)
Sanderson Hawkins/Sand (JSA 11-12)
Scott Summers (Apocalypse Storyline)


Anything you guys can add, anything I've missed, do contribute. The categories are in the links above! And Ragnell's got the women updated as well.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How it works!

How's this for neat!

The inner workings of the wirepoon gun!

It makes perfect sense now! Thank you World's Finest #7!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Where No Woman Had Gone Before:

I've grown up on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Literally. I have memories of being four-five years old, sitting on the couch next to my dad as that theme song played. I remember that I loved it so.

At one point I learned to play something resembling the that theme on my trumpet. (The original series one was beyond me, I'm sorry to say) It was the proudest moment I had at age ten or so.

One thing though, I was always disappointed in the treatment of women. I mean Deanna Troi? She was there to bang male aliens like Riker did the women, but with idiotic babble about romance instead. And Beverly Crusher's main purpose was to be the will-they/won't-they love interest for Captain Picard.

The women were beautiful and talented, but they never really had any role that wasn't either emotional support for a man, romance related, or related to motherhood. I waited seven years in vain for one of these two to show depth or development.

It was frustrating. Especially in the case of Deanna Troi. She was, in a way, a very similar character to Spock of the original series. A character caught between two worlds. She clearly favored her alien heritage as her dominant culture, demonstrated through mannerisms, customs, wardrobe and abilities, however she worked in human-dominated Starfleet, like her father. There should have been interesting cultural conflicts, divided loyalties and impulses, explorations of what it really was to be half one and half the other.

But she didn't get that. *Worf* got all the culture conflict aspects, *Data* got all the exploring humanity plots. And in one sense I'm happy for that. Worf and Data were vastly more interesting characters and deserved more exposure. But another part of me wonders if Deanna had gotten more stories like this, she would have been interesting too.

Certainly Gargoyles showed that Sirtis has the acting chops to keep up with the other two. (Even more surprisingly, it showed Frakes did as well.)

Beverly Crusher didn't even have that. She had unresolved romantic tension with Picard, long-suffering mother plots with her son, and was played by an actress who, while beautiful, had an emotional range consisting of passive, wooden, bland, and lifeless.

I was frustrated. Guinan and Lwaxana were interesting, but largely one-dimensional serene bartender or comic relief with maybe *one* episode of genuine development a piece. Ro or Tasha fit the Angry Young Woman, but really never got to be anything beside that.

Now I should tell you that having been very young when the series began, so I'm not 100% sure about whether I'd actually seen many of the second season episodes before and forgotten or if I'd somehow managed to miss it entirely. Regardless, when I saw the second season in reruns as a eight or nine year old, I was shocked and aghast.

They'd replaced Beverly Crusher! Sure she was pretty useless, especially as I'd just seen that godawful episode with the candle (blechh!) but she was ours!

I hated Doctor Pulaski at first. She was cranky. She was mean. She had messy hair and was old. She didn't like Data.

But something weird happened as I watched more episodes, especially as I was watching the newer episodes with Crusher near-simultaneously. The things I initially hadn't liked about Pulaski were starting to become really interesting.

After so many episodes of Gates McFadden's sighing, soft-voiced woodenness, the crankiness and irascibility were starting to grow on me. Muldaur was the better actress. Pulaski the wittier character. She didn't take anything lying down, but pushed forward just like the male characters. When something was annoying, she made sure that was known. She was like Dr. McCoy (the one without the fur, thanks), except with Boobs. And as I was a fan of both this series and the original, I didn't see this as a bad thing.

When the script called on Crusher to be angry, she showed it with soft sighs and softly nagging petulance. When the script called on Pulaski to be angry, her voice climbed, her stance grew aggressive. You took her seriously damnit.

She was "old" (though around the same age as Picard, really, but that probably says something about the ideas I was absorbing from media about women and age) and messy haired, but that was a nice change. I'd started to be frustrated by how often Troi or Crusher would be seen in pointless little scenes, brushing their hair, putting on jewelry, doing yoga/exercises. We never saw the guys doing that (though the barber was a plot point, that was for one episode, not repeatedly through many). Pulaski though? When we saw her, it was in the Sick Bay. It was on away missions. Once or twice, socializing with the guys on the holodeck. But most often it was her doing her damn job. So what if her hair was messy? She had better things to do.

And as for age? Well, for one thing it cut back on love interest status. She was much older than any of the main male cast except for Picard and thankfully, they weren't really inclined to rehash that (besides, he had younger fare). She did have the occasional vaguely romantic subplot, but they weren't terribly big deals and didn't interfere nearly so much with the main plot. Her past relationship with Will Riker's father served to demonstrate subtly that there was another side to Kate Pulaski as well as Kyle Riker but never resulted in idiotic "girl talk" during yoga class or over ice-cream. Theirs had been a past fling remembered fondly and treated maturely. And her chemistry with the holodeck's Moriarty was more subtly done than any of the younger women's plots. The chemistry was more intellectual than physical, it was believable and intriguing. And Pulaski kept a decent handle on her perspective through the whole thing.

And well, the thing with Data turned out to actually be the biggest draw of all. I suddenly realized that I was watching an ongoing subplot in which a *woman* was overcoming her prejudices and preconceptions. The "racist learning to move past his racism and respond to the individual" plot is traditionally a plot for a male character. When women are involved in these sorts of plots, it's almost never as the agent. The woman is passive, the victim of the prejudice or a bystander futilely criticizing the racist. The agent of the story, the active character is the racist. He pushes the action forward and its his growth that's the focus. In this, though, Pulaski was the agent.

Even if the Pulaski-Data thing was subtle, a side thing rather than a main plot, it was still a sign that this was not a character to be relegated to "women's stories".

I was fascinated. And very sad, because pretty soon the season was over and we were back with Crusher and her son and her tension with Picard and that was that.

Fortunately this wasn't the end. There would be Kira Nerys. There would be Jadzia Dax. There would be Kathryn Janeway. There would be Susan Ivanova. There would be Lili Marquette. There would be Beka Valentine. There would be Sam Carter. There would be Kara Thrace.

But before them, there was Kate Pulaski. And she was great.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Eligible Bachelors!

Okay, so over at Comics Fairplay, Heidi Meeley posted her lists of good and bad comic dates. It's very entertaining, and for the most part I don't disagree with her evaluations. (I'm not much for Wolverine, but Kyle's great...if you're a gal who likes romance, sensitive artists, and are suicidally-inclined but as yet unwilling to make the leap. :-P)

However, I have to take issue with her number one choice. Bruce Wayne?! (And he ranked *higher* than Doctor Midnite?!...must be the fact that he can spell.)

Okay, Bruce is hot, definitely. And rich. But think about it, the man's got two modes: bimbo or psycho. He never lets anyone get close. Not to mention, as Vicki Vale and Vesper Fairchild though, it's impossible to date him without ending up portrayed in a Frank Miller script or dead. I'll leave you to decide which is worse. :-P (Okay, so Sasha got better, but not until prison time and being OMACed).

And would you want Selina Kyle or Diana of Themiscyra as rivals?

But there is an option that has all the pluses of Bruce (sans Alfred, but if he's such a turning point for ya, you should marry *him*. Hey I would. Michael Caine's awesome even if he's old.) but is also much nicer, more approachable, and well-adjusted.

Mr. Terrific. Michael Holt is sexy, without a doubt. Brilliant enough that Batman borrowed his T-Sphere design, but easy going enough to like playing Scrabble like the rest of us. He's got that distance and sense of mystery, but still doesn't mind shopping for schoolbooks with Courtney Whitmore. He's clearly well off and even better seems to have come from more modest means, thus he'll probably have an appreciation of how intimidating wealth can be at first. Which is an underappreciated quality when you're dating someone well off. :-)

He's tough too and is in the JSA, which means back up's always just around the corner (moreover, he hasn't pissed them off by being careless with counter-plans, so they're more likely to come and help :-P). Gentlemanly. And did I mention how very attractive he is? *Definitely* the most eligible bachelor of the DCU.

Bruce who?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Initial Thoughts on Kate Kane:

Okay, as it's Sunday, I don't feel guilty any more about spoiling a comic that came out on Wednesday. Well, I do. But I'm a hypocrite. And too lazy for a post-cut. Sorry.

Anyway, we've now seen the first appearance of Kate Kane.

If you haven't seen it yet, scans_daily posted the scene here. Go look, I'll wait. :-)

Anyway, I have to admit, I'm intrigued. Part of it's because I really really like the Maltese Falcon.

But I'm liking Kate regardless. In a few pages, I'm getting a good idea of what kind of personality she is. From punching Montoya (who deserved it for that crack), already establishing that she's not the vacant barbie doll she looks like. And I particularly like her expression during that whole "I don't know. Possibly. Probably." panel. She might be speaking noncommittally, but her eyes and expression are very sharp. She's thinking.

And something about the line "Do I *look* like I spend time in the harbor district?" won me over. It's hard to explain, but it's a line with such a voice, that I immediately come away with an idea as to what Kate Kane is like.

I've read complaints about Kate being introduced first as Kate Kane rather than Batwoman, thus emphasizing her as the lesbian instead of the superhero, but I actually think this was the best way to go about it. With all the media buzz, Batwoman is already associated with lesbian. If they'd introduced her as Batwoman, it'd be a momentous scene that pulls the audience out of the story, it'd be more "See, THIS is the Batwoman you're all talking about!" She'd feel more exposed, random, like a tacked on token lesbian to the Gotham superheroes.

This way though, she's been nicely integrated into the story first instead of appearing out of nowhere. She's Kate Kane, Montoya's ex and Gotham heiress with some weird connection to the Question's target. She's already nicely integrated into the storyline. Now when she does appear as Batwoman it'll be a natural progression of the story. Renee's ex wants to investigate for herself, stirring up trouble on the way. If the media hadn't made such a huge deal, a lot of us probably wouldn't have realized she's supposed to be Batwoman and would have been surprised!

Now, well, if you're the one person who didn't know before I babbled, I'm sorry.

Anyway, it's a bit early to say for sure, but she seems like she'll be fun. I like what I see of her personality, I really like the tension and chemistry with Renee, and I can't wait to see her meet the Question. Or even better *Batman*.

And I really like that dress. That's one kickass dress. :-)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hear Us Talk!

Okay, so, Ragnell and I ended up interviewed in Lene Taylor's podcast.

The link's here, so you can hear what we sound like.

I'm the one with the piercing voice and the godawful lisp. Eek.

Anyway, I haven't listened yet (horrible stagefright), so I have no idea how I come across. Ragnell and Lene are worth listening to, though. :-)

(ETA: Having listened to it...Blechh, now I remember *why* I hate recordings of myself speaking.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Random Reaction to 52

52 #7 was a momentous issue for a lot of reasons. Naturally, there are a lot of reactions/questions floating around out there.

I have to admit though, upon reading it, my first reaction is still...:

How the *fuck* did they make *Ralph Dibny* hot?!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Social Class in Gotham City

I'm sure I've mentioned this before but I find elements of class psychology fascinating. One of my favorite JSA stories ever, for example, is that one where the 40s JSA have their little debate on class. I like to observe people, and class culture is a particularly interesting phenomenon to analyze. Especially in comic books.

Class Relations in the Bat-Clan (contains slight spoilers for this week's 52)The key to this analysis is, of course, Bruce Wayne. I've always suspected that a great deal of Batman's presence comes subconsciously from social cues he's learned since birth. They say there's a palpable difference between Old and New Money in terms of class. And they're right. It's not a matter of breeding of course, but it's a matter of culture. Learned behaviors that emphasize particular social patterns evolved over decades, if not centuries.

Matters such as "taste", "refinement" and "etiquette" can be taught, but like any knowledge, assimilation works best when you're young, where it gets buried into the subconscious.

Bruce Wayne has this. He's a socialite. He's been raised with notions of How To Act, complex etiquette and mechanisms to show his "breeding", to be at least subconsciously aware of how he's presenting himself at all times.

While Batman naturally doesn't portray the same image as Bruce Wayne, he's still got a lot of that ingrained social awareness, which he undoubtedly uses to its full extent. Look at the way younger characters like Wally or Kyle act around him, look at how he can stand equal with an Amazonian Princess and the most powerful man on Earth. He's a man used to being in charge, who knows without a doubt that this is his proper place. That seems like trained class arrogance at its most efficient.

What makes it fascinating is how class effects the interactions between him and the rest of the Gotham heroes. Dick for example is carnival folk. He became Bruce's ward at 13 or so, but all ready a little too late to have been fully indoctrinated in the social system. Dick's more approachable, but he'll never have the presence or arrogance of the Bat. As charming as he is, as privileged his upbringing as Bruce's ward, he still works a lot better as a police officer or a model than he would as a junior socialite.

This has interesting elements to his interaction with Bruce too. He's aware, on some level, of the social cues that Bruce utilizes as Bruce Wayne or Batman, but he often misreads them. Bruce's anger after a particularly disasterous mission gets read as being targetted toward poor performance rather than at particularly risky behavior. And he's effected by that because he's trained to respond consciously to the cues but not how to counter them, which may feed into the constant misunderstandings between Bruce and Dick.

Jason Todd was, on the surface, in the same position as Dick, but he turned out very differently. While also of a traditionally considered "low class" background, his actual upbringing was very different. Dick was carnival folk. Regardless about whether all those movies glamorizing the family structure that springs up around carnival life are true, he's still got supportive parents and close friends to rely on. Jason was a street urchin without anyone, really. Wis mentality is very "us against them" Batman wasn't a savior for him initially, he was a *mark*.

I'm not, of course, saying Jason turned out the way he did because of his background, but I think it did feed in with his relationship to Batman. His openness to be trained constantly warring with a wary skepticism. He was angry at the world and I don't think Bruce ever understood why. He wasn't really prepared for dealing with someone who came from Jason's situation, so he was trying the same methods that worked with Dick, and thus was never able to defuse the situation before Jason's recklessness got the better of him.

Steph, (I'm skipping Tim for a moment) parallels Jason in a lot of ways. Her father was a criminal, her mother an addict, her financial situation pretty dismal. She was never quite in Jason's position, to adopt a criminal vs. mark mentality though. She had some measure of support from her mother and her anger at her father helped motivate her to take up a hero mentality herself already.

Steph's relationship with Tim (and Bruce) has some elements of lower class to upper class. She's the renegade on the outskirts, he's the favored sidekick. She reacts to this with defiance. Defiance of social roles and expectations. She pushes at him, gets him to react, presses for training, company, to know who he is. Batman is the distant, stern authority figure. Even while she's his Robin, he's still the authority to obey/defy. She never really had the chance to develop anything more with him.

Tim Drake is the weird Robin. The successor. He's the first and only Robin to have a similar class background to Bruce himself. He's got the same awareness of social cues and the same unconscious training of how to use them. Like Bruce he was raised isolated during his formative years (through neglect instead of death) but very aware of his social responsibilities as the son of Jack Drake. In Young Justice, Tim uses, on a lower scale, the same social manipulation techniques Bruce does with the Justice League. Fascinatingly, perhaps due to his nature as an observer, Tim shows a lot more conscious awareness of those techniques than Bruce himself does.

Actually, it could well be because of the way Jack Drake lost his fortune. Suddenly being dropped into a more normal life was a turning point to the character, an element of chaos added into the mix. Batman's considered Tim his heir since Cataclysm, but this is where we first see signs of Tim actively fighting against it. Part of it might be the influence of Steph, Dick and Young Justice as well. With more exposure to the outside world instead of high society during his adolescence, Tim may have a better sense of perspective.

Tim's so far one of the few Gotham characters to really respond to Batman on something of an equal level. He's clearly subordinate, but it's an apprenticeship, not a familial bond. The big key though is that where Dick, Jason and Steph all had knee jerk reactions to Batman's persona (be they submission, anger or defiance), Tim was never one to be provoked into a reaction. His responses of obedience, disobedience, even fear where all more logical and intellectual rather than instinctual. Batman's usual tricks don't work on him.

Jim and Barbara Gordon are interesting because they're much more able and willing to act on an equal level with Bruce than any of the Robins. However, a slight class element can still be perceived. While Barbara and Jim have no intention of being subordinate to Batman and have shown themselves to be more than capable of standing up to him (That Birds of Prey scene is still the best ever!), they still show a certain subconscious reaction to his presence. A certain initial respect/awe, though neither character lets that get in their way. That element is reinforced also by the nature of the relationships between them. Jim relies on Batman to uphold justice in the city in the ways that he cannot, Barbara is something like an apprentice graduated. She had to prove herself *against* him.

Helena Bertinelli is one that should not be subordinate to Bruce, by all rights, as an adult woman taking the costume under her own initiative. Where Barbara had been quite young and thus open to the guiding force of a more experienced hero, there's no need for Helena to do the same. However, I think this is where the social cues come into play again. Helena's family was as rich as Bruce's however, theirs was a different social court than the upper crust WASP aristocracy. The mafia families, at least as portrayed in the comics and on television/movies, don't play with the same social techniques. It's more of a straightforward velvet gloved menace, and that's the kind of social cues she'd learn, rather than the subtle aristocratic arrogance. She's more than capable of using that menace as a vigilante, but it still leaves her unarmed when it comes to the more subtle power plays. Batman's unconscious impression of superiority leaves her grasping for approval, even though she's really got no need of it.

Cassandra Cain and Jean Paul Valley have interesting similarities. Their initial backstories couldn't be more different, but once Azrael's father died, the whole relationship with the Order of Saint Dumas does bear an interesting similarity with Cassandra's with David Cain. Both were essentially programmed, both resisted their programming and escaped. Both ended up aided by and allied to Batman.

In a weird sort of way, while Jean-Paul was adult, and Cassandra matured quickly through her experiences, Batman still ended up taking on a very direct paternal role. With Cassandra it's more obvious naturally, but even with Jean-Paul, he'd ended up naming the guy his temporary successor. He was a guiding figure, to follow and learn from and emulate. Both Cain and the Order are very powerful, very controlling forces. Batman's unconscious arrogance/projected superiority would have played into and against those memories, allowing him to essentially take their roles in Cassandra and Jean-Paul's lives.

Now why am I thinking of this now? Because we've just met Kate Kane in 52. And I have to say, I'm finding her very intriguing thus far. And it occurs to me, she has a potential for a very interesting clash with Bruce. I can't imagine he'll be terribly pleased with someone running around with a name derived from his.

Not to mention that as she's characterized thus far...I do not imagine her rolling over for him at all. She's an adult woman with the same arrogance and superiority he has. She's a socialite too, specifically emphasized as being of equal class status as Bruce Wayne. She'll know his techniques and the social counters. She'll be immune to his sexual charm.

This is going to be interesting.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

An Open Letter to Male Comic Fans:

Recent developments over the cause of comic-book feminism have gotten me thinking. I don't know if a lot of guys really understand what feminism's really about.

At least what *my* brand of feminism is really about.

So I'll tell you.

It's not really about the costumes, be they midriffs, boob windows, fishnet stockings. Yeah, some of them are silly. Some of them are stupid. And yeah, when I think they are, I'm gonna damn well say so. But I don't want female characters to go around in shapeless tracksuits any more than you do. I like most of the costumes, and while I might prefer it more if Kara Zor-El wore the Matrix Supergirl's costume and cheered when Huntress changed to the non-midriffed bodysuit, that's not what I really care about.

It's not about breast size. Look women come in all shapes and sizes. And in general, when it comes down to it, I like the variety in comics. I'd like to see more variety in comics. I certainly don't want Power Girl or Phantom Lady to suddenly become a b-cup or anything like that, (though I much prefer Phantom Lady in the recent BfB art style than the Freedom Fighters.) Regardless of what certain folks might think, I like Power Girl's breasts.

It's not about making comics less fun for guys. I don't begrudge you your action, attractive characters and power fantasies. I like them too. I don't begrudge you your eye-candy, though I want more male eye candy to balance out.

So what is it about?

It's about:

  • Rape/Sexual Assault Storyline being few and far between. It's got incredible evocative power. But only when used sparingly and subtly. It loses all sorts of impact when everyone and her mother has it in their backstory. It should Never be the default method of establishing strength and development in a female character.

  • Female characters being defined as more than just their male counterparts with boobs. Having two X-Chromosomes is not a sufficiently defined personality. Female characters should be as complex and developed as their male counterparts.

  • Female characters being no more or less sacrificed for a storyline than their male counterparts. Characters have to die sometimes, we understand that. But a hero character should neither be specifically targeted nor specifically spared because of their gender.

  • Female characters being on average of an equivalent competency level with their male counterparts. For every Steph Brown there should be an Oracle. For every Jennie-Lynn Hayden a Katma Tui. The woman should not always be the weakest of her ilk.

  • Writers caring as much about the consistency of the characterizations of their female characters as they do their males. We love these characters for their personalities as much as their appearances and powers, these should be kept consistent. Growth is a good thing, rampant out of character-ness for the sake of the plot is NOT. For a man or a woman.

  • Gender not being used as a crutch to stick to the same old archetypes. Men can be nurturers, women can be ball-breakers. Men can be sensitive, women can be sex-crazed. Variety is a wonderful wonderful thing.

    It's about respect.

    I don't want to spoil your fun. I don't want to make you feel bad or defensive. I don't think you're all misogynists and sexist jerks. I don't really see anything wrong, for example, with you liking to see attractive female characters in revealing clothing.

    I just want the gals to have personalities, brains and skill to go with their beauty. I want female characters to have the same respect and consideration as male characters. I don't think that's too much to ask.

    Our desires aren't mutually exclusive. We've got no reason to be adversaries. It would be very easy for us both to be happy. Think about it.
  • Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    A Link to Marston on Wonder Woman

    I found this while looking for When Fangirls Attack links.

    I want to find everyone who dismisses Wonder Woman as Marston's bondage kink made ink and paper and *make* them read this interview.

    The man's amazing. Even reading words expressed second-hand decades ago, I'm getting chills. Whether one agrees with him or not, whether one likes Diana or not, it's very obvious how much of his heart and soul he put into her creation, and how much more she was to him than anything so petty as a porn kink.

    The point isn't that she gets tied up, guys. It's that she always, *always*, breaks free.

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    Belated Father's Day Post:

    Heh, yeah one day late. Oh well. :-)

    Pete Wisdom on familial sentiment:

    And from me to my dad: Even though you're not stupid, you're probably not evil and you certainly don't stink... if some jackass shot you in the arm, I'd beat the flying crap out of him too. :-)

    Happy Father's Day!

    (However, I'm withholding judgment on the insane part and you totally know why...Love you Daddy.)

    Sunday, June 18, 2006

    An Unholy Realization from the Unholy Three

    Okay, so I was rereading the JSA Elseworld the Unholy Three (sequel to the Liberty Files), mostly because some scans were posted on Scans_Daily. And I noticed something I never noticed before.

    Okay, so these are the first two pages of Unholy Three:

    As you can see, it opens with this version of Sanderson Hawkins, a deep cover agent in Berlin, getting tortured to death.

    But what I never registered? He's being tortured to death while tied to a chair on the stage of an abandoned theater.

    I'm starting to think the comic writers are messing with my head...

    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    Growing Up Gardner: Analyzing Beau Smith's Warrior.

    I love Warrior. I do. Not many people actually understand why. It's crazy, the art is weird, the stories seem to make no sense, it's an insane jumble of testosterone-overloaded action-packed incoherency.

    But I really do think there's more to it than that.

    I think that Beau Smith's run on Guy Gardner: Warrior is a story about growing up.

    Wherein Kalinara Dissects WarriorGuy Gardner is a character of transition and dynamic growth. The Guy Gardner of JLI/GL v3/early GG:W is for all intents and purposes a child. He's got a very simplistic understanding of the world. Abstract concepts are pretty much beyond him. He sees things very immaturely, in black and white. He wants to do what he wants to do without any real awareness of consequences.

    He claims to hate Hal, fights him at every opportunity, but as soon as Hal wants out, he's doing his best to provoke and annoy him back into the job. And even the relationship with Ice, his sole means of displaying softer emotions, is really a child's relationship.

    He takes her to things he thinks are fun regardless of the inappropriateness, and the real clincher, when he tells Kilowog the usual completely exaggerated stories about his role in the Justice League, he doesn't tell him they're sleeping together or dating, he tells him he's going to marry her. I know many men have ambitions of marriage, but the expression of it in this manner is very much a child's fancy.

    If superhero comics are adolescent power fantasies, then the beginning of Guy Gardner: Reborn/Guy Gardner: Warrior is an 8-10 year old's power fantasy. Taking on the universe, breaking the rules, no one telling you what to do, to play as you want... The only time this really changed was in Dixon's flashback arc, but even that really emphasized Guy Gardner's childish mentality. The bowl-cut's origin was revealed as a young boy's attempt at escapist fantasy. Parallels ended up drawn between the Guardians and his father, Hal and his brother, using his childhood relationships to underscore his adult ones.

    However, when Beau Smith took over Warrior things started to change. He started it with Emerald Fallout, in which Guy and others go to Oa and end up confronting and being beaten badly by Parallax. It was one hell of a brutal fight and the first real step in moving Guy past the childhood stages. Then the story actually started and it was the story of a boy growing up.

    A good portion of the developmental transformation came about presumably due to both the flashbacks in the Dixon story and the reparation of his brain damage in the Smith run, but the mental capacity is only a small part of it. As I mention in my Women of Warrior post, Guy's very much at a loss, uncertain and confused. He's rather shockingly innocent (getting freaked out by Veronna's proposition, not catching his own double entendres...). He's got a better mental capacity, but still lacks the emotional maturity.

    (It's an interesting tangential thought that given his 3 years in catatonic state, even healthy, he's probably mentally only a few years older than Kyle.)

    It's the series itself that actually moves the character from child to man.

    This symbolism is emphasized through the narrative itself, the first story after Emerald Twilight is a pulp adventure story, a bunch of guys trompsing through a jungle looking for treasure. A child's story. But not long after that, things start to change. Guy's stories start getting more adult and closer to home. They're about specific enemies (more about them later), his family and friends...there's still the occasional space adventure, but in general the stories toward the end, whether comedic or dramatic, have more drastic consequences and are much "older" in feel than the earlier one.

    One can see the difference in the construction of Guy's supporting cast. Before Smith took over, his biggest supporting cast member was General Glory, who was something of a (slightly twisted) father figure. General Glory's claim to fame was being the hero little Guy looked up to, and thus the single person aside from Ice who had any sort of influence over brain-damaged Guy. He was a glorified babysitter, really. However, Smith's Warrior phased him out pretty quickly, instead introducing Buck Wargo as Guy's older male influence. Buck was a guide and even a mentor figure (in his own weird way), but he was never a babysitter.

    Even when Guy was a little saner after the Dixon story, Glory still interacted with him like a child, overpowering and domineering, as on this page from GG 16. (One day I will post my I hate General Glory post) In contrast, Buck would subtly push Guy into taking more adult responsibility, up to and including cheating to win the card game that pushed Guy into owning the bar. (Terms were: You win, I sell it back and keep the money, I win, you keep the bar and run it.) Buck treated Guy like someone of less experience but equal potential and pushed him towards that.

    The rest of his supporting cast all play into the burgeoning adolescence theme: Desmond, Joey and Rita as the goofy group of friends to get in trouble with, Arisia as little sister, and Veronna...well, Veronna's a special case.

    Warrior is, at its heart, a story about loss of innocence and painful growth. Emerald Fallout begins it all by tearing away the two most obvious elements of Guy's childish nature: the yellow ring and the annoying little brother relationship with Hal.

    The yellow ring brings to mind another bit of adolescence symbolism in relation to Guy's powers. A Green (or Yellow) Lantern ring, while based on will-power of course, is really a weapon of creativity and imagination. These are traits that children possess in abundance, naturally. Now in Emerald Fallout, the ring is absorbed back into Parallax, and in a few issues, Guy will have Vuldarian powers. Think about that for a moment. Childish imagination disappears with the onset of scary, initially-uncontrollable and traumatic transformations of the body. One of the most important aspects of the story is Guy learning to control and get used to his new powers. In the last panel of Warrior, we have Guy, in full Warrior form, leaning back in his chair, *finally* comfortable in his own skin.

    That doesn't sound like puberty at all, does it? (In an amusing note, during GG:W 24, Ice's mother Olaf comments that his voice changed :-).)

    (On another tangent, I've heard rumor that Beau Smith wanted to get rid of the bowl cut because it's a "child's hair cut". Which given the Dixon backstory, is particularly true. Thus there's an odd sort of gravity to the scene when he's in Rita's chair getting it clipped off. :-))

    The loss of Hal is a worse blow though. The hardest part of growing up is having to let go and to face loss. Hal's fall from grace completes the set up parallel to Mace, a loss that marked the end of innocence for pre-damaged Guy as well. The loss of Ice, when he wasn't there, demonstrating the hard lesson that sometimes bad things happen to those you care about, even when you're not there. The loss of Hal and Tora, rarely addressed outright, is a very palpable presence throughout the series. Mace's death emphasizes a lesson of futility, that sometimes, no matter how much one tries, there are some things that can't be fixed. And Arisia's was a lesson about the abruptness of violence. There are bad people out there who hurt others, for no good reason. It's a hard lesson for anyone to take.

    This helps culminate in the end of the series, at Arisia's funeral. Hal-as-Parallax wants to pay his respects and Guy, against all expectation, allows him to. It's the first step toward true adult forgiveness/acceptance.

    Now where the Warrior-as-adolescence comparison really gets interesting is in terms of two of the major villains. Dementor and Martika. Because if you look at them in terms of symbolism, you get the very backbone of adolescent development. You get sex.

    Hear me out.

    This is Dementor. For most of Smith's run of Warrior, he is the main badguy. In storyline terms, he's the product of the first Vuldarian/Human union, born twisted and vile, fond of messing with his "little brother". He lived for a long time in Guy's head and claims credit for the shifts in Guy's personality to brat and "Miss Manners", he's also the one who turns Guy into a woman and leers about his chest size. More on that in a bit.

    The first time I saw Dementor I was taken aback because honestly, and this might just be my gutter mind acting up again, he kind of reminded me of a bizarre collection of sex organs. From the patterning of the heads on his torso, to the tentacles, to that hair. He's frightening. And then, considering what he *says*. This guy's disgusting enough to make Johnny Sorrow seem tasteful. He's pretty damn horrifying...and icky.

    But here's where I go a little TMI on you. When I was seven or eight and peeking around places I shouldn't have been, I ended up stumbling across a pornographic magazine. Now I'd actually had the sex talk at this point but I hadn't really understood it. I basically knew just enough to go "Oh, this must be sex." was *scary*. There were all these parts going where they didn't seem like they should fit, their faces looked weird, I thought they must be in pain! It looked horrible and at the same time because I knew I wasn't supposed to be seeing that sort of thing, I felt icky like I needed a bath. It was a very unpleasant feeling.

    Seeing this character kind of brought that feeling back. That mix of disgust and horror and...ickiness. And I realized that that's how Dementor's supposed to be. Dementor's a child's fearful, uncomprehending idea of sex.

    Guy's in a weird situation because while brain damaged, he still had the body and the sex-drive of an adult, even though he had the personality of a child. He might understand the idea behind sex, even remember having it, but who knows how much he actually comprehends. Dementor is a scary disgusting figure that starts out living in his head...which could very well be a representation of a sex drive in someone not quite mature enough to understand it. He claims to have "created" the brain damaged guy we all know and love...well, children who learn the birds and the bees are indeed taught that mommy and daddy had to have a baby even if the most they understand about it is what goes where.

    Dementor is the fright a child has when stumbling into his parents' bedroom when they're "wrestling" and fearing that Daddy's hurting Mommy. Dementor is the ickiness and unease that happens when your body starts doing weird and naughty things and you don't really know why.

    Now what makes Martika noticeable is that an issue after she first shows up, Dementor immediately is neutralized as any sort of threat to her and made subordinate. Martika has psychic power over men, which she uses on everyone, but especially Guy as soon as she shows up. She's irresistable with all the men under her spell.

    Where Dementor is a child's confused and uncomprehending idea of sex, Martika is a teenager's. She's not alien or monstrous looking because teenagers know full well what sex actually is and what it entails at this point. She's beautiful of course because sex is appealing and fun. But well, to be honest, there's some merit in the saying that teenagers are ruled by their gonads. And in this case, Martika's an extreme example of this. There's no substance, there really isn't even consent, just mindless, out of control lust. She's the idea young people have that their lust and desire is beyond their control, the need to do it and the need to do it now that leads young people to occasionally make very unwise choices. There is no awareness or responsibility or control with the Martika metaphor.

    Dementor still exists, but he's shadowy and subordinate. Martika is the primary view of sex, Dementor's instead the scary taboos left.

    Which is what makes issue 42 so damn fascinating. Basically, Dementor's done the ultimate taboo, he's turned Guy Gardner into a woman. Now this is a) quite funny, but b) pretty damn interesting symbolism too.

    I mean think about your average teenage boy for a second. Think of the institutionalized homophobia in our culture and the way in which anything even remotely seen as effeminate is anathema to teenage boys. But the thing is, deep down, every woman has an animus (male side) and every man has an anima (female side), because really, what we consider gendered traits, lust (male) compassion (female) for example exist in both men and women. It's just conventional assumption that labels them male or female.

    Now the important part of growing up is accepting all of who you are. Some people never reach this point. It's particularly hard for men, I think, because there's more leeway for women to express "masculine" traits than there is for men to express "feminine" traits. It's what separates adolescence from adulthood. When Dementor turns Guy into a woman, he's representing the character's own shocking face to face with his anima. Guy as a woman isn't portrayed really as any different than Guy as a man, he doesn't appear any weaker, in fact "she" even says when "she" transforms that "she's" feeling damn powerful. Dementor, as taboo and shame, seeks to humiliate Guy by making obscene comments and making him wear those costumes, essentially parading Guy's own female side in plain sight.

    However, then Martika horrified that *her* Guy is now a woman shows up, cows Dementor into submission and forces him to change "her" back. Basically now that he's come face to face with his own "female side", he's beginning to accept it. He's turning back represents the incorporation of that idea into his being. He isn't a woman just because he might have certain "female traits", they're just a part of him. And there's a lasting effect too. When he was a woman, Martika couldn't effect him. When he became a man again, he could tell when she tried to influence him and combat it, with Veronna's help. When he got in touch with his "feminine side", the softer emotions that young teenage guys tend to reject or avoid, Guy's adolescent sex drive loses its power over him.

    Veronna is the adult perspective of love. Even if they've never actually had sex. When they meet, she swears herself to him, however he isn't ready to accept her like that. He never really becomes ready but they remain friends, because the love they share goes beyond sex. Veronna had known from early on that Martika was controlling Guy and tried to stop her. She did not interfere when Guy slept with Bea, though she expressed her disapproval. Ultimately his fate is, she keeps reminding him, with her. Basically, as "love", she wars against Martika, against sex for the sake of adolescent lust. His relationship with Bea is that of two friends getting comfort from one another, "love" doesn't interfere because there's a real emotional bond, however, the disapproval is a sign that the emotional bond is not the same as real love.

    But by working with her to defeat Martika, he's become an adult in a sexual sense as well.

    So basically yeah, Warrior is an allegory for adolescence. Environmental changes, physical puberty (through the powers), mental/emotional development, and sexual maturity are all covered, leaving us with the Guy from Rebirth/Recharge/GL/GLC. The surprisingly perceptive obnoxious jackass with a squishy interior.

    I don't know if the allegory's intentional, but I like to think it is. I like seeing characters grow up before my eyes. :-)

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    Giving the Green Light to Green Lantern?

    This scares me a little. I like Jack Black, actually. Nacho Libre looks stupid, but I thought he actually gave the most complex and nuanced performance in King Kong. He brought a self-deprecating humanity to that character that really really worked. I don't know of a lot of actors who could do that.

    But as *Green Lantern*?!

    He definitely wouldn't suit Hal. Hal's actually the antithesis of the characters Black tends to play. He's a traditional hero with traditional heroic flaws (arrogance, control-freak-dom) lying beneath. Besides, no offence intended to Mr. Black, but he's not really...old-movie star looking enough to play Hal. Hal's whole Cary Grant-esque appearance feeds into his whole personality. He just wouldn't work as someone like Jack Black.

    I don't think he'd suit Kyle much either. He's got an "everyman" sort of appeal that works, but honestly, he's too old. Kyle's whole thing centers around his potential. He's young and inexperienced and has the whole world ahead of him. He could become *anything* and that's the whole point. Being in his early-mid twenties, college age or just past, is all a part of that. The theme wouldn't work nearly as well with an older guy.

    And, no way, no how could the man ever play Alan or John.

    As for Guy...


    Actually, that could work. Jack Black doesn't *look* anything like Guy, but he tends to be really good at playing the endearing asshole sort of character. I've used the King Kong character as an example up top, but I really do think that's Black at his best. He's very good at giving his characters a bit of sympathetic humanity, even in the stupidest films.

    He'd be a bit of a quieter type of asshole than Denis Leary (the ideal Guy, IMO, though he's a bit old for it now), but I really think Jack Black as Guy Gardner could actually work.

    It has the added advantage of being the one Green Lantern costume that's in layers. Jack Black's not really built for spandex.


    Ack, I suddenly realized which role he'd be perfect for. *Kilowog*! It'd require a lot of makeup or CG, but he'd kick *ass* at portraying 'Wog's personality. It'd be *perfect*! I could really go for that casting choice!

    Kilowog in the GL movie would automatically make it the Best Movie Ever.

    ...I just hope the script doesn't suck.

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    Lesson in Philosophy

    Here is a lesson in philosophy inspired by GL v3 151.

    There are two types of people in the world. Those that would bite that big squishy bear and those that would not.

    I know which I am...(*CHOMP*)

    Which are you?

    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Random 52 inspired thought...

    Something in this weeks 52 made me think of something:

    The two JSA members that (frustratingly) no one's seen hide nor hair of in *ages* are Sanderson Hawkins and Rick Tyler.

    The two JSA members that have precognitive abilities are...

    Sanderson Hawkins and Rick Tyler.


    Hmm, who else has precognitive abilities in the DCU...Wesley Dodds has been dead for a while. The Hourman Android dismantled and Dream Girl is dead too (though she's not born yet). Madame Xanadu was in the Day of Vengeance Special, but I didn't notice her in Shadowpact... where are all the precogs?

    Learning new things from old comics:

    I've learned so many interesting things from Golden Age comics.

    For example, I've learned that Wesley Dodds is an idiot, who has horrid taste in clothes AND steals credit from his sidekick.

    I've learned that Sandy Hawkins in contrast can dress and is a smartass.

    Today though, I learned something brand new! Completely! It's not even Sandman related!

    Actually, to be accurate I learned four things:

    1. The Shining Knight's horse can "fly" underwater, without its wings getting water logged.

    2. The Shining Knight can not only apparently breathe underwater, but full armor is no impediment!

    3. The Shining Knight can spear submarines with his lance.

    4. The Shining Knight is a badass.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Kalinara is Vexed.

    According to Ragnell, Sandy the Golden Boy is in Young All-Stars.

    Sandy the Golden Boy. World War II-era Sandy the Golden Boy. Pre-Monster, still-Wes's sidekick Sandy the Golden Boy.

    Why didn't I know about this?

    Why don't I have this comic?

    Why can't I *find* this damn comic?!


    I'm off to go sulk some.

    (Oh on an unrelated note, Ragnell and I got interviewed here. :-) How cool is *that*?!)

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    Yet Another Random Ridiculous Realization:

    Sandman Mystery Theatre is a very fun read. I love it and can't wait for more (even if I don't much like the thought of this Kieran Marshall fellow taking over out of nowhere, but I'm tetchy).

    But what I find really kind of neat is how at some point during the comic, Dian ends up dubbed with the name Sandy as the Sandman's sidekick.

    Now, whether SMT actually fits in the DCU is shaky. For instance, there were a lot of things that basically made the existance of Sandy Hawkins impossible but I'd like to think it does anyway and will think of very convoluted ways around the impossibilities. (Long lost siblings! Teenage Pregnancies! Alien Clone! Temporary Amnesia!)

    One of the reasons for this is because I really do love SMT a lot. The other reason is that if I stop and think about it, I can think of a good number of female heroes who follow in the footsteps of male heroes (there's a good list here), but I can't really think of any of the reverse.

    Is it because heroines in the 40s were fewer and farther between, and more of them had specifically gendered identites? Because a woman following in a man's footsteps is progressive but a man following in a woman's is somehow undesirable or not masculine? Is it because most female heroes don't have the weight of legacy that their male counterparts do? I couldn't begin to guess. (But someday I'd really like to see a male Black Canary opposite a female Green Arrow).

    But anyway, if SMT is part of DCU canon, then in the late 1930s, the Sandman's sidekick "Sandy" was Dian Belmont. Which makes the 1940s Golden Boy a legacy character, following in his aunt's footsteps.

    Which makes for one female-to-male legacy, the only one *I* can think of the DCU. And for some strange reason, I think that's really neat!

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    The Damned List B Side, Progress Report

    Well, we thought we'd keep you up to date with a brief version of what we've got so far for the lists. Her list is here.

    This is a rough list so far, not the final product

    We intend to add details/context information (for better analysis and comparison) and many of these are still unconfirmed. If you know of some we've missed. Please tell us.

    As a reminder the full category list is Here


    Apollo (Authority 14)
    Bigby Wolf (Fables 14)
    Bruce Banner (Hulk: Future Imperfect)
    Clark Kent/Superman (Action 592-593)
    Dick Grayson/Nightwing (Nightwing 93)
    Foggy Nelson (false pretenses, ref. needed)
    Gim Allon/Colossal Boy (false pretenses: ref needed)
    Grant Emerson/Damage (Titans 17-19)
    Guy Gardner/Warrior (Warrior 39)
    Hawley Griffin/Invisible Man (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen v2 #5)
    Jack Knight/Starman (Starman 16)
    Jo Nah/Ultra Boy (false pretences: ref needed)
    John Constantine (Swamp Thing v2, 27)
    Johnny Storm/The Human Torch (false pretenses, ref. needed)
    Kon-El/Conner Kent/Superboy (Statuatory, ref. needed)
    Mikaal Tomas/Starman ("Stars My Destination")
    Namor (false pretences: ref needed)
    Oliver Queen (ref needed)
    Peter Parker (Spider Man/Power Pack PSA)
    Simon Williams/Wonder Man (ref needed)
    Swamp Thing (Swamp Thing vol 6)
    Tom Strong (#4)
    Tom Strong (#7)
    Vril Dox II/Brainiac (ref needed)
    Wade Wilson/Deadpool (false pretenses: ref. needed)


    Bruce Banner/Hulk (Rampaging Hulk 23)
    Jack Knight/Starman (Stars My Destination)
    John Constantine (Tainted Love)
    Wolverine (ref. needed)


    Andreas Struker/Swordsman (ref. needed)
    Bruce Wayne/Batman (Gothic storyline)
    Jason Todd/Robin (Dark Knight Returns)
    Guy Gardner/Warrior (Warrior 22)
    Lobo (Hitman/Lobo One-shot)
    Maxwell Dillon/Electro (ref. needed)
    Roy Harper/Arsenal (Outsiders 17)
    Sanderson Hawkins/Sand (JSA 18)
    Scott Summers/Cyclops (ref. needed)
    Todd Rice/Obsidian (ref needed)


    Guy Gardner/Green Lantern (GL v2 124)
    Guy Gardner/Warrior (Warrior 25-referring to GL v3/JLI period)
    Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (GLC 213)
    Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (Parallax Storyline)
    Jason Blood (Demon #0)
    John Stewart/Green Lantern (Mosaic)
    Kyle Rayner/Green Lantern (Green Lantern 131)
    Rokk Krinn/Cosmic Boy (Legion of Super Heroes v4, 96)
    Sanderson Hawkins/Sand (Creature in the Velvet Cage)
    Sanderson Hawkins/Sand (DC Comics Presents 47)
    Sanderson Hawkins/Sand (JSA 11-12)
    Scott Summers (Apocalypse Storyline)


    Now as I said, this is NOT the concrete list. I haven't tracked-down/confirmed all of these. We'll keep you guys posted.

    I'm also considering adding a perpetrator list as well for characters like the Joker, Dementor, Johnny Sorrow, Starfox, (possibly) Gambit. But we'll see about that. Could be interesting though.

    Freaks and Geeks: Cinematic Symbolism in JSA 18

    The flashback scene in JSA 18 is one that I've blogged about before. I find the subtext of the scene horrifying and oddly fascinating. There are constant details that I never notice the first time through that utterly blindside me when I finally notice them, the most notable being the state of the clothing on this page which led to me interpreting very bad subtext into that flashback.

    Well this time, the page that got me was this one.

    What I'd never noticed was:

    That broken down theater's marquee says "Todd Browning's Freaks."

    Which *blows my mind* on a meta/subtextual level.

    Wherein I completely spoil a movie made in 1932 as well as JSA 18
    If you've never seen Freaks I'll summarize it. (Or you can just click on the link).

    The story takes place in a traveling circus and centers around the lives of the performers. The central character is the beautiful trapeze artist Cleopatra. She's in love with the circus strong man named Hercules. However, the little person Hans has a crush on her. She mocks him until she discovers that he is the inheritor of a vast fortune. She then plots to marry him and poison him and get the money for herself (whereupon she will run off with Hercules). Her plot is exposed and the "freaks" enraged by the betrayal turn on her. Hercules is killed and she is mutilated into an exhibit herself.

    This is the movie where that "One of us! One of us!" chant comes from. It's an interesting examination really. The "freaks" are given a very sympathetic portrait at the beginning of the movie. It is the beautiful people, Cleopatra and Hercules, who are the real monsters. However the "One of us!" motif works both ways. They make Cleopatra "one of them" at the end of the movie, however through her treachery, she's already made them like her. She's made them into true monsters. That's why, despite his own role in Cleopatra's fate, Hans is broken up. Because they're all the same now.

    It's really a fascinating, if hard to watch, movie.

    But the use of it *here* is brilliant. Simply brilliant on a number of levels.

    First of course has to do with Sorrow's own past as an ex-silent film star brought to ruin by talkies. So using one of the early talking motion pictures for the theater makes a nice correlation.

    But the theme of the movie itself makes for fascinating metatext surrounding the way Sorrow works. Johnny Sorrow is an actor, he's all about the drama, grandiose terrifying gestures. He's cast himself as the villain and he enjoys it, thrives in it. Notice how the entire thing is set on a stage. He's performing for the world and he's cast himself and Sandy and the King of Tears of course as primary players.

    This I'd thought for a while, but I'd had a simple interpretation. Sandy was cast as the victim, Sorrow as the villain and the King of Tears as the unspeakable horror itself.

    However, I hadn't paid any attention to the marquee. I hadn't seen the movie.

    Now everything's changed. See, Sorrow hasn't cast Sandy as the victim. He's cast Sandy as Cleopatra.

    It makes perfect sense. Johnny is one of the "freaks". His ruination after the advent of talkies is symbolically equated to the circus performers whose disfigurements would have prevented normal lives. However the movie portrayed the characters very sympathetically. They were regular people at heart, regardless of their appearance. They had the same emotions and dreams as anyone else. The circus was portrayed as a shelter, allowing them a sanctuary where they could work and live relatively normal lives.

    Crime was supposed to be Sorrow's circus, his means to survive and support his wife (who he loved dearly). However, this was ruined by the act of one single person. Sandy the Golden Boy.

    Look at the name: "The Golden Boy". We've heard it before. Contrasted to the black sheep of the family, the golden boy is the perfect one, the smart, successful, handsome brother used as the measuring stick for all of the others, who fall short. Sandy takes that to extreme. In the Simon-Kirby issues of Sandman, the character is a child prodigy, even more so than his counterpart Robin, because he is even closer to an equal partner. He got to make intellectual contributions more often than his counterpart, often remembering obscure facts or noticing minute details that would lead Wesley to the answer. He wasn't the fighter/athlete Robin was, but he also seemed to end up in distress much less often. And nearly as often as he was the victim, Sandy would end up being the one to save Wesley.

    And physically, the character is beautiful. Blond hair, blue eyes, fine features, he even *looks* a little like Cleopatra in that sense. And just like Cleopatra, the outward beauty masks a nature that corrupts. From Sorrow's perspective, Sandy caused him to become the monster he is.

    Everything that happens after that point is Sandy's fault. He, not Sorrow, is the true villain of the story. And thus Sorrow is perfectly justified to make him "one of us".

    I always bring up my reading of the scene in anything in which I mention Sorrow. I've said it before, when I read it, I perceive a sexual subtext. Rape is an act of domination, the attempt to exert power. It is sadly often perceived by the victim as something that makes them dirty or tainted, stained and degraded. Thus the use of that sort of subtext here makes a lot of sense.

    Though even if you don't agree with my interpretation, there are other elements. When he kidnaps Sandy, he's kidnapping a young person in pajamas. A normal person. Only when dressed in costume, does he then truly fit in the world of villains and heroes.

    And then there's the really interesting element. Sorrow tries to summon the King of Tears twice. Once in flashback once in the present day of the comic. Both times he makes sure that Sanderson Hawkins is right there. Both times, he was in a position to kill the boy instantly, but instead brings him front and center to meet the Lovecraftian thing face to face. This is the thing that turned Sorrow into a monster after all. Now there are many possible revenge opportunities here, gloat and make the kid watch him wreak havoc. Sacrifice him as Elder God food. Or...the best revenge of all, make the kid go through what he went through.

    He's not just getting revenge! He's making a companion! "One of us! One of us!"

    Now the really elegant parallel between the situation and the movie is that Sorrow's wrong and right to cast Sandy as Cleopatra. He's wrong of course, because Sandy was innocent. Sandy was just trying to stop Sorrow. The actual death was just a terrible accident.

    But he's right too. Because common interpretation of the movie casts Cleopatra and Hercules as the bad guys. And they are indeed monstrous. The "freaks" are the victims. But I'm reminded of something I'd seen a lot in reviews of the movie, people were bothered by how monstrously the "Freaks" pursuit of Cleopatra and Hercules was portrayed. It was uncomfortable to see the characters suddenly transform, and this transformation is blamed on the effect of Cleopatra's treachery.

    But I don't actually think that's what Browning was going for. To declare Cleopatra (and Hercules) the sole villains of the piece negate the fact that when they reacted as they did, the circus performers made a choice. They *chose* to react to treachery with violence. They *chose* to become monsters themselves. They didn't have to make that choice. Regardless of the provocation, their reaction was because of the darkness in their own hearts, which is a part of the nature of humanity.

    To rob the characters of the accountability of their own actions, to paint them as poor innocent victims, robs them of their humanity as much as anything Cleopatra or Hercules could have done. And that, I think, was the point of the monstrousness of the scene. Because first and foremost, I think that Browning saw his characters as human.

    Sorrow blaming Sandy is a much more obvious reflection of this. Sorrow didn't have to make a deal with the King of Tears. He did anyway. While the death of his wife was a tragedy, he didn't have to kill the seven soldiers or kidnap Sandy for revenge. But he does. He's made his choices, carved his own path to damnation.

    Heh, the choice of movie was probably pure chance. But it's definitely fun to think about.

    Saturday, June 10, 2006

    Random Reactions to 52:

    Okay, so I *finally* got the chance to read 52. I hate being behind. Oh well. :-)

    I have a few immediate reactions, there is no attempt at analyzing clues/symbolism here, I need to be more awake for that.

    This super-citizen stuff of Lex's sounds like a really bad idea. Reminds me a little of the Bulleteer's husband and his quest for superpowers, and how they mentioned so many people hospitalized for the same idiot reasons. This isn't going to go well.

    I think Skeets is evil.

    Alan's patch looks cool in civilian form but dumb behind the mask, the glowy conjured eye looks better.

    And okay, so if his one eye isn't his...then there are *two* eyes of Alan Scott floating around somewhere. Damn. And I get hell for misplacing my *car keys*.

    Acck. Cyborg-Firestorm (Fireborg?, Cy-storm?) reminds me of nightmares I used to have about teleportation after watching the Fly. Eeek.

    Mid-Nite's got lots of panel time! Yay! And as usual he's rocking the glasses.

    Egads, frothing at the mouth is never a good sign.

    Renee AND Maggie! I'll refrain from a dirty joke about Kane street. But only barely.

    Hee, name in red! I know what that means thanks to Homicide. :-) Who says obsessive tv watching isn't educational. Okay, okay, Munch made me laugh and Tim Bayliss was pretty.

    ...Wow, Buddy Baker is either a saint or gay, he's not even *looking*.

    Um. Adam Strange is having a bad day. Looks kind of hot though, aside from the obvious.

    So that makes three eyes wandering around, but only two made of Starheart energy made flesh...that's a plus, I suppose.

    Now I want to run a DnD campaign with magical artifacts called: "The Eyes of Alan Scott" just to snicker at the non-comic geek players that wouldn't get it. Still you can't tell me *two* eyes made up of starheart floating free in the cosmos is a good thing.

    Yay, the history's finally to the Crisis. It's almost relevant. I'd still have rather heard the history of New Earth, but hell, we're getting somewhere.

    But I want to know if people remember E-2 Superman and Batman.

    Hey, if Batman and Robin were JSA members, did Robin and Sandy hang out at all? Get into trouble? Or maybe hate each other and fight all the time? As the two kids associated with the JSA, they'd have been in an interesting position. Well, I guess it's a moot point now, but I'm curious.

    Good issue. I'm intrigued. :-)

    Friday, June 09, 2006

    You Had to Know I'd Blog About This...

    So newsarama has a piece about a new Guy Gardner miniseries. In general, it sounds pretty good. I'm particularly interested in the mention of the war between Rann and Thanagar. Sounds like it'll fit in the gap between Recharge and GLC nicely. And I love Guy as peace-maker, of sorts, plots.

    I like Chaykin's take on the character too. He seems to be working off the same Warrior->Rebirth->Recharge characterization so that makes me happy. There are a few things that gave me pause though:

    "Another function of the book is to clean up a lot of the discrepancies and the mess left over from stuff that I think a lot of people would like to pretend didn't exist, which is the Guy Gardner: Warrior period. I've gone in there and cleaned that stuff up a bit, and I think it all works together well."

    Well, as a shameless Warrior fan this made me nervous, but then I paid a little closer attention. I'd thought he was indicating that he was going to retcon Warrior, but he says "cleaning up the discrepancies and mess left over", and mentions the bar and things like that, so that makes me happy.

    I'm hoping maybe this will address things like what happened to Buck and company, especially Veronna, and also his mother, who we last saw living above the bar. Even just a throw away line or a cameo would be great.

    I'm not sure how this works timeline wise, as he seems to be using Guy as post-Recharge trouble shooter where he's supposedly banned from Earth for a year, but mentions the bar. But hell, it's Guy, when does he listen to the smurfs anyway?

    "Additionally, as the art shows, Gardner will still be sporting, as Chaykin realizes some fans have come to call it: "That goddamn haircut." "

    This made me groan at first, but looking at the picture and reading his description, it seems to be more the shaved on the sides Recharge version than the full on bowl cut. I've nothing against the bowl cut really, but it really seems to emphasize the Guy-when-brain-damaged characterization, the inner kid-ness. The "Teutonic" version looks more adult and works for me. :-)


    "There are two major scenes of confrontation with the Guardians, and Guy treats them with the kind of contempt that he normally treats authority figures with, and discovers to his chagrin that they understand everything he's saying. They're not just cute little aliens - they may not have sense of humor like a human being would, but they certainly have senses of irony."

    Only one thing bothers me about this. And that's the idea that Guy would be chagrinned at the Guardians understanding him. Guy's the sort of fellow to moon Batman, make fun of Aquaman's hair, and call Superboy Prime a crybaby. And he's mouthed off to the Guardians before. I would have thought he'd have assumed that they *could* understand him.

    But it is fun to see the Guardians take him down a peg or two so it sounds fun. "Caveman" hee.
    Also, we meet G'nort again. He's a little bit darker than we've seen him played, and not quite as goofy as the characters has been played previously - actually, nowhere near as goofy as the character has been played before.

    Okay, *this* throws me. I don't know what to make of this at all. A darker *G'Nort*?! Seriously?!

    On one hand, G'Nort was one of those butt-of-joke characters that made me wince with sympathy sometimes, but I don't know if I like the thought of him dark. A little more serious could work but...

    Oh well, I'll wait and see.

    I do like his description of Guy's personality, so that makes me optimistic. And well, hell, if I don't like it, I'll ignore it and stick with GLC. :-)

    Oh, and Beau Smith (yay!) weighs in here and talks about Warrior! Awesome!

    Sometimes Comics are silly:

    Okay, so in the early part of She-Hulk's first series, "The Savage She-Hulk", everyone thinks the She-Hulk is a murderer. Part of this is due to complications when Jen tried to save her friend, but the other part has to do with a robotic duplicate who was seen killing people and destroying property.

    But see, apparently the people of the Marvel Universe's version of Los Angeles are really fucking stupid as the duplicate looks like this:

    Now I understand hysteria and mob mentality, but don't you think amidst shouts of "It's She-Hulk, run!", *some* oversexed male would look up and notice, "Hey, isn't She-Hulk a very well developed green knockout instead of a robotic tank in a bad wig?"

    I mean *honestly*.

    I half expected to see armed policemen show up and not know which one to shoot because they look "exactly alike!!"

    Maybe it's the smog fumes.

    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    Seeing Red:

    Okay, so I was in the mood for a bad fantasy movie so I sat down and watched Red Sonja for the first time. Now maybe it's just because I'd just finished watching a much worse movie (starring a 3 time Mr. Universe, which should tell you enough right there, and sadly he was the second best actor in the movie. Just after the vacant looking kid.), but I actually liked it.

    A lot.

    I've never read the comic nor the original Howard stories (I always preferred Cormac Mac Art to Conan, and then, I liked the Andrew Offutt stories better), so I have no idea how faithful the adaptation was. But I actually found myself enjoying it.

    I liked the visual scope of it. Sure some of the individual costumes looked silly (the outfit of her sword-teacher early on, the weird bone scepter thing the little prince and his servant had) but in general I liked the look of everything and every one. The landscape was pretty and didn't seem like someone's backyard or a random New Zealand exterior shot to me. I wonder how much of it was filmed outside and where. I can probably look that up. In general I liked the costumes too.

    Okay, the acting was pretty bad, but the actors seemed to be enjoying themselves. Brigitte Nielsen is lovely, though the woman playing her sister as well as the evil Queen I thought were even more beautiful. I liked her athleticism and presence.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger was awkward. His line readings sounded almost like he was reading phonetically. But I have to admit, I was impressed by the conveyed emotions through expression/body language. It wasn't very complex emotion, admittedly, as his character was pretty basic, but it was believably expressed. By the end, I was starting to even find him attractive, which is rare as I'm not so much appreciative of the long haired Barbarian-Warlord appeal.

    I thought the evil Queen was pretty awesome. And was surprised at how little the lesbianism was played up. I'd worried from the box that I was going to get some extreme over the top, homophobic B-movie evil Lesbian stereotype. But to my surprise, it wasn't really there. The Queen did make unwanted advances onto Sonja, but the scene would have played out the same as if she had been an evil King. This is not to say that the Queen isn't portrayed undeniably as a woman, it's just that Sonja's disgust seemed more like "Ack, unwanted advances." rather than "Ack, unwanted *lesbian* advances." It's hard to explain but there's a difference. Otherwise, the Queen's sexuality didn't seem to come up at all. She had a beautiful servant constantly near her that she was often casually familiar with (an arm about the shoulders, on her back, things like that), but it was always in the background and to my surprise, no attention was really called to it. I didn't get the impression it was intended to titillate or scandalize, it was just there.

    Basically, I got the impression that the Queen was evil. And she happened to be a lesbian. But that these traits were completely unconnected. Anyway, regardless of that, she was skilled, cunning, ambitious and scenery-chewing. Some of my favorite traits in villains. And the fight scene where she kept popping in and out was pretty cool to watch. I liked her a lot!

    I was surprised by how much I liked the relationship and interplay between Red Sonja and Kalidor, which was the best part of the movie for me.

    I was leery, reading the box cover. It sounded like Kalidor was going to end up rushing in and constantly saving the supposedly-strong heroine when she gets in over her head. I got the impression from the box description that he might be one of those forceful brutish "heroes" in fantasy who'd throw the woman down and have to be fought off. But ultimately culminating in her submitting to him at the end, healed from her trauma by the healing light of his...well, I'm sure you can guess.

    But I was pleasantly surprised by the way the movie handled it. After she rejects his company initially, he does keep appearing to save the day. But only after she fights the major bad guy or the leader of the scene. When the dead bad guy's army of faceless grunts advance on her, Kalidor comes in to help take them out. He also ends up useful for a lot of the heavy lifting (as is the Prince's manservant).

    Basically, he's the chief support character and the film never forgets that. Thus he can move heavy things out of the way, keep falling walls raised enough that the Prince or Sonja herself can be pulled through, and kill faceless grunts, but the writers remember that there is only one titular character. It might seem odd that I'm harping on this, but I've seen quite a few other movies, especially ones with female protagonists, forget this.

    For a barbarian hero, Kalidor is rather amusingly passive in the relationship sense. When she rejects his company. He shrugs, nods, and follows her anyway (though from a far enough distance back). Neither Nielsen nor Schwarzenegger are particularly adept at the witty banter but they've got enough physical chemistry and do well enough with non-verbal expressions of attraction that I bought Sonja's surprised disappointment when Kalidor reveals his real reason for following her. I liked that aside from pulling her back to him, he didn't make any physically overbearing moves or gestures. One of my pet peeves is how after making a big deal about a female character's traumatic experiences, some writers will have them begin a romance with a male character who makes a lot of overbearing physical displays for dominance. Leaning in, physical crowding, that sort of thing. There's nothing inherently wrong with that sort of behavior of course, and many women find it a turn-on, but I'd imagine someone traumatized like that would not be comfortable with someone with those sorts of mannerisms.

    I was pleasantly surprised that Kalidor seemed perfectly willing to keep his distance. He was a bit bemused by her rule that she'd only be with a man who could beat her in a fair fight, but after that, he was more than happy to court her on her terms. (And I loved that they were evenly matched). And I might have even swooned a little when at the end, he told the prince to be choosy about the Queen he chooses, as he himself has the standard that he'd only consider "a woman who could beat [him] in a fair fight."

    Okay, so Schwarzenegger grew on me a little. Mostly though, I thought the turn-around of the terms was his way of indicating that he wanted a completely equal partnership with her. It would have sounded overdramatic and/or cheesy if he'd said that outright, given the setting and mood of the story. But this worked for me. I admit it, I giggled. It was cute.

    So yeah, much to my surprise, I liked the movie. There wasn't a lot of substance, but there were a lot of pretty people in weird costumes pretending to kill each other with swords, a fun villain and a surprisingly lowkey romance that I actually enjoyed.

    I'd rent it again.

    Well *I* think it's cool

    Okay, so with all the hubbub about Batwoman, her sexuality, her possible exploitability, her hair and heels, I haven't seen anyone comment on what I think is the most interesting part of the original Ross image...

    According to the notation, she's 5'10". She's *tall*. She's exactly one inch shorter than Nightwing, Kyle or Sand. And she wears *heels*.

    Which means that in a practical sense, she's going to be taller than them.

    I like that. :-)

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    Random Ridiculous Realization...Make up your own number

    So anyway, I was lounging about, relaxing, after getting a needle full of crap jammed in my retina (don't ask), trying not to rub my eye when I saw an ad for SoapNet, the channel that replays endless soap opera reruns.

    It reminds me of how when I was a pre-teen, I was addicted to these trashy shows. I loved them.

    I loved how the plots made no sense when thought about deeply.

    I loved how the characters would sleep together in really weird combinations just for the sake of drama.

    I loved the way the timelines never worked out, children aged too quickly or stayed young through countless recasts forever, to the point where sometimes you had two characters that played together as infants, ten years later, one would be five years old and the other would be going off to college.

    I loved the sense of history, many of the soap operas ran daily since the 1960s, and sometimes some of the earlier characters/actors returned or made an appearance, aweing everyone with their presences.

    I loved the way long-lost relatives, evil twins, children given up for adoption, absentee parents, and hidden blood relationships between pre-established characters all served to make my head explode.

    I loved how the characters had the most random shit happen to them, explosions, mob hits, alien abductions, kidnappings by Columbian Drug Lords, and everything else under the sun.

    I loved how villainous plots included everything from abduction, murder, impersonation, corporate espionage, and/or freezing the world.

    I loved how after some really intense storyline, there'd be a follow up with different characters doing something batshit like disguising as nuns in an abbey in order to hitch a ride to Las Vegas.

    I loved how death was never really permanent and you knew if you didn't see a body, or even sometimes if you did, it meant they'd be back. And probably evil.

    I loved how one of my favorite characters ever started out as the sweetest, nicest, most altruistic character on the show then ended up with brain damage and became a thug.


    Um. Which hobby was I talking about again?

    You know, this makes me think that comics are ignoring a very lucrative market here. Women aged 20-60 or so...the ones that still watch these shows and have been since the 1960s...

    All it'd take is the right kind of marketing.

    ...sure guys and gals kicking badguy's butts in spandex is a little silly. But Port Charles had vampires. General Hospital had an alien, crime lords, and an evil Greco-Russian family that tried to Freeze the World and hid a deep dark secret in a fabrige egg. Days of Our Lives had satatic possession. And I'm not gonna start on Passions.

    Silliness might not be much of an obstacle after all.

    Besides, there's a character on All My Children right now that's supposed to have been Erica Kane's aborted fetus.

    If *anyone* can make sense of Cassandra Nova, it'd be these women.

    I'm just sayin'...

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    The Depressing List B side Introduction

    Okay, first thing's first, go here so you know the story.

    Really though, Ragnell and I have been talking about compiling a list like this for a while and now we're going to do it. She's handling the female characters and I'm handling the guys.

    As there are only two of us, we'll be glad for any contributions to the list. So if you know of a male character that fits in any of the below categories, please either suggest him in a reply to this post or through email at If possible, please provide an issue number or the name of the storyarc for my reference. Thanks.

    Please note that we're centering our focus on DC and Marvel comics at this time.


    Our category list

    I. Explicit Instances of Actual/Attempted Sexual Assault

    A. Rape/Sexual Assault of Adult Victims (Actual):

    The primary subcategory will be "On-Panel" (Shown explicitly through current events or flashback) or "Off-Panel" (established in Dialogue but not Visually Indicated).

    The secondary subcategories will be as follows:

    -In the Present: Storyline/Plot-Related

    (For example: In the Killing Joke, Barbara Gordon was shot by the Joker, who then removed her clothing and took suggestive pictures of her. This would count as "storyline-related assault" as it happened in the present tense of that comic.)

    -In the Past 1.0: Backstory Established at Character Origin

    (For example: In the first issue of the Post-Crisis Wonder Woman series, it was established that Queen Hippolyta and the other Amazons were raped by Herakles and his men in Ancient Greece.)

    -In the Past 2.0: Flashback/Backstory Retroactively Inserted

    (For example: in the miniseries Identity Crisis, it was established that at some point during the Satellite-Era of the Justice League, Sue Dibny was sexually assaulted by Doctor Light)

    -In the Past 3.0: Flashback/Backstory Retroactively Removed

    (For example: Helena Bertinelli's backstory used to contain a reference of a childhood sexual assault [Section C] however the later retelling of her origin retroactively removed it.)

    B. Rape/Sexual Assault of Adult Victims (Attempted):

    Same subcategory setup as seen in section I.A.

    C. Sexual Assault/Abuse/Molestation of Minors (Actual):

    The primary and secondary subcategories will be the same as in section I.A and I.B, but there will be a tertiary subcategory that addresses statuatory rape.

    (For example, In Robin, Stephanie Brown was impregnated by her boyfriend at age 15. The sexual acts were portrayed as consentual, which would differentiate them from acts of traumatic molestation or assault, but still qualifies as statuatory rape.)

    D. Sexual Assault/Abuse/Molestation of Minors (Attempted):

    The subcategories of Section D will be the same set-up as seen in Sections I.A, I.B and I.C.

    E. Sexual Activity under False Pretenses:

    Same subcategories of Sections I.A, I.B, I.C and I.D

    II. Implications, Subtext and Symbolism

    A. Implied/Subtextual Sexual Assault of an Adult Victim:

    (For example Dinah Lance's torture in Longbow Hunters is commonly believed to have contained rape. Quotes have been attributed to creators to indicate that this was not the case, however the particular scene could be read with that interpretation)

    The subcategories will be:

    -Taunts and Threats with Sexual Overtones
    -Physical Assault/Abduction/Torture/Murder with Sexual Overtones

    B. Implied/Subtextual Sexual Assault of a Minor:

    (For example: Starfire's backstory of slavery contains the implication of sexual abuse, however it has never, to our knowledge, been confirmed or denied)

    This will have the same subcategories as II.A.

    C. Symbolic Rape/Violation that are not sexual in nature.

    Subcategories will include:

    -Mind-Control, which robs the victim of self-autonomy and will
    -Forced Transformation, which robs the victim of control of physical state.

    We anticipate that this project will take *awhile*, so any help you can give us with regards to contributions would be more than appreciated.