Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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

Saturday, June 30, 2007

You'd Think I Wouldn't Talk About Toys Anymore...

Okay, I may not work at a toy store anymore, but this little tidbit here is getting me awfully intrigued.

DC and Mattel again? I'm so there.

From the article:

Mattel’s brands such as Hot Wheels, Radica, Fisher-Price, Tyco and Mattel Games are expected to take full advantage of the deal.

Already cool, personally though I'm rather aghast that they didn't mention Barbie! It's an easy way to market superheroes after all! And who wouldn't want a fashion doll of their favorite superheroine.

I'm guessing that they won't neglect that market though. After all, they had both Superman movie dolls, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and JLU dolls relatively recently. (I remember I sold a few even!) I'm not one for toy collecting in general (my green doll and gas masked soldier aside). But I always regretted not splurging on them myself.

And honestly, it's not like Black Canary or even Supergirl's costume is much more risque than Barbie's usual costumes. (And on a note of personal opinion, I'd love to see superhero-themed dolls start to edge out those ghastly "My Scene" monstrosities.)

Mostly though I want a Big Barda doll. Because there is NOTHING awesomer than a Big Barda doll. Nothing.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Night Fights!

It's that time again!

Now that is a scary grin. Heheheh.

(I only break for Bahlactus.)

On Adolescence and Emotional Resonance: Why Young Justice Didn't Work For Me

You know, honestly, I kind of dislike Young Justice.

I didn't initially. The first time I read it, I adored it. Laughed my ass off. The jokes were clever and funny. The situations absurd but still cute. But when I read it again, when the jokes weren't new anymore, I started to find the series a bit harder to read. It's not that it was any less funny or that I disliked the characters, but each time I read it, looked deeper into the "coming of age" theme, I found it more and more distasteful.

This really isn't meant to be a criticism of Peter David's work, since I do think he's talented, though not always to my taste. It's more of an element of personal connection. I always felt, reading Young Justice, that it read very strongly of an adults attempt to write about (then) contemporary adolescence. And while I often like that sort of story. This one didn't work for me.

Now, I admit, I'm looking back at the series with an adult's eye myself, but I do remember my teenage years quite well. I was fifteen years old in 1998, when Young Justice hit the shelves, and I can tell you quite honestly, my teenaged self would have felt no connection with this comic.

Sure, it's got angst and maturing themes amidst the humor, but the angst was epic, and the themes were honestly not very subtle. As an adult, I appreciate Tim's speech to Secret toward the end, but at the same time, I don't see it as being something any teenager I know would ever say. It's the sort of wisdom that comes from adulthood and retrospect. And honestly, it reads preachy. As for the humor, well, I liked a good joke as much as anyone, but that glib style full of puns and cleverly crafted quips doesn't read true to life. No one's that quick with a comeback.

It just doesn't ring true emotionally for me. I can't connect to it.

In contrast, lately, with the revival of Wally West and my unexpected joy at seeing him again despite my general unfamiliarity with the Flash, I've been reading lots and lots of post-Crisis Flash comics. And while I prefer the Waid-and-after runs in terms of general quality, I have to say...Baron and Messner-Loebs's Flash runs do everything that Young Justice doesn't for me, in terms of a story about growing up.

Of course there's the obvious element. This is the beginning of the post-Crisis Flash comic, the first 61 issues. Thus you have the former Kid-Flash really trying to settle into his role as the Flash. A kid stepping up to take an adult role, without the support of parents or mentors, to sink or to swim. The Flash might be twenty years old by this point, but anyone who thinks adolescence stops at twenty has never been twenty.

It's more than that though. Sure his missteps along the way bring to mind teenage/college age embarrassments and screw-ups. But that's not really what makes the story connect emotionally.

Tina McGee does. The Flash getting involved with a married (though separated) woman should not have worked as well as it did. But really, who doesn't remember what it was like to fall in love with someone completely inappropriate? To find yourself carried away with the moment? Doing things you wouldn't normally do? Having doubts and recriminations when alone at night, which all pale next to the thought of being with that person?

Who doesn't remember something like this, with "she's married" replaced by the self-recrimination of your choice:

I don't know about anyone else, but I do.

Jerry McGee does, from Flash #17

"You're thinking '...Jesus, he's so old! He looks like a freak! Could she have left me for that?' And you feel like pounding on me and yelling at me and showing her how wrong she is...And you don't because you know it won't make any difference. And you don't even know for sure if you love her."

" you know that?"

"I was twenty once."

Tim Drake can make all the pretty speeches about mistakes that he wants, but if there's any speech that really sums up what it's like to be a teenager/young adult, it's Jerry McGee's right there. It's confusing and it's rough, and it makes no goddamn sense at all. And you kind of know it. You know how it's supposed to be. But your hormones are raging and your mind is racing and everything's so new and raw. And even if we've never had the married woman we were sleeping with go back to her husband, that doesn't mean we can't recognize the truth in that sentiment.

I also very much appreciate that the speech was made by an adult. I have trouble buying that any teenager, even one as mature and cerebral as Tim Drake, could wax so eloquently on the subject. I genuinely believe that it takes a certain measure of time and distance to be able to evaluate one's own adolescence in that matter. A kid knows how he or she feels, sure, but putting it into calm relatable words like that? Well. I know I couldn't have and I don't think I know anyone who could.

Chunk does. I know I've been there. I've had those friends that I relied on so much that I tended to take for granted. The friends that I thought understood that I loved and appreciated so much that I would forget to say so. The friends I would neglect, not because I didn't care, but because school or work or family or boyfriend troubles were so big at the time that it would slip my mind. There would be hurt and justified anger all around and I had no idea, until whacked severely with a clue-bat figuratively speaking, what in the world I did wrong.

Mary West does. God, the guilt for neglecting parents with the simultaneous feeling of being smothered by them. Not to mention the realization that my parents had lives completely outside of being my parents. Skills and hobbies and dreams and desires that went completely over my head. And when do parents ever seem to get along with significant others? Even Rudolph West, while horrible to his son, is horrible in that very familiar way that bad parents can be. Harsh, mean, ill-tempered, and seeing his son more as a tool for his own ambitions. I was lucky in that my parents weren't like that, but it's not anunfamiliar concept either.

Piper does. That scene in which Piper comes out to Wally is great. As is Wally's reaction. He freaks and runs, but not so much out of disgust or horror. His reaction is a startled and incoherent sort of "But...why didn't I NOTICE?" And who hasn't had something like that happen? Maybe not a friend coming out of the closet, necessarily, but I think everyone's had a friend make some revelation that shakes us to our cores. That thing, whatever it is, that we should have seen. Should have noticed. Could be anything from "I'm anorexic" to "I'm in love with you." The signs were all there! Why didn't we see it?

Vandal Savage is the enemy Wally West faces in Flash #1. Who better to represent the evil machinations of adulthood? The Baron and Messner-Loebs runs are filled with instances of Wally's powers not working as they should. Whether exhausting him to the point of collapse, not working at all, or going crazy. That bears no resemblance to anything that happens in adolescence of course! Our bodies ALWAYS do what they're supposed to do! Honest!

Adolescence is HARD. Everything's confusing, you're seeing the world in a brand new way. You've got new responsibilities and everyone expects things from you. You're talked down to, disapproved of, and you know everyone ultimately thinks you're a giant jerk because of all the mistakes you've made. It doesn't get fixed with a joke or even a hug. It doesn't get fixed with a spirit monster's temper tantrum or a pretty speech from a boy in tights.

It just is.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday Night Thinking

Well, it's time for Thursday Night Thinking. And I have determined that today, I'm going to use this feature to remind everyone how Hal Jordan is a total flipping moron! Yay!

Now. See, I'm not really doubting Hal's medical diagnosis here, but...well...honestly. Delirious? "Where am I?" seems like a perfectly valid question for someone who wakes up to find himself in Qward.

Admittedly Guy does end up a catatonic and comatose when he's brought back. But somehow, I can't help but wonder if given Hal's track record, there isn't a different reason...

I'd suggest mandatory superhero first aid classes, but something tells me Hal would get out of it by sleeping with his instructor...

(Now, Diamondrock can save me any day.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Random Thoughts About Recent (And Not So Recent) Comics...

I haven't done one of these in a while, so it seems like fun!

-I'm actually enjoying Countdown right now. But I really kind of hope something big happens soon. I'm okay with a slow start, and the forerunner was kind of exciting, but I'm not going to be patient forever.
--Piper is hot though. I never noticed before.

-I really really really want Sinestro Corps yesterday. Mostly so I can know if I need to rant tremendously.

-It's funny how I like the Outsiders a lot more in Checkmate than I do in their own book.
--I even liked Dick Grayson, when he was in the cell and listening to his teammate being tortured, telling him to scream if that's what they want. Also when they threw Boomerang into the cell...
---I guess I tend to like Dick more when he's worrying about others as opposed to angsting his ass off.
--Still. I actually liked DICK GRAYSON.
-I need a shower.

-Egg Fu is creepy. Really creepy.
--As is Sasha's arm in the tank. "Child of Brother I" is kind of nifty. Maybe.
---I'm still not as enamored with the character as Greg Rucka seems to be though.
--At least not when she's not doing Mr. Terrific. Because: genius, rich, handsome, nice, and much less issues than Batman. Michael Holt is a CATCH.

-I'm STILL thrilled about Wally being back. And the hugs made me smile. I didn't know how much I missed him.
--Crap, I'm gonna have to read Justice League now that he's in it.
---The issue still kinda sucked though.
--Still. Hugs. Shut up.

-Been reading some older Flash issues. Diamondrock says there's a lot of ass shots. I'm not really the target audience for that, but I have started to notice that Wally West seems to get tied up by female supervillains with nefarious purposes a lot.
--A LOT.
---This actually makes that Vagina Dentata cover even funnier to me.

-Yes, I'm amused as hell by that cover and yet turned off by the Heroes For Hire one. I'm cheerfully hypocritical. And I find Vagina Dentata really fucking funny. :-)

-Linda totally ties Wally up at home. Kinky.

-I hope Geo-Force stays in the JLA when Meltzer leaves. Not because I care anything about Geo-Force, himself. But I'm liking his weird interaction with Sand.
--Sand needs friends outside the JSA damnit. And cameos in other books.
---I wonder if the more iconic nature of the hat-gas-mask-coat costume will mean he'll get more guest spots? That'd kick ass.
--I'd settle for more speaking lines. And a mask less scene because dude. I want my eye-candy!

-I didn't hate the issue where Bart died.
--I think I should be sadder though. I actually liked him as Kid Flash.
---But not that much. Oh well.
---At least he went out fighting.
--Jay must be devastated.
-Wally's going to take it badly too. I can't wait for All-Flash.

-After reading Ignition, I'm wondering when exactly Wally unmasked for Kyle. As Kyle was off planet that whole time, but seemed to know him fine in IDC. How about revisiting their friendship a bit? I liked it.

-I hunted down a comic based on Sally's recommendation.
--I shouldn't do that. Ow. I might have sniffled a little.
---Brain-damaged/crazy Guy always gets me. It's the stupid Flowers For Algernon thing. Damned movie gave me nightmares.

-The more I see of the Iron Man photos and such, the less I want to see it. It just looks dumb.
--And this is someone who LIKED Ghost Rider. And Fantastic Four. So that's saying something.
---Might also be because Tony's so damn cartoonishly "bad guy" in the comics.
--If he's not a skrull, there's a problem.

-I wish I could get into She-Hulk again. I'm not sure why, my interest just waned. I'll probably give it a shot when Peter David comes on though. I'm iffy on him though. Sometimes I like his work, other times the "Davidisms" are a little much for me. On the other hand, She-Hulk's rather tongue in cheek nature is probably a good fit.

-Bucky/Black Widow are a hot couple.
--Hey, does this mean he coulda got dosed with the same unaging crap that she did? Because that could be useful...
---I like Bucky. He's pragmatic and he punches things. I enjoy that sort...

-I'm thinking of writing up my theory on how dinosaurs and robots represent mankind's fear of a primordial atavistic past and the unknowns of the future. But that would probably be boring.
--Also, I'm not sure where giant talking apes fit in.
---I'll figure it out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Eight Facts About Me...

Sally tagged me, so I should comply!

I PROMISE I'll post something of substance soon. Just...not right now.

Anyway, eight random facts about me...

1. I was one of the first kids in my neighborhood whose family had a PC (My dad is an engineer, so he used it for work.) I spent most of my childhood playing ancient Dungeons and Dragons games on it. It had some very funny side effects, in the sense that six/seven-year-old me couldn't spell "flower", but somehow had no problem with the word "charisma".

2. Speaking of spelling, at age eight, my claim to fame was being able to spell Czechoslovakia backwards. It was the most useless skill ever, especially as it'd wasn't that long before the country split.

3. I'm a decent, though by no means athlete level, swimmer. I'd taken swim lessons in some form or another since I was six months old. I was on a swim team in middle school, before health reasons got in the way. I also was lifeguard certified some years ago, though my certification's long since expired, without it ever being used.

4. I CAN actually stand in the same position as the infamous Mary Jane statue. I should add, however, that I also have mild scoliosis. Make of that what you will.

5. I love salt. And am at least somewhat physically addicted to it. My parents used to give me a hard time about the amount of salt I used until I cut back for a week before a physical and my blood pressure'd dropped to insane DOOM levels. They stopped complaining after that.

I identify very strongly with the salt vampire in the Star Trek episode...

6. I was born nearly two months premature. (February 7th was my birthdate, my due date April 1st. There's a bad joke in there...). There was apparently a blizzard. I was easily the largest baby in the preemie ward.

Apparently the doctor warned that I'd be developmentally slow. I sometimes like to imagine that's true. I've got an overly high opinion of my own intelligence now. Maybe if I were born on time I'd be a gigantic genius!

It'd make an interesting parallel universe antagonist!

7. My first crush was Mr. Spock. It was the ears.

8. I had many many nicknames during my childhood. The most common probably being "muddyacorn". I'm not explaining that though.

Urk. I don't know who hasn't been tagged for this... Oh well. Anyone who reads me and wants to take part, go ahead! :-)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Random Thoughts about Secret Identities...

While chatting with someone online the other day, I got to realize that while I love the idea of secret identities and exploring superheroes in their secret identities, none of my absolute favorite heroes really have one.

I mean take Guy Gardner. Everyone knows Guy Gardner's a Green Lantern or Warrior, depending on the time period. Heck, his bar was a museum to that fact. It makes sense though, Green Lantern (at least for the Corps Lanterns) is more of a job title than a codename. In space, the Lanterns all call each other by real names (since when you're around thousands of Lanterns, addressing everyone as "Green Lantern" gets confusing. It's only on Earth, with its prevalent superhero culture, that Green Lantern becomes a name in its own right. And then only for Hal and Kyle (and to be honest, that boy transformed in a crowded coffee shop, people are going to figure it out.) be honest, I'm never sure how secret John's identity IS at any particular time. But Guy's certainly isn't. No one ever really called him "Green Lantern" anyway..."Guy Gardner" is more than enough name for anyone, I suppose.

"Honor Lantern" is a pretty kickass title though.

Hank Pym at least has a masked identity. Sometimes. But at this point, the question kind of becomes "Why." And has been for years. When you've cycled through four different codenames in possibly that many years, you're probably better off just going by your name. You're not fooling anyone.

Besides as long as you pull shrunken weaponry out of your pants, I'll be happy. Laughing and telling really bad, immature jokes, but I'll be happy.

Sand and Bucky kind of predate the need for sidekicks to have actual disguises. I mean, sure they wore masks, but dude. They didn't HAVE code names. "Bucky" is not a code name. "The Golden Boy" might have been, if Wes had the brains to stop introducing his sidekick as "Sandy" first. Dude, eventually someone's going to realize: "Hey, the Sandman is always with a tiny, blond, elegantly coiffed, snarky kid named Sandy! And Wesley Dodds is always with a tiny, blond, elegantly coiffed, snarky kid named Sandy! I wonder if there's a connection!"

Then again this WAS the forties.

Both characters do at least have codenames, but everyone and their uncle seems to know that the Winter Soldier (which is a really kickass codename, I think) is Bucky Barnes. I'm not sure if anyone knows the Sandman's identity, but considering Sand didn't have one as Sand, I think folks can do the math.

It's just interesting to me, because there are characters that absolutely require their secret identities to function. Superman's nothing without Clark Kent. Bruce Wayne and Batman are such twin fucked up sides of the same character that losing one is inconcievable. On the other hand Diana's shed Diana Prince pretty easily. Secret identities are vital for most heroes to function in the "real world" and keep their loved ones and themselves safe with some semblance of a normal life. I think secret identities are smart. At the same time, EVERY SINGLE ONE of my absolute favorite characters doesn't have one. That's so weird.

It's not like there's any sort of common trend for any of them either, they've each got complely different reasons. I certainly wouldn't stop liking them if they decided to somehow create their own secret identities. I just think it's a really weird connection.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sometimes Bigger IS Better:

Well, Saturday was indeed my last day at the toy store. I DID buy the gas-mask doll, sadly upon closer inspection, he does NOT have the skin tone to be a blond. He is cute though. I also bought, to celebrate my last day of employee discount, the extended cut DVD of Fantastic Four.

I've said before that I'm one of the only people who actually enjoyed the movie. It was cheesy fun which is all I was really looking for.

Anyway, I watched the extended cut and honestly, it's pretty good. In fact, I thought it was really good. Well. Decent. It's never going to be a great movie. It's never going to be any of the Spiderman movies for example. But I thought the extended scenes really did a good job of fixing my biggest problem with the film.

I thought, honestly, that the film hadn't adequately explained certain emotional elements for the characters. Why did Johnny suddenly go from "Gotta have fun and pick up chicks" to "Gotta be a hero?"

There was actually a scene in the novelization (which I'd read first) that I was really disappointed in not seeing in the movie. Where Johnny's recklessness and irresponsibility actually lead to a lovely verbal smackdown from a would-be conquest. This scene is actually in the extended edition. It's quick, but it's pretty important to his development in the movie. When she says (paraphrased) "If I had your powers, I'd be doing something, instead of hanging around doing tricks in bars," you can see it visibly hit a nerve. When he's there, alone, in the middle of the cooling crowd, it suddenly makes a lot more sense why he came back, even before seeing the strange light from the tower.

Another moment that kind of bothered me in the film was how Ben freaks out after Reed comes back from his one night away from his work. Admittedly, Ben's in a hellish position, but he's living in the same tower. He has to have seen that Reed was working himself into the ground to find a cure. But Victor talks to him once and that's enough to shake his faith so that on the one night his best friend actually takes for himself, he freaks out?! I just couldn't buy it. Their friendship is stronger than that, or at least it should be...

The extended scene though makes that whole sequence make a lot more sense. It's NOT Victor's paltry attempt at dark side seduction that causes Ben's explosion. The extended scene however shows Ben having a very nice evening of his own which very, VERY quickly turns horrible. The utter humiliation of the experience made his explosion of temper a lot more understandable. It was the last straw.

Reed and Sue's relationship benefitted a lot more from the new scenes too, I think. Little bits here and there were enough to make it a lot more clear that these were characters who might have split a while ago, but still had a past and a connection and strong feelings for each other.

I still don't understand why, considering Sue was also a scientist, Reed was working on that cure ALONE. But I'll let it go. :-P

I do think the extended cut of the film makes a big difference, I liked it a lot!

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I would like it to be known that I have a fairly strong stomach when it comes to graphic imagery.

I used to read MPD Psycho (and similar series) regularly after all, back when my Japanese was actually competent enough to have some vague idea what was going on.

In fact, I read that before I ever got into superhero comics, which probably does explain a lot about my own attitudes. I mean, compared to say when the lead character opens that cooler, Alexandra in the fridge was surprisingly tasteful.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that was my initial reaction. "Wow, that's more tasteful than I'd expected."

I'm possibly a little twisted. I admit this. I only bring it up for one reason.

Mallet's got a scan up from a comic I have never read and will never read.

The cooler scene in MPD Psycho didn't phase me. Women in bondage gear, skulls open being used as plant pots didn't give me pause.

I'm not sure why, but this scene (Both Not Work Safe) almost made me ill.

I don't know what it is. I've read my Bathory. I've seen worse. Just...

It might just be that at the toy store I tend to use the box crusher.

Way to freak me out before the last day of work, Witchblade manga. Thanks muchly.

My Obligatory Flash Post:

As a warning, this post contains heavy spoilers for Flash #13 and the end of the Lightning Saga.

Seriously. If you haven't read them and still intend to, go away.


Okay. I have to say, I'm happy. I'm VERY happy. Well, to be fair, I do think Bart Allen got screwed over. I don't deny that. But as to who came back...well, I couldn't be happier.

Wally West is MY Flash. And I had no idea I'd missed him so much until he came back.

I sympathize with the disappointed Barry fans. I really do. It sucks to have hope dangled in front of you and have it snatched away again. I actually expected it to be Barry too (though not long term. My prediction was Barry would be back for the event and die/return to death again.)

But I'm going to be very rude right now and make a hard prediction about the future of the DCU: Barry Allen will never lead the Flash title ever again.

Yes, Barry was incredibly popular. Yes, a lot of folks miss him. Yes, he was a great character. Yes, it sometimes does seem like they're trying to make Wally into Barry 2.0.

But Barry Allen is not going to be back for good, for one simple reason. He died in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Sure, we've seen him since. We've seen him in guest spots. We saw him in JLA Year One. But Barry Allen hasn't been the primary Flash character for more than twenty years.

I know that may not seem like a long time to a lot of Barry Allen fans. But to put it in perspective:

Crisis on Infinite Earths was written in 1985-1986.

I was BORN in 1983. I was two years old when Crisis on Infinite Earths began. TWO YEARS OLD.

This isn't the same as Hal Jordan. Hal Jordan went Parallax in 1994. Final Night, wherein Hal Jordan died, was 1996. Green Lantern Rebirth was in 2004. He made prominent appearances as Parallax and the Spectre pretty frequently during Kyle's run, JLA, JSA, and other important comics. He had his own series as the Spectre. People, even new people to comics, pretty quickly knew who Hal Jordan was. Hal Jordan was dead less than ten years.

Ten years is very different from twenty years when you're thinking in terms of a comic book audience. In ten years, boys who were playing kickball in the street and reading their older siblings' comics have become the young men that comic book companies still consider their target audience.

Twenty years ago? That target age-range was gnawing toothlessly on rattles and playing peek-a-boo. Not reading comics.

Yes, the people writing the comics are older. Yes, they're usually trying to recapture the stories of their youth. But honestly, they're not stupid. And as awesome as Barry is as a character, he's more ingrained in their audience as the dead inspiration than he is as a living hero.

I mean, think about it. With both Barry and Wally "dead", people immediately assumed that the Flash that would be brought back was Barry.

And honestly, that's what makes sure Barry will stay dead. (Or come back and die again.) Because if Barry came back, who would immediately assume during the next big event that WALLY would show up? I don't think anyone would.

But this way, at every single event, our first thought will always be the expectation that it's Barry Allen. Infinite Crisis? Barry Allen! Nope. It's Bart. Lightning Saga? Barry! Nope. Wally.

I mean, Wally didn't even DIE in Infinite Crisis and very few actually floated the idea that he'd be back. That's how powerful dead-Barry is.

From a business standpoint, Wally West is a perfectly functional Flash. He's fronted his comic for twenty years. He's been in the JLA for almost ten. He was one of the core members of the very popular Justice League Unlimited. I don't think it's a stretch to say that for my generation, he IS the Flash. Would a living Barry sell to my generation? Maybe. There are quite a few of us who enjoy the old back-issues and trade paperbacks. Who can say? But do you really think they'll take the risk when they have one that works quite nicely?

It's a horrible thing to say, but honestly, the company knows you expect Barry to come back, they know it'll sell comics to tease you, and they're going to milk that cash cow until the day you die. In the meantime, they'll be selling Wally and his successors to my generation and beyond.

Of course, I could be wrong. If this turns out to be a trick. If Barry Allen both comes back and assumes leadership of the title, then feel free to come back here and say "I told you so."

I doubt it though. Twenty years might not be a long time to a comic book fan, but to a company, it might as well be an eternity.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Night Fights is Back!

Bahlactus has issued our Battle Cry!, Friday Night Fights is back!

It doesn't matter how old you are, Dinah Lance will take you DOWN!

-From JSA 6, of course!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday Night Thinking:

It's that time again!

Here's mine: Ted Kord from Secret Origins 2:

I think he's thinking SOMETHING there. But whenever I try to read it, I keep getting inexplicably distracted...

(This is Diamondrock's game, I'm just a player..)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Personal Blatherings... (Non-comic)

Well, I did it. A while back I turned in my two week notice at my job at the Only Toy Store in the Lansing Area and this Saturday will be my last day.

I'm going to miss it. It was a good job and everyone's really nice.

I never did find that Sand action figure. But then our collection of JLU figures always did kind of suck. Our lego Batman on the other hand always did rock... (Apparently there's going to be a lego Batman game out soon. Like the Star Wars one. I'm always the last to hear about it, but that'll be awesome. Especially if you can get Batgirl, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and the like. The Star Wars games are great fun, but there isn't a whole lot available for female characters that aren't just one of Padme or Leia's alternate costumes...)

On the plus side, I found a neat Elite Operations doll (sized as a Ken doll) that actually has a gas mask! Now all I need is a trenchcoat and a fedora and I'm gold! (He's even got the perfect vacant expression to be a Wes Dodds doll!) It makes a suitable last purchase on my employee discount, don't ya think? (Alas, if only he were blond. :-))

And really, I'm awfully depressed that I know so much about upcoming Barbie movie releases. I mean they're cute and all (and some of them are surprisingly proactive with decently strong female portrayals not centered around landing a man, if really fucking dull) but honestly I could do without it. The Island Princess doesn't look as catchy as Fairytopia anyway.

Also, if I never have to answer the Wii question again, it'll be too soon.

Hey, no more repeating annoying music! Yay!

After that's law school. Got accepted into MSU's law department. I don't really know what to expect. Except maybe soon I'll get to rant and rave about the travesty of law portrayals in comics. I'm looking forward to that. I need blog posts. :-)

(Oh and I haven't forgotten I still owe people questions...:-))

Privilege in Green

Designated Sidekick has a really nice post up here where he talks about his privilege (especially in terms of race) and he uses the example of Hal and Ollie in the O'Neal/Adams years to illustrate a bit.

Go read it. It's a good read!

I do have to disagree with him on one thing though. DS says that he wishes he could be Green Arrow, even though he's more of a Green Lantern, with regards to his privilege and lack of perspective.

I've been thinking about it myself and honestly, of the two of them, I'd rather be Hal Jordan.

This is not to say that I agree with him politically (I'm a staunch liberal, thank you) or that I'm trying to excuse his privilege and ignorance. But the biggest difference for me is that Hal is open to change. He'll say/do something dumb, insensitive, or even downright offensive, get called on it or otherwise have it thrown back in his face, and in the end, he'll come out having learned something.

Ollie, in contrast, spends most of those issues either screetching his politics, making personal attacks against anyone who disagrees (Godwin's Law before it was popular!) or being impossibly smug. And I say that as someone who largely shares Ollie's politics! While Hal is making his usual unconsciously racist or sexist fumbles, Ollie gets to remain secure in his own assumptions and privilege. Because he's the Enlightened Liberal.

And honestly. No. It doesn't work that way. Politics don't make you perfect. And being aware of privilege doesn't mean that we're suddenly going to become free of it. And Ollie may not be as guilty as often as Hal, but he's still guilty.

Hal's changed a lot since those road trip days. He might still be conservative, and he still has his moments of abject insensitivity/stupidity, but in general he's wiser than he was then and it shows. In contrast, it really doesn't seem like Ollie's learned much since those days. Ollie today, for all his good points and growth in other areas, is still the screetching judgemental ranting liberal secure in the belief that he's right beyond anyone else. I don't want to be that. (Though to be fair, Ollie gets called on things a LOT more now than he did way back then.)

Hal does still make the same mistakes over again sometimes, for all his growth, but honestly? So do I. I might think I've learned a lot, but privilege doesn't go away just because I know it's there, and sometimes, I do backslide. Like Hal does. That's part of being human. But I'm also very lucky, because, like Hal in the comics, I have people around who'll call me on it. People who like me enough to forgive my lapses but not accept them. They're wonderful and I owe them so much.

I guess I'm not sure that this HAS a point except that in the end when it comes to awareness and politics, neither of them are particularly admirable to me. But if I have to be one, I'd rather be the guy who gets called on it than the guy that's too smugly secure in his own enlightenment to see the problem. I'd rather be the moron than the hypocrite.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'd Read That!

Okay, I have to say, I'm really really excited about the Search for Ray Palmer mini-series.

Mostly because I'm quite irrationally certain that it's a test run, and if it sells well, we could very well end up with an Exiles-esque team of Jason Todd, Kyle Rayner and Donna Troy hopping about the Multiverse.

Which is perfect. Not in the least because I don't want them to kill off Kyle (I figure they won't, if he can hold a book) but also because this is the perfect place to use all three characters.

Jason's been inconsistent across the board, no one seems to be able to decide whether he's an outright villain or just an extreme vigilante. He seems to get shoved into whatever narrative role the writer wants at the time. And no one seems willing to really hash out a concrete personality as opposed to just using him as villain A.

Being in a group like this would take Jason away from "fill-in-the-blank" antagonist and give the writers a chance to flesh out a stronger personality for him. Probably as the wild-card/loose cannon of the group.

Donna at least has a consistant personality, but her background is insane and the more she's around Diana or the Titans/Outsiders, the harder it is to iron it out or overlook it. But as part of a Multiverse-exploring team, Donna's backstory will not be the weirdest thing they encounter, and can probably even be largely ignored.

And Kyle, much as I love him, would be far better suited in this sort of role simply because it's the sort of situation where he works best. Where he's alone, or almost alone, with only a few allies, not quite knowing what he's doing but pulling it out anyway out of sheer luck, faith and goodness. In GLC, he's just another Lantern. Not the youngest/least experienced anymore, but not really one of the old guard either. As "the Torchbearer" he was pretty interesting, and I did enjoy Ion, but really this seems like it would be the best way to essentially return him to his beginnings.

And while I'd never have considered the three of them as a team before, it occurs to me that they could fit together awesomely. They'll be a really really dysfunctional trinity. Kyle's got Superman's idealism, Donna's got Wonder Woman's drive. Jason's got Batman's...well, he's a Bat. They're all three of them batshit crazy in different ways. The bickering will be awesome.

The potential love triangle element would be amusing too. Especially because whether you're a Donna/Kyle fan or a slasher, Kyle's Kiss Of Death won't work on either of them! Yay!

I like Multiverse dimension hopping in this manner (especially as having a book devoted solely to it would probably lessen the amount of gratuitous crossovers elsewhere). I'm already really looking forward to the Booster Gold book and its Time Travel theme. Dimension Travel will be awesome as well.

Also Kyle and Donna trying to keep Jason from killing the Fuhrer in the Nazi world ("What part of LOW PROFILE don't you understand?!") would be simply hilarious!*

(*I stole this notion from Ragnell)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Okay! I've drunk the koolaid!

Darnit DC! And Sally! You're making me all enthusiastic for the Dinah and Ollie wedding!

I don't even like the couple!

But now I'm all "Ooo! Will they have a traditional wedding with a wedding party and everything?"

Now I'm going "Ooo, Barbara and Helena would be perfect bridesmaids!" and "Would Hal or Roy make a better best man?" (For the record, my vote's Hal. He'll throw a better bachelor party. Roy should be a groomsman definitely though!)

Would Lian and Sin be flower girls?

Dinah's dress had better be pretty! And will the men of the JLA actually wear suits? Or will they be all tacky in their costumes? I always liked how Guy Gardner actually wore a suit for Hal's funeral. Or Sand wearing one for Wes's. Important events should require dressing up, damnit! This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I think men in suits are really really sexy.

...okay. Maybe that factors in a little.

...okay. Maybe it's the root behind this whole mini-rant. I'm shallow!

Now I'm wondering about flowers and decorations and music and... Ye cats, I'm such a girl!

I just really like celebrations. And comics can get so dark and sad sometimes that it's really nice to just have some occasion to be happy!

...heh, I can't wait to see what's gonna fuck this up.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Amusingly yesterday's post was my 666th post. Which means that today is the perfect time to talk about the Mary Jane-zombie cover!

I have to say first, that I'm not a huge fan of the Marvel Zombie concept. It was funny at first, but I think it's gotten a bit old.

That said, honestly, I think the cover is hilarious.

I understand the arguments about sexualized violence, but in this case, we're not so much looking at a sexualized corpse as we are looking at a sexy woman who happens to be dead. Zombies are animate. They move. They act. They eat brains. There's a level of agency that turns this from being objectivized violence to being a sexy-monster pic.

And yes, it is completely implausible that the zombie's eye, lips and breasts would look like that. But...that's part of the joke.

And the pose is cute and not terribly out of character. :-) I've seen the cover it's loosely based after, but honestly, I think it's different enough in art style and age-portrayal that it works for me. It reminds me of the cover, sure, but it's not the same. (And I doubt I'd have even noticed the similarities if more observant folk hadn't pointed it out.)

Besides, kids understand zombies. (Tentacle rape, not so much.) But zombies? I can't see the average 8-10 year old being particularly affected by this cover. Parents would probably shy away from it, admittedly, but kids are sturdier than we tend to think.

I sympathize with the folks who see it as symptomatic of a problematic trend, but honestly for me, I think sometimes a zombie is simply a zombie.

That said, can we please let the joke rest soon? It's AWFULLY tired by now...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Retcon Ranting (Spoiler Content)

This contains reference to a plot point from New Avengers that I'm quite possibly misunderstanding anyway as I haven't read the actual issue and am just going by what I've heard from other people...






So is the "He/She's a skrull!" thing officially gonna be Marvel's answer to "Superboy punched the Universe"?

Because honestly, if it is, I'm a little disappointed. Not because it's cheap, mind you, as I have a fairly high tolerance for cheap. Simply because it lacks the one-two punch of being cheap AND ridiculous.

Retconning by way of teenage temper tantrum is dumb. It's so dumb, it's funny. There is no possible way to take that seriously, so you just have to run with it. It's basically DC saying "Yes, we know it's stupid. But we want to do it this way. Deal with it. When we tire of it, we'll change it back with an even dumber excuse."

In Marvel's case, well, the Skrull thing (should it be true) is actually plausible. (Though it does require ignoring relatively recent skrull canon, I'm told.) Skrulls shapeshift. Skrulls shapeshift into heroes and cause havoc. Completely plausible.

And's empty. It's so plausible that do we know ANYTHING that happens isn't going to be retconned away with "the skrull did it." It's so insidious that we never have to know until years later.

At least in the case of Superboy punching the Universe, it's a big deal. It's probably not going to happen again. The circumstances aren't going to repeat itself.

Most importantly for me is the matter of the retcon. I don't mind retcons in general, sure I get annoyed when story points I like vanish, but that happens sometimes. There's a difference to me, though, between saying "Okay, this didn't happen" then saying "Okay, this happened but HE didn't do it."

On one hand, the second option DOES allow aftermath of the events to be explored better. But personally, I don't like it. I feel irrationally robbed by the concept. All the emotion I've invested into the events is pointless because, well heck, that wasn't them! If Tony were to be a skrull, I wouldn't be as angry/disappointed as I am in the character now, because well, it's not Tony. It's a skrull and that's what skrull does. It's like the emotional investment is completely wasted.

The first option on the other hand might negate any exploration of consequence, but it lets me keep my emotional involvement. Okay, fine, this random story of Batman being a jerk didn't happen as far as the rest of the universe is concerned. Cool. But when I read this hypothetical story again, I would still feel the same "Damnit, you JERK!" reaction I always would. Even if it "didn't happen". It "could have". If it had happened, Batman would probably still be a jerk. And thus I feel perfectly justified in my emotional reaction. If I reread a skrull story I don't have that, it'd be just "Oh, yeah, well, it's a skrull."

I don't always dislike replacement stories mind you, but I think that they should be handled with care. And certainly NOT used as an excuse to retcon away a mistake.

My recommendation: Let Galactus EAT the plot point. It's not quite Superboy Prime, but it'd certainly make me laugh.

I admit, it's very possible that this will all be much better than it sounds, maybe I'll actually enjoy it. Maybe I'm just completely confused and am misunderstanding!

Meanwhile, I'm tired, cranky, and spent most of the night being stalked by a neighbor's cat, so I'm even less coherent than usual. I'm going to sleep. :-)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Favorite Couple Back Yet?

So...Tora and Guy are gonna get back together soon, right?

I'd wondered if they were going to leave them apart actually, but having Guy's name calm Tora down really does seem like a really really good sign.

Guy and Tora are like my favorite adorable couple ever so I'm really really hoping.

Especially since Guy's not brain-damaged and crazy anymore, but he's still Guy. I always thought it was so sad that it was only after her death that he was finally healed enough to become the person she believed he could be and he'd tried so hard to be for her (and never quite made it). I want her to get to know THIS Guy. And I want them to be happy!

Admittedly, Tora wouldn't fit GLC at all, and it's terribly unlikely that Guy'll leave GLC to join Birds of Prey. (Though the idea of "Gal Gardner" in Birds of Prey makes me laugh my ass off. Especially since Zinda was IN Warrior back then!) But really, why would either of them have to?

Why couldn't a happy couple star in two separate books and occasionally pop over for a "going out on a date, bye!" sort of cameo appearance? Admittedly, Guy doesn't seem to get back to Earth very much, but they can work around that! And unlike a lot of superhero books, GLC doesn't really focus on romance at all (aside from that tiny bit with the butterfly lady), so it wouldn't lose anything to have a romantically-involved-off-panel lead.

Besides, Guy showing up to be "love-interest-in-distress" in Birds of Prey would certainly amuse me. A lot. :-)

Mostly I just like them because happy couples are so damn rare in comics or in the real world. And I think they deserve their chance, and I've got a huge measure of fan-entitlement wrapped up in this, so if they don't get a fair shot I'm gonna tantrum and cry. Or just sulk and mutter curse words and write bad fanfic.

Just warning you. :-)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday Night Thinking

I pride myself on being the sort of person who never shies away from the obvious joke:

Heh, someone had to...

(Courtesy of Diamondrock's scary brain)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Meme Interview with ME!

Look! A meme! I asked Ami Angelwings to give me five questions, which I will now answer!

Hey, it's a post. :-P

1. If you could have one superhero/villain's costume custome tailored to fit you and wear, whose would it be? :O

Guy Gardner's Green Lantern costume. It looks stylish AND comfortable!

2. What would you do if a Monitor came up to you and said that you shouldn't exist? XD

Ask him why HE's here. At the top of my lungs. While running FAR away and screaming for help. I might just skip the first bit.

3. Who is one of the greatest influences in your life? :)

When I was little, I always wanted to be Mr. Spock. Or maybe the Doctor.

4. How do you like your dragon cooked? o_O

Charbroiled or grilled to black. It seems apropos. :-)

5. Where is your ideal place to live? :D

Probably I'd go back upstate New York. Syracuse maybe. I've always liked New York. Not too hot, not too cold, lots of lakes. :-)

Failing that, somewhere on the northern East Coast near the ocean. I like to swim (and I like the Atlantic better than the Pacific). And the South is too damn hot. And everyone talks funny! :-P


And here's the meme! If you want in, just comment!

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions. (They probably won't be the same ones you see above!)

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Supergirl in Smallville?

So, there's going to be a Supergirl on Smallville.

God. I'm torn! On one hand, I really really don't like Smallville. I don't like their take on Clark. I don't like their Lex. I don't like their Lana. I do kind of dig their Lois, but that's not really enough.

On the other hand, I thought the Oliver Queen and Justice League type episodes that my roommate made me watch were actually fun. I liked them a lot. (Too bad the rest of the episodes were back to making me twitch.) this could be really bad. Or really good. But really, since it's Kara... I kind of have to give it a shot.

Should be interesting at least. Especially once we know who they cast...

Monday, June 11, 2007

For Want of a Hero...

I don't know if I've ever revealed this before on the blog, but I'm a huge Doctor Who fan. HUGE fan. Old school, new school. Hartnell to Tennant, I love them all. (For the record, my favorite is Davison. Tall, blond, young, angsty and tetchy. Hmm. I don't have a type at ALL. REALLY.) Anyway, I was talking to Flidget on AIM and came to a joyous realization.

I'm not the only person who HATES Torchwood.

Because I do. I'm sorry. I do.

I don't really hate Torchwood because the characters act like total morons most of the time (seriously, HAL JORDAN could think rings around these people...pun unintended) though that does get on my nerves. I don't really mind that they gave Captain Jack more layers, though most of them seem to be angsty and self-pitying. (Laughed my ass off that he kept the damn hand though. STALKER!)

My problem is that they're all anti-heroes! There isn't a damn hero among them!

I'm not saying every series or show or comic necessarily NEEDS a hero. Many work very well without heroes. But there is a concept that really, firmly, needs a hero to function properly. And that's the anti-hero.

Look, I enjoy anti-heroes. I do. They're very entertaining. I love seeing the conventional ideas of morality and hero-dom turned on their head. I like seeing not necessarily good people do not necessarily good things for greater goals (and sometimes lesser). Mr. Bennet is my favorite Heroes character, after all.

But the thing is. Anti-heroes don't mean anything without a heroic presence to offset them. There needs to be a voice of conventional, approachable, relatable morality to make the counterbalance and contrast mean something. There needs to be a hero.

The hero doesn't necessarily need to be LIKEABLE mind you. He or she can be incredibly annoying in fact. They can be the character that we most want to throttle in the whole bunch. Especially since being the voice of conventional morality tends to come along with some measure of the following traits: arrogance, judgement, uptightness, stubbornness, rose-colored glasses, narrow-focus, and so on and so forth.

But that doesn't make them less vital for their presence. Because without them, the anti-hero's rebellion and unconventionality mean nothing.

Torchwood is full of anti-heroes but there are no heroes to balance them out. Gwen seemed poised to be the moral voice of the show, but she quickly became as self-absorbed and amoral as the rest of them. I'm not saying they're not complex characters, but ultimately they mean nothing to me.

Contrast that with Doctor Who. Depending on his incarnation (though all seem to share the traits in varying amounts) the Doctor is manipulative, machiavellian, dismissive, arrogant, possesed of a god complex like nothing else, tetchy, unfriendly, snappish, and all that. But no matter what, at the core of everything. The Doctor is GOOD. He wants to HELP PEOPLE. He wants to stop people from hurting other people. He wants to make things better. And he does it because that's who he is. No more, no less.

I need that in my fiction. I need that one truly GOOD person to make me care about everyone else. If this one person can care so much about someone so self-centered and goal-oriented, who does vile things sometimes for the wrong reasons while doing yet other things for the right...then I can see why they're worth caring about too.

Also, there's a new level of approachability. Anti-heroes tend, I find, to become attached, attracted to, or otherwise emotionally involved with the heroes. Because truly good people do that. They draw other people in and they make other people want to be good, or resent them for being what they can not. Either way, the reaction to the hero tends to bring a lot more of a sense of humanity to the anti-hero.

Mr. Bennet would not be my favorite character if his daughter Claire didn't exist to show me why.

I admit, I'm one of those people who tend to like heroes anyway, even the obnoxious ones. Scott Summers will always be my favorite X-Men, after all. It is HARD to be a good person. It's HARD to live a moral life, knowing you're going to fall short sometimes. It's HARD to be a flawed person and know you can't ever really be the person you want to be. It's so much easier to just blow it off. To be cool rebel without a cause. To sacrifice morality for expediency. To focus solely on your own interests and goals and say to hell with anyone else.

An anti-hero doesn't have to make the tough decisions, to choose their heart's desire over an innocent child's life, for example. Anti-heroes CAN'T make those tough decisions because once they're faced with them, they can't be anti-heroes anymore. Sure an anti-hero can be forced into a facsimile of this situation. Wherein, he/she'll choose his heart's desire, of course. But something will stop him/her. Something will intervene to keep him/her from going through with it, before the point of no return.

Because otherwise, once that line is crossed, once the anti-hero makes that choice there is no turning back. An anti-hero who chooses to sacrifice their heart's desire for what is right is a hero. A flawed hero, sure, but a HERO. If the opposite choice is made...then you have a villain. There is a point where amorality isn't an option anymore, where you have to choose a side.

Torchwood bothers me because they're all anti-heroes. Not a single one of them has truly been forced to the point of no return. Sure, they've come close. They've done some awful things out of self-interest, but they all manage to skirt the edge and remain not-villainous.

At the same time, there's no real accountability. No sign that any of these characters feel any real sense of guilt and remorse. They're awful people doing awful things and occasionally saving the world if quite by accident most of the time.

I don't care. I simply don't care.

However I'm definitely looking forward to the upcoming reunion on Doctor Who. Maybe heroes like the Doctor and Martha can remind me why I liked Captain Jack to begin with. Actually I'm sure they will. Because they're HEROES.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sometimes Context Just Ruins It...


You know, if any male Green Lantern were to end up unnaturally and inexplicably knocked WOULD be Guy Gardner.


I'd totally read that. And laugh my ASS off.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

On Previews and me...

The Daredevil preview Ragnell's talking about here got me thinking.

I posted on the forum link that I agreed that it was too soon to really say whether the scene in question is really sexist/misogynist. (I judge scenes differently than I do individual images like comic book covers or maquettes, for example. Unlike the others, which are independent, I do think that context really is important to get the full impact of a scene or story.)

However, as an enticement to get me to read the comic, it failed. I'm not a Daredevil fan, so I don't really care to find out what happens next.

I was thinking that "character in peril" previews and teasers are pretty common. They're a fun way to get the audience excited about what happens next. I know if you give me an image of say Guy Gardner with a bloody eel coming out of his head and I'm so there.

But I only really care about those sorts of covers/solicits/previews if I already care about the character in question. I like reading characters-in-peril-oh-no-how-do-they-get-out, sure, but I really kind of have to be invested in the characters to want to read it.

Otherwise, it seems pretty pointless. I don't know who this Milla character is, so I don't care.

I do buy new comics all the time, when I have the money for it anyway. I'll buy a comic because a cover looks neat, or a favorite character is showing up, or someone shows me something interesting from the comic.

Sometimes it can be peril scenes but there has to be that element of awesomeness. I remember that I only started reading Superman again because I was shown scenes from that one issue where Lois Lane is trapped by the OMAC and ends up ducking for cover in the bathtub. Before that I'd known who Lois Lane was, naturally, but I didn't really feel inclined to read her. Seeing her against that OMAC, thinking quick, being tough and awesome even while completely outmatched. That made me want to read the comic.

I like to read cool characters doing great things. That's my entry point into a comic. So I'll pass on Daredevil.

Oh well, maybe next preview. :-)

Quick Notice:

Ack! Somehow I'd managed to glitch myself and actually delete my last post! Apparently I AM incompetent enough to accidently delete a post in Blogger. WONDERFUL.

Anyway, I'll repost the content here because it amuses me:

Because some people deserve a good smackdown!

Bahlactus may be on vacation, but that doesn't mean I can't still have some fun! :-)

Friday, June 08, 2007

This is something I have to post...

Hippokrene and Willow have posts up now that burn a little. More than a little actually. It hits hard. It scorches my conscience like anything. Because they're right. They're very right And when it comes down to it, I'm guilty too.

This isn't an easy thing to say.

I am an elitist. Or I was an elitist. Or I hope I was an elitist and am not now, without knowing it. I saw the same post Hippokrene and Willow saw. I thought that it was unfair to snap at someone like that, just because they used a different style. But at the same time, I didn't say anything.

I could have. I have a livejournal account. I could have said "Hey, that's not fair. The shortened words and the slang don't make the reply any less readable. It doesn't make the point less valid."

I didn't say a damn thing.

Because some part of me agreed. Some part of me read the comment and the other many insightful things Ami has written and went "That's a great post/comment, but I wish she'd type it in proper English." I might not have said it, but I thought it.

So I didn't say anything. Someone I respect called out another person I respect in, what I felt was a needlessly harsh way, and I didn't say a damn thing.

That was wrong of me. That was very wrong. For one thing who am *I* to judge someone else's writing when it is usually perfectly understandable and the writer is very willing to clarify if something gets lost along the way. Who am I to judge someone else's affectation? (Hell, it's not like my own writing is any less an affectation in it's own way.) My grammar and spelling are certainly not perfect. My way isn't necessarily better.

Who the hell am I to try to silence someone else, even if only through not speaking up in defense?

I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing by posting this. I don't want to embarrass anyone. I thought about sending a private apology over email, instead. I'm not sure this won't seem like I'm jumping on a bandwagon or something...

But I've jumped on worse bandwagons than defending an intelligent and rational sister-feminist's right to post the way she damn well wants. And I was wrong to not say anything before, so if I'm going to be wrong again, I'd rather be wrong this way.

So Ami, I'm sorry. I didn't defend you when I should have. That wasn't fair. I love your blog and I love what you post. I'm probably not ever going to really love your speech style, but that's my flaw, not yours. And it DOES NOT get in the way of the quality of your posts.

Everyone who likes my blog, go read Ami's if you don't already. She's great. Especially her most recent post about the portrayal of teenage heroes. She says everything I would like to about how damned annoying it is that "realism" is made an issue over "heroism" for teenaged characters. And it's a really awesome post.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thursday Night Thinkers

I like memes! They save me of having to think of something to post! :-P

Anyway, Diamondrock's got a new one up!

In the same vein as Bahlactus's Friday Night Fights, we have Thursday Night Thinkers! Dedicated to those who plot...and leave the rough stuff to their underlings!

To Gentleman Jack. Bars are no impediment to a well-oiled mind!

(From Adventure Comics 85)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Probably Repetitive Musings on the X-Men

I love the X-Men cartoon. I love the first two X-Men movies. I love the idea of the X-Men. I will always love poor Scott Summers. But for some reason I've never been a huge fan of the X-comics.

I read them occasionally. I do have a strange fondness for those old horribly cheesy, impossibly sexist original 5 comics. (I intend to pick up First Class, but haven't gotten around to it.) I did enjoy Ultimate X-Men for a brief time until I realized that they were trying way too hard to be "edgy" to the point where "edgy" became "idiotic". (I have that problem with the Authority sometimes too. At least the Ellis-Millar versions. It's a good comic but sometimes it got to be too much.)

I love the Summers family tree. I love Cable and Corsair, Stryfe, Madeleine Pryor and Rachel and all that lunacy. Mr. Sinister. Apocalypse. Even the clumsy metaphor mutation becomes to race, gender, sexual orientation or whatever issue du jour the writers are using this week.

But it's just really hard for me to sit down and read them.

I think a part of it's that I don't like Wolverine. I simply don't. I've had many an intelligent person try to explain his appeal, but nothing's worked. I simply don't like him. It's hard to be an X-fan and not like Wolverine I think.

I also for the record dislike Gambit. Unlike Wolverine, he's a character I outright hate. He's easier to avoid than Wolverine.

It might be my problem with the premise. While I am by and large a huge fan of a shared universe, X-Men is the one team that really seems to suffer for it. In a world where Mutants are as despised and hated as they are in the Marvel Universe, Xavier's strange blend of sanctuary/stronghold/militia does make a kind of sense. But not from the mind of a man whose ideals are so patterned after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There is no way a secret militia can further the notion of mutants and regular folk together in peace and without fear. It's a SECRET ARMY. That'd scare the shit out of me too!

That's actually a digression though. I don't doubt that mutants are (or were pre-House of M at least) hated and feared in the Marvel Universe. But then...the Fantastic Four are (pre-CW at least) celebrated. The Fantastic Four may not have been born mutant, but they certainly fit the literal definition. Reed and Sue and Johnny may pass for normal, if not for Reed's absent-mindedness or Johnny's showy tendancies. But Johnny at least has a very potentially dangerous power. Sue could literally be anywhere, the perfect spy/saboteur. Ben's monstrous and Reed's power is frankly really freaking gross.

But people like them!

The Avengers are a huge team of superheroes with powers gleaned from various methods and they work with the government. Heck, She-Hulk practices law AS She-Hulk.

It really doesn't read like the same world, to me. And if it IS the same world, it's a clear indication that Xavier is WRONG. A hidden army makes things worse, when living as open heroes may have a much better chance of garnering wide-spread acceptance. And honestly, most of the characters are smart enough to realize that. And heck, considering how often Wolverine seems to be on every team under the sun, you'd think he'd have brought that up.

I think that may also be part of my objection to Storm and Black Panther's marriage. Her characterization blips aside, it's more proof that the X-Men (and related X-Teams) are stuck in a larger universe that they don't fit.

This is discounting Civil War of course. Though I do think it's a shame that the mutants, what's left of them, really didn't seem to be explored much at all. 'Course it might have helped if the Superhero Registration Act were more consistently portrayed...

I admit, as I said above, I don't read very much of the comics themselves. Handfuls here and there. It's possible that some of this crap was actually addressed. That would be cool. I'd be interested in seeing that.

I do like Excalibur/New Excalibur. I think because it does away with the secret army element and has much more of a direct interaction with the people and government. It's probably then not that much of a shock that the persecution element doesn't turn up as often in the book.

But yeah, this is all babbling anyway. I really wish I could get into the series, since I love everything else. (I also like the backstories I've read/read about...batshit crazy is fun). I love the idea of the teams. (Except Excalibur which I genuinely love). It's just the teambooks themselves...I'll pass.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I Got Nothin'

I have no blog post for today. None. Zip. Nada.

I'm going to sleep.

But first I'll leave you this amusing out of context image of Wesley Dodds's head:

Not what *I* would want to see when I'm asleep. :-) Also, I think Wes could afford to use some of his gazillion dollars to hire an orthodontist. Just sayin'. :-)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Who'd Read THAT?

You know, I keep thinking of a particular accusation that I've seen flung about. That no one would want to read the kind of comics that "feminists" want.

Well, I can't speak for all feminists, naturally (no hive vagina here, after all), but I can definitely tell you the kind of comic stories I'd like to see.

I'd like to see strong, heroic protagonists, whether male or female. (Naturally flawed protagonists are good too. Though I prefer the flaws/weaknesses to be portrayed as something the hero strives to transcend rather than being made as an excuse for the heroes).

I like to see female characters in a variety of roles. Not just "love interest". Mothers, allies, friends, enemies.

I like to see female characters that are on equal footing with the men, with strengths and weaknesses that may be different from a particular male character, but no less formidable for it.

I like to see female characters that are strong in a variety of ways, like male characters tend to be. Warriors. Thinkers. Rulers. Nurturers. Mentors. Not just the same sort of tired cliche.

I like seeing female characters that also have relationships to one another, beyond their relationships to men. Women who talk about things other than men.

I like seeing competence and women playing the "damsel and distress" role no more or no less than men.

I like seeing shows that pack action and violence with likeable characters and interesting stories.

And it occurs to me. One series, a cartoon series actually, comes immediately to mind as having all these traits. A series I loved as a child, despite the early eighties cheesiness. A series that I watched, completely unconscious of all of the gender element that I'm now so sensitive to, but absorbed nonetheless.

The series that most influenced the feminist I am today.

Nah. These guys are right. No one would read anything like that...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

It Takes Two?

I have a friend that's so afraid of clowns, that every time there's a storyline with a clown, good or evil, (usually evil), she'll watch or read enraptured, hating every minute but unable to put it down.

It's really odd. I think everyone has something like that though. Some kind of storyline or situational quirk that really gets to you, for whatever reason.

Mine is the evil clone storylines.

I HATE evil clone storylines. I hate how no one ever seems to be able to tell the evil clone from the good one until long after the clone would have given itself away to anyone paying a half bit of attention. I hate how invariably the evil clone causes a whole mess of trouble and then dies/gets captured leaving the poor original person to deal with it. I just hate it.

And every time I watch/read one I'm on the edge of my seat.

I don't get it really. I HATE those stories. I groan whenever I hear of one. I have never actively sought an "evil clone" story. But whenever I encounter one I simply can't change the station. I'm hooked. I keep watching, breathlessly, going "Oh god, they're going to figure it out, right?! He/she's not going to ruin everything, right?! Oh no!!!"

It's really odd.

I dunno, maybe it resonates with a deep seated fear of being unmemorable and replaceable, or being blamed for something I'm innocent of. You honestly got me. As far as I know, I'm not consciously afraid of any of those things.

(I also really like "good clone" stories. Especially ones where the clone/robot/duplicate thinks they're the original. I always get attached and feel bad when they die/go away. It's not their fault they're not the genuine article. I'm a sap.)

I don't know what it is, but "evil clone" stories get me every time. Creepy!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

This Is Not a Post...

My most recent search query is "what is gl sex?"

I'm sure "GL" is some sort of term that I would much rather not know the meaning of, but if you think of it from a comic fan perspective, it's pretty fucking funny.

I mean, possibilities of the ring aside...

Imagine a Green Lantern teaching a sex education class. Well, not John, John is refreshingly sane.

But one of the others? Hal? Kyle? GUY?

Heh, if I wrote comics, that'd so end up being a situation one of them would have to face. Not sure how. Or why. But at some point, that scene would be there.

For the record, my second most recent search term has to do with Spiderman and the Invisible Woman having sex.

...You people are waaay too preoccupied with superhero sex-lives. Sheesh. Besides, if she were gonna cheat on Reed, she's got Namor. Why the heck would she settle for Peter? Just sayin'...

Maybe He Gives Lessons?

In my post Who Defines Offense, I explained my negative reactions to the defensive comments from Adam Hughes and Joe Quesada about the controversies.

So this time, I'm going to show a defense/response that impressed me.

Kevin at Blog@Newsarama linked to a blog entry by Takeshi Miyazawa which defends Sana Takeda as artist of the cover.

I really like it. In fact I'll go so far as to say that many people could learn a lot from the way Miyazawa-san presents his defense.

Notice that he doesn't try to say that the image isn't sexist because the artist is a woman, for example. He does bring up Takeda-san's personality, but unlike certain others, he's not using it to say "It's not sexist! She's a nice woman!" He's using it to explain that he felt no offense was intended.

And there's definitely a difference between saying "She didn't mean to offend anyone" rather than "this isn't offensive!" The person stating the former does not have to agree that the offense is merited, but it is an acknowledgement that offense exists. And honestly, even an acknowledgement like that can go a very long way toward smoothing ruffled feathers.

Miyazawa-san also brings up, as others have, the cultural differences between the United States and Japan as a partial explanation for the cover. However, again, there's a difference in the expression. Miyazawa-san doesn't appear to be telling us that we shouldn't be offended because this sort of thing isn't as controversial in Japan. In fact, he appears to be saying the opposite. He's acknowledging that because American and Japanese culture is different, some Americans are going to react differently.

I also want to point out that Miyazawa-san isn't making blanket "this isn't tentacle rape/porn!" defenses. (We KNOW it's not. We're referring to the similarity to the tamer covers of explicit content manga involving tentacle porn that many of us percieve.) Those just distract the issue. Because ultimately, it doesn't matter if the image truly falls under the category of "tentacle porn". What matters is that people were offended by the image as portrayed. THAT is the complaint that should be answered.

Finally, I'd really like to highlight this part:

And I'm speculating that what hit the biggest chord with most people had nothing to do with the tentacles or the hairband or the cleavage but the expressions on the faces of the three girls. And, y'know, I understand. Especially since I'm somewhat familiar with the characters and the fact that they are supposed to be strong kick-ass amazon woman-like. It's rather uncharacteristic of all three of them to be acting so helpless and contrary to the purpose of the property. I'm sure Takeda-san had no idea, though, and since she recieves work through translated e-mails and notes, I'm not surprised. She drew the most attractive cover in a way only she could.

Look at that. It looks like Miyazawa-san's actually read more of the complaints than just the initial EWWW reactions. And even if he didn't, he's acknowledging that there is a discrepancy between the characters as portrayed on the cover and the characters of the series in question, which is a big part of many complaints. Also, notice he says that he's "speculating". He thinks that this is the root of the issue, but he's not trying to claim that he knows for sure.

This is important. There is nothing like telling someone why they're "really" angry to get them even angrier. It's dismissive and rude, and most of the time, the assumption is wrong anyway.

Miyazawa-san is very effective at explaining the likely circumstances of the misunderstanding while managing to NOT ONCE try to claim that people are offended for no reason.

Admittedly, Miyazawa has no reason to be overly-defensive. He's not involved and the party he's defending really doesn't bear a whole lot of the blame for the product. (After all, someone at Marvel had to approve that cover.) But still, the tactics used here are ones that would benefit anyone else involved in the project.

Explain-Acknowledge-Move on.

Even if it's just "We saw a cover that we liked, we didn't consider the response of many female readers." That's something. No one has to APOLOGIZE, but acknowledging the offense caused without trying to shift the blame onto the audience would go a long way toward smoothing ruffled feathers. It may not necessarily make them look gracious, but it would present the image of the Powers That Be as people who respect and appreciate their fans. Even if they occasionally produce unappealing covers.

Friday, June 01, 2007

It's that time again...

It's Friday Night Fights!

I'd duck if I were you.

(Aww you guys all know Bahlactus is the only man for me...)