Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thoughts on Titans East...

Looking 2 Da Stars has some interesting things up here about Judd Winick and a new Titans East oneshot. (Interview available here.) He's also got a very nice clear image of the cover.

I admit, I was kind of disappointed not to see Batgirl or Risk or some of the other members of Deathstroke's team. I thought it'd be interesting to see them rebuilding a heroic team to try to redeem themselves after that whole mess. Still, this might not be the whole team, so there's still hope.

I recognize Cyborg, Power Boy, Lagoon Boy, Hawk and Dove, but can anyone fill me in on the other two? I haven't the faintest idea who they are. Sword-boy (Son of Vulcan?) looks kind of neat.

Three female characters out of seven is a promising sign. I was kind of hoping to see the new Firestorm in a teen team too. I'm hoping the fact that he's not means he'll be popping up in JLA. He ought to show up somewhere.

I admit, I'm leery about Power Boy's addition for many of the same reasons Matt has in the link. Right now, I'll give the benefit of the doubt. Power Boy's done some truly horrible things, but he's also very young and I think that gives him a slightly better chance of rehabilitation/redemption than it would an adult hero. I'm not sure if the character will be redeemed well, but I do think the possibility is there.

I've never been terribly interested in Hawk and Dove, but I admit the new girl-Hawk is an intriguing idea. And I think the character design is cute. I've only seen her in brief encounters so far, but since "Hawk" always seemed like a really masculine-oriented role, I do tend to find a girl version interesting.

Cyborg honestly hasn't seemed like a good fit on the main team since OYL, to me, so I'll be glad to see him working with a team that may suit him better. I'm hoping he'll get to keep a leader/mentor type role.

Ragnell suggests the blond girl's Magenta. Magenta's not a teenager, but then neither is Cyborg (though he could be grandfather-claused in, I suppose). Dove shouldn't be a teen anymore either, I thought (but I'm shaky with those two). This group in general does seem a bit older than the main group anyway. Frances is pretty neat though, so I wouldn't complain. Even if her presence and Power Boy's do lend the group a certain level of instability...

There does seem to be some interesting story potential there. I'm not sure really if there's a hook for me yet, and Judd Winick's writing isn't always to my taste. But I did enjoy early Outsiders, so maybe I'll enjoy this too. It does seem worth a shot though...

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Brief Note:

I really shouldn't watch so much Clerks-type stuff late at night, while reading about upcoming comic book movies. Now I'm getting mental images of Jason Mewes as Guy Gardner.

I don't know whether this is good or bad.

I'm going to bed.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bizarre Red Skull-Related Thought...

I was thinking about Captain America and the Red Skull recently and my mind drifted into the topic of Nazi Eugenics.

See, it occurred to me that when the Red Skull possessing a cloned version of Steve Rogers has suddenly got a remarkable opportunity. I mean. He's in a body that has many traits that fit their physical ideals complete with super soldier serum running through its veins...

Essentially, I think there are totally hidden islands out there with seekrit nazi enclaves filled with tiny, scary, nazi, super-soldier children being bred up as weapons for the Red Skull's eeevil purposes. All of whom are genetically the offspring of Captain America.

This is why it's probably a good thing that I'm not out there writing comics. I'd totally end up writing the story of Steve Rogers washing up on one of these islands and meeting his scary nazi clone-children.


Saturday, July 28, 2007


Okay, I admit, I have a lot of doubts about the upcoming Star Trek movie. Especially given the new cast. I tend to honestly think that the awesomeness of Original Flavor Star Trek came about because of a lot of different factors. Among them the utter cheesiness and having William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy as leads.

I have a lot of trouble imagining them revisited for the present day. Especially after the mediocrity of Voyager and the utter awfulness of Enterprise. But will the Trek geeks really be happy with anything?

But then again, I have to admit, I don't tend to mind respun origin stories. (Not a huge fan of outright reboots, but redone origins tend to be fun.) I like the post Crisis versions of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman better than most of the pre-crisis versions. With the exception of Golden Age WW, but I figure she's mostly Hippolyta anyway. :-P

I also really tend to enjoy seeing modern takes on older stories and flashbacks to older events in modern day comics so I might be the ideal audience for this sort of thing. It'll really REALLY depend on the cast.

Especially Spock. Spock was my first crush. (I was a baby nerd.) I wanted to marry Spock. Or be Spock. So I've got tremendous amounts of fannish entitlement feelings toward Our Favorite Half-Vulcan. I was ready to hate whoever they chose right good.

But they're choosing Sylar (from Heroes). And you know...that's actually a really good casting choice. Really good. He's an attractive man, but with just enough weirdness/quirkiness that suits the character. He's apparently very tall and certainly appropriately saturnine.

And he's a pretty decent, flexible actor. Though considering that the original cast never really got to play up their acting strengths, I'm not sure that's really a necessity.

I can go for this. It might be good after all. Or at least entertaining. :-)

(Also on an unrelated tangent, the more I read of Iron Man, the more the casting choice makes me giggle. Robert Downey Jr. = Best. Choice. Evar.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's that time again!

By way of Bahlactus, it's Friday Night Fights!

This would make an effective long distance phone call commercial, I'd reckon...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Query: Harley Quinn

Okay, there's something I'm curious about...

Am I the only one who really, really doesn't care for Harley Quinn?

I do like villains to have a certain joie de vivre in their evil, but she grates on me, and I don't think it's the accent. I remember thinking she was funny enough in the animated universe, but I don't really tend to think she translates well to the main comic universe.

Also I tend to think her presence tends to rob the Joker of a certain sort of menace, which might just be that I've been reading the wrong comics with her in it.

I won't deny that her design's cute, but I really don't get the rest of the appeal.

Are there any Harley fans out there who might recommend certain issues with Harley in them at her best so I can try to better understand what I'm missing?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quick Convention Thoughts...

I would just like it to be known that I have much envy for all you folk going to San Diego Comic Con this year. Someday, I'll have the money and advanced-planning enough to actually hop a plane and go. Not this year though.

But have fun for me, okay?

On the other hand I AM going to Wizard World Chicago. I had lots of fun last year. I might wear the WFA shirt again, so if you're there and you see a slightly demented-looking brown-haired girl with glasses and a When Fangirls Attack t-shirt. Run away, quick!

Or say hi. :-) Whichever works.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Aw crap.

Okay, I'm always the last to hear about this sort of thing, but this makes me feel all weird and sad.


I have such fond memories of Weekly World News. Of the Alien sightings and Man-Bat and all that sort of thing.

Weekly World News was what taught me, at age five or so, that just because something was black and white and had the word "news" on the cover didn't make it true, and gave me the healthy skepticism I have toward any and all information media to this day.

It was such fun to buy and read and have my ex-roommate look over and go "What the heck are you READING?"

This magazine's three years older than I am, damnit. I feel the last dregs of my childhood coming to an end.


Monday, July 23, 2007

So Where's the REAL Sequel?

(Warning, contains spoilers for Marvel: 1602)

Okay, I think I've mentioned before that I tend to really enjoy AUs and Elseworlds in general. Recently I've had the chance to read Marvel's 1602 and really really enjoyed it. The story was compelling, the characters were interesting beyond the whole "Hee! Familiar character in a new setting!" sort of way. The art was pretty.

The sequels though were incredibly disappointing. "New World" seemed to have no real plot whatsoever aside from "Look! Peter has powers now and is working for a colonial newspaper!" "Iron Man! real reason!" and "Let's have the Hulk kill King James and fight dinosaurs in early America!"

By the way, I'm not saying "Hulk fighting dinosaurs" isn't inherently awesome. It just...

It didn't feel like there was a story. At least the Fantastic Four version had something of a story, but still very disappointing compared to the original. Really though, while the setting was neat, there really wasn't anything left to say.

I think what bothers me most is that there IS a story in the aftermath of 1602 that wasn't written and I believe really really ought to have been. At least as much as New World.

Sir Nicholas Fury carried Steve Rogers/Rojhaz through the time portal. That means that there is an AU Elizabethan-Era Spymaster Nick Fury running around in a dystopian future with a Steve Rogers that was willing to risk the universe to build a better one.

A Nicholas Fury adept at intrigue and cunning, with the resolve to do what it takes, trapped in an alien dystopic future bad enough to send Captain America to such extremes. He's with a man who's a symbol for idealism, a believed-executed fugitive, who is at least a little bit insane and at the very least is bound to resent him a little for thwarting his last ditch crazy attempt to fix things. That's not even getting into the fact that he'll know Sir Nicholas as another man entirely, which will complicate things on a more personal level.

America is in the grips of a suspiciously purple-faced despotic dictator. Most of the heroes are dead. And we've suddenly got a guy that's really used to clandestine activities, with all the cunning and intelligence and charisma of his 616 version. If anyone could set up a guerilla fighting force and have it succeed, it's this guy. And he's walking around with a living symbol of hope!

There's all sorts of potential. Finding heroes that might have escaped capture or execution. Rescuing the captive ones. Dismantling governmental facilities. Spreading hope and whispers of liberty and freedom. Finally overthrowing the despot and seeding something new.

There's room for character growth as well, as Sir Nicholas is bound to begin to think of this country and its people as his, as well as building his friendship with Steve and the others. Steve can finally stop reacting and start really fighting back. The other characters will have their own demons and struggles. In the end though, it'd be all about hope.

I dunno. Maybe it'd suck, but I really resent that it went unwritten while we got "Let's shove more familiar characters in this unfamiliar setting and dick around with them pointlessly! Who needs a STORY?"


Sunday, July 22, 2007

You're Not Reading This Anyway...

I'm gonna go out on a limb and figure most of you folk are gonna be too busy reading that new Harry Potter book to come here. So I'm taking the day off.

Theoretically there will be actual content tomorrow.

G'night everybody!

(Panel from Tales of Suspense #82)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Things I've Learned from Tales of Suspense

As has probably been evidenced by the last two posts, I've been devoting my time reading ancient Tales of Suspense comics. A lot of them. Way, Waaay too much of them.

Which means that this post was a necessity.

Things I've learned from Tales of Suspense:

1. Tony Stark is incredibly emo. Dear lord. Almost every issue that's not a cliff-hanger ends with him feeling sorry for himself

In response to: "Boy, whoever Iron Man realy is, he's the luckiest guy in the world! He's got everything!"
Tony says "Perhaps! But sometimes a person can seem to possess all that anyone could ever want, and still have...nothing!"

He says that OUT LOUD. And when he doesn't end up saying things out loud, he has thoughts like "So why is my heart so heavy? Why does the night seem so bleak and endless...??"

I'm playing the world's smallest violin for you, emo-Man. Yeesh.

2. Steve Rogers gets the best lines ever, like:

"So That's why you've been fighting me! You thought I was the Chameleon!! Come to think of it, that's not very flattering to me!" (After this, Tony angsts about it of course.)


"Who taught you amateurs karate? Millie the Model?"

or the best catchphrase ever. When asked how he defeated a bunch of assassins:

"With great relish!"

3. Iron Man angsts about keeping the secret about being Iron Man from his closest trusted friends and the Avengers. As to why he does got me.

3b. Iron Man is emo.

4. When Steve is incredibly cheerful and happy, it means he is seekritly depressed. Except all of the Avengers actually know this immediately. Literally it goes:

"I've never seen Cap so cheerful!"

"Poor guy must be incredibly depressed!"

5. Stan Lee can't seem to keep straight whether Steve Rogers actually has a secret identity from one issue to the next. Ultimately he settles on "no". Which is probably good, seeing as how apparently everyone knew it anyway. And if they didn't, they're morons.

6. Iron Man's got an Olsen-esque sidekick/foil named Happy. That's how emo he is.

7. Alfred might be the cooler butler in general, but Jarvis can carry an unconscious Captain America. You gotta give him props for that.

7b. Okay, it was really the Adaptor. But it was a really funny scene.

8. Hawkeye's a dick. Paraphrased: "It was over twenty years ago since Bucky died. Shouldn't he be over it?"

9. While she was the only good part of the utterly abyssmal Iron Man animated movie, comic!Pepper Potts is the most annoying female love interest I've seen in a long time.

10. In contrast, Sharon Carter is the most kickass woman Stan Lee's ever written.

10b. And I'm actually counting She-Hulk.

10c. Seriously, mini-skirt, short blond bob, and slightly swoony Lee-patented love-struck behavior aside, she's incredibly awesome. There are entire stores that are essentially: *Steve fights badguys*, *one last badguy gets the drop on Steve and gloats*, *girlfriend kabonks last badguy*. It's really cute. Also, I find her ruthless streak appealing.

10d. I wanna see Sharon Carter get into a fight with Pepper Potts. Shortest fight ever. But there will be much bitch-slapping of the annoying girl and rejoicing from me.

10e. The whole wartime romance with her sister is a bit weird though. I'd imagine that's been retconned into mother/grandmother to suit the timeline. Still kind of weird.

11. Nick Fury is always awesome.

12. Steve can be an incredible moron and astoundingly clever in the same issue. He's stupid enough to wonder why he's been asked to "demonstrate how he would act during a jail break", but smart enough to slip gum wrapper into the lock of his cell door when he's getting dragged off.

12b. For the record, I was more startled by the fact that apparently Steve Rogers chews gum.

13. You'd think Tony Stark would invent a portable charger for his breastplate considering how often he's "Oh! I need a charge! Whew! Only a few minutes more and I'd be a gonner."

13b. Yes. He angsts about that too. Emo.

14. While it's perfectly understandable that he can wear his uniform beneath his clothes (with boots and gloves folded and hidden in the belt), apparently he can also strap the shield on his back beneath his shirt as well.

14b. The shield on his back normally is wider than most of his back, I might point out.

14c. Maybe he borrows Hank's pym-particles.

15. The Red Skull's mask looks incredibly, incredibly stupid. Just for the record. But STILL not as stupid as Baron Zemo. Just sayin'.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Night Fights:

I love Silver Age fight scenes. I really do. Like this one from Tales of Suspense #60.

Yep! That's a Silver Age fight scene all right...

(Bahlactus is the referee, I just play along.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cap is Adorable!

Okay, so I've gotten the chance to actually read some early Tales of Suspense comics. They're pretty amusing, and even though I have read some early Avengers, I didn't realize that 1960's Cap was so darned adorable.

Like in Tales of Suspense #59, where a bunch of criminal types decide to attack him while he's alone guarding the Avengers headquarters because he's just a "glorified acrobat". Naturally, he kicks all of their asses and then:

Isn't that just the cutest thing ever! All "The others are really tough!" Awww.

(P.S. None of us really buy that he's staying dead, so please feel free to resurrect him anytime now, Mr. Brubaker. Thank you. :-))

Non-Comic: Personal Reminiscence on Gor and Adolescence

So Dark Horse is reprinting some Gor novels. Dorian, Tamora Pierce, and Occasional Superheroine have all posted about it and got me thinking, so I figured I'd post my opinion on the whole deal.

Okay, to this date, I have read a grand total of one Gor novel. I read it at around the age of 12 and to be honest, I don't really remember how the story actually went.

I do remember there was a lot of sex. As a 12 year old, I rather paid attention to that.

I remember that I'd dug it out of my dad's bargain-books-to-be-read pile. My family and I like to read a lot, so there's always a huge pile of books in the house. My dad tended to sell his books back to the used bookstore (I keep mine for rereading), so it was always a coup to sneak in there and grab a few books to keep. (It was all fair, my dad would later swipe the book back from me, with the understanding that it was Not To Be Sold Back.)

I'd grabbed the Gor book for two reasons, the first being it actually starred a female protagonist. The second being, the last time I looked at it with my dad in the room, he nearly burst a blood vessel and yelped "Don't read that one!"

Naturally, this meant it was the next book I swiped. I'm like that.

Like I said, I don't actually remember much of the book. I know the main character's name was Elizabeth. She was from Earth. She got kidnapped. And she ended up having lots of sex with varying levels of consent. I think it was Slave Girl of Gor, but I might be mistaken.

While I was disappointed by the plot/character growth, I don't remember being terribly traumatized by the book. This might be because a few weeks before, I'd swiped Sharon Green's Crystals of Mida and Oath to Mida. Those two made quite a bit of an impression, shall we say. What with the girl enslaving the guy and the guy enslaving the girl. The focus tended to be on the girl-as-slave, which I remembered finding rather annoying. Crystals did have an intriguing ending, in which they made contact with a star-faring colonial empire that they'd presumably split off from. The star-faring peoples were advanced technologically and egalitarian. I thought the culture clash sounded interesting, but sadly there were no sign of them in Oath to Mida, and they were believed to be false. Then there was more dubiously consentual sex, even with demi-gods! I've always wondered if I'd missed a book, but honestly was too disappointed by the resolution to ever find out.

But then I digress.

Anyway, I don't remember really seeing the Gor book in much different a light than the other. I remember thinking the main character was a moron, but then, I'd thought much the same of the other lead character. I also remember basically mentally putting it in the same category as the erotic romance novels (I think by Beatrice Smalls, though I could be wrong) that my best friend liked. Lots of sex. Lots of partners. Lots of rape.

To be fair, I'm not sure how much of the actual situation I'd really understood. I was twelve and at the stage when pretty much ALL graphic descriptions of sex had me snickering. (My friends and I used to read sex scenes aloud at the lunch table and laugh at them. On a tangent note: the scene that got the record most derisive laughter was actually in Mercedes Lackey's By the Sword. I submitted that one.) I'd like to say we didn't laugh at the rape scenes, but given that our fare were horrific romance and fantasy/sci-fi novels, we really did. We were very fond of mocking the "No! No! Yeeees!" sorts of scenes.

On reflection, we really were monstrous children.

At any rate, the Gor novel never really stood out from the rest. It was part of a trope, a trope which, don't get me wrong, disgusts me as an adult. I do think sci-fi and fantasy has come a long way from those sorts of novels. Which relieves me. To each their own, but I've long since grown bored with that sort of thing.

I do remember being very surprised by the existance of Gor lifestylists, or whatever they're called. But then, I don't really know how much of that can really be blamed on the source material, regardless of whether or not John Norman himself bought into the whole thing. (I've never seen anything that said one way or another.) I think there will always be some people who seek anything to legitimize their sexual kinks and that the appeal of Gor probably wasn't quality so much as quantity. After the umpteen million books, there's a very vivid world/culture to ape, even if it doesn't make a lot of sense. If everyone's consenting and no one's getting hurt, who am I to judge?

I also tend to think people who hurt other people are always going to find something to inspire/justify themselves. Gor. Or something else.

I'm not bothered Dark Horse reprinting the Gor novels, or even if they decided to make a comic from them. I figure it's a lot different from superhero comics sexism/objectification, because really, superhero comics have no inherent need of that sort of sexism/objectification in order to tell good stories or give (most) comic book fans what they love. There are characters and properties that are important to a lot of people, generations of people, and there's a lot of room for improvement and a drive for improvement and growth. Gor, well, what you see is what you get.

I won't rant about Gor for the same reason I don't rant about comics like Tarot, (though I would never for a moment equate the two content-wise). They're niche market products that advertise exactly what you're getting. One creator's clear vision, which, to be honest, is pretty easy to avoid in one's search for comics that suit one's tastes.

I do wonder though, if Gor will really sell very well nowadays. Even as a dirty-minded twelve-year-old in 1995, I remember thinking the book felt dated. For an adult in the 2000s, I think it'd be pretty unmistakable. Admittedly, people will always like kinky sex stories, but there's a lot more mainstream-available BDSM type material now I think. They don't have to dig through a bunch of old school sci-fi novels to find something that suits their kink. And the lifestylists probably already have copies. First editions, even. I might be wrong, but I simply don't see what this sort of thing will offer a newer fanbase.

I definitely sympathize with people who are upset by this, but in this case, I'm personally unbothered. I'm actually kind of interested in seeing how this will turn out.

After all, if Gor succeeds, maybe we'll see reprints of more old-school fantasy/sci-fi novels. Maybe some that are even good!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


You ever burn yourself so badly that it takes a few minutes to register the pain before you start screaming the expletive of your choice?

That's what happened when I saw this.

On one hand, apparently the cover is a reprint of early art. Which, yeah, product of its time. It's a well-drawn image. I'm assuming that the cover is chosen as a tongue-in-cheek contrast to the actual character, who's always been competent and interesting in every version I've seen.

I'm sure it's meant to be funny and not offensive.

But right now my brain is kind of pickling itself in its own irritation. Of all the clever and nifty art choices, they really had to choose that one? Really? THAT one?

I was furious when I saw it. I'm not ashamed to admit. I've calmed down a bit since. Now it just makes me a bit tired. I think it's a bit more obviously meant as a parody than say the Heroes for Hire cover, which I also think was meant tongue-in-cheek, but...

Call me a humorless bitch if you want, for me, this joke fell flat.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Celebratory Nothing-Post...

Okay, I'm too damn lazy to post anything today. Also this is my 701st post. So I feel the need to celebrate with the hottest panel of Captain America (with bonus Falcon!) I've ever seen.

It's the shirt. The torn, open, still tucked in shirt. I don't know why that's so hot, it just is.

THANK YOU, John Cassaday and Fallen Son #5.

(Edited to be more specific.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Shame about She-Hulk...

I've been thinking lately about She-Hulk. Specifically the comic, moreso than the character. I know that a year ago, I was gushing about it. That I'd recommend it to anyone who wanted a great portrayal of a strong female character, in spite of the sometimes embarrassingly pin-up covers.

I still love She-Hulk, the character. But I haven't read her comic for months and honestly, I don't even miss it.

The weird thing is that I don't even know why. I've adored the Slott series during it's first run and steadily into its second. It's cute, clever and definitely entertaining. I can't think of any one event to set me off and make me go "No. I'm not reading this title anymore." I enjoyed it very much to a point and then...I didn't enjoy it anymore.

Part of it may have been Civil War. But I don't really think so. After all, it didn't stop me from reading Captain America. Nor did his DEATH stop me from reading Captain America. (And I'm kinda ashamed to say this but the end of Fallen Son might have made me just a little misty. Just a little. Fine, I'm a sap. Shut up.) It wasn't the Star Fox trials, either of them, though I'm still a little shaky on how the whole thing fit together.

I don't know, I suppose a part of it is that I don't think I ever really found myself caring much about She-Hulk's supporting cast. Not even Awesome Andy, though he was a pretty neat gimmick, made much of an impression on me. I liked the trials and I liked the punching of things, and She-Hulk/Jennifer's identity issues. And while I wasn't really invested in her relationship with Jameson that dinner with J.Jonah was incredibly funny.

I guess, and I'm not sure this will make sense to anyone else, the humor and situations started to feel awfully...mean spirited to me. I can't even put my finger on a specific incident, so it's not like I can really support the claim at all. It's just my irrational feeling.

I'll probably pick it up again eventually. (I intend to give it a shot at least when David takes over. It might just be a whole writer-style-incompatibility for me. Provided I didn't miss the turnover). Just. I wish I knew why I stopped liking it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It's about time!!!

Newsarama's got a few of the October solicits up already, and I'm absolutely delighted.

Check out this cover from the JLA issue!

Do you see who I see? :-) John Stewart's back on the team where he belongs!

Nothing against Hal of course, I love him to bits, but I really do think John's the better team player. He really shines in a team setting. He's stable, calm, dependable and good with the younger/less-experienced heroes. He's also scary-awesome when he gets mad! He's also terribly underappreciated, JLU aside.

And hey, Hal HAS a book. One he does quite well in! John more than deserves a book to shine in as well. It's long overdue!

Hee. GL for Hal. GLC for Guy. JLA for John. And Countdown for Kyle. This is an awesome time to be a Green Lantern fan!


Saturday, July 14, 2007


Okay, I've made my displeasure over Batman taking over the Outsiders known before, so I'm not going to harp on that. Besides, considering that Katana, Metamorpho and Anissa's dad all served on the original team, I guess it's not terribly surprising that they'd accept him. (Grace or Owen though seem like more of a stretch) I'm still annoyed that Dick didn't see fit to consult any of them first, but then he's living up to his name.

I do have a question for other Boomerang fans though, since I haven't read every appearance of his. Can anyone tell me what the solicit for next month's five of a kind team-up refers to?

Get ready for FIVE OF A KIND — five issues, five top creative teams, one team-up per week, as Batman takes control of the Outsiders by using these adventures to pick his new lineup!

In WEEK 1: nightwing/boomerang, Batman's first vote is cast! The two Outsiders with just one thing in common — a troubled relationship to the Dark Knight — must reconcile their differences to go up against Chemo

Owen has a "troubled relationship" to Batman? Really? Have they even interacted?

I mean, I admit, I've missed a lot of issues, but the only connection *I* know of between Owen and Batman has to do with Owen's dad killing and getting killed by Tim's. I wouldn't count that as a relationship though. A source of tension, sure, but a relationship kind of requires more than two words of interaction I think.

I would genuinely like to see the two interact, so if there IS anything like that, I'd really like to know!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Night Fights:

Because Bahlactus calls, and I answer:

Now THAT is throwing your hat in the ring...

(From Marvel Adventures #9)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On A Steel Rod.

Okay, so rather like the JLA Power Girl cover, it looks like the Powers that Be chose to tone down the JSA Citizen Steel crotch-cover. (Devon's got a comparison.)

Seeing the new cover myself, I personally think it was a bad idea to tone down the crotch though. Not because of any feminist reason really, though as a woman I was laughing my ass off during the entirety of crotchgate just so you know. Just because of something Mallet pointed out in a chat.

Basically, that without the package to draw the eye, Citizen Steel's costume is really freaking stupid looking. I'll tell you one thing, I'd rather be looking at his sensible blue-clad crotch than the rest of his stupid-ass costume. And I'm a girl who digs me some stupid costumes.

Seriously. What's with the fin?!

I also resent that it looks less shiny. Why do you hate the shininess, DC?!?!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Non-Comic: Dark is Rising

I've never really been a huge fan of Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series, unlike certain others. No big reason really, just for whatever reason, it wasn't to my taste.

I'm sympathetic to the fans though. I've personally never gotten over the trauma of seeing my favorite childhood movie (Escape to Witch Mountain) remade in the nineties into some tv-movie monstrosity involving twins and stupid purple light.

I might have gone to see the movie, despite that, like I plan to see Golden Compass (another YA classic I've never read) which looks tremendously awesome.

Except that this really doesn't look like it'll be any good. It's not so much because of the changes, though even I can't figure out how it can really be "Dark is Rising" without the pagan overtones and Arthurian elements. I don't really get the point of making a brand new story and just keeping the names the same. It just means that the original fans of the story, the people most likely to go see it, will be pissed off. And it doesn't seem like it's going to be mainstream or epic enough to draw in many non-fans.

It's that it really seems poorly thought out. There doesn't seem to be any reason to change Will from an eleven year old British boy to a fourteen year old American living in England.

Considering that the setting's still going to be England, what's the point? Except possibly to avoid confusion with a certain other supernaturally-inclined eleven year old British boy. Even though they have nothing in common.

They are saddling him with a large family that picks on him and neglects him, but I'm going to assume that's more "quiet middle child drowned out by chaotic siblings" sort than anything Dursley-esque. He's described as feeling "lost".

The one thing that really bothers me though and ensures I'm probably never going to watch the movie no matter how good it reputedly will be is that apparently they're giving Will a twin that was kidnapped or taken as a baby. (I'm going to personally guess the twin will be the Walker, as he's suddenly younger and with a new motivation. Since it's just that cliched.)

It's not the twin thing that bothers me. I read comics, I can deal with cliche. It's something else that ruins my suspension of disbelief...

Apparently this very large family with many siblings lost a child. And they neglect its surviving twin. I repeat. They lost a child and they're neglecting the other?

How does this make any sort of sense? Are the creative minds really so blessed that none of them ever lost a sibling or child? Or knows anyone who has?

It's doesn't sound like Will's family are supposed to be evil or monstrous. But the kind of people that would be so cavalier about the loss of a child to neglect another, they have to be monsters. I truly believe that.

And the thing is, either idea on its own could work fine! There's a wealth of psychological issues inherent in being the overlooked, forgotten child. Being the surviving child when one's sibling is kidnapped or killed ALSO pretty much means there's a mess of unhealthy aftereffects that can be used to isolate a young adult protagonist in order to make the dangerous adventuring aspects of this sort of fiction plausible. (Easiest way would be to have the parents smothering and overprotective to the point where the child feels like he needs to go to great length for independence enough to keep sane.)

Together though? They're oil and water. They're insoluble. It just doesn't work.

And oddly enough, it's a deal breaker for me. There are times when a complete transformation of the source material for an adaptation works for me, but it has to be good and appealing. This...well...if the creators aren't even going to spare an effort to make a familial history that makes any sort of logical sense, why should I trust them to make a good story at all?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thoughts about Zuda...

I was thinking about this Zuda thing. So far the biggest criticism I've seen of it has to do with the issue of rights. Who owns the product?

It's a damn good question.

But it occurs to me, and I might just be weird or clueless here. But I don't necessarily mind the idea of submitting something and selling the rights to it.

I'm not saying this is true of everything, of course. I've got quite a few projects I'm tremendously possessive of and would never want to sell my rights away. But those wouldn't be the projects I'd be submitting to Zuda.

Others, though...

Imagine for a moment, creating some idea, some character or concept that you're tremendously fond of. That you put your heart and soul in designing and writing. You've finished all the stories you had to tell with it and you set it down...and then someone else picks it up again. And this person has their own ideas about the concept, which are different than yours. It's a brand new direction, new characters, new designs. And then when he or she is done, it's handed to the next one, with his or her own take. And so on.

And in the end you have a product that was reshaped and remolded, revamped and transformed by each person who's had their hands on it since you gave it up to the point where it's all but unrecognizeable. It's been folded, spindled, mutilated, degraded, savaged into this...mess!

It's horrible.

And it's beautiful. Because it isn't yours anymore. It's greater. It's the cumulative creation of you and everyone after you. And it's wrong and it's alien and it's only going to grow. And if you're really lucky. If the stars are all aligned, if God smiles at the right time...

You could have a creation that could outlive you. Imagine. After you die, there will still be stories written with this concept. With this idea. And it all came from you.

It's immortality.

At least until they kill the character off in a giant crossover. But heck, maybe there'll be a successor!

All silly blatherings aside though, I really don't see the big deal about this particular situation. So Zuda'll probably keep the rights. As long as people realize that's probably the case ahead of time and submit things that they don't mind losing, they'll get a chance to make a name for themselves and all will be good.

And then maybe that'll help new creators start to get the recognition needed to make what they really want to make and keep the rights to them.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Random Reactions to Fantastic Four 2 (Spoiler Warning)

So, I FINALLY got to see the Fantastic Four movie. I haven't seen Transformers yet. To be honest, I was never that fond of the toys/cartoon. Also I adored Soundwave, who I somehow thought was a crossdressing woman. He had voice modulation and tapes that he carried inside him. I was weird. Sue me.

Anyway, honestly, I liked the movie. It was a cheesy popcorn flick, much like the first.

The character portrayals were improved I thought. Ioan Gruffudd in particular really seemed to finally relax and settle into his character. Admittedly, Reed's stiffness worked in the last movie I thought, given all the sudden changes and forced cohabitation. But the Reed in the second movie has clearly settled into his role as leader and it suits him.

I'd heard a lot of criticism of Sue Storm in this movie, but I actually sympathized with her a lot. She DID whine about a normal life, but she was also constantly frustrated about her wedding being put on hold, her husband-to-be paying more attention to freak weather than their ceremony, and stuck in embarrassing positions sans clothing.

It should also be noted, that she was only upset about Reed's preoccupation until the actual wedding day, where people almost died and they finally got to see the Surfer. Before that there really wasn't anything to say this wasn't a freak weather pattern.

She did want both her and Reed to leave. But it was also clearly specified as "After the current crisis." It was natural. Besides, her character growth worked for me. At the end, through the events of the final fight, she remembers why being normal is overrated and heroism is necessary.

I also didn't mind that Johnny was the primary fighter against Doom, without the other three. It was important for his character to reclaim that confidence. Their teamwork was reflected in the other characters trusting their powers to Johnny, trusting him to succeed in spite of his previous screw-ups.

The Surfer was just eye candy. But very nice eye-candy indeed. And thank god, not as emo as his comic version, yay!

I wish Alicia had more to do, but I liked her moments with Johnny, Sue and Ben. She feels like she's important to the team. Ben also didn't have much to do really, but he did well with what he had.

In fact, I liked the familial moments in general. All of the emotional interactions felt right to me. I didn't feel like there were huge chunks missing from character development (though I want to see an extended cut when one comes out), it flowed nicely to me. Ben and Reed, Johnny and Reed, Johnny and Sue, Reed and Sue, all those moments worked. I bought them as a family.

I think it's interesting that this movie, like Spiderman 3, essentially had three antagonists. Heck, four, if you count the general (though that's a stretc.) The Surfer might have worked for Galactus but the rest weren't on the same team or anything. I think they did really well in managing them though, better than Spiderman 3. Of course, it helped with more heroes. But still.

I hope there's a third movie. I do. I know third movies tend to suck with comics. But I figure...the first two Spiderman movies were amazingly emotional, the X-Men movies were astoundingly well-crafted, the Superman movies were amazing spectacles, the Batman movies were dark and atmospheric... and in each case the third movie pretty much ended up a cheesy, flashy, plothole ridden mess.

But since Fantastic Four's two movies are ALREADY cheesy, flashy, plothole-ridden messes, it can only be true to type! :-)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Wondering About Wonder Woman...

I was thinking about Wonder Woman today, specifically how excited I am to see Gail Simone take over, but started to think about the uneven portrayals the character seems to suffer sometimes.

I've never really understood why it seemed so hard to write Diana. She's not really a very contradictory character, not like say Guy Gardner or anything, she's just a dignified woman who thinks of her duties first.

I wonder if maybe the problem is that some of the writers don't consider what role "Princess" would really play into Diana's character. Diana's a character that for all she's the first child born in centuries, that has always had duty and honor weighted onto her shoulders. Ideally the duty of royalty is to serve the people and at least on Themyscira, that ideal is upheld. Everything Hippolyta did as ruler was for her people. When she served her personal interests, replacing Diana with Artemis, among other things, she was abandoning her duty and she left for a while to atone until she was able to serve again.

I think it might be hard to relate because we don't really have a model of inherited power/status to look at in this country. Socio-economic factors do have a huge impact on our lives, of course, but we don't tend to be born with our roles immediately defined for us. With one path as our only path, barring very bizarre incidents. We don't really have an archetype readily available to base our characterizations off of, except for simpering twits and gallant idiots in Fairy Tales.

I think that to really get into what makes Diana tick, we really do need to look at what it must mean to be born the child of a king or queen. To have your path laid out at birth. To have your life completely aimed in one direction. To have the rules and restrictions drilled into you at birth, and to know that your life is essentially meaningless outside of your one specific role.

Themyscira of course does have many differences. The Amazons are functionally immortal. Hippolyta wasn't going to die any time soon (and dissolved the monarchy before she did anyway), but the element of birth and duty still upheld. Probably even moreso for Diana. As the only child born in millenia, she had social obligations to every woman there. Hippolyta probably wasn't the only Amazon to yearn for a child, so Diana would have had to take it upon herself to be the child of everyone. To alleviate all of their maternal instincts and bring that joy into their lives.

The pressure must have been enormous. Imagine the upset if she were unhappy. A sensitive girl like Diana would probably realize that her emotional state impacted so many people that she would have learned strict control.

Diana as an ambassador would have been the representative of her entire people moreso. Control and dignity are vital. Even doing the most casual thing, she has to be aware that what she does reflects upon not only her culture but her government as well. She can't afford to look weak or ignorant or clueless. Even if everything's very strange.

Actually, you know who I think would be a good model to look at when trying to write Diana of Themyscira? Prince Charles of England. At least his public persona.

He already has children, so his role in fathering heirs is finished. But his mother, the Queen always appears spry and healthy. Considering HER mother lived to be a hundred, it's probably going to be a long time before inheritance is an issue. He was however born and raised to his role, indoctrinated in his duties from birth.

He's the first member of the English royal family to be educated with non-royals. And is the first to graduate from college. This is a pretty big deal considering how isolated royalty tends to be. That could very well be compared to Diana, as the first Amazon to leave Paradise Island.

Well, I guess with the Infinite Crisis reshuffle, Hippolyta was actually really out in the world during WWII. But that could be a parallel to Queen Elizabeth attending school and taking part in the war effort as a young adult. Rather than the more extreme perspective change of an actual schooling experience. Hippolyta was a visitor to America, Diana was stationed here.

Like Diana, his public role tends to be diplomatic. He also does a lot of charity and environmental work that tends to get overshadowed by his villainization during his divorce as well as other scandals. Diana's many good deeds also tend to be overshadowed by unfortunate circumstances. Snapping the neck of Max Lord and having it broadcast to the world is a bit beyond any real world situation, but then, it IS comics.

Of course Diana is very different from the Prince as well. But I think if someone were trying to write a good Wonder Woman, using a stoic, dignified, polite, duty-minded, distant, and somewhat socially awkward persona similar to his would not be a bad foundation to start with.

As long as she still gets to punch things, of course.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Sinestro Corps Color Meandering...

Right after Sinestro Corps came out, this interview appeared on Newsarama. Of course, I'm always a little bit behind so I'm reacting to it now.

I think it's pretty nifty. I particularly like how Mr. Johns refers to the characters as "The Four Musketeers" and that they're all facing challenges. It makes it real clear that this Parallax thing is only temporary and that Kyle's still gonna be Kyle.

Which makes me hopeful as I really do have a fan-entitled protectiveness over the character.

I was initially skeptical about all this colors/emotions mumbo-jumbo, I like my Lantern more space opera than metaphysical, but I'm starting to get used to the idea. Especially if they involve aliens. I'm also interesting in the symbolic roles that the Earth Lanterns play. There really isn't a coincidence I think that there are four of them.

It also doesn't hurt that Johns's bit about emotions ties pretty much into my own ideas about how the rings/willpower stuff works. Hey, I'm a fan-brat. We always think we know more than the creators. I'm just glad he's smart enough to agree with me. :-P

This quote though amuses me for reasons that only make sense in my sick brain:

And like Sinestro said, willpower is the center of it all. It's a balance. To the left, you have fear, so you have yellow and then orange and red and the spectrum goes into the negative. Green in the middle. Then on the other side, blue, indigo and violet, and you get into the positive emotions. Violet we’ve revealed ties into the power the Star Sapphires.

Okay, so the warmer colors are the negative emotions. I'm going to make the assumption that red = anger. Since well. Yellow is fear and purple is love. It seems pretty natural.

Anyway, it's hard to explain, but I've always kind of seen the four Earth Lanterns as compass rose type characters. Each one representing a different face/aspect of a whole. I don't count Alan because he's old and Starheart and not-Corps. Alan Scott needs no metaphysics damnit.

Hal's pretty much standard will-power. He's determined and focused and his main flaw is pride. He doesn't waver in the face of better judgement or any judgement really and is awfully arrogant. It's part of his charm.

Kyle's been set up as the one who feels fear the most. Of course, this also means he can overcome it best. It took a damn lot of personal attention to weaken him enough to get him possessed. He's never had the yellow weakness. He's never let his fear stop him, even when it came to stopping a supernova or getting his heart ripped out.

Guy'd be the easiest choice for anger, but I don't think it actually suits him as well as it does John. Guy is obnoxious, irritable and an asshole, but even his JLI antics were more pride and buffoonery than they were genuine rage I think. They were a child's temper tantrums. John though. John has righteous anger. From his first appearance, he's been a crusader righting specific wrongs. Stepping in against injustice. When he's truly angry, he's a force of nature. And really scary.

Even Sinestro, when describing the Lanterns to Kyle describes JOHN as angry and Guy as dim.

Of course, this ends up with Guy as love. Which is patently ridiculous but it makes a lot of sense as well. Hal mentiones in Green Lantern that Guy was the first to forgive him, which he did, in Warrior. Before the space bug was revealed. Before Hal died to stop the Sun-Eater. When Arisia died, and Hal/Parallax wanted to pay his respects, Guy let go of his anger and let him. He also spoke at his funeral, in a suit no less. Even before that, in the Warrior tie-in to Emerald Twilight, Guy had gone to Oa to beat some sense into Hal and bring him back. Even after discovering Kilowog's skull. It was always about reaching Hal.

When the poor Firebrand kid died in Roulette's arena, he remembered Guy as the only hero to really even notice him. And really, even before that. In JLI, we all remember the temper, but which was the more important aspect of the character? The temper? Or the relationship with Ice?

There's a reason the man's never had a serious love interest after she died. (Martika was evil and mind-controlling, Veronna was platonic, and Fire was a single night that was more about Tora for both of them). Guy's also the one that in the end is far more entrenched in the group concept than the others.

(He's also a woman and thus automatically associated with the feminine trait. Heh. I'm not sure whether this is more evidence for that or that is more for this. But then this argument's pretty ouroboran* anyway.)

*Bearing the qualities of an Ouroboros. Yeah, I made it up. The English Language is no match for me!

Anyway, I'm not sure what this all means, but I definitely think it could spill in to a lot of different stories.

Of course, now I'm starting to think that at some point, Guy Gardner may end up possessed by the Star Sapphire. And while I'm all for equal opportunity objectification, let's all pray he doesn't end up wearing that costume.

That color would completely clash with his hair.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Thank you Judd Winick,

Okay, I've been reading Outsiders lately, mostly for the crossover with Checkmate, but also because of my irrational love for Captain Boomerang, and I've just read the conclusion of the crossover arc.

You know how I said after the most recent Checkmate that I was actually almost liking Dick Grayson?

Well, I definitely have to thank Mr. Winick for fixing that up for me.

(Warning for Spoilers for Outsiders 49)

Spoilers Within...
It's a relief really. I don't really know what to do with myself when I'm not raining mostly undeserved hate down on Dick Grayson's head. Those points in Checkmate, where he was worried and anxious, suffering by hearing his teammate's torture, and then his solicitousness when Owen's dropped naked into his cell were really throwing me through a loop.

I've always thought Dick worked best as a caretaker, you know? Looking out for Bruce, Tim, Barbara, his team... When he's not absorbed in his own mockable manpain and showing his concern for someone else, he's even interesting. Dick at his best, I've always felt, was a contrast to Bruce because he led through inspiration rather than fear. He wasn't a scheming bastard, but someone who both cared for his team and knew how to show it.

If a teammate was in danger or being hurt, there would be NOTHING keeping Dick from trying a rescue. Even if it wasn't the wisest course of action. Not that Bruce would either, in my sincere opinion, but he's Batman, so it would end up being the wisest course of action. That's part of being a good leader. That's why certain incarnations of the Titans would have easily followed him to Hell and back.

Checkmate showing him, even briefly, in that role again was throwing me for a loop! But fortunately Winick fixed it!

Okay, so as Checkmate left them, you have Dick and Owen, who is not in great shape and stark naked to boot, alone in a cell. Well, alarms are going off, apparently the cavalry's arriving as they've figured out where they are, and Dick decides to activate his gag reflex.

So...he swallowed that thing before he left. Which means he had it the WHOLE TIME. Owen's not completely moronic and he's come to much the same conclusion:

"Waiting for the right time." What. The. Fuck.

Look, I don't like Dick Grayson. But even I know that for Dick Grayson the "right time" would have been the VERY FIRST SCREAM that came out of Owen's mouth.

Dick wouldn't be waiting for the cavalry to arrive! Dick Grayson would have gotten himself out. Snuck past the guards, taking each out cleverly and sneakily, ambushed Egg-Fu or his torturers, gotten Owen up, gotten Sasha up, and at least TRIED to get them to some sort of vehicle which Egg Fu would have undoubtedly had. This is DICK GRAYSON.

They might not have made it. They might have been ambushed halfway there with Dick trying to keep both teammates moving, facing certain death/re-capture for when the cavalry DID arrive. But he would not have WAITED.

Waiting might be a tactically sound thing to do, but Dick Grayson would never sit back as his colleagues suffered. Tactics be damned.

What the fuck? Seriously? I mean, I KNOW Dick's been off in Outsiders since OYL. I was willing to give the sending Anissa to fuck the bad guy thing a pass, because I figured it was probably some mix-up regarding the Dick-is-dead!/No he's not! end of Infinite Crisis.

Yeah well, grace period is gone. And this...this isn't Dick Grayson. It might be Parallax. It might be a Skrull. It might be a Manhunter replacement or an LMD or a multiverse counterpart. But that is NOT Dick Grayson.

Because if it is, he's just lost the only thing the character had left going for him. Way to go.

Oh, and then there's this.

Can someone tell me why Boomerang's all of a sudden fine and can fight his way out while Sasha needs to be carried out dramatically? I mean, sure she was tortured longer than he was, but she's also tougher than he is, more experienced, and has nanites that regenerate. There's no way I can buy after Checkmate that he's absolutely fine at the end where she requires hospitalization. This is a woman who walked off explosions, damnit.

I know it's supposed to be a touching scene, and it probably wouldn't bother me so much (even with Boomer on his feet) if it weren't for...

"Don't look at me"?! "DON'T LOOK AT ME"?! Not ONLY is that hackneyed dialogue, but this is the woman who JUST LAST ISSUE in the damn crossover SPAT it Egg-Fu's face.

"Don't look at me." is hackneyed Lifetime movie dialogue. It's whimpery and ashamed, which doesn't suit Sasha anymore than it would suit most male heroes. Sasha is a soldier and a warrior. A professional before Checkmate, who served under Max Lord and Amanda Waller. She might feel shame and embarrassment after what happened, but she sure as hell wouldn't have expressed it that way. I can't see a Sasha Bordeaux in any condition not able to look someone in the face. It's just...not her.

You know what would have worked for me? If in that scene, she'd said something like "Heh, I look terrible." It'd seem more like she were trying not to sound as embarrassed/ashamed as she is. Instead of "It's okay," he could say "No, you don't." It's a bit hackneyed still, but it'd be cuter/more touching, to me. Batman could say a lot in a line like that. And then the scene could proceed as normal, and she'd get to keep some dignity, and Kalinara wouldn't have to tangent from a perfectly adequate Nightwing rant.

Meanwhile, naturally Owen's immediately on his feet apparently having suddenly superhealing and is utterly fine but for an aesthetic black eye and is even combat capable. Also, can someone tell me where the fuck Owen got his pants. (Dude, it would have been SO much more badass to take out the guards while naked!)

Checkmate ended with Sasha being strong, Owen being vulnerable, and Dick being caring. (A nice gender reversal of the usual stereotypes.) In Outsiders, Winick reversed every single one.

Oh and an added bit of Dicketry. I loved how he just hands the team over to Batman without talking to any of them first. Wasn't this team originally Roy's baby, with Dick as one of the last to join and requiring some severely prima donna convincing, or am I misremembering?

Now Batman gets to make HIS choices for the team. What the hell is that? Why in the world would grown heroes, most of whom have very little knowledge or experience with Batman to begin with agree to this?

I know it's "Batman and the Outsiders", but couldn't it be a little more plausible?

...Is it too late to hope that Captain Boomerang loses membership to the Outsiders and thus can be used in some other book?

Free Captain Boomerang!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I like Captain Boomerang.

I really like Owen Mercer/Captain Boomerang II. I don't really know why. Well, aside from the fact that he's a smart-mouthed obnoxious redhead and I may have a type. But I like him.

I like the legacy element and family ties. Son of Captain Boomerang, descendent of Professor Zoom, half-brother of Bart Allen. I like that he tried the villain thing out and didn't like it so went with the hero thing instead. I also like that he makes a real effort to find some sort of peace with Tim Drake, what with what happened to their fathers. (It's funny how he was so much more competent and kickass in that Robin issue than he tends to be in Outsiders...)

I'd really like to see him used more. If only so I can read him in comics I actually like as opposed to Outsiders and Supergirl. Though to be fair, I like most of the characters in Outsiders whose initials aren't Dick Grayson, I just am not a fan of the story style. And in Supergirl, his thing with Kara is probably the least bothersome thing about the whole comic. He's not that much older than her after all.

Wonder if he'll get his speed back soon. Because speed-chucking Boomerangs is such a stupid talent that it loops around to awesome. It's speed-chucking Boomerangs!

Though will they ever explain how he ended up in the past? Because that seems like pertinent information.

Oh well. He's cute and easily tortured and an obnoxious redhead. So I guess I'm just doomed to like him in spite of myself.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fourth of July!

It's the Fourth of July! National Holiday! So I'm going to be lazy.

So lazy in fact, that I'm cannibalizing one of my older posts for this image:

(I didn't even resize it!)

Happy Fourth of July, Everyone!!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

All Women are Me, Damnit

I get asked sometimes why I care so much about something as "minor" as feminist issues in comics. Why does it matter? Why don't you find something else? It's designed for guys! What would it be like if a guy tried to tell romance novelists that their men were portrayed badly?

Why can't you just ignore it? Why are you making a big deal about nothing? Why are you so angry?

And so on. And so forth.

I've realized, and this is not intended to be an insult, that most men have no idea what it's like to be a woman.

(DISCLAIMER: Despite the title, the following is not the universal experience of all women. This is very specific to MY experiences. We're not actually all the same.)

Let me show you what it's like for me. With a page from Flash #35. A page that was written by a man, even. Which doesn't make it any less true.

Click to read please. It's important.

See that woman there is Linda Park. Linda Park is an investigative reporter with a will and aggressiveness comparable to Lois Lane. She has a tremendous sense of self and doesn't yield to much of anyone. Her relationship with Wally has always been as much, if not more, on her terms than on his, and she's not afraid to reach for what she wants or to smack down an insult.

And see all those comments there? See what they're saying about her as they get her ready for a new position? See how she's upset, clearly angry, but she's not saying a word?

In fact. She never does say anything about it. She doesn't kick their asses. She doesn't put them in her place. She just goes to do her job, does it tremendously well, then goes undercover and saves Wally's ass. There is no retribution for being picked apart to her face.

That's what it's like to be a woman. Every day.

Every day, there are unspoken rules. For work. For home.

"Keep your hair and clothes neat, don't look sloppy."
"Dress professionally for business, preferably a suit." Those apply pretty evenly for both genders, right? How about these?

"Don't wear a suit with pants. Pants are mannish. Wear a skirt."
"Don't wear that skirt. It's too short. You'll look like a slut."
"That skirt's too long. You'll look dowdy and frigid. You have to be attractive to be listened to."
"Wear heels, they highlight the legs. But not too high. Too high is promiscuous. An inch or two. Never tower over the men."
"Hair shouldn't be too short. You'll look butch. Intimidating. Your co-workers feel threatened. Short and fluffy. Or long. But worn up. Long hair loose is unprofessional. It'd better be conditioned and blow dried."
"Wear make-up. No make-up means you look plain. No one listens to the plain girl."
"Too much make-up looks slutty."

"Don't be too pale. You look vampiric. Tan."
"Don't be too dark. Use powders, lighten up."
"Don't be too boring. Exotic is good."
"Don't be too ethnic. Ethnic is intimidating."

"Don't stare directly into a man's eyes. It's challenging."
"Don't look away, he'll think you're not paying attention."
"Look up through your lashes. Properly made up. But don't be obvious."
"Don't be a bimbo. They're not going to listen if you don't give them a reason."
"Don't be too smart. It's a threat."

"Don't look slutty. You could get raped."
"Don't dress too stuffy. You look frigid."
"You're too fat. Lose weight."
"You're too skinny. Men like curves."

"Don't say a word about how fucking angry this whole public dissection of your appearance makes you or you will lose this fucking job and you kind of need it to fucking eat."

Okay. That last is probably a bit more venomous than I intended.

That's what it's like though. Every. Day.

And what happens if we don't cooperate? We might never be hired in the first place. We'll probably get a "strong recommendation" for our future attire. If not outright written up for "unprofessonalism". We could even lose our jobs.

Like our skirts or heels or makeup or perfectly coiffed hair have anything to do with how well we do our jobs.

You know what's worse though? Random people will walk right up to you and think they have the right to talk about this stuff to your face! "Oh honey, you'd be so pretty with a little make-up." "Is your hair real?" "Lose some weight, you fat bitch!" When you're a woman, people think they can just say this. And if you get mad, you're the irrational one. "Sheesh, what's her problem?"

It's just as bad if you do look the way they want. There are men out there who honestly believe that because a woman is attractive to them, they can leer and say horrible things, they can even put their hands on her. If she dares to get upset, then it's "whore", "bitch", "cocktease". "Why are you dressed like that if you don't want anyone to look?!"

And it can very easily escalate to worse. Have you heard of that Waitress movie playing a few months back? The director of it, a woman named Adrienne Shelly was murdered, because a nineteen year old got angry that she confronted him about the noise he was making in the apartment below hers. He was "having a bad day". He hung her from her own shower rod, because he was "having a bad day".

Could that happen to a man? Maybe. But not as likely.

You know what my first reaction to this story was? "Why in the world did she go and confront this guy on her own?!"

Yeah. My first reaction wasn't to condemn her fucking murderer, but to condemn the victim for expecting the man she encountered to be a fucking human being and NOT take his anger out on her.

I'm not saying this is true for every woman of course. We're all different. But I know a great many women who are in the same boat as me. We live with this every day. And we even read comic books!

So we get angry.

We get angry when a wonderful, complex character like Power Girl's worth is reduced to her breasts.

We get angry when female characters of equivalent experiences are written as making rookie mistakes to make the men look better.

We get angry when rape and violence against women are sensationalized to the point of being the lead draw for the fucking story.

We get angry when we see strong women reduced to mere T&A, presenting every orifice to the (straight male) audience's eye.

We get angry when female characters are belittled and disrespected and treated as disposable.

We get angry at costumes that cross the line from cheesy and fun to outright ridiculous obstacles to crime-fighting.

We get angry.

And sometimes it's justified. Sometimes we may be overreacting. But you know what?

It's worth it.

It is FUCKING worth it. Because we may not be able to do a whole lot about the belittling and the objectification, that ever-present possibility of violence that we see every day in our lives. But this?

This is fixable. This is something that we can fight. Women in television, books, movies, music, video games, comics...every little triumph we make here goes a little way toward fixing the bigger picture.

I'm not writing this to condemn men. I'm not trying to say "only men are to blame." Women also do their own part in oppressing one another as well, after all. This is something bigger than that. This is society. This is something built by generations of traditions and ideas that are indoctrinated into us from birth and passed down to our children. It's something that we're all a part of, even when we don't realize it. This is something that we do to ourselves as much as each other.

But I'm an optimist. I believe with all my heart and soul that this can change. That every little bit, every tiny triumph means something at the end of the day.

That's why I care.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Comics Couple I'd Most Want To See...

It occurs to me, that there IS a couple in comics that I would really like to see:

Hal Jordan and Zinda Blake.

They're both attractive, charming, pilot daredevil types. I mean, they'd naturally not work as a long term romantic couple (Waaaay too alike, I'd bet. Also, at heart I'm a Hal/Carol fangirl), but boy oh boy would that make one fantastically fun fling.

What about you guys? Any couple you'd like to see?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rambling about Crying in Comics

Be Warned, there are spoilers for the Sinestro Corps One Shot.

Because I'm not one for message boards often myself and would thus miss the fun, Ragnell tossed a link my way. I don't have the link anymore, unfortunately, but I can tell you what it was about and why it irked me.

This person was complaining about Sinestro Corps, which is perfectly understandable. (I loved it myself but different strokes and all...) But in it, he complained that Kyle Rayner was crying.

Because apparently, when you're broken down physically and emotionally, besieged on all sides, had a spirit of willpower yanked from your chest and was just told your mother was actually murdered because of her connection to you (a murder you might have been able to stop if you'd known in time), you're not actually allowed to shed some tears.

Okay, there are a few characters that I can understand being somewhat irritated by seeing them cry. Batman for example. If Batman's crying, something really fucked up is going on. I won't say I can't ever see it happening. But it's gotta be something huge. If it's not, I get irked. Guy Gardner's another one. Guy's not really likely to cry. Punch things, sure. Cry? Not so much. Maybe over Ice. Possibly when reconciling with the ghost of his abusive father. The writers really need to earn those tears damnit.

Kyle though. Kyle's a sensitive modern boy. He doesn't cry often, sure, but he's cried before. (For example, at Alexandra's grave.) For perfectly understandable reasons. He's not as much a machismo-laden basket case as say the two aforementioned hero-types and thus, while it's still incredibly rare that he'll need to cry (we ARE talking about superheroes after all), it's not unheard of. Kyle can and will cry when circumstances call for it.

There's nothing wrong with crying when it's a perfectly understandable and organic reaction to a situation.

I remember seeing an old episode of Earth Final Conflict, where one of the enemy alien race is explaining to the humans why his race split off from the "ally" alien race. And how it had initially started with a spiritual/philosophical difference. The ally race had decided become cerebral, giving up most of their emotions. As the alien race explains how his people simply couldn't and wouldn't do that, he's crying with absolutely no shame whatsoever. He's this gigantic warrior guy, with an attitude kind of similar to Star Trek's Klingons, and he's crying as he describes how his people would NOT relinquish their anger, sorrow, joy or passion, because that's who they were. And somehow, during the process, he seemed like even MORE of a flipping badass.

And well, hell, look at that preview for All Flash:

The fact that Wally is CRYING just raises the "oh shit" factor of this confrontation through the ROOF. I'm very, VERY happy to not be Inertia right at this moment. This is BAD.

There is one character I always have trouble with crying that has nothing to do with his characterization and that's Superman. I think it's perfectly in character for Clark Kent to be willing to cry. He's a mild-mannered, sensitive, open, nice sort of fellow. His parents aren't really the "suck it up" sort and he doesn't seem prone to ridiculous displays of machismo. I'm perfectly fine with Clark Kent crying.

But not when he's Superman. Not that I think Superman would be any less prone to crying than Clark, but the visual symbolism is all a bit much. If Clark's crying, it's because of something personal. Grief. Sorrow. Rage. Guilt. Whatever. If SUPERMAN's crying, it's because of something grand. It's not just a "big deal", it's a "there's something wrong with the WORLD" sort of deal.

It always seems very forced. Like a giant neon sign screaming "The Man of Steel is CRYING!!! This is BAD." I'm not saying it can't work in a specific sense, but in general, I really think it doesn't.

It's kind of like those old television commercials where people throw litter out their car window and it lands at the feet of a stately native american gentleman who sheds a single tear.

...I'm horrible, but I snickered at those commercials and the sparkly tear of emoness. It's just so over the top. And it's like that when Superman cries for me. It usually doesn't work.

Aside from that though, I don't necessarily think that there's anything wrong with crying as long as it's a relatively natural response to the circumstances. Like getting tortured and finding out your mother was murdered. And you had a giant space whale in your chest. Perfectly understandable reasons to cry.