Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, August 31, 2007

In Which I Fail the Amazonian Sisterhood By Being A Total Bitch...

This post contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for Amazons Attack.





Okay, still with me. Good. I'm going to second Ragnell's posts here and here.

Guys. Seriously. Chill. You're way too smart to get worked up like this over something so moronic.

Pfeifer did not "kill" Wonder Woman. It is not even remotely within Will Pfeifer's power to kill Wonder Woman. The franchise is older than dirt! It's very durable.

Okay, maybe not older than dirt, but it's at least older than pretty much any of us who are currently making a fuss all around. Even presuming that the crossover series does scare off all the prospective new Wonder Woman readers (huh), and this reboot dies, they'll reboot her again. She's a big name draw. She's one of the big three. The average person on the street knows her name and vaguely her powers.

Many of whom probably have twirled like Lynda Carter at least once in her life.

She'll be fine! Christ.

Besides, do you really think anyone reading Amazons Attack isn't already a Wonder Woman fan? I mean honestly, who would you THINK AA would be about? Batman? It's not the sort of widespread crossover where someone would be all "Oooh, Batman's in this? I LOVE Batman. Oooh, who's that?" It's Amazons. They're only significant at all if you a)know Wonder Woman is an Amazon and b)want to read Wonder Woman.

Besides, it's pretty public knowledge that a new writer's coming on. One very very well known and popular. I think it's fair to assume that Gail Simone's name is going to be a bigger draw for non-Wonder Woman fans than Amazons Attack would be.

And finally, guys, I'm not going to say Pfeifer wrote a good story. It's a pretty lame story. All in all, the execution was really awkward and bad.

But this is going to ruin Wonder Woman? THIS? Where white-suited, powerless, Dead-Steve, I-Ching accompanying Diana in the seventies didn't?

Where George Perez's brand new, Diana as wide-eyed newbie with no Steve at all didn't?

Where John Byrne completely uprooting her from her entire supporting cast, planting her in a new city, sending her mother back in time, messing with Donna Troy and making a brand new really annoying (she got better) Wonder Girl didn't?

Where Allan Heinburg's once-every-three-or-so month schedule didn't?

Where Jodi Picoult's complete ignorance of the character and what makes her tick didn't?

And besides, you know some of the accusations toward Pfeifer don't even make SENSE!

He "destroyed what made Diana unique"?

I'm going to guess that that means the Amazons and the Gods in that case. As they're the only really huge changes at the end of the comic...

Except. Um. The Amazons had been completely gone since Infinite Crisis. For about a year. Pfeifer BROUGHT THEM BACK. Yes. Now they're scattered to the four winds. But they're back on Earth in this PLANE OF EXISTANCE. Which they HADN'T been before.

And if you think this is going to be permanent...if you think this isn't just clumsy set up for what amounts to a glorified sort of "Gotta catch them all!" sort of're kind of silly.

(Yes, the ignorance of the Amazon's high tech was silly, but that's pretty easy to ignore or re-retcon away. Yeesh.)

Is it that he captured the Gods? The Gods who were all AWOL between IC and now? Weren't they already written out by Greg Rucka?

Now they're back and captured. Okay. By a villain. Okay.

Hey, guys? You remember the whole SUPERHERO concept? The whole righting wrongs and defeating bad guys and RESCUING PEOPLE thing?

Yeah. It's not like Diana actually serves the Gods and would want to see them rescued or anything...

It can't be Hippolyta. She was stone cold dead after Our Worlds at War. Okay, she's alone, crazy and possessed/tainted or something like that.

But remember, the alternative is DEAD.

And may I return to the whole superhero concept for a second? It's not like heroes ever find cures or manage to fix supernaturally induced possession or craziness...right?

So yeah, Pfeifer didn't get rid of the Amazons, Gods, or Polly. They were already gone. He BROUGHT THEM BACK. And gave them remarkably FIXABLE problems.

And honestly, for the record, I really don't think the Amazons, Gods or Hippolyta is remotely what makes Diana unique or interesting. They're good story elements, sure. And I do adore Hippolyta, sure. But ya know...they really didn't play THAT big of a role in the TV show. And I don't think anyone's going to argue that Lynda Carter wasn't the quintessential Wonder Woman.

And if you DO think that Lynda Carter wasn't the quintessential Wonder Woman, you need to go away now. Just saying. :-P

Anyway, I understand hating Amazons Attack because it's a poorly written story. Or thinking the new developments are stupid and that Simone's going to need to do some serious work fixing things back to as they should be. Or, you know, being seriously ticked that Diana was essentially a bit part in her own damn story.

But outright raving hysteria? "Pfeifer killed Wonder Woman"?! "Pfeifer ruined all that was good about Wonder Woman"?! You're smarter than that. Chill. Yeesh.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Robots Are Cool

You know what I think are generally under appreciated in comics?


Be they big or small, boxy or humanoid, scary or cute, faceless cannon fodder or a lead character.

There's just something so quintessentially comic book (or bad B-movie) about robots. No comic can't be made better by the presence of a robot.

I suppose a cyborg will do in a pinch. But it's got to be a pretty tight pinch. (And have you ever seen a non angsty/broody cyborg? It's like getting metal parts requires you to mope or something, yeesh.)

I think my favorite android character is probably Spartan from WildCATS. Mostly because he blew up in almost every issue and that amused the hell out of me. Then he started taking over the world via benevolent corporate mastermindery and I didn't really understand what was going on so much, but I had fun reading it.

I'm also particularly fond of Hourman III/Tyler. And Fury's many multitude of LMDs. LMDs are the ultimate awesome cannon fodder in my opinion.

So what about you guys? What robots do you like best?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Road to Hell... Iron-Man or Londo Mollari or How JMS Dropped the Ball

(Warning, the following contains many many spoilers about current Marvel events and the television show Babylon 5)

A discussion with Tavella in the comments section of this post has got me thinking as to why I find JMS's portrayal of Iron Man so disappointing.

See, I know that it's Mark Millar and Paul Jenkins that started the whole Tony-as-a-monster thing, but oddly I'm not as annoyed with them. Mostly because I tend to find both writers to be more sensationalistic than insightful with regards to character portrayals. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, given the right vehicle, but it does get in the way when it comes to portraying moral shades of gray.

Fortunately, most of the writers of the Marvel Universe have stepped up. I personally don't think we were ever meant to believe the "right side" won Civil War. Heck, even Tony and Reed never seemed to take in account the idea that they could possibly win. We weren't supposed to come out of Civil War feeling satisfied, I think, but with a genuine sense of "Oh shit, what does this mean for everyone now?"

The general post-Civil War portrayal of Tony Stark to me isn't saying that "being monstrous is good". It's saying that "sometimes human beings do terrible things because they genuinely believe it's the right thing to do." That is not the same as condoning an action. There's a reason that people say "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" after all. And very few historical atrocities came about because someone was actively TRYING to be evil.

Admittedly, Tony's story was that of an antagonist. A villain. His story isn't much different from Magneto's, in a sense. (Depending on Magneto's writer.) A man who believed and acted and was WRONG. A man who let himself do terrible things. What keeps Tony a protagonist (NOT a hero, he hasn't earned that right again yet) is that he understands this. In his own series, in Cap's series, in Fallen Son, and so on, Tony is a man who understands he is damned by his own actions.

(I'm not really going into WWH or Mighty Avengers, because I really do think that editorial intervention has fallen down on the job with regards to keeping everyone on the same page with regard to the character.)

Which is, essentially, why I think Cap had to die. (And why I think he'll be back sooner than most other folk predict.) He's the sacrifice. The embodiment of all the mistakes Tony has made. Tony is a character that deals with numbers, a businessman. For someone accustomed to working with numbers, it can be easy to forget that there are human lives behind them. Tony is a character that I could easily see trying to rationalize his mistakes as "the gains outweigh the loss".

Of course, as long as he'd think that way, he'd be irredeemable.

Cap's death though ruins that. Not because of their friendship, alone, but because Steve wasn't a war casualty. Goliath, for all he was a friend, was a death that could be rationalized: The war was vital to save lives, Goliath gave his life for what he believed. His death isn't meaningless. I hope he would understand and forgive me.

Steve's death wasn't in war. It wasn't in battle. Steve didn't give his life for what he believed. He was murdered. In cold blood. On the footsteps of the courthouse where Tony had put him. His death can't be added into the gains v. losses column, because the war was already over. It was meaningless. He's not a martyr at all. There was no cause.

It's kind of interesting that Steve's role in all this is a traditionally feminine one. Men are traditionally the martyrs, people who died fighting for their beliefs. Very active roles, even in death. Women and children are traditionally sacrifices, passive victims of tragedy. Their deaths are symbolic of corruption, of good ideals turned bad. They didn't choose to die. They didn't die for their beliefs. They just...died. (There are female martyrs, but most are cast in very male-oriented warrior-type roles, like Jeanne D'Arc. Quieter female martyrs tend to be less glamorized in literature.)

Steve's death illuminates Tony's sins like nothing else could. His resurrection, therefore, will probably come about as a symbolic redemption, "coincidently" coinciding with the point that Tony has earned the right to be a (flawed) hero again.

He'll probably have to save him from Bucky Barnes in the process, symbolic of Tony's transcendance of his sin. (Oooh, remind me to do the Bucky-as-symbolizing-sins-of-the-past post too).

Admittedly, who knows how satisfying Tony's redemption will actually be (it'll depend on the writer, for me), but that's I think where they're going with this.

Straczynski's writing in all this though really annoys me. Even if they AREN'T going in the direction I think they are, he's still far too good of a writer to need to resort to making Tony into a Snidely Whiplash character, regardless of how he feels about the character himself.

See, as I said, I give a pass to Millar and Jenkins because I don't think their talents lie in this sort of complicated moral quagmire. But Straczynski not only is a talented writer who excels at this sort of story. He's written it!

Babylon 5 was a brilliant piece of work, in my opinion (well, the fifth season was kind of weak, I think, and the tv movies probably went a bit overboard) and there's no character more complex than Ambassador Londo Mollari.

Londo was self-centered, shallow, scheming, lecherous, manipulative, immature, power-mongering and corrupt. His conduct was as far from the ideal ambassador as you could get. Early on, before the Shadow metaplot had grown past the first initial seeds, Londo was largely a foil for the other Ambassadors: wise and benevolent Delenn, noble and honorable G'kar, enigmatic Kosh. He was comic relief.

There was always something that kept him from being completely cartoonish though. A flicker of genuine "human" concern and fondness for his poor put-upon aide Vir, a large sense of humor and his own measure of charm. And he very genuinely loved his people and sought to serve them (while gaining power and influence in the prospect).

It was his relationship with G'Kar that first allowed Londo to show depth. G'Kar's people were greatly wronged by the Centauri (Londo's people) and the two had a very vicious rivalry. This of course led to the inevitable "rivals must work together to survive" during a plot where a plague or poison or something (my memory is shaky) was released on the station. Londo, pragmatic, urged teamwork, but to his shock and dismay, G'Kar was actually willing to die if it meant that Londo would die with him. The horror and realization didn't abate just because they were ultimately rescued.

Londo's choices end up making him a pivotal character soon enough. When the evil Shadows come, Londo and his people ally with them. Londo himself enters into what amounts to a Faustian bargain with the Shadows' representative Morden (admittedly, Londo is unwitting of this), each time getting exactly what he wants, though it comes with a price each time. And each time, Londo gives in, though his conscience does twang periodically.

There is a point that is indicative of Londo's fall (or that of his race), when Ambassador Kosh (whose race is the antithesis of the Shadows) emerges from his exo-suit to save the Captain from death, each race is in breathless awe. In his true form, the Ambassador resembles to each being something different (to the human Captain, and thus to the audience, he strongly resembled an angelic figure) but religiously significance.

Londo however quietly confesses that when his colleagues each had a religious experience of their own, he saw nothing.

Londo is ultimately redeemed by his actions in a number of ways. In order to save his people, he ends up assassinating their insane emperor, winding up in a position of power that he once would have wanted. When the Vorlons (Kosh's race) threaten his planet to seek his death, he implores his aide to kill him. (Circumstances intervened). Much later, as Emperor, Londo would ultimately engage in truly heroic self-sacrifice to save his friends and his people.

Londo is fascinating, because he's sometimes a monster. But because he's also human (metaphorically speaking). During his rivalry with G'Kar, he was often the more understandable of the two, despite his and his people's misdeeds. His actions were almost never truly maliciously intended, but that was part of what made them so monstrous. A fact that was never glossed over. However the audience never lost the sense that Londo was a three-dimensional being.

If Straczynski could write Londo, he could write Iron Man. An Iron Man that makes one ache in understanding, if not sympathy, even as he sends himself further down the spiral.

The fact that he has not done so, that he's resorted to a one-dimensional caricature is something I pin entirely on him. Sure, Iron Man's fall was clumsily written. Sure Millar and Jenkins dropped the ball.

But Iron Man isn't just some character that Millar and Jenkins created to perform a specific role in the plot. He's a character with decades of genuine heroism behind him. He's a good character, a complex character, the epitome of the flawed human being, and has been so for many many years before Londo Mollari was ever more than a gleam in JMS's eye. And fan-entitlement or not, he and his fans deserve more respect than they've been given.

JMS is more than capable of salvaging the mess that is Tony Stark. He has tremendous talent when he wants to use it, he could add so much clout to the other writers' interpretations, leaving the Jenkins and Millar travesty as a soon-to-be forgotten anomaly in the history of a strong, complex and appealingly flawed character.

Instead we get a cartoon so one-dimensional that it's not even worth seeing Thor pummel him into the ground. What's the point? He's not even *there*.

Maybe next time, JMS.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tiny Titans?

Okay, you know, I have to say Tiny Titans looks impossibly cute.

I don't really have any interest in reading it mind you, (I'm really more the "Beheadings! Explosions! Yay!" type of comic fan, which I'm sure shocks you. When I'm not gushing endlessly about continuity porn.)

Also, really, I'm fairly indifferent to that era of the Titans. Except for Wally. But Wally's Wally. Also occasionally Starfire. But I digress.

But it does look pretty damn cute.

It reminds me of Muppet Babies, really. So it's likely it'll catch on for kids.

Personally though I can't wait for the merchandizing. I may not have any interest in reading it, but those would make the cutest t-shirts. Donna Troy has a little golden JUMP ROPE. Hehehe.

Actually, it suddenly brings to mind a tiny version of the Green Lantern Corps (Hey, Kyle was a Titan for a while). Of course, I think this version of the Corps would be a bunch of really really annoyingly perky kids wearing green and with the first letters of their name on the shirts instead of a Lantern. They'd be like the annoying pep squad from Hell.

The Green Lantern oath with pom-poms? ("Give me an "In Brightest Day!")

...heheh. A Tiny Titans-esque version of Guy Gardner would be the best icon EVER.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Memory is the First to Go...

Okay, you know I've read a lot of Green Lantern comics right? I mean, I doubt I have to prove my level of GL knowhow to anyone who's read a significant portion of this blog.

But I suddenly embarrassingly realize that I have a question that I'm sure must have an answer, likely in a comic I've even read, but that I have no recollection of it.

What do Hal and Kyle do with their rings while in civilian garb?

What I mean is, well, it's a pretty obvious indicator of who's a Lantern I'd imagine. It's a big clunky green ring with a Lantern symbol. And both guys are attractive enough that if nothing else, I'm sure there are girls who'll glance down at their hands to see about the ring situation, if you know what I mean.

I'd guess that they make them invisible somehow. It's the most logical solution (admittedly, neither Hal nor Kyle are particularly intelligent sometimes) and makes the most sense. But for the life of me, I can't remember if/when I'd ever seen that established anywhere.

Can someone help reassure this sieve-brained fangirl before I actually start convincing myself that Hal and Kyle are indeed that stupid? I mean, I don't mind stupid, but then there's STUPID...

Jog my memory? Please?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Preview: Thor #3

So Newsarama's got a preview of Thor up.

Holy crap, is it just me, or does JMS really REALLY not like Tony.

It's funny because I've been reading all those Civil War tie ins that have been actually writing him as a deeply flawed and jackass-like human being.

So it's kind of weird to see him suddenly back to the EEEEVIL version that I remember from Civil War itself. And the way he seems to be positioned in a few of those panels, just past/behind Thor makes him seem very Satan-like.

It's such a shame really. I'd been really looking forward to seeing Thor smackdown Tony, but this guy is more Snidely Whiplash than Iron Man. It takes all the fun out of it.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Query for Recommendations:

Okay, so the first week of Orientation at MSU's College of Law is finished. Orientation pretty much always sucks. This did not, admittedly, suck as much as some, but it was still pretty boring.

Anyway, I'm really really in the mood for stories involving involuntary transformations (like into an animal, child, opposite gender, whatever) or voluntary shape-shifting.

Just stories that involve people turning into other things/people. :-)

Can anyone give me a recommendation?

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Response to "Countdown to Change"

I hate to be a party pooper. I really do. But I've seen this linked around a number of places and honestly...

Well, I admit, I don't have the Occasional Superheroine's insider experience with the DCU, but I have to say, I think it's utterly wishful thinking.

Which means, of course, that it's going to be latched upon by a significant portion of the internet community who scorn superhero comics in general or hate the decisions of the Didio regime in particular.

But really, I think there are a lot of holes in the argument.

To start with, the section: 1) DC is not Marvel:

Specifically this:

By contrast, the serious personality flaws imposed on some DC characters in Didio's regime -- such as sociopath/killer Max Lord, sociopath/killer Superboy, "bad girl" Supergirl, rapist Dr. Light, cruelly unethical Leslie Thompkins, and amoral JLA -- have been superimposed, artifically added, uneccessary. They are "filth florin filth," what DC thought Marvel did to attract readers.

Now, what Jenette Kahn & Paul Levitz understood 20 years ago was that DC was not Marvel. They didn't even want DC to be Marvel. Instead, they concentrated on how to make the company even more unique. And that produced "Watchmen," Vertigo Comics, "The Dark Knight Returns," and a lot more.

Right, because sociopathic asshole Iron Man, tool (and now dead) Captain America, amoral Reed Richards, divorced Peter Parker and company are not at all similar to those examples of suddenly forced characterizations listed for DC.

Or for that matter: Hal Jordan going Dark Phoenix, asshole Batman, Earth-Angel Supergirl, Image-reject Vuldarian Guy Gardner (though I love him so)...they're all bright and shiny and fitting with DC's traditional iconic hero atmosphere. Really.

The darkening and gratuitous altering of characters is not new. Didio's regime started in 2002, a LOT of crap came before that. The fact is, the blogosphere is NOT really representative of the comic reading majority. We're a very vocal minority that may or may not represent a more silent audience. But really, this sort of soap opera darkening is something that the general audience tends to respond to. It gets them to buy comics.

Also, as a point of note: They DID acknowledge their mistakes at least with Supergirl and Leslie Thompkins. The former is being redeemed, the latter's misdeeds are retconned out.

Oh, and by the way, using Watchmen and DKR as positive examples AGAINST the arbitrary darkening/angstifying of major characters is kind of silly isn't it? I mean, really? It's not like Dark Knight Returns helped usher in the age of gratuitously assholish Batman or anything, right?

I can't say anything about the treatment of editors at DC (2). I don't know anything about that. I'd imagine, having been an editor, she knows her stuff, and thus I'll move on.

3)Stephanie Brown

You know, not every reader actually cares about Steph Brown? I mean, it's great that took her up as a banner and all, and that she's spurred a greater visibility of feminist voices w/r/t comics. But honestly?

It's like HEAT. The controversy is what the comic companies thrive on. Notoriety gets people to read.

And honestly, I don't think that's even Didio so much. I'd imagine if someone lower on the scale wanted a Stephanie Brown memorial, they could sneak it in. Maybe not a case, admittedly. But a wing of a hospital named in her honor? Bruce could afford that. A foundation? A computer program warning of child heroes in risky situations?

Also, I sincerely think if any of the higher ups at Time-Warner really felt like this was a big issue, they'd have enforced it already. Didio's EiC, but there are folks over his head. They could force the issue long before firing him.

4) One-Trick Pony:

Okay, honestly? Just because it has "Crisis" in the name, doesn't make it a mimicry of what came before. If you look at comics long before Didio, it's ALWAYS been event after event after event. Invasion. Armageddon. Ragnarok. Zero Hour, Our Worlds at War yadda and so forth. Some are more memorable than others, sure. But it really isn't a Didio invention.

This part in particular makes me laugh:

Looking at a recent solicitation for DC, I noted that the majority of the titles are "Countdown" related. Oh my God! That's like if Marvel decided to make 75 percent of their books "House of M" spin-off series.

Like the 55 million Civil War tie-ins?

The thing is, while Countdown does have tie-ins dominating the solicit list, if you notice, they're all miniseries. Many of them miniseries coming out at nearly the same time (Search for Ray Palmer, for example). They're all really easily avoidable. The rest of the series, the non-Countdown related series are still running as we please.

The main series don't even tie in with Countdown that much. Sure certain events might be explored in depth in Countdown, but it's not necessary to read it to follow along. It's not like, say, Zero Hour, where EVERY series ran their own tie-in.

Okay, you know, I do get the criticisms of Countdown. I might like it, but others don't. The thing is, Occasional Superheroine even mentions that Didio's probably trying to cash in on 52. Because 52 was incredibly successful.

See, what that means to me is that even if Countdown fizzles, Didio's still got a lot of credibility for having spearheaded 52. He took something successful once, tried to duplicate it, with somewhat less success. I think marketers can understand that. Meanwhile, the sales numbers might be dwindling lower than usual right now, but I'd be interested in comparing them to the pre-Didio numbers.

And really, guys? Countdown IS counting down to something. Whether or not you like the idea of Final Crisis or not, it's going to be pretty big. AND by the way? It's being penned by Grant Morrison.

It's gonna sell.

5) Dan Didio is not Joe Quesada

This one boggles me a little. Their public persona are so very different, and their administration styles appear to be so different, that I can't even begin to understand what this one means.

Especially since, didn't DC declare at one point that there would be no company crossovers as long as Quesada helmed Marvel?

Maybe that has more to do with their interior politics, which admittedly, is something Occasional Superheroine would know more than me. I also don't see the problem with an Alpha Dog mentality. (6) It seems like aggression would be something encouraged in an EiC. Absurd gender essentialist elements aside. Corporations and the business world tend to value "alpha dog" personalities.

Finally, as for 8) Raising the "red flag" at Time-Warner...

Okay, not being particularly insightful in the politics behind the ownership of DC, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Time-Warner probably doesn't care.

My own personal bet is that Time-Warner is interested in marketing movies. It'll be interested in DC primarily as holders of the trademarks for the characters that will be in said movies. And anything that gets the name of the product in the public eye, however briefly, would probably be seen as a benefit for the movie industry.

Heck, there's always the "Well, even if the comics are fucking up, the movies are at least getting it RIGHT" mentality. Most casual fans are not going to pin their gripings about the comics onto the movies themselves. And every mention of Batman or Superman in the news is just going to kind of bounce there until "Hey, the new Batman movie's coming out! I want to see that!"

As for "Mother Jones", I'm not saying it's not an influential publication. It is. It may even have a greater readership than the entire comics industry.

But by the same token, most of those readers do not read superhero comics. (The ones who do already know this stuff.) And as much as Levitz and company are trying to court female readers, I don't necessarily think the readership of Mother Jones is the target audience. Do you really think that Time Warner is going to care that Didio managed to get a bad reputation among people who aren't reading superhero comics anyway?

They're not going to look at it as having lost potential readers, they're going to look at it as having angered a subset that would not be buying their comics regardless of who's at the helm. What are they going to do? Stop buying the comics that they're already not buying?

Besides, this is also the same editorial staff that got accolades in the New York Times for their increasing diversity. Sure, we may all think the Batwoman situation ended up botched, but that's not what the NYTimes is reporting on.

And honestly, I think the NY Times goodwill probably cancels out, in Time-Warner execs heads at least, the bad Mother Jones press. (A lot of which centers around an issue that has since undergone steps to be rectified. I mean, okay, say it DOES blip Time Warner's radar, the most likely scenario would be something like: "What the hell are you guys doing? Look at this article!" "Oh that, yeah, sorry. We're actually working on fixing Supergirl as we speak." "Huh, okay then.")

9)Lack of innovation:

You know, I have to wonder exactly how innovative they expect the editor in chief of the DCU to be really. It's the DCU after all. There's a certain expectation for product that doesn't allow for the levels of deviation that branches like Vertigo can maintain.

However, this is also the regime that's recieved public acknowledgement for their increased diversity with characters like a lesbian Batwoman, a hispanic Blue Beetle, a Chinese Atom, a black Firestorm...

Countdown may not be as successful as hoped, but 52 was pretty groundbreaking when it comes to getting a weekly series out on time with a high readership and reasonably high levels of quality.

I'd say that counts for innovation really. Not every innovation has to be successful.

And if Marvel Zombies actually counts as innovation, I'll eat my hat.

10) Sales

Okay, no one can deny that DC is selling less than Marvel. DC really in competition with Marvel? I mean, think about it. It's not an either/or deal. Most comic fans buy some DC comics and some Marvel comics. If they buy more Marvel comics than DC comics, that doesn't mean that DC comics aren't bought.

(And I can't help but wonder what's not being said in those diamond lists. What about back orders or trade paperbacks? How do those things factor in?)

Didio doesn't have to outsell Marvel, he just has to have a profit margin better than his previous regime. Even a slump right now doesn't take away that DC is pretty clearly improved from its 1990s situation. The elimination of costly and poorly selling prestige comics alone, ought to say something.

Okay, as for the last two points (11 and 12), well, it's not like late books are a problem only endemic to DC. Marvel's really had as many problems. Especially since a lot of Marvel's infamously late books were like Civil War. Which, given the number of tie-ins, was rather problematic. DC's late books tend to be things like Wonder Woman or Green Lantern. Which, while frustrating, did not have nearly the impact on the whole line. And notice how now that both of those comics are involved in major crossover events...they're on time again!

Finally, Countdown is debatably a sinkhole. Fine. I personally think it's a niche market comic not intended for the wider audience of 52, so it's not going to have the same numbers and no one ought to expect it too. But your mileage may very.

Still, it's ONE SERIES. Okay, say it does fizzle completely. Say it gets pulled tomorrow. What happens then?

The mini-series tie-ins either get dropped or revamped. Okay. Final Crisis either gets dropped or brought in another way, okay.

As for the rest of the DCU...I think they'll probably just continue as normal. All-Star Superman continues as normal. Sinestro Corps War continues as normal. Superman, Batman, JLA and all those cash cows...continue as normal.

Sometimes series fizzle. It's not the end of the world. Sure Countdown's big press, but it's ONE failure after a string of considerable sales successes. (There's a REASON the guy is milking IDC/Infinite Crisis/52).

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe Didio will step down or get fired tomorrow. Maybe in 6 months. Maybe in a year. Maybe he's got a long career ahead of him. Who knows. But this active, gleeful "Didio is doomed" stuff is simply silly. This list of would-be sins is over-simplified, repetitive, full of holes, and approached from a very narrow, biased, perspective. (As is, to be fair, this counter-argument). I sincerely believe that if Didio does end up leaving his position, those won't be the reasons behind it.

It's wishful thinking, plain and simple.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Should Never Write Comics Ever.

Okay, I think this amounts to reason number #872 why I should never be allowed to write comics:

See, remember way back when (or maybe just a week or two ago) I posted about how there really ought to be Apollo and Midnighter type analogues for Captain America and Iron Man.

God help me, I actually started thinking about it.

Specifically I started to think about a Wildstorm-esque Multiverse Earth for Marvel. With a dark funhouse mirror version of the Avengers in the same way the Authority is a dark funhouse mirror of the JLA. ...I'm not counting the scary evil rapist sorts that already showed up in the Authority.

I should warn, I'm not actually a huge fan of the Authority. I'm fond of quite a few of the characters in and of themselves, and I think Apollo and Midnighter's relationship is adorable. But in the end, I find the Authority to be a little too enamored with its own hardcore edginess.

Of course being a DC girl at heart, I've always had the impression that Marvel goes for a bit more of the edginess than DC. So a Wildstorm-esque AU, as a hardcore self-satisfyingly edgy version of the "edgier" of the Big Two companies makes me giggle.

Because honestly, if we're working on a scale ratio relation here. If this Marvel!Wildstorm is the same percentage of faux-edginess to regular Marvel as the Authority is to DC...there's no way that won't end up completely insane.

All-Star Batman level insane. At least! The lunacy would be glorious.

Of course, this pretty much means that this equivalent of Tony Stark is going to end up worse than Hank Pym in the Ultimate Universe. Because that's how this sort of thing rolls. (Marvel hates happy couples, y'know. :-P)

Anyway, figuring out an analogue for Cap was hard. Because, just as Apollo and Midnighter are pretty clearly Superman and Batman derived, they're not really parody so much as satire, and thus are fully realized in their own right. So the trick is making a Cap that is still clearly derived from Captain America, but still clearly NOT Captain America and really doesn't have all that much in common with him aside from a few scattered surface traits.

Fortunately my friend Flidget was around for my over-caffeinated, sleep deprived babbling and figured out a solution. See, I was all about cutting out the nationalistic element all together, since I didn't see a way to go about it without making it too obvious. She had the brilliant suggestion of making him a patriotic symbol for a fictional country with some similarities to Costa Rica instead.

Which opens so many doors for clumsy political satire. I'm particularly fond of the idea of this nameless hero as an allegory for well-meaning but incredibly clueless American colonial mindset. In my head, he's a very stereotypical blond, blue-eyed, white American WASP sort that ends up being handed over to the country all: "Here, we know you don't have an army, so here's a superhero to protect you!"

So you get some poor guy shipped off to a country that isn't particularly sure they want him. I mean, sure, superheroes are useful, but they didn't ask for him, didn't really need him, and he probably brings a lot more problems than he'd solve.

Fortunately, he's got no intention to become a dictator, but THEY don't know that. So there's all sorts of problems while he bumbles around all well meaning and crap, while destabilizing everything with his mere presence.

Naturally, this would extend to Tony's analogue becoming the symbolic face of cruel, soulless corporate America.

Hey, what's the point of a faux-edgy universe, if you're not going to use it to make incredibly clumsy, one-sided, and over simplified political statements that'll manage to annoy even people who share your political affiliation.

But anyway, yeah, the entire relationship would be an incredibly heavy-handed, incoherent attack on globalization policies. Tony's analogue would naturally be cartoonishly cruel, abusive, and use his poor downtrodden though truly heroic husband!

The poor Costa Rica Captain's in denial. He keeps insisting it's perfectly fine. They're just a little kinky that's all. They have safewords! It's not evil Corporate America's fault that he's sometimes too enthusiastic to hear them, or remember what they mean!

Eventually of course, the evil Corporate America's character will be inevitably disgraced/killed and replaced by a kinder, gentler liberal or more likely moderate conservative (the better for cheerful political debate) successor. And things will gradually work themselves out in a somewhat healthier way...eventually.

I ought to be really nervous about how easy it is to think of incredibly ham-handed political allegories, shouldn't I?

Of course, Apollo and Midnighter are only part of the Authority, so these two would also be a part of a team as well.

But fortunately, when I try to conceive of an allegory for Spider-Man or the Hulk in this universe, my brain completely stalls. It proves I have some sanity left. Maybe.



Damnit. The ideas are starting to hit. Fuck it, I'm going to bed. :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Because I Don't Blog This Enough...

It occurs to me that I haven't posted much positivity lately. Which is really odd, considering that I'm actually really really happy with the direction most of my comics are going.

I mean, I've admitted to liking Countdown already, but another thing I like about it is that it's really easy to ignore. (Which is why I don't understand all the "Countdown will be the ruin of DC!!!" sorts of posts. It's a niche market thing with a couple of tie-in mini-series. It's not selling like 52, but 52 was a wider appeal. Besides, worst thing that happens: Countdown tanks. What then? They drop it and move on. Adapt or ditch later events as needed.)

I'm really excited about Crime Bible. Really really excited. I don't know why. I've liked Vic, and I like Montoya, but I've never been truly gung ho about either. I just think that it sounds really interesting and like something new. And hey, having Batwoman around can't hurt. She intrigues me.

Sinestro Corps of course is awesome. I'm thrilled that all four Earth Corps Lanterns are going to be prominently in books and the story's really a lot of fun. Also Soranik Natu remains awesome. Iolande has potential. Isamot and Vath amuse me. And Mogo's been featured prominently. (I want a Mogo v. Ranx fight damnit).

I realize actually that I haven't blogged about Lantern stuff in ages and I really ought to. It's just, being smack dab in the middle of the event like this... I dunno, I'm too busy smugly enjoying myself to actually think coherent thoughts.

Of course the fact that the last GL issue ended with my favorite and John in chains via an attractive eeevil alien never hurts.

The Flash is working for me too. I LOVE the family angle. I mean, it is a little bit Incredibles, but for all that, it's not really a direction explored much in the comics I think. Meta/Mutant offspring seem to spend most of their time offpanel until coming back as Teen Titans or the like. Actually seeing a late twenty-something hero trying to balance a wife and hyperaged meta powered children while saving the world is pretty neat. I'm looking forward to how this is going.

It doesn't hurt that despite all the cute family stuff, I actually really didn't like the Incredibles. Left a very bad taste in my mouth. I'm weird.

Also the twins names make me smile. Iris was pretty much a given, but I'm so glad they went with Jai instead of Barry. It's a cute variation and really Wally probably wouldn't have named his baby after Barry, since there was already a namesake running around.

Blue Beetle's adorable, Supergirl's looking up. JSA is steadily good, though I'd really really like if my favorite character actually got more than a line or two all year. The Kingdom Come stuff should bother me, but I actually see it more as an ultimate divorce of KC and JSA. Anything that involves KC Superman coming to Earth-0/52/New Earth is naturally going to harp on the differences between the worlds. For all the surface similarities, the very fact that the KC Superman is coming proves that KC is NOT the future of the current DCU, even if a lot of elements are borrowed.

I'm also really enjoying that they're actually letting Power Girl be an awesome chairman. I was worried it'd be like when Mr. Terrific took over. Nothing against him, but all of a sudden the role of "chairman" and what that meant seemed to fall by the wayside. (Where it was a major theme for Sand). I'm glad that's not the same now.

I still want my favorite to say more than a few lines darnit. How about another internal monologue? Or an unmasking? Come on, I want my eye candy!

I'm even looking forward to the Black Canary/Green Arrow wedding stuff. I'm a sap.

On the Marvel side, I'm really enjoying the Death of Captain America arc. (Cap's actually advanced to a favorite character slot thanks to many many back issues. Nick Fury has also. But that's probably expected. All things considered.) I want him back sooner rather than later though. Especially since there's a good writer on his series right now and I like seeing Cap written by good writers. They can always kill him again after Brubaker leaves, damnit.

Oh and if you're one of those jerks who doesn't want Cap resurrected, don't tell me. I don't care. You won't change my mind. :-P

I kind of have my doubts about the whole Skrull thing, but then, I don't have to read them.

Unless there's Cap. Damnit.

In the end though, when I go to the comic shop and come back, I come back happy. I like that. I don't think I say that often enough, but it's true. :-)

I love my comics!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Darnit DC...

Yay, DC Solicits are up!

Okay, I'm one of the handful of folks actually enjoying Countdown, I know. And I think the tie-ins actually look pretty neat. I'm definitely looking forward to when Kyle shows up there.

And I'm really excited about all this "Challengers of the Unknown" stuff. I want to see Donna, Kyle and Jason team up darnit.

But can someone please tell me why ALL the "Countdown presents: the search for Ray Palmer" issues are #1? Red Rain? Gotham By Gaslight? It sounds as though the same folks are starring in each after all (judging by Kyle being on the cover of one and constant references to the "Challengers").

I mean, I AM all excited for the exploring the multiverse thing, but why are they all, separate, #1s? Why can't they be: "Countdown Presents: yadda yadda" #2 Gotham by Gaslight?. Or whichever number that would actually be.

How in the world am I supposed to know which one to read first?

I LIKE reading things in order, darnit! This is cruelty to the easily confused. Hmph.

Oh well, I'm totally gonna buy 'em anyway. I just want my protest known. :-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

I'm glad you like your ice cream, but leave me to my damn pie!

I just have to vent for a little, so please, if you're expecting coherence or rationality or fairness, please don't continue reading.

It really really really annoys me when someone looks over at the sexism-in-comics debate and goes "Why the hell are you reading superhero comics anyway? Manga/Indy comics are so much better!"

Okay, I'm not going to waste time arguing about how I think most manga (or indy comics) are equally, if differently, as sexist as most superhero comics. Some better, some worse. That's not really the point of this post. Even assuming for one moment that manga IS the bastion of fair, balanced, and satisfying gender treatment that the argument posits it is.

Honestly, I've read manga religiously for about ten years. I've read it in English. I've read it in Japanese. (My Japanese kind of sucks for any practical usage, but I can usually get by for comics. I have a number of nice dictionaries to help me too.) I've got a fairly good idea of the variety available. But when it comes down to it. I much prefer American superhero comics. It's just what I like.

Some of it's a stylistic thing. Some of it's that I like the sense of history (few manga series extend past a few decades. Though some exist). I like continuity porn. I like the shared universe aspect. I like the prevalence of lead characters over the age of 25 or *gasp* even 30! I like a lot of the stuff that I list right here.

In the end, the part that is frustrating the most is that it kind of feels like this is happening:

"Why the heck is my apple pie so bitter? It would be better with a little more sugar!"

And being answered with:

"Why the hell are you eating apple pie?! You should be eating ice cream if you want something sweet!"

Which, okay, maybe in this case the ice cream is sweeter. Maybe it's not. But you know what? If I wanted ice cream, I'd have ordered ice cream!

I want pie. Fruit, pastry, baked, with that nice flaky crust. If the pie is not to my taste, I'm going to complain. Maybe I'll get results. Maybe I won't. But I'm definitely not going to solve my pie craving by ordering ice cream. Not unless that ice cream happens to have fruit, pastry, be baked, with a nice flaky crust, oh and also happens to not be cold, melty, creamy or largely a dairy product.

You can be as pessimistic as you like about me ultimately getting the pie that is sweet enough (but not too sweet!) for my taste. You can prefer the pie more bitter. You can be worried that my protestations will lead to a pie too sugary sweet for any of us. You can laugh that when, finally having gotten a pie sweetened enough for my taste, I start complaining about the temperature. You can hate apple pie all you want and tell me so. Fine. Whatever.

But don't tell me that I'd be much happier eating ice cream. I wouldn't. It's not apple pie. I'm glad you like your ice cream, I'm sure it's delicious. It's just not what I want to eat. You go ahead and be happy with your dessert and leave me to mine.

Same thing with superhero comics. I'm glad you're happy with manga. I'm not. That's not what I'm looking for. It's not what I want. Please respect that. Thank you.

(Edited to Add: If this post looks as though I've written it before, you're probably right. Rants are sometimes repetitive. And one can't be original all the time. :-))

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More Questionable Taste From Me...

Okay, as established in my last post, sometimes I enjoy really awful television or movies. I can't help it. It's in my blood. At least I'm rarely under the delusion that it's good?

Well anyway, this is all preamble for the fact that I FINALLY got the chance to watch "Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD".

And you know, it...sorta didn't suck.

Okay, the dialogue was terrible, the plot was cliched and the acting was pretty iffy sometimes (though, it must be said, David Hasselhoff was not the worst actor/part of the movie) but the movie delivered where it was supposed to. I'd actually say it was at least as good as a couple of the weaker Bond films.

It probably helps that I'm a fan of decidedly cheesy/campy espionage shows. (Man from UNCLE? My greatest love during High School.) It's not that I have very high requirements for movies like this. The few character arcs worked fairly organically. The general main character types were appealing enough: bumbling young guy who gets confidence, telepath girl gets to be a leader type, the Contessa gets to shoot someone in the head. The villainess is appropriately scenery chewing.

Also there are LMDs and Helicarriers. And at least surface-wise, Hasselhoff really doesn't make a bad LOOKING Nick Fury.

Yep. Really, I'm quite happy. If it were a theater release, I'd likely be annoyed, but it was a tv movie and honestly, I've seen a LOT worse. (Sci-Fi channel is notorious for them, after all). :-)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Flash Gordon

Okay, so I finally got to see the new Flash Gordon premiere, and honestly, I have to say it's definitely a case where low expectations win out the day since in the end I actually enjoyed it.

I think the biggest problem was the length. There was way too much meaningless crap before they got to the other planet that bored me to tears. Once they got there though, things perked up considerably. It was by no means masterful storytelling, but it IS a pilot episode, so I'm willing to cut it some slack.

Also, shirtless torture with gratuitous eye-abuse. (Ever since my own eye issues, I get a horrible, sadistic amusement out of pointy things coming at people's eyes. Mostly because of the way everyone else cringes.)

I liked the other planet. I also liked the actors/characters in general. Flash Gordon is very appealing. (I'd actually love to see the guy play Captain America at some point, since he's got that big, blond, slightly-bland prettiness that'd really work there. And he's not a horrible actor either.) Dale was not nearly so obnoxious as she could have been. I'm leery about the whole love triangle/unresolved sexual tension thing, but I really like the way the two interact with each other as friends with a past.

For female portrayals, I thought it was fairly satisfying, at least as first episodes go. We see a number of women in various roles, performing various actions, with varying degrees of kickassness. Flash's mother is appealing, Dale is fiery and fun, Aura's entertainingly petulant, and the female bounty hunter is fairly awesome.

I wish there was a bit more visual variety though. They're all slim, white and brunette and while they're all very pretty, it's a bit repetitive. Hopefully there will be a greater variety later on.

When it comes to race, the pilot's definitely more problematic. The only non-white character of any sort of prominence is Flash's best friend, who as of yet is still in the dark about the whole thing. This is a problem that I'm hoping the series will rectify soon enough.

I do understand, from my privileged white woman/liberal guilt perspective, why they did not choose to make Ming or Aura Asian. Ming's got that history as a forerunner of the "Yellow Peril" idea, and he and Aura have traits that while largely unremarkable (if cartoony) on white actors start to resonate with very unpleasant racist connotations when re-associated with Asian portrayals. It's definitely an association that would be worth avoiding.

At the same time though, white-washing the characters is a solution that leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. It's not like white actors have any dearth of visibility or representation after all. We're everywhere.

It's a really difficult situation. No one wants to be racist, I'd bet. But it's an issue that must and should come up whenever an undoubtedly racist concept is revisted in the modern day. I have no real idea of how this could be rectified. I suppose the best hope is that subsequent episodes will make more effort to integrate more non-white representation (fairly prominent representation, at that) in their cast. I hope this is the case.

Anyway though, despite myself, I actually did enjoy it and I'm planning to catch the next ep, ASAP.

I'm crossing my fingers that we'll be seeing rockets real soon. :-)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Why I Shouldn't Try To ReRead Civil War.

You know, I hadn't read much of Civil War at the time it came out, but since I've been warming to Marvel lately, I've been checking out issues here and there now. Most recently I actually sat down and read Casualties of War. And I actually liked it.

I liked seeing Cap and Iron Man talk it out a little, with the reminiscence and nice little footnote/reference guide thingy at the end. (More comics ought to have those. They're a godsend for comics neophytes like me!) That whole (paraphrased): "You don't make mistakes." "What about that one time I got frustrated and took a swing at you?" "That was ONCE. ONE TIME. PERIOD." made me giggle.

The "oh right your dad was an alcoholic" part was clumsily done though. I'd actually like to track down the Iron Man issue they mentioned, to see if it was handled a bit less clunkily, because it would make sense and add an interesting element to their interaction. But in general, it was pretty neat. And the fisticuffs at the end kept it from being too boring. I actually liked it a lot. And I've come to a startling realization...

I like Civil War. Except for Civil War.

I mean, I've enjoyed pretty much most of the specials I've read: The Confession, Casualties of War, Fallen Son, some of the series tie-ins that actually looked interesting. I actually think they're pretty neat. I've been enjoying the aftermath in most of the Marvel series I actually read (which consist largely of...Captain America and off and on various Avengers books...Hey, I've warmed toward Marvel. I'm still a DC girl at heart.)

It's almost like they're telling a different story though. Fantastic Four's tie-ins made Reed actually sympathetic. Tony spends most of Casualties of War and Confession looking like a guy who made mistakes and is doing some horrible things for what he thinks is the greater good, with sincere regret and turmoil. I mean I still think he's a giant asshole, but at the very least, he's human.

But then I try to reread Civil War proper, I just...stall. I mean...eek. There are some exciting moments and fight scenes, (I have a soft spot for the Falcon carrying unconscious-Cap during that fight where evil-Clone-Thor kills Goliath...I like seeing guys being carried. It's a quirk.) but otherwise...

I'm retroactively irked they killed Goliath, because finally reading early Avengers...Bill was awesome, even before powers ever became part of the deal.

Registration is inconsistant as an idea. The characters become caricatures. Reed and Tony are monsters. And while I can see making a Negative Zone prison for criminals prone to jail break, shoving your once-allies in there seems a bit much!

Yeah, yeah, this isn't news. I just...I still don't get it. The side stories are interesting, the ramifications now are pretty neat. Though I still want Cap back sooner rather than later, thank-you-very-much.

How can I really enjoy everything about a crossover event EXCEPT the crossover event itself?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cap + Wall = Trouble!

You know, until I started heavily reading a lot of Avengers issues, I'd never realize how utterly dysfunctional that group is/was. I mean, take Hank Pym, alone, it took how many decades of real time before he ended up getting psychiatric help?

Seriously, the dude probably warranted an intervention of some sort somewhere along that time he built killer robots to attack them, if nothing else. They just seem to be not as concerned over that sort of thing than I would be.

I mean, check out this panel from Avengers #9.

Okay, here we go. And that's no mind-control or nothing. Just Cap. Angry. And fighting a WALL.

Now, I'm not saying this couldn't happen to Batman, but I do think the Justice League would be a trifle more concerned if one of their members had started screaming and attacking things like walls.

These guys, nothing. Nada. Zip. Cap attacks a WALL one panel, and no one even bothers to suggest catching up on sleep. They are PERFECTLY FINE with one of their most prominent members flipping out crazy.

Poor Hank then never had a prayer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Something Nifty...

Okay, you know this would be a pretty inspired casting choice.

Of course, I say that as someone with an irrational dislike of Nightwing and a slightly more rational dislike of Peter Petrelli.

It occurs to me though, that ultimately my dislike of both characters stems from the fact that early on I really liked both and saw a lot of potential until they got dragged down into directions I wasn't fond of.

And also started getting all mopey. I never really liked seeing characters get all mopey unless they were following it up with a lot more punching than these guys seemed to manage.

Both characters somehow got really self-absorbed for me. The Peter Petrelli who was briefly my favorite on Heroes was the guy who (believing his powers were based on proximity) went alone and thus powerless to save the cheerleader from getting killed. And even while on that important quest, managed to notice some random girl (who he hadn't realized was the one he sought) and her pain, and give her a few words of comfort just because she needed it. Once all the drama with his powers happened, he really never recaptured that courage or compassion again.

Nightwing's really the same way, I find him strongest when he's concerned about others, but too often he seems too absorbed in his own angst to notice anything else.

I do think Ventimiglia might pull off a version of Nightwing that I can actually stand though. Ventimiglia's good at playing a quiet sort of compassion and charm. Nightwing has no powers, which is a plus compared to Peter Petrelli at least. And a single movie won't be enough to laden him with the crippling levels of angst too often seen in the comic.

It'd be interesting to see at least.

Especially if somewhere down the line it gets someone to do a Hayden Panettiere as Supergirl movie. Because THAT would be awesome.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Convention Ramblings...

Okay, I guess I should actually talk about cool things that happened at the con, right? :-)

Of course my definition of cool might not match other folks, but there you go. The DCU panels were rather fun and got to tackle some interesting questions. Cassandra Cain, for example (I know some of you folk are fans) will be in Gotham Underground. Kimiyo Hoshi and Firestorm were heavily implied to appear in McDuffie's JLA. (Which would be AWESOME, especially if one or both get to be long term members) That sort of thing.

The one fun part was on the second day when someone asked if Kyle Rayner were going to die. (Yeesh, guys, you always think he's gonna die. Rebirth=>He's gonna die. Ion=>He's gonna die. Personally I think he's safe. He's a popular character who sells books, and even more importantly, there's really no storyline gain to his death. Since Lanterns are built in with their own heroic cannon fodder, death stories involving the main characters don't have as much impact. The grief and guilt can be explored using less popular character's deaths. And Kyle having a villain-redemption death like Hal's is silly, since Hal WAS a villain. Kyle, we all know, is just possessed. Yeesh. Pessimists!)

Anyway, Dan Didio took it to the panel. It was Saturday, so it was a big panel. "Should we kill Kyle Rayner?" Van Sciver was first and said emphatically "No!" Then two yes votes (Starlin, Calafiore), two no votes (Bob Wayne and Jann Jones), then Paul Levitz said no. Thus Didio didn't even bother asking the rest of the panel. Because well, he's the president and had spoken!

Admittedly, I suppose they could still kill him if they really want to and be lying about it. But I figure that's a good sign. <3 Also I figure one of the primary artists of the Sinestro Corps storyline being aghast at the thought of killing him is probably a pretty good sign that he makes it out of the storyline in tact. (As are his future appearances in Countdown, but in a multiverse-centered story, it's true that you don't necessarily really know.)

The real highlight though was the Dark Knight panel. We had to wait in line real early Saturday morning to get wristbands for it. The line was incredible! To be fair though, once they actually let us into the building it went by pretty fast. We were pessimistic about our chances to get a band, but we did, and it looked like they weren't in danger of running out anytime soon.

Panel was made up of Goyer, the Nolan brothers, Gary Oldman, Christian Bale, and Aaron Eckhart. It was neat. Largely Q&A. Questions about writing, production, preparing for roles. The usual sort of thing.

The big deal was the little teaser-preview-trailer thing they showed. Which was great. I won't spoil anything, since I don't know how you folks feel about that sort of thing, but I'll just say that there were explosions and violence (Yay!) and that I actually wasn't terribly enthused about the movie before going into the panel, but I left really excited. They were very adamant about no one bringing in recording devices, but I'd still be very surprised if it isn't already up on YouTube or something.

My goodness though Aaron Eckhart makes a pretty Harvey Dent. I'd really like to see his whole storyline done well. I remember I was first introduced to the character through the cartoon (which wasn't bad, but hadn't in the episodes I saw, really delved into him beyond quirky chance-obsessed criminal) and the Batman Forever movie, so I'd been very surprised to see how interesting and involved the story was in the comics. Especially the friendship between Harvey and Bruce. It looks like this movie might be exploring the whole Bruce-Harvey-as-friends angle, so that excites me.

Also Aaron Eckhart is pretty. And I'm shallow. :-)

The Joker, though I don't recall hearing him speak on the preview, looks pretty awesome and definitely scary. I remember thinking Ledger, while a very good actor who I don't doubt can pull off the role acting-wise, might be too handsome and wholesome looking for the role. The still shot helped with that, but the footage really showed how it worked. (Summation: Clown make-up can make everyone look scary)

Also, explosions and violence. <3 It was definitely worth getting up early and waiting in lines for god knows how long. (It was awesome to watch the reactions to Ragnell in her costume then too. She's convinced me to try to clamor together a costume and go as Guy to her Hal next year. So we'll see how THAT goes. On the plus side, the costume shouldn't be that hard to assemble.)

So yeah. The con was fun! :-) Now I just have to seal myself into a hypoallergenic (sp?) bubble before the con next year so I don't get a damn cold again. I enjoyed the con, but I was also cranky, jittery, irritable, and constantly stuffed up. Definitely not good company. (I don't even want to THINK about how many people I may have gotten sick. I tried very hard not to breathe on anyone, but still... If anyone ends up with an awful cold right after convention, it's my fault! I'm sorry!) So yeah, next year, pre-con bubble!

Monday, August 13, 2007


Darnit. Apparently I missed the Sci-Fi channel's premiere of Flash Gordon. I've been looking forward to it for ages.

Naturally, this means I go seek out message board posts to see how other people reacted. TWOP is a good one for this, mostly because I know how to find stuff there.

(The Flash Gordon page.)

One particular review though nailed it for me:

You know what's really interesting about all this, is they've actually made a pretty good attempt with this show, with what they probably have to work with. What's incredibly tragic and hysterically funny is that this show is basically a microcosm of EVERYTHING that's presently wrong with the SciFi genre in particular and serialized TV in general... lazy/emotionally immature fan-boy writers (like on Stargate), cheap recycled special effects, obvious over-the-border location shooting/production values, disposable "beautiful" actors whose character's problems and love story no one will give a shit about either now or in years to come.

Okay, I have to see this show now. I have the distinct feeling I'm going to adore it.

See, I have no taste. What-so-ever. And well I read superhero comics and enjoy superhero-based movies. Even the crappy ones. ESPECIALLY the crappy ones.

I loved that horrible Justice League pilot, after all. Bad acting, stupid plots, and very disconnected from the source material are no impediments to me.

Besides. Eric Johnson is hot. I'm shallow. :-)

Rape in Comics: Themyscira

I've been noticing that Ragnell and my "Damned List" project has been linked in a few places, with analysis about certain trends. This is great of course, though I just want to remind everyone that the lists are not complete. Ragnell and I have had to put the project on hiatus due to various personal and financial reasons. We do intend to get back to it as soon as possible.

I'd like to make an addendum regarding her most recent, though still quite out of date list that may or may not skew certain analysis results.

In the George Perez Post-Crisis reboot of Wonder Woman, the Amazons' origins were retconned. After defeating and then befriending Herakles, the Amazons were then betrayed by the men, "their homes were tortured, their bodies ravaged, their pride stripped away".

Now, I'd imagine this was done to keep the story in line with certain versions of the Amazonian/Herculean legends, but that doesn't change the fact that Ragnell's list has some new members.

Admittedly, we only know the names of a few. Hippolyta, Menalippe, Phillipus, Mnemosyne, Euboeia, Io... But that doesn't change the fact that EVERY AMAZON we see at least until the merging with the Bana Mighdall (in the mid-90s) is on that list. Every woman in the tournaments, every one used as cannon fodder in major events...

Even given that half or more of the Amazons we see now in Amazons Attack and other places are probably Bana, and thus not on the list, that doesn't change the fact that it's still a very large number, which ought to be at least considered when contemplating analysis of the phenomenon.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Post-Convention Post #2

Lots of things happened today. Which I'm not going blog about tonight, on account of I have a cold and am cranky as all hell.

I'll blog tomorrow. Though I'm sure if you head to CBR or Newsarama before hand you'll find out.

Fortunately Ragnell has saved me from having to make a blogpost of substance by uploading this for me:

I mentioned it yesterday, but now you can see for yourself! Cap-chest signed by John Cassaday! Best con-souvenir ever. Yay!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

1st Day At the Con

Cons are neat. We wandered around, saw booths, bought stuff. (I have a Guy Gardner doll!)

We did get to go to the DC Nation panel, that was fun. Some teases and "accidental" slips from the panelists. (I used quotes because I'm a cynic. :-P) Still it was interesting.

I ended up skipping the Marvel panel to go see John Cassaday and get him to sign my copy of Fallen Son #5. Specifically on Captain America's chest. He seemed a bit bemused by the request, but did it. So I have a signed Captain America chest. Between that and the Guy doll, my trip's been made worth it.

(By the way, John Cassaday is kinda hot. By "kinda", I mean really really hot. Eeek.)

My roommate got a picture taken with Richard Hatch. That was pretty cool.

As it turns out, helping one's blogging partner put together her green lantern costume ("helping" is read "watching and making peanut gallery type commentary while whining annoyingly about having a head cold" in my case. But still...) leads to strange conversation topics about Green Lanterns and lipstick.

We've apparently decided that Kyle would wear cute pink, John's color is eggplant, Guy's a gloss-man, and Hal's would be slutty candy-apple red.

...Yeah. We're kind of weird. Fortunately we got distracted before we started talking mascara or eye-shadow. Tonight is safe.

Friday, August 10, 2007


In Chicago now.

Chicago Traffic sucks.

Met up with Ragnell.

Bought allergy medicine.

Going to con tomorrow.

Going to sleep now.

Thus, no post. Go away.


Here's a picture taken very out of context from Warrior #40:


Good night everybody.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!!!

Okay, so I've finally managed to get a look at Supergirl #20.




Yes. Thank you.

That's what a real teenaged girl looks like. That's even what a real teenaged girl wears. (I've seen message board posts griping otherwise, but honestly, most girls that age are WAAAAY too self conscious of their bodies to actually wear Kara's old costume. With or without parents stepping in. There's a difference between hiking up a skirt/shorts to show more leg and wearing a neck scarf AS a skirt, thank you.)

She looks amazing. She's pretty and STILL quite slender and I usually pride myself on being a fairly nice person, or at least one not prone to physical assault, but I want to seriously line up every message board poster that calls her "fat" and slap them upside the head. (Cankles?! WTF? She's wearing boots! Real boots are not skin tight at the goddamned ankles!)

Moreover, Cassie and Kara look like completely different girls for all the long blond hair. I remember joking with Ragnell about how if someone drew Kara, Cassie, Courtney, Steph, Cissie, Greta, and Mia in civilian clothes all together, no one would be able to distinguish them. I'm actually starting to believe that Renato Guedes could actually pull it off.

So yeah, it's good. I like it. Bedard's character is one I want to read about. Guedes's is one I want to see. So much so that I'm seriously considering writing snail-mail to support it.

I want to see more!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Avengers Reborn?

Okay, I'm not sure what to think of this Avengers Reborn thing.

So far, I've had mixed feelings about the whole Marvel animated thing thus far. Ultimate Avengers wasn't too bad (though they managed to make me detest Bruce Banner/Hulk to a whole new level, and I'd never been much of a fan before...), but I really didn't like Ultimate Avengers 2. (The death of a certain main character just seemed so gratuitous. Especially when Iron Man technically sorta dies too, but HE gets to come back.) And honestly, I thought that Iron Man movie was just an atrocious, cliched, racist pile of tripe.

So, yeah, if the Dr. Strange movie sucks too, that'll be pretty damn ominous.

On the other hand, I really do tend to enjoy AU offspring type stories. And the character designs look really cute! This featurette is pretty interesting.

I wish they'd elaborate more on the parentage of the children though. I mean, one half of each is pretty obvious, sure. But I'm a gossip hound, I wanna know who ends up with whom.

I'm guessing that Cap Jr. might be Black Widow's, given that they seemed fairly close, but I can't really think of whose the others might be.

Really though, the best part of all this is that the villain is Ultron! There is no villain more suitable for a second-generation story than Ultron. :-) It's just perfect!

So I guess I'll wait and see. It looks pretty interesting though! Provided it doesn't suck, at least!

(Oh and Ragnell's got a link to the New Frontier preview/featurette, go look!)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Panel That I Like...

Bleh, I have no energy for a real post, so I'm just going to post a panel that I like from the Halcyon Days of Young Avengers #1.

Isn't that cute? Tony not being evil! (though undoubtedly thinking something suitably melodramatic and angsty behind his mask). Steve not being dead!

Though as innocent as it's undoubtedly meant to be, this panel is starting to give me Ideas. Like wondering when THEY'LL be getting their own Apollo and Midnighter type analogues... 'Cause you know, it'd be really easy...

Monday, August 06, 2007

An Odd Thought...

I think it could be funny to make a team of superheroes with the lamest powers that come to mind and try to actually make them useful.

For example, take a character that's sole ability is to change the color of their hair (head and body of course). That's an incredibly stupid power, isn't it? I mean, suddenly becoming a redhead is probably not going to do much against Superman.

But it'd be awesomely useful for a secret agent or a minor villain or something. Especially if the character is a male with facial hair. Because you could totally do the crime as a blond, run for it, duck for cover, change your hair/beard color to brown or black and walk out nonchalantly. Sure you'd end up with a whole:

"Um. Sir. Did you happen to see a blond guy wearing the exact same outfit as you?"

"...same as me? Really? How weird! No, I haven't! Maybe they went the other way!"

Okay, it's probably funnier in my head than on paper. But still an entire team of people like this could be hilarious. Like...the "human jukebox". Someone who can open their mouth and reproduce exactly any song they've ever heard, singers and instruments. Now imagine the sheer potential of having that character open their mouth and very very faintly start to play the most annoying song imaginable. Not even loud enough to hear completely, just to have it dancing on the edge of audio range.

The psychological warfare possibilities are endless!

Or the telepath who could only project a single overwhelming one-word thought into someone's brain and watch their brains fill in necessary connections. "TINKLE" for example. Suddenly the person's running for a rest room. Or "HAM." (A guard protecting something valuable: "I suddenly have this unstoppable craving for Ham! I must get some!" Then at the convenience store, in the sandwich department: "Wait a second. I'm Jewish!".) The best part is that the same one word prompt could have completely different reactions in every single person! "DUCK" --> "I'm hungry, I haven't had roast duck in ages!" "DUCK"--> "Ack incoming!" *ducks* "DUCK"--> "Oh, I love birds!"

Though, I'm not sure what it says about me that the majority of "useful applications" I can think of are either criminal or just really mean.

It still amuses me way more than it should though.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

On "Manufactured Rage"

About a week ago, or so, this article was posted on the website Pink Raygun. I didn't comment on it at the time, because I wanted to take some time to organize my thoughts. Then I forgot about it, on account of the fact that I have the attention span of a dustball.

Now, I have to admit that while Pink Raygun is a very nice site manned by intelligent people, I'm rather used to not seeing eye-to-eye on quite a few feminist issues covered there. This means of course, I very possibly have a pre-existing bias and might be misreading a claim that the blogger never meant to make. Feel free to judge for yourself.

Someone is a blogger for a female-oriented site and is mistaken for one of those angry feminist bloggers and thus treated with suspicion and fear. I'm sure I speak for the entire hive-minded uni-vagina that makes up comic book feminist bloggerdom when I apologize profusely for the indignity of being mistaken for us.

Okay, that's not really fair. It does suck to have assumptions made about you just because you share a couple of miniscule characteristics with someone else (especially one with more extreme opinions that you do not share), and it's only natural to establish distance from that other person/group.

However, I think all this could have been done though without using the phrase "manufactured rage".

See, that phrase gives me the impression, possibly false, that the blogger in question is accusing many feminist bloggers of somehow falsifying or overstating their emotional reaction.

There are very few things that will set off my (quite real, thank you) temper more than the implication that my emotional reaction isn't genuine.


Just because YOU don't see why a certain cover/statue/plot device/character design/whatever is upsetting to someone does NOT mean that they're not genuinely upset!

People can have a lot of reasons for reacting to stimuli in a different way. Perhaps the person has had some bad experience that makes them more sensitive to a particular issue. Perhaps this is an issue that the person has found him/herself dealing with a lot, and this particular instance is the last straw. Perhaps the person is just having a bad day and thus something that would ordinarily seem small ends up causing a storm of rage. Perhaps they're mistaken. Perhaps YOU'RE mistaken. Anything's possible.

Those are only a small sampling of the many many reasons that someone might be more angry than another. It doesn't matter which one, if any, is the reason and really, it's not anyone else's place to conjecture, the point remains that any of those are perfectly valid reasons for the strength of the emotional response. It's pretty damn presumptuous to assume you know the person well enough to be able to tell for certain that none of those reasons apply, that they're faking it.

Or put simply: Just because someone's overreacting (in your opinion) doesn't mean that it's not a true reaction.

Perhaps I'm just naive, but could someone please tell me what the point of manufacturing rage would be? These are BLOGS. Very few of us actually get any sort of income from our work here, we're not getting paid to cause controversy or denounce the competition. And honestly, if we're trying to start a letter writing campaign, or persuade and mobilize the masses, wouldn't we be better off choosing a cause that we actually, genuinely feel strongly about? Otherwise, what's the damn point?

It's infuriating, it honestly is. I won't claim I've never overreacted or been mistaken; I won't claim I've never been influenced by personal bias or changed my mind once my head was clearer; I certainly can't claim I've never been hypocritical or contradicted myself, but I can tell you that every emotion that I've expressed on this blog is genuine and is mine. Fuck "manufactured rage", mine is damn real.

And since it's my blog, I'm going to revel in my right to express it.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Guilty Pleasure Meme

I've decided to start a new meme and see if anyone picks it up. It's the "guilty pleasure" meme. The point is to reveal something that you're terribly embarrassed to admit you actually like, could be a book, movie, comic, tv show, whatever, and explain why you like it

My guilty pleasure is Piers Anthony's Xanth novels. Even the later crappy ones. ESPECIALLY the later crappy ones! I'm so ashamed!

Really though, I'm not under any sort of illusion that they're great books, though I think Anthony can be really really good when he tries to be. Xanth, though, is pretty much cotton candy in book form. Light, fluffy, sugary, and completely free of substance.

And that's why I like it. Don't get me wrong, I adore angst and violence to a moderately appalling degree, but's good to just enjoy something cute and fun.

Also, the nice side benefit is that I'm now completely immune to the groan-worthy nature of puns. It's like having poison at every meal, eventually you develop an immunity or it kills you.

Sure the plots aren't terribly complex, but reading a Xanth book for complex plots is like trying to find a bird at the bottom of the ocean. It's kind of dumb and both you and the bird ought to realize that. There is an interesting level of complexity that spreads across the series though, that really appeals to me. There are all these connections. Random plot events in earlier books end up taking on great significance in a later book. A random side character, provided he/she isn't a one-shot joke, (and sometimes even if he/she is), will invariably become pretty important in a later book. And previously important characters never completely drop off the map and turn up in surprising places.

I really like that sort of thing.

The characters are (with a few notable exceptions) usually nice, well-meaning, earnest and likeable. They may not be terribly compelling, but sometimes it's just...nice to see nice people have happy endings.

Also, while I'd never argue that the series is even remotely groundbreaking in terms of feminism (or race issues, or alternate sexuality issues...), Anthony does manage to avoid a very common writer's pitfall: he actually writes female characters that can be rivals for the same guy's attention while being still being friends with one another!

Do you have any idea how RARE that is in fiction? I get that bitter rivalries are much more dramatic, but sometimes girls can be in love with the same person and STILL be good friends. It can happen!

Anyway. That's my guilty pleasure. Anyone's free to play along. Or mock me. I can take it. :-)

(Oh, I am specifically tagging Ragnell though, she knows why. :-P)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Night Fights!

Round 7 is underway tonight, so I'm getting my hits in real early with this:

(Panels courtesy of Warrior Annual #2, and FNF courtesy of Bahlactus of course!)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thursday Night Thinking

I haven't done one of these in a while!

From Brave and the Bold 54, Robin shows his stunning observational abilities:

See! I'd never have guessed that from the guy's exclamation...

(Diamondrock's meme, I'm just a sheep. :-))

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Twelve and a Tangent

Okay, this looks really interesting. I'm a huge fan of DC's golden age type stuff, especially when the heroes are interacting with modern day society. I don't know very much about Marvel/Timely golden age heroes (I do adore Cap, Bucky, Nick Fury and Namor though, and older Invaders issues are LOTS of fun. But when it comes to genuine GA material, I'm at a loss.)

I've never heard of most of these characters before, but they look like they could be a lot of fun. I'm intrigued by the possibility of Straczynski at the helm, since I adored Babylon 5. I've never much liked his comic work, but I think maybe giving him characters that are essentially blank slates as far as the modern Marvel universe goes, it could be fun.

I'm not sure the culture shock angle will work as well. 12 is a big number. I don't know how general my experience is, but when I spent a year out of the country, I'd had a lot of fellow foreigners as friends. And while culture shock still happened, even just being able to talk to someone in the same situation and go "Yeesh, isn't this fucking weird?!" and have them go, "Yep" goes a long way.

They'd certainly have different experiences than Steve did, being as Steve was completely alone when he awoke. And Nick and Namor were never frozen, so there are some interesting possibilities.

If they're unhappy and want to change things, that could be fun. And it could put characters like Cap (who'll probably be back by then) and Nick Fury in awkward positions.

I hope Straczynski's a bit more careful about politics than the folks who did Ultimate Captain America were. Because all other characterization issues aside, that was a bit annoying. I find it really hard that a man with Cap's background -provided it's mostly the same, of course- would be characterized as so much of a staunch Conservative. (in the modern sense). This is a man who grew up poor and hungry in New York City during the Great Depression. Policies like Roosevelt's New Deal would have likely saved his life. Wartime America had a number of different programs as well regarding resource and food consumption. Considering how patriotic and idealistic he was back then, it would seem that he'd embraced these ideas pretty whole-heartedly. Which makes fiscal conservatism really really unlikely.

As for social conservativism, that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense either, if you think about it. He's a New York city tenement brat who would have spent his impressionable early childhood in the Roaring Twenties. During the Great Depression and the Wartime period, he would have had other things to worry about. The social conservativism that Steve's behavior in Ultimates brings to mind really looks more like post-War backlash than anything else. And Steve would have already been frozen by then. Sure, Steve might be naive or personally uptight, but the shocked/aghast/disgusted attitude really doesn't make any sense. (I personally think Cap would be a lot more disgusted by seeing all the uneaten food/unnecessary packaging material in a garbage can than anything else. Our society produces waste in an amount that must be truly nightmarish to someone from that background. I always kind of wished that'd be addressed more, especially considering he is/was close friends with a millionaire.)

I'm not saying Steve's necessarily a bleeding heart liberal either, but I don't see any way the conservativism portrayed by the Ultimate version makes any sense, provided any of the pre-serum backstory made the universe-hop in tact.

Anyway, I'm not saying that a character from that time period can't be either fiscally or socially conservative. It's very plausible. But I hope that the characters' politics, if addressed, are developed in ways that make sense with whatever backgrounds are established for those characters. Things like socioeconomic status, place of origin, and personal experiences are pretty vital components when it comes to someone's personal politics, and shouldn't be overlooked.

Also, being from the forties does not necessarily mean a person's politics would be the same as that seventy-year-old guy down the block who's lived through and had his experiences molded by the subsequent decades. Yeesh. From the forties =/= old =/= automatically conservative.

But anyway, I've always thought Straczynski did a decent job at presenting fairly well-rounded politics in Babylon 5, so I've got some high hopes for this area. 12 characters means a lot of different viewpoints could be addressed interestingly.

So yeah, I'm pretty interested in where this goes. And heck. If it sucks, at least I'll have a good measure of annoyance to use as blog-fodder.