Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

My thoughts on recent controversies.

Heh, I feel like I've kind of been remiss in not talking about any of the big controversies yet. I'm not sure why I haven't, so I will. :-)

Okay, as to the Tigra thing, I'm going to preface this by saying that I didn't read the issue in question and that all I'm going off of scans that Cheryl Lynn has up.

Honestly, looking at them, I think what we have is more Bendis giving a character he reputedly doesn't like the shaft in terms of badassery to make another character look better, but I don't necessarily think there's conscious sexism involved. I tend to think Bendis chose her more out of the reputed dislike than because she was a woman. And portrayed her weak, for much the same reason.

That said, I do think the "this is sexist" folks have quite a bit of substance to their accusations. Especially as I don't think it was terribly necessary to accentuate cleavage so much in a collossal beatdown.

Someone did bring up Sharon Carter in a comparison to Tigra, asking where the outrage was there, which was an interesting point. Personally, I'm not terribly outraged by Tigra, so I'm not the best person to answer, but I do think a big difference is that 1) Sharon's ongoing struggle and emotional aftermath is a major plot to the series, 2) Sharon really hasn't lost any of her competency in the process, it's not like she's known for awesome anti-telepathy/brainwashing skillz and got brainwashed in a second. He was disguised as her doctor and had a fair bit of time to plant the suggestion, 3) her mind control isn't done by a half-assed recently created villain that I've never heard of, presumably to make him look cool, she's a victim of the Red fucking Skull, 4) she managed to be mind controlled and kill Steve all without convenient cleavage baring rips in the clothing, and 5) Brubaker's earned a lot more benefit of the doubt than Bendis with regard to treatment of female characters.

And that particular interview that I'm too chickenshit to call out by name seeing as I sorta work for them certainly did not make Bendis OR the interviewer look particularly good. No one's asking for agreement or sympathy here, but some objectivity would be nice.

I also haven't said anything about JLA #14. Which probably is a bit hypocritical because I did comment on the H4H cover. It admittedly might be some of my DC bias coming through, but I think a big part of it is simply that the center of my H4H complaint was that this was the cover. The cover is supposed to entice you to buy the issue.

I'm not saying the JLA #14 image is particularly tasteful, and hell, if I were a parent, I'd be decidedly annoyed to find that in one of my kid's books, but it's not exactly the same situation for me. That said, I really wish they'd get a different artist.

Oh, and there's no dripping tentacles that look like they're creeping toward breasts and orifices (orifi?), and that does rather make a big difference to me.

Finally...Death of the New Gods...

I'm in denial really. But also, I never trust any death that occurs in "issue 1".

The kitchen bit was a bit much.

Though it does make for interesting story possibilities involving deaths being faked in kitchens. Could resurrect both that character and Katma Tui that way. :-P

Huh, guess I did have some things to say after all.


  • At October 25, 2007 9:35 AM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    Given its prominence in the Newsarama preview, I'd say that the JLA spread was also being used to sell the book. That was the main part of my problem with it. Selling the JLA with those images seems to me to reveal almost a loathing for the audience.

  • At October 25, 2007 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Has there ever been a beatdown of a male superhero with him just squealing "Aieeee!" "Aieeee!" as he's beaten down into a whimpering puddle, and not even trying to land a blow, before? Leaving aside the art, and just talking about the script.

    That's a serious question - I can't remember ever having seen one, nor scans of one, but my reading has been a lot more limited than many fans'.

    I'm tempted to redraw those panels with a male chara in Tigra's place, just to see how it reads - but if a similar gender-switched original exists that would be a better comparison.

  • At October 25, 2007 10:40 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Rob: Heh, I was a little unclear I suppose. My criticism with the H4H cover was that as a cover, I felt it failed miserably, and moreover since the interior was almost certainly not tentacle porn, it would only scare away prospective readers and disappoint those the cover actually attracts.

    In the JLA cover, since it's an interior shot, for better or worse...what you see's what you get. Truth in advertising, I guess. I'm not saying I LIKE it, but the same general complaint, for me, doesn't necessarily apply.

    Bellatrys: off the top of my head, I can't think of one either, but I'm not quite ready to insist it hasn't happened.

    (Though I wonder if Jason Todd and the Joker would count, I admit, it's been ages since I read it, so I really don't recall.)

    I'm sure if you do redraw it, it'll be very interesting.

  • At October 25, 2007 11:02 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I don't think that the JLA "spread" was nearly as outrageous as the Heroes for Hire cover, but it still was a tad over the top. But then I think that just about everything that Benes draws is a bit over the top.

    Gosh, I'd kill to have Kevin Maguire be the artist for JLA. The characters would have...expressions!

  • At October 25, 2007 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I still haven't seen any proof for Bendis not liking Tigra, beyond a couple off-hand comments in an interview from a couple years back and a joke on his website.

    I mean, the last comic character that people said Bendis hated was Hawkeye, and all of a sudden he's one of the most interesting people in the Marvel U.

    I don't think that Bendis is the kind of writer who would put someone in his book just to crap on them. You could maybe make a case for the original White Tiger, but that'd be a stretch. Bendis is so in love with '70s-era Marvel that I don't think it's true.

    Bendis has a history of tearing down characters to build them up. Jessica Jones, Murdock (though Murdock has a history of being torn down), Hawkeye, the Avengers, Jessica Drew, Luke Cage...

  • At October 25, 2007 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Bendis has a history of tearing down characters to build them up. Jessica Jones, Murdock (though Murdock has a history of being torn down), Hawkeye, the Avengers, Jessica Drew, Luke Cage..."

    I have to disagree, at least with regards to the ones I read (Murdock & the Avengers). Bendis tears down perfectly good characters to build something in its place that bears no resemblance to what has gone before. If he's doing this to Tigra, she'll be Dog-Boy when he's done.

    -- Jack of Spades

  • At October 25, 2007 11:42 AM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    Ah, I get ya now.

    I guess part of the reason JLA hit me so hard is that it was a book I was *loving*, after a year or so of being disappointed by it. Whereas H4H is a book I'm only barely aware of.

  • At October 25, 2007 1:57 PM, Blogger Flidget Jerome said…

    I have to agree with Rob that Benes' art in JLA is seriously aggravating. The dialog is so good and the art is, well . . .

    And it isn't even the spread that's the problem for me, because at least there everyone's unconcious. It's when I have to match Benes' simpering bimbos with McDuffie's dialog that the art starts to wreck the story.

  • At October 25, 2007 2:03 PM, Blogger Ragtime said…

    Unlike everyone else, I guess, I wasn't troubled by Barda at all. After the deaths of Lightray, Sleez, Black Racer, Knockout, the Deep Six, Sleez, and Magnar, they all fell into two categories:

    1. Found dead without any sign of struggle, or

    2. Died after begging for their lives with off-screen killer.

    Seeing Barda beg for her life like the Deep Six would have been offensive. Barda was treated no worse that Magnar or Black Racer, and a heck of a lot better than Sleez.

    I understand the "but it was in the kitchen" argument, but I felt like there was enough "how will we split up the cooking duties?" lead-up to overcome that issue.

    Also, someone has stolen their souls, and they will all be back to life (in some form or other) after their souls are recovered during Final Crisis, so she's not really Katma Tui dead. She's just kind of Superman dead.

  • At October 25, 2007 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    bellatrys: Mcduffie's pretty much converted Geo-Force into a (meta)human punching bag in JLoA. But it's obviously not the same, what with the lack of cleavage (or the male equivalent, whatever that may be).

    Also, Geo-Force doesn't really seem to have any fans to piss off with the beatings. If anything, people seem to be enjoying it a little too much.

  • At October 27, 2007 5:34 PM, Blogger bellatrys said…

    kalinara, I saw that post where someone did do a gender-swapped pencils version, which managed to squick out several male readers and deliver the clue-in, by having the villainess "debag" the hapless hero before delivering the beat-down. I do still want to tackle it, in a more finished version, myself, but I think I will probably get to the JLA spread (hah, hah) first. Which will probably have to be two versions, one with the superheroes depicted as they normally are, and then one with their, ahem, assets as proportionatly exaggerated as WW et al's are. (Yes, I will have to research Tom of Finland's art to do it justice.)

    david, what about him making the Avengers' butler, Jarvis, refer to her as an unprintable epithet and threaten to leave if she came back? Is *that* canon, because that's not what people familiar with the chara were saying.

    anon, thanks, I didn't even know who Geo-Force was, so I will keep an eye out for scenes with him now on for comparison. The fact that he's obscure is symptomatic, I think - I honestly can't come up with one instance of a superhero pleading in pornface and not landing in a blow. (Civilian males being menaced by monsters, yes - but then there's that comparison problem!)


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