Tuesday, July 29, 2014 

New Flash TV show will feature at least 2 gay characters

In keeping with the political correctness of the day, the producers of the new Flash TV series have announced it will feature some gay characters in the cast:
Last but definitely not least, "The Flash" will introduce a gay character at some point in the first 12 episodes of the season.

Berlanti noted that David Singh, a gay DC Comics character, will be part of the "Flash" TV universe: He will recur on the show and will be played by Patrick Sabongui. The producers said that in the episodes sketched out so far, "we haven't dealt with that" aspect of the character, who, in the Arrow comics, is Barry Allen's supervisor in the Central City crime lab.

But Berlanti and Kreisberg added that, in addition to Singh, another gay character will be introduced in the first half of Season 1 of "The Flash" -- a man who already exists in the DC universe (I tried to get them to name the character, but they didn't take the bait). Of course, fans of "Arrow" know that show already has a LGBTQ character in Nyssa Al Ghul (Katrina Law), who was introduced as a former lover of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz).
Yeah, like that's really news anymore, isn't it. And like it just has to be done, and can't work or be done without it. The Singh character may be a recent addition to the DCU, and though they haven't mentioned the other character name, it's possible the Pied Piper, retconned as gay in 1990, will be the other gay character they feature. What's really odd is why the staff producing the series based on John Constantine say they don't want to feature his bisexual mentality seen ever since the Vertigo imprint was launched, but are willing to feature homosexual characters in the TV series based on the Flash, even though some might consider Hellblazer less "commercial" than the Scarlet Speedster. Coupled with the news this'll draw from the retcon by Geoff Johns, and you've got one of the most PC-reeking shows on the prime time schedule in many years.

Xfinity brought up the subject in an interview with Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti, and they reveal a few more things:
I don’t know if you saw the little brouhaha over Constantine’s bisexuality not being a part of that show but what do you guys think about that and just gay characters in comics being adapted into television series?

GB: I think as the head of DC if I were Geoff I would just say I trust the show runners and whatever they’re going to do. But I think it’s just like all our characters aren’t all white, we don’t want characters who are all straight.

GJ: This is really important for everything, for comics, even the one thing with Iris (Candice Patton) and Detective West (Jesse L. Martin). Casting the character is something we want to do right away and then what we did in the comics…

GB: You were already working on it.

GJ: Eventually we’re going to introduce Wally West at some point, so when we reintroduced him in the comic books we’re like “let’s make him black.” That’s what we’re going to do in the show eventually. It’s like one tiny example.

Like Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), a character that Andrew and I brought back in the comics. I wanted to bring back…I’m like “give me the worst character ever.” We really cracked that comic book and created a fun character that we then brought on to “The Flash” show. He just fit right in there. He happens to be Spanish but it’s not why we wanted the character. He’s just got a great backstory and he’s a fan boy, like Barry. The more that it’s just natural and organic, that’s what we wanted.

GB: When I was a young, gay kid growing up, there weren’t a lot of gay characters on television. But I do think I identified with comic book characters in some ways because they were empowered people who were different. That was, in some ways and a lot of ways, my outlet. So, I mean I know the value of all that. I always want to just make sure when we do it. Like with “Arrow,” we talked last year and I said “we’re going to do it on ‘Arrow.’” When we do it we also just want to do it right. We have gay characters that are hopefully as well-executed as the characters that are straight.
Oh, so because Berlanti is gay, he believes it's just so important there be characters to reflect him and his world view, even though I'm sure he knows it's becoming a cliche decades ago, and according to recent surveys, only %1.6 of the population identify as LGBT, so injecting gays and lesbians into showbiz hardly reflects the real picture. And given that so many LGBT characters are spotlighted only for their sexual orientation, that's why there's little chance those they introduce in Flash will be well illustrated. Curious how Berlanti doesn't care by contrast whether Danish, Portuguese and Romanians are ever given serious representation.

From Johns' comments, it sounds like Wally West was turned black not just for the sake of so-called "diversity" in comics, but also because that was the background they wanted to use in the TV show too.
So while some producers and writers are going to embrace those LGBT characters when adapting them to the small screen, others are choosing not to go there. Is this because they don’t believe the audience wants to see gay characters in their comic book-based projects? Or does it have to do with gay and straight show runners and what they bring to their respective shows in terms of story and character?

It seems to me that in definitively saying you won’t explore a character’s sexuality that was already a part of its DNA in the source material, you’re not being true to the character or the audience but, in terms of “Constantine,” the creators have also curbed his trademark smoking habits, which could be a sign of the times where smoking is deemed unhealthy and unattractive. Unfortunately, the fact that marriage equality and LGBT visibility have come so far, in the world of “Constantine,” it appears that it merely won’t exist.
If smoking isn't healthy or attractive, then neither is homosexuality. Doesn't that occur to the reporter who wrote that sugary dud? But then, you couldn't possibly expect someone that PC to ever admit it in writing.

And this isn't the only eyebrow raiser in script choices they're making. The villainess Plastique, who first appeared in Firestorm, is going to appear in the Flash, and she:
...is described as "a fetching young redhead who was a bomb specialist with the Army before she was injured by an IED in Iraq." Apparently after being exposed to the Central City explosion, she gains the ability to turn any object into a bomb with a touch of her hand. Despite having a power worth of a supervillain, TV Line seems to suggest that she will be on the Flash's team as an ally.
But what if she does turn out to be a villainess? One would have to wonder then if the background they're giving her here is an insult to veterans of the war in Iraq, ditto the army. Even if it doesn't turn out that way, the heavy-handed reliance on homosexuality in these TV shows is getting way out of hand. Plus, no matter what they might say, it's become a very politicized issue.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014 

Green Arrow #89 from 1994: an early example of gun control balderdash propaganda

Kevin Dooley was notorious at DC as the editor of Green Lantern, and the man who was instrumental in engineering Emerald Twilight. But he also wrote a few stories himself during his near 12 years at the publisher too, such as Green Arrow in the second half following Mike Grell's departure, and here's some panels I found here from Green Arrow #89, August 1994, where he went off on an absurd anti-gun agenda:
It guest stars Anarky, a character who first appeared in Detective Comics in 1989 (and whose design here makes him look like he's a got a long neck), leading a couple of guys who had their lives changed by gun violence. But what Dooley gives him to go by is flimsy at best, and it's telling that, instead of going after the criminals using guns, he rounds up this motley crew to fulfill his own goals, such as the destruction of a gun factory run by a multi-million buck corporation.
It's this page where Dooley really turns heavy-handed, taking everything out of context. What does owning a gun have to do with it? What matters is the right to self-defense! And if guns are such a problem, what about archery? If there aren't any guns, criminals will become turncoat takes on GA instead and wield arrows! Why indeed would Ollie waste his time with these clowns if he so prides himself for his archery expertise? His initial reluctance to help Anarky stems not from realizing the hypocrisy, but because he doesn't think it's right to destroy somebody else's property. But soon enough, he caves and provides some assistance, as seen in the next two panels:
So the factory is evacuated, and Ollie, who's decided he's on Anarky and company's side after all, fires an arrow at the explosives as they drive off without even seeing their exact location inside. Say, didn't he notice the cops arrived? Wasn't he afraid they'd be hit by the flying shrapnel? What he did is enough to make him a fugitive from the law and embarrass the JLA from letting him keep a membership. The issue ends with this groaner:
The guy in the restaurant is made to sound like a nut, and Ollie pretends to accidentally knock a bowl of soup on him. I think Dooley was so desperate to push through his lethargic anti-gun message it made no difference if it was logical or not. Even Denny O'Neil was never this heavy when he wrote Green Lantern/Green Arrow in the early 70s. Anyone interested in finding out how modern day leftism took a turn from mild to very sledgehammered in the 1990s should take a good look at this issue of GA's first volume. We can only wonder if Dooley's leftism had any influence over the decision to make Hal Jordan a tyrant.

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Friday, July 25, 2014 

SDCC coverage again has little to say about printed comics

The AP Wire published their report on this year's SDCC, and again, it's one of those kind of article that has little or nothing to say about comics, so much as it does about the movies and other merchandise based on them. I think this line sums it up best:
Wonder Women, Batmen and other costumed characters fill the downtown streets, where businesses have been transformed into temporary showcases for video games, toys and movies.
But not comics? Why no mention of pamphlets or paperbacks? I think this tells all we need to know about what the mainstream press really thinks of comic books: they probably aren't even interested in reading them.

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Batman may be thriving, but comic sales aren't

The Washington Post wrote a sugarcoated take on Batman's 75th anniversary, and wouldn't you know it, Brad Meltzer was the leading interviewee for this propaganda:
In a world filled with seemingly daily disasters and endless turmoil, it’s no wonder that superheroes are as popular as ever, from blockbuster movies all the way to the local toy shop. “When the world gets scary, superheroes’ sales go up,” says Brad Meltzer, the best-selling political-thriller author and comic-book creator. “What resonates today is, as we look around at this scary world, we want someone to come save us.”
Yeah, and we'd like them to save us from such awful so-called "creators" as Meltzer too! His comment is ambiguous, failing to specify that book sales are in the toilet. Last month, only two titles sold over 100,000 copies, some of which are probably languishing in the bargain bins now. And while sans-adjective Batman was one of those two, 130,000 is still a very dismal number compared to movie sales. The movie tickets may be selling, but not the pamphlets.
And to Meltzer, no superhero resonates quite like Batman. It was May of 1939, during the run-up to World War II, when Batman made his debut in the Detective Comics (later shortened to “DC”) book “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate.” The Caped Crusader immediately found an eager national audience. Now, so many thousands of crime-fighting adventures later, DC Comics is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the iconic character by declaring July 23 “Batman Day.” Comic-book outlets around the country are partnering with the publisher to offer various Bat-birthday collectibles, as well as a new comic written by Meltzer.
I find it hard to believe Batman "resonates" with him after the horrible portrayal seen in Identity Crisis. And people who want to read about Batman's beginnings would do better to seek out the Golden Age tale, and not Meltzer's pedestrian "update".
“Through these 75 years, Batman has been fine-tuned by hundreds of writers and artists into honed perfection,” Meltzer says. “He is perfectly defined and, I maintain, the most perfectly defined literary character. The odd part is, although he’s moved from camp, to dark, to self-hating, to self-confidence, you always somehow know exactly what Batman ‘would do.’ There’s a core that never changes.”
Except when people like Meltzer want it to. Interesting how he fails to mention the increasing tendency of writers in the 1990s to depict Batman as an obsessive control freak, something he exploited to make the other Justice Leaguers like Zatanna look bad. And what does he "know" Batman "would do"? Does that include opposition to altering Dr. Light's mind after the violent assault the villain launched on Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis?

Batman may be the most "perfectly" defined hero, but that only goes as far as whoever's doing the scripting, and Meltzer, still quiet as ever about the horrific content in IC, certainly didn't hone Batman to perfection. In fact, what makes Batman so perfectly defined, but not Superman, Flash, Black Canary or the Teen Titans? I don't think that's fair at all.
For Batman Day, DC co-publisher Dan DiDio asked Meltzer to create a new comic that would rightly celebrate the Caped Crusader’s entire history. “I wanted the story to stay true to that original and honor all the came after,” Meltzer says. “No pressure.”
Of course there'd be no pressure or mandates for him. Meltzer's one of the favored writers for DiDio. And how can somebody who writes Identity Crisis be honoring Batman and the rest of the DCU?
“Batman has stayed relevant,” DiDio says by phone from DC’s New York offices, “because he is constantly reinvented and reinterpreted by every generation.”
He's been reinvented alright, but under DiDio's helming, it was all for the worse. Again, no mention of the dictating personality given to him in the 1990s, something nearly every assigned writer may have to shoulder some blame for, an influence from the Dark Knight Returns.
For the new comic, Meltzer and designer Chip Kidd deconstructed Kane and Finger’s first Batman story, then weaved in a trove of character history. “We took the story apart and then rebuilt it with those original images from the first story,” Meltzer says. “It was like doing a jigsaw puzzle.”

Meltzer and Kidd’s reimagined comic echoes the theme of need for superheroes in a scary world, as it alludes not only to young Bruce Wayne becoming an orphan after a theater performance, but also to the 2012 multiplex shooting in Aurora, Colo., at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the final installment of Nolan’s recent “Batman” trilogy.

“First and foremost, that was of course a call to his dead parents,” Meltzer says of a scene in his new Batman story. “But you better believe that those theater shootings were right there, too. For 75 years, Batman has been a cultural shield, protecting us from our deepest fears.”
As I noticed before, Meltzer speaks with a forked tongue. He says he honors the old yet takes apart and puts it together in a way that suits him. And how did he reconstruct the original debut? Two years ago in the same paper, the following came up that hints at what could be:

That line from “The Dark Knight Rises” has resonated all day with author, comic-book writer and Batman scholar Brad Meltzer (Superman/Batman, Green Arrow), who tells Comic Riffs that he is reeling from news of the shooting tragedy that occurred at a midnight screening of the film in Aurora, Colo.

“That line bears repeating,” says Meltzer, recounting a scene in which Batman dissuades cat burglar Selina Kyle from resorting to firearms to fight. Batman, Meltzer reminds us, is a symbol against gun violence.
He also gave an interview to the Arizona Republic a year and a half ago about a book he'd written called The Fifth Assassin, and at the end, he said:
Q: We’re in a culture right now where guns and gun control are obviously big issues. How does that affect your book?

Q: In a strange, odd way, it’s where this book comes from. It’s hard to say where the chicken is and where the egg is, though. I’ve clearly been obsessed with shootings. I don’t know if it’s influencing me or if I’m influencing it. I pray I’m not influencing it. But I would never want to say fiction cannot deal with certain issues; we have to be able to talk and deal with these issues.
After reading these two items, I would not put it past him to exploit that Batman issue he wrote for gun control messaging (and that line from Dark Knight Rises is decidedly very weak when guns aren't the only dangerous tool criminals can use). But it wasn't a firearm per se that took Bruce Wayne's parents from him. It was the revolting brain of a small time criminal (Joe Chill) that did. Let's recall that in a few of the early issues of Detective Comics, Batman did carry a gun, and he didn't use it for evil, in contrast to the armed criminals who were. The reason it changed since is because, from a surreal viewpoint, it can be quite enjoyable to see heroes and heroines defeat crooks without using guns per se. And Meltzer wants to make everything out to sound like gun control? If that's how he feels, what about violent crimes committed with knives? Don't they count? There's even been some stories in Batman where he and his buddies in crimefighting used sword-styled weapons, and Huntress uses a compact crossbow. Surely those don't contradict the notion that Batman is literally opposed to guns?

Fiction can deal with certain issues, but Meltzer cannot, and again, anybody who really wants to learn the origins of the Masked Manhunter would do better to find the Golden Age story. It's laughable how he tells on the surface he thinks the world needs heroes, yet his MO is anything but supportive of that. At the end of the Wash. Post article about Batman's 75th, Meltzer says:
“Batman was obsessed. Driven. Consumed by his passionate devotion. Nerds read him, and saw themselves — their inner lives — reflected in a dark mirror,” [Glen] Weldon says.

Meltzer, by contrast, finds value in the constancy within Batman’s creative malleability.

“The ears gets taller, then shorter. The costume will get darker, then lighter. The utility belt will get pouch-y, then sleeker. But Batman’s character is as stubborn as the man beneath the cowl,” Meltzer says. “He is immovable. He projects sheer will, convincing us we have a chance — even when we don’t. And. He. Will. Not. Change. We, as a people, need someone that committed to an ideal.”
How can an imaginary character change by himself? That task lies in the hands of whoever's scripting. Bruce Wayne, immovable? He seemed pretty moved in the direction of Dr. Light, the villain's rape attack on Sue Dibny notwithstanding. Batman may have been committed to certain ideals, but what about Meltzer? What ideals does he have, other than a paycheck?

Weldon, a NPR reporter also quoted in the article, was one of the same people who attacked Orson Scott Card, so I don't consider him a source worth listening to either. But that's the Wash. Post for you, where staffers are willing to pay lip service to some of the fishiest phonies and rely on their drivel for covering what's no longer possible to celebrate, thanks to all the political correctness comics are awash with.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014 

Salon gushes over so-called diversity while calling dissenters "pinheads"

Salon did their own gushing over Marvel and DC's meaningless diversity stunts, and begins with quite a disgusting attack on all dissenters as nothing but white jerks:
Marvel Comics turned heads this week with the announcements of a black Captain America (Cap’s old pal Sam Wilson, the Falcon, will be taking up the shield) and a female Thor (an unknown woman will be wielding Thor’s hammer Mjolnir after something happens to make the son of Odin unworthy of his mystical weapon). Though women have picked up Thor’s hammer before, and Wilson is not the first black Captain America, the geek-fueled media storm went nuclear thanks to the prominence of the Avengers, the ever-outraged Internet and announcements on “The View” and “The Colbert Report.”

Fans of increased diversity in the incredibly influential world of comics have praised the changes. Pinheaded geeks who can’t handle change, even for a couple years (which, let’s be real, is how long these switches typically last) have pitched online hissy-fits. White dudes who feel like they are a persecuted minority have been predictably outraged. Such reactions are common when the pasty white, overly testicular casts of old properties are updated. Remember the hubbub when the reimagined “Battlestar Galactica” turned Starbuck into a woman? While changing the gender or race of a character, much like killing a character, is definitely part publicity stunt, it’s nice to see publicity stunts that also feel like progress while pissing off jerks.
Interesting they don't mention Isiah Bradley - whose page on Marvel's encyclopedia site they linked to - was the subject of Marvel's worst leftist stunt of the past decade, The Truth: Red, White and Black, which managed to be both insulting to blacks and anti-American simultaneously. But I guess that doesn't matter a bit to them. And isn't that being creative to call "geeks" brainless people who can't handle change. It's not the changes per se that are troubling. It's that for many years now, they're only being done for the sake of it, not because the ensuing stories are well written, and all we get in the end is years of wasted time. I take it the writer is also denying there's anti-white racism out there? He doesn't even think it's possible minorities end up bored by these changes too, and he must think every minority group member cares only about diversity, and not talented writing at all. The Salon writer certainly isn't talented, and I guess he probably doesn't like Steve Rogers either.

As for Battlestar Galactica, I'm not sure a comparison can be made to a remake of a late 70s TV series that was short-lived, and at the time it was originally done, Hollywood was nowhere near as hell-bent on diversity as they are now.
In comics, there’s a major tradition of new heroes taking up an existing character’s mantle, especially at DC: Jay Garrick, Barry Allen and Wally West have all been the Flash. A metric boatload of guys (and aliens) have been Green Lantern. For most of the past couple of years, villain Dr. Octopus took over the mind of Peter Parker and was Spider-Man. When Batman and Captain America were apparently dead, their former sidekicks Dick Grayson and Bucky Barnes took over.
Wow, he fails to recognize the differences - all 3 above Flashes enjoyed good writing in their times, and that's why there's few complaints about what we had up to the turn of the century. But Hal Jordan didn't always get good writing, and Kyle Rayner didn't get squat. And the Dr. Octopus switcheroo? How doesn't it dawn on him that it was nothing more than a prolonged farce going for at least a year, serving as nothing more than a ludicrous depiction of a villain allegedly trying to turn good sans logic? And how didn't he notice it lasted less than the "couple of years" he says? But long or short, what matters is that it was one of the stupidest, pointless exercises in futility Marvel's foisted since 2000, and is not worth anyone's time.
[...] There’s a small but clearly growing tradition in comics of embracing diversity.
But it's not based on good writing or intentions, so what's this guy's point? He goes on to list some roles that underwent changes in race/gender/orientation, all without using a critical eye to tell if it was done great or not. For example, there's Nick Fury:
Before Samuel L. Jackson played Nick Fury, he was the model for a new Nick Fury in the Ultimate Universe. Those comics — particularly the first few volumes of the Avengers-like “Ultimates” by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch in 2002 — provided a blueprint for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Due to the success of the MCU, the black Nick Fury is far more well-known among the general public, and the regular Marvel Universe has added a version of him in the form of Nick Fury Jr. who also looks a lot like Jackson.
Is the new Nick really that better known than the old? More importantly, does he receive scriptwriting as good as Stan Lee's original got? I'm sure there's some folks who've done research and know what the original is like, so he shouldn't go around insulting the moviegoers' intellects. His takes on Green Lantern are worse:
The first two Green Lanterns — Alan Scott and Hal Jordan — are boring white guys, but DC has since given the ring to John Stewart (who is black, and has been around since the seventies) and Simon Baz (who is Lebanese American, and debuted in 2012). The Atom — a character with the ability to shrink — has also been a vehicle for diversity at DC, with Ryan Choi from Hong Kong filling Ray Palmer’s subatomic shoes.
Well now, what have we here but an anti-Hal Jordan and anti-Alan Scott advocate of the worst kind. Does he also think Guy Gardner is "boring" because he's white? It's pretty obvious now he's not in this gig to ask for talented writing that isn't based on the character's race or sexual orientation. Oddly enough, he hasn't taken notice of that retcon I'm sure he'd love, where the overrated James Robinson turned Alan gay. But he has taken notice of that early diversity tactic with the Atom, all without noting what happened before, when Ray Palmer and Firestorm Ronnie Raymond were shamed in alarming ways, and the latter killed in Identity Crisis. Hmm, what are the odds he doesn't care about the misogynist structure of the IC miniseries so long as "diversity" is pushed through at all costs?

And how come he doesn't mention the only problem with the Baz character is the religious background ascribed to him? Interesting how the writer's decided to avoid the harder issues by sidestepping Islam altogether. He even makes it sound like Hal Jordan is still out of the picture, Alan Scott too, and that John Stewart has "since" taken up the spotlight full time. But that's not so at all. He takes the same approach when he comments on Marvel's own variation:
Since Carol Danvers originally went by Ms. Marvel, the current Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan is another example of a hero switching race, since she is a Pakistani-American. Ms. Marvel is part of a wave of recently launched female-centric series and guess what: the first issue is headed for a sixth printing.
Curious how he doesn't mention the true problem with the book: the lead's religion, which, like with Simon Baz, goes unmentioned here. Another case where he's clearly embarrassed to raise the hard hitting issues. And the sales for the Muslim Ms. Marvel aren't something to write home about.
When good comics, good sales and greater diversity all line up, even sad, hammer-less, old-school Thor has to tip his winged helmet and smile.
How come he doesn't bring up good writing? There's not much point speaking of good comics if the writing doesn't score a mention. And is "diversity" more important than the comics and the sales? Hmm, we must be missing something, as usual. In the comments section, somebody called the juvenile writer out on his crude allusion to geeks:
Marvel can change their comic characters as they like. But accusing people that have followed characters for years, if not decades, and don't like the change of being "pinheaded geeks" and other lovely terms is childish and petty.

Such a term might more correctly be kept by this author for their very own.
Indeed. What's he trying to prove by insulting presumed geeks from the outset and not just trying to disagree gracefully and intelligently? Never mind this article isn't very accurate, his contempt for anyone who cares about coherency is not what makes for intelligent takes on pop culture. Another person said:
Using a popular hero name brand as a springboard to making a new legacy character?

Whatever, okay I guess.

Outright changing the original character into something radically different?

Not fcuking okay at all.

I mean seriously, Wally West gets turned into a black thief?! That crap is too much of a radical change. Why not have a NEW legacy Flash character instead of using Wally West himself?

I bet the only reason they have minority legacy characters of popular superheroes is because introducing new minority superheroes by themselves is very risky because of low popularity readership wise, and they need a more popular superhero (hence the legacy schtick) to use as a crutch to survive and make a profit.
And another replies as follows:
I don't have a huge problem with black Wally West. He needs to dye his hair red -- the red hair is Wally's trademark -- but okay, nobody really believes Barry is a natural blonde either, so I'm fine with that.

And I don't have a problem with a white guy mentoring a black kid. What I do have a problem with is that the black kid is already engaged in petty crime, and a white man needs to step in to save the black kid from his inherent criminal tendencies. That is the message being sent, there's no mistaking it. If Wally were a black kid who was just lonely or withdrawn, or who even had an interest in chemistry, I'd have no complaints.
Whether or not it's a liberal view of things it's still an interesting observation. It could be a cliche, but more annoying is the idea that you can't sell a black protagonist without making him that flawed. If anything, it suggests even liberals have a problem with this kind of plotting, which is forced. Incidentally, there's already been a black protagonist with Flash legacy ties: XS from the Legion of Super-Heroes, so even that isn't new.

And throughout all this article, there's no mention of how DC once did make some plausible additions of minorities back in the 80s in books like Infinity Inc, with two proteges of Golden Agers introduced: the Latina Yolanda Montez as a female Wildcat and African-American Beth Chapel as a female Dr. Mid-Nite, who were both wiped out during Eclipso: The Darkness Within, for no good reason. That lack of serious research, coupled with the writer's sleazy attitude, prove this screed-like piece wasn't written to give anybody an intelligent view of comicdom.

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Gail Simone seemingly cares for marginalized writers

She said two days ago:

I'd like to think that's being fair to conservative scriptwriters like Chuck Dixon, who's definitely been marginalized, but if she doesn't say anything, how can we be sure? Let's remember that both DC and Marvel's current heads have ostracized him, and Mike Baron hasn't been offered any jobs either for years now. I think Simone's just left her jobs at DC, so you'd think she'd be willing to speak up, but so far, she still hasn't done that.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014 

Slott's ambiguity (and Brevoort's too)

More know-it-all sainthood from Dan Slott, which begins with a Q&A on Tom Brevoort's site:
Peter Parker has been said to be ambiguously Jewish. Why would you let Slott force him to team up with a member of the faith that seeks to destroy Jews and all "infidels?"

Careful, anonymous sir, your racism is showing!
As usual, it's just like Brevoort to make no distinctions whatsoever between race and religion. Sigh, I hesitate to think what kind of educational institute he studied in. I don't know if Slott intends to team Spidey up with an Islamist (though I wouldn't put it past him to plan that now), but the poster who wrote that query is somebody whom I want to thank for raising the topic. I guess in the mind of Brevoort/Slott, defending Jews from Islamofascism is reprehensible? Very sad. I do know that a decade ago, Paul Jenkins wrote a story using a morally equivalent depiction of Muslims, where Spidey had to rescue a PLO operative from Dr. Octopus. I wonder if that's what the poster really meant?

Anyway, here's some tweets Slott wrote in followup:

Alas, yes, he is. It's not clear if he's truly proud of his racial background. It's less clear if he even likes his community's founding religion, Judaism. Where does he even stand on Hamas, who launched rockets galore at Jewish neighborhoods, even around my vicinity in Israel, and murdered three yeshiva students? Where does he stand on a Muslim cabbie who murdered a 19-year-old woman? Come to think of it, what does he think of all the Islamofascists in France and other parts of Europe who terrorized Jews and worse, murdered their victims? Ambiguity indeed.

It's only in the minds of the worst ignoramuses that Muslims couldn't possibly turn against Jews and commit taqqiya, as he's doing himself now (H/T: New English Review). It's only in the minds of such ignos that we shouldn't look at such Satanic Verses, as Salman Rushdie called them, as the repellent declarations they are against Jews and Christians. And it's only in said minds that an apostate from Islam couldn't possibly know what the religion he/she left is like.

But it will be soon, and in a bad way. Don't underestimate what Slott/Brevoort could have in mind now.

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Ron Marz thinks liberals couldn't possibly be disappointed with publicity stunts

Marz is acting as apologist for Marvel's publicity stunt mentality, using the Cap/Thor news as an excuse for attacking conservatives:

Wow, what makes him think that? Personally, I perceive Cap having the same patriotism as Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, the latter who was a Republican supporter, by the way. They were the creators, and they ascribed the specific traits he carries. Interesting how Marz is pushing the notion conservatives are the only ones who can't recognize a fictional character when they see one. Oh, and was the sentiment during WW2 "knee-jerk"? If not, then he'd do better not to imply it is when somebody wants to help turn around countries where slavery is still prevalent, like in north Africa and the UAE, and even wants the Armenian Holocaust (Medz Yeghern) during WW1 recognized nationally.

No, they won't, but it does make me wonder how Marz would react if a Bulgarian-American character became Cap instead of Steve. And I can only wonder what he thinks of The Truth: Red, White and Black with its alarmingly stereotypical artwork, woefully inappropriate for a serious issue.

As mentioned before, Falcon as Cap might've worked once, but under Quesada and Alonso, it's pretty apparent by now it's got publicity stunt written all over it, as judged by the way they babbled about it in the MSM, and Remender's done something to Cap that's easily worse than what Marz did to Hal Jordan, making it harder to credit this current story. What particularly bothers me about how the female Thor's been hyped is that they won't reveal who's taking the role until the issue goes to press. If it's Valkyrie or some other lady with blonde hair, all they have to do is say so, which would probably inspire more confidence and trust. These "surprises" have only proven either mediocre, and in the worst cases, truly awful.

And isn't that nice of Marz to claim righties think Cap is one of them, when it's been pretty clear for years that lefties like him consider mainstream superheroes "their" property only, and it makes little difference if Simon was conservative, or Steve Ditko was the same. A pretty possessive form of thinking.

Yeah, as if not a single leftist could recognize the publicity stunts, nor how these changes aren't based on the quality of writing. Or like no leftists exist who haven't read comics, not even the titles he's written (and if they knew what his GL work was like, some of them would probably feel glad they didn't). There's several million leftists in the USA and more elsewhere who either haven't read comics, and if they did, they've long abandoned the mainstream, since even they find all these retcons and character denigrations unbearable, ditto the editorial mandates.

How about every time a character's background is tarnished, like what Remender's done with Steve's? If it weren't for all those stealth tactics most of the comics and mainstream press seem determined to ignore, it'd be much easier to embrace these "changes". But these are publishers who've developed obsessions with harrassing the intellect of their fans, something Marz seems quite fine with too, and the continuing purchase by speculators and other mindless addicts is only encouraging their continuation down this path.

Marz also brought up a certain musician that raises eyebrows in light of his dislike for Orson Scott Card, who, as noted earlier, was long a Democrat:

Well now, isn't that saying something. The same man who dislikes Card because of his disapproval of homosexuality sees nothing wrong with associating himself with an anti-Israelist like Waters? Tsk tsk. Pretty tacky, I'll say. Of course, it's clear that if Card were Muslim instead of Mormon, he'd have no beef whatsoever. Oddly enough, he still has no issues with Chuck Dixon...

...as his promotion of Winterworld suggests. As I know, he and Dixon collaborated on a Green Lantern/Arrow crossover in 1996, and maybe that's what keeps him from fully turning against Dixon despite his own disapproval of homosexuality as a positive example. Even so, I have to wonder how Marz would react if Dixon were the guy writing Ender's Game, and getting an adaptation for movies.

That said, I don't think Marz ever came to Dixon's defense after he got exiled from DC, and if not, that should tell something about how respectful he is towards a guy he'd once worked with.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014 

The Daily Beast thinks diversity is more important than talented writing

The Daily Beast's written a biased, ambiguous article comparing Marvel and DC diversity tactics, clearly favoring them and lamenting that DC supposedly hasn't tried:
Despite what the knuckle-draggers in comment sections would have you think, America is beginning to care about diversity in comic books. Look at the media explosion which erupted this week when Marvel Comics announced that both Captain America and Thor would undergo some radical changes as part of their new Avengers NOW! series. Sam Wilson, an African-American hero also known as Falcon, will be taking up Captain America’s mantle after the Captain loses his super-soldier abilities. And when Thor Odinson is deemed unworthy, his hammer (and the Thor title, it seems) will pass on to an unnamed woman.
The clown who wrote this sure doesn't look at sales figures, which prove America's main concern isn't diversity.
The Internet erupted into a chorus of fanboy kvetching in the wake of this news, with some fans up in arms over “political correctness gone mad.” Others applauded Marvel for providing some much-needed variety to their stable of white, male heroes. As superhero juggernauts DC and Marvel enter the 21st century, the debate over diversity in comic books is picking up steam. A black Captain America and woman Thor are just a few of Marvel’s many triumphs in what’s been a banner year.
How can a year in which Tony Stark's being turned into a monster count as banner? The writer of this article is not interested in talented scripting, editing, continuity and coherency so much as she is in politically correct advocacy. And for someone lauding the replacement of Thor with a woman, curious she's not interested in getting Mary Jane Watson restored to the glory she once had as Peter Parker's wife.
So why is DC lagging behind?

It’s not as if DC isn’t trying. They’ve vocally espoused a commitment to diversity, and made headlines in 2006 when they announced that their new Batwoman, Kate Kane, was an out lesbian. However, in recent years they’ve come under fire for racial and gender homogeneity both on their creative teams and within their comic books. The missteps range from white-washing characters of color during Black History Month to refusing to allow Batwoman to marry her fiancée. This last decision resulted in the resignation of Batwoman editorial team J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, one of the most critically-acclaimed partnerships in DC’s history, and seemed to cancel out any remaining goodwill the company had earned.
I'll have to agree, that IS peculiar they'd change the racial backgrounds of characters who were created with black ancestry or mixed background, like Connor Hawke and Onyx, while the white protagonists like Wildcat/Ted Grant (and Wally West, as recently seen in the Flash) are those getting their backgrounds drastically changed. But that just proves that, if they go by the perception nobody cares about the white third-tiers, then obviously, they're counting on the chance nobody cares about the black and Latino characters either. Proving minority heroes/co-stars were never safe from their nasty ideas any more than white ones were. We've learned an important lesson there.

As for nixing a story where the new Batwoman would have a lesbian marriage, while I don't approve of homosexuality, I do admit it's strange they didn't want to go ahead with something they still favor regardless, since, on the surface, they could get away with it just as easily as Marvel did with their Northstar marriage by ways of an "ignorance is strength" tactic, and they've lost the family audiences long ago. Likewise, they could seemingly get away with banning heterosexual marriages too while gay marriages remain acceptable to their modern mindsets. Perhaps the simple answer is they're deliberately hoping to run their book business into the ground, close it down and just concentrate on the movies they may not know how to craft either. Something Marvel is bound to do too.
Meanwhile, Marvel is setting the gold standard. A year before DC dropped the ball on the Batwoman wedding, Marvel’s Northstar married his boyfriend in Astonishing X-Men #51, complete with a splash cover featuring the two men embracing. Titles like Ms. Marvel, which features a Muslim teen girl hero, are critical darlings and best-sellers. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso has confirmed the company’s commitment to expanding its fanbase, saying, “While we don’t have any market research, the eyes don’t lie. If you go to conventions and comic book stores, more and more female readers are emerging. They are starved for content and looking for content they can relate to.” And instead of choosing to drop the Thor bombshell at the upcoming San Diego Comic Con, Marvel revealed the change on The View. When you think of a stereotypical comic fan, Whoopi Goldberg probably isn’t who you had in mind.
And when they do bring up titles starring women, again, it's those where they blow everything over ideology. I wonder why the writer's not disappointed they shoved Carol Danvers out of a great codename and exploited it for the sake of normalizing a religion no sane woman can relate to?

And while there are more women reading comics today, how many are reading the Big Two's superhero output? Without market research, Alonso can't claim they're getting more female audience, and he shouldn't act as though they're not worried about good writing, or don't care about the Spider-marriage.
Comic books are a fundamentally stagnant medium. Any slightly unconventional decision—from casting Heath Ledger as the Joker to putting pants on Wonder Woman—is met with a level of feverish debate normally reserved for schisms within the Catholic Church. When Avengers NOW! launched, the Internet predictably collapsed into a flurry of venomous pearl-clutching. Some wondered if a female Thor now meant that “feminists” would try to also rewrite Jesus as female. The equivalence between comic books and Scripture is telling of how seriously canon is taken by these fans. To violate the status quo is akin to sacrilege.
I wonder why this writer has no complaints about Rick Remender killing off Scarlet Witch and Rogue in Uncanny Avengers? Despite what she says, I'm not so sure canon is respected by the remaining "fans", if they keep on buying books that disrespect the heroes' grip on morale and show them acting out of character. In any event, what's wrong with upholding canon? There's Iron Man fans who'll object to turning him into a villain as Marvel's setting out to do right now, and they'd be right to balk, so what's the Daily Beast writer trying to prove anyway? She doesn't get that superhero comics today are an artistically stagnant medium, because all the staffers care about are either tedious changes to costume designs, or forcing character traits upon established casts that don't make sense and are truly reprehensible.
The irony is that a format characterized by the boundless scope of imagination is ultimately extremely conservative when it comes to risks with character or story. Major developments like deaths or marriages are almost always undone, via fantastic contrivances ranging from deals with the devil to time travel. Characters are de-powered, murdered, raped, aged up and down, and yo-yoed between universes with an alarming lack of fanfare. It’s the same problem suffered by long-running soap operas, where catastrophes are regularly smoothed over or forgotten in order to keep the premise going. At least on soap operas, actors leave over contract disputes or pass away. In comics, the stories can go on indefinitely. As such, the limitless nature of comic book fantasy is used, by and large, to keep limits in place.
Say what? When wasn't Identity Crisis published with tremendous fanfare by some of the most awful people to dominate the medium now? Speaking of which, how come she doesn't comment on said miniseries despite the headline of her article, and why is she wasting so many kilobytes talking about diversity instead of taking DC and Marvel to task over some of the worst stories they've published over the past decade that did a huge disfavor for women?
Both companies understand this—and handle it differently. DC Comics uses a slavish adherence to the status quo to prevent anything socially progressive from taking place on its pages. Co-Publisher Dan DiDio insisted the Batwoman wedding controversy wasn’t homophobic. The wedding was barred because DC heroes couldn’t have “happy personal lives.” Apparently, audiences will believe a man can fly. They just won’t (or can't) believe two women can be happily married! Policies like DiDio’s are not only detrimental to character and narrative development—they also make the company seem backwards and out of touch.
Gee, how come she didn't say so back in 2004 when Identity Crisis debuted? Besides, despite rejecting a lesbian marriage, signs point to their otherwise condoning both gay and lesbian marriages alike, via their leftist standings. DC's also the same company now approving a gay retcon to Alan Scott, even as they deny it's a retcon.

The part about slavishness is pretty laughable since it misses another picture: they're not very slavish about some of the better ideas from past continuity, nor about the best characterizations that worked for their casts. And if they're already approving homosexuality on their pages in a positive light, then it can hardly be argued they're not "progressive".
When DC restored Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl’s) ability to walk in 2011, many fans were devastated. Barbara’s post-paralysis identity as Oracle was an accepted and beloved aspect of the DC canon and iconic in the disabled community. DC, however, decided that having the “classic” Batgirl was more important to the brand’s success, with DiDio saying, “We didn’t want to turn our back on the diversity issue, but she’ll always be the most recognizable [Batgirl.]” He also argued that the same New 52 event which restored Barbara’s mobility acted as a “reset button” for the whole DC Universe. But characters introduced after Barbara’s paralysis, such as Harley Quinn, continue to headline best-selling titles. What DC views as being recognizable and comfortable to fans (and consequently profitable) seems to trump any lip service they pay to what DiDio calls “the diversity issue.”
Being handicapped is different from homosexuality, and I'm skeptical even that Daily Beast writer considers it diverse in the same way she thinks homosexuality is. But what DiDio's quoted telling easily translates as "the most commercially marketable Batgirl", indicating Barbara's walking was restored for fully commercial reasons, much like Barry Allen's resurrection, even though they don't seem intent on making movies centered around Batgirl anytime soon.

And say, how odd the writer suggests she's bothered Harley Quinn has a solo book, because I thought she wanted diversity, even for potential crooks!
Marvel, on the other hand, seems more than willing to challenge readers. The visual impact of replacing blond, blue-eyed Steve Rogers with the African-American Sam Wilson is enormous, both in what it says about who can represent America in 2014 and in what it says about Marvel’s willingness to push their audience’s expectations. Marvel trusts their audience to support a Captain America who is not immediately “recognizable.”
No, they trust the diehard collectors to support the series, no matter who the star is. If they really wanted to challenge readers, they'd focus more on entertaining, coherent writing, not visually-based marketing, and they'd move DC/Marvel's state back to what it was like circa 2000 or earlier, eschewing many of the bad storylines. But then, she goes on to say:
And the same pressures of the status quo which seem to dictate every one of DC’s moves are absolutely present for Marvel—as others have pointed out, it’s improbable that Sam Wilson will remain Captain America for long or that male Thor will remain unworthy of the hammer. If Captain America can come back from the dead, then his current convalescence is only a temporary derailment.
Well doesn't that prove these are only publicity stunts, throwing ideas at the wall to see if they'll stick, despite the pretentious scriptwriting guaranteeing short-term sales only? In that case, what's the point of lauding Marvel if their stunts are otherwise brief?
It’s also highly likely that Marvel will capitalize on next summer's release of Avengers: Age of Ultron by featuring the most iconic (i.e. Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth) representations of those characters in the comics. As with DC, the universe’s status quo will ultimately reassert itself once again as overwhelmingly white, male, and hetero-normative. Where DC and Marvel differ is that while DC uses this as an excuse to erase anything challenging or progressive, Marvel sees it as an opportunity to challenge their audience’s view of who a hero can be. The titles are reduced to their purest elements. After all, being Captain America isn’t about being a white man. It’s about being a patriot dedicated to American ideals of justice and freedom. Sam Wilson fits that bill, so he gets to wear the star-spangled suit. In a medium where the only roles afforded to women or people of color are often specifically linked to their race or gender (Black Panther, Wonder Woman), this is huge. For once, the boundless nature of comic story-telling is actually being used to cross boundaries.
Oh, I don't agree at all that minority members in comicdom have roles linked with their status, and I don't think it was the case with Luke Cage and Black Canary, but those kind of heroes and heroines mean nothing to an incoherent reporter like the one who wrote this article. As mentioned before, Sam Wilson's taking Steve Rodgers' famous role might've been a big deal once, but not with Joe Quesada behind the scenes it's not.

The part about who a hero can be is annoying, because what if she's hinting she sees nothing wrong with making heroes out of hardcore marxists, or turning real heroes like Tony Stark into villains? And DC's never wiped anything "challenging" or "progressive". They even introduced a gay teenager in their recent Teen Titans renditions called Bunker, apparently their idea of what a religious person should be like.
Despite this, Marvel’s efforts might not feel like enough. Why not launch titles starring independent black or female characters instead of having them temporarily adopt another’s mantle? But the sad reality is that the comics industry is too insular to foster any kind of radical change. It still remains incredibly difficult for new comics and heroes to get a stronghold in the marketplace. Most new titles are cancelled within a matter of months. Especially as comic prices rise, readers seem to be sticking with the titles they know and love. Consequently, Marvel is working within the system (and to be fair, it’s a system which they helped create) to introduce a wider variety of heroes to the consumers buying familiar titles like Thor.
Well at least this is making sense. But the reason the titles she wonders about don't get launched (and if they do, are cancelled soon after) is because they're almost always being launched as ongoings, not as miniseries. That's why Birds of Prey originally succeeded before it got destroyed post-2004, because Chuck Dixon first wrote a couple of miniseries/specials, determining the potential for success based on how receptive audience was of one-shots. Unfortunately, in the current environment, not many miniseries starring 2nd and 3rd tiers are launched anymore, if at all, as the publishers no longer have a clue how to set up a successful path for minor players.
It’s a Trojan horse strategy, sneaking in African-American or female heroes one book at a time, for a few months. It’s also a low-stakes method of taking risks, particularly when one considers the scope of Marvel’s cinematic universe. Marvel superhero films have dominated the box office for the last few years, and a Black Widow movie would provide exposure to a much wider audience than the blinkered world of comic book readers. Yet all but two of their upcoming 11 films will feature white, male leads. Of the two major characters of color, Zoe Saldana’s skin will be digitally rendered green for Guardians of the Galaxy. The Fantastic Four reboot’s casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm (a canonically white character) sparked a massive outbreak of racist fanboy aneurysms. The response to Jordan’s casting in particular highlights how Marvel’s diversity initiatives, for all their good, are still calculated marketing moves.
If would-be fans did react racistly, that's bad. Besides, as I've said before, when it comes to the movies, these changes in race aren't always a bad thing; it's only when these changes are forced back into the comics at all costs that it's appalling. As discovered during the release of the Dark Knight Rises, there was a shocking case of pseudo-fans who nastily attacked several critics just for being negative. But what if she's distorting information, and it turns out there are some fans whose criticism was rational, along the lines of finding it absurd that racial backgrounds have become more an emphasis than talented screenwriting? Must that be discounted? Of course not.
Comic books are a low-cost venture. It’s much easier and cheaper for the company to take some chances without a billion-dollar budget at stake. And the sobering fact remains that a black Captain America is still considered to be such a risk in 2014 that it could only be executed in this low-impact format. The superhero medium is so staid that temporary exposure to a black lead is considered groundbreaking. Marvel is taking a gamble on the strength of their brand.
Oh this is ridiculous, and ignores the publicity stunt mentality prevailing at Marvel/DC. Is she implying the public wouldn't buy superheroes with different racial backgrounds? Honestly, that's ludicrous but maybe not unexpected from a leftist. I think that, if the Big Two wanted, they'd replace Steve Rogers in the movies too. The query then is whether they'd have good screenwriting to accompany the move.
While DC wants to protect recognizable characters by keeping them in NRFB condition, Marvel is willing to chance that a tentpole property like Thor will retain his iconic status, even if a woman wields the hammer for a while. They believe that fans are not going to stop buying Captain America comic books because Sam Wilson is behind the shield. Readers are smarter than that, and Marvel knows it.

After all, they made a similar gamble before. In 2011, they replaced Spider-Man’s Peter Parker with the half-black, half-Latino Miles Morales. Miles remains one of Marvel’s most popular characters, but only in the alternate Ultimate universe. In the central Marvel continuity, Peter Parker is still swinging and still white, after apparently bouncing back from his latest brush with death. Status quo, after all, remains king.
How convenient of them to leave out all the distortions to past continuity that make her line about status quos a joke. And how can Miles be one of the most popular characters if the Ultimate line's not selling through the roof?

The line about DC's wish to "protect" recognizable characters is also laughable, because even Superman hasn't been immune to the worst writing of the century, like the time when Straczynski did his Grounded story. And if certain characters allegedly aren't recognizable, isn't that the fault of publishers with no idea how to market and promote? Regardless, it's still no defense for taking steps that do more harm than good even to minor characters.

As for Captain America, of course readers aren't going to stop because Sam Wilson takes over the role. Rather, it's because of Remender's insults to Steve's background that they could or will, and if those horrific retcons are what Marvel thinks is great writing, then clearly, it's long past time to quit modern Marvel products and stick with the old.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014 

Tony Stark will become an Iron Madman

Mashable reported that Marvel's staff is going to corrupt Tony Stark's personality, while forcing him into a series with a name much like the one given to the series starring Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man's body:
Tony Stark has always possessed an inner darkness — now he's unleashing it on the world.

Marvel is on a character transformation tear, first announcing a female Thor, followed by the revelation late Wednesday of a black Captain America. Now, as Mashable can exclusively reveal, Tony Stark's massive ego is about to boil over, causing Iron Man to unleash a version of his volatile Extremis technology on the entire population of San Francisco.
It sounds vaguely similar to the setup from Inferior Doctor Octopus, and probably is more so than this suggests. Obviously a continuation from the premise used in Original Sin, and another effort by the staff to abuse and tarnish a fine creation. What do they even mean by "massive ego"? That he's some kind of crazy capitalist and a greedy millionaire?
Beginning in November, Superior Iron Man will take the place of Marvel's Iron Man comic book for an indefinite run, with Stark relocating to the City by the Bay. The storyline has Stark releasing a mobile app — a version of his Extremis tech that was largely the basis of the film Iron Man 3 — which offers users the promise of beauty, perfection ... and possibly immortality.

Those things will, of course, come at a terrible price — and throw Stark's status as one of the good guys into question. In fact, Stark's mad-genius move will pit him against Daredevil, also a recent transplant to San Francisco, as the "Man Without Fear" won't take kindly to Stark's vision.
What's so great about SF anyway that they have to set the story there? Yeah, I know they have a few notable technology firms there like Twitter, but so do Texas and Florida, so why not set it over there?
"What we’re doing here is a little different — it’s Tony Stark, the one and only Tony Stark — and in the aftermath of the Axis event, he will surrender to his id and his legendary ego," Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso tells Mashable. "You’ll see Tony in a new place spiritually and intellectually."
Marvel's staff already surrendered Tony's true ego - which was nothing like what they say - on the alter of contempt for classic storytelling. And he's already been to these new places Alonso speaks of for over a decade now, and it didn't help one bit.
And this new Tony Stark isn't an "alternate universe" creation, nor is he being replaced or mind-controlled, like Spider-Man was (by arch-enemy Otto Octavius in the book's spiritual predecessor, Superior Spider Man, the 2013 title that was initially met with nerd-rage but lasted a whopping 31 issues.)

"Yes, this is Tony," Alonso said. "What you're seeing in Superior Iron Man is a Tony Stark who’s seen both his worst and best impulses all let loose. It is Tony, but he’s going to be in a zone now where he’s never been. He's more ambitious, cunning, egotistical ... all of those quantities are unharnessed. He has a vision for the world. I like to think his position is defensible — controversial, but defensible."

And this new, hubrissed-out Tony Stark won't just be confined to Superior Iron Man — he'll show up in crossover Avengers titles, rub shoulders with Captain America and make his special brand of trouble all the other Marvel titles with which he's involved.

"Don’t look for anything to contradict this Iron Man for the foreseeable future," Alonso said.
On the contrary, this take on IM contradicts everything that made it such a fun, admirable adventure decades ago. They've already set a new status quo, where Tony is no longer the true son and heir to Howard and Maria Stark, and this looks to be their direction for as long as people like Joe Quesada and Alonso are pulling the strings. Now, they're going beyond the pale and turning Tony into a rich madman, probably to make him look unworthy as heir to the company, yet at the same time villifying millionaires all for the sake of it.

One of the page commentors said:
I don't like it. Tony Stark is a hero, and turning heroes into the "dark" side of themselves is terribly old-hat in comics right now. Talk about major uncool 1990s-think. Come on, Marvel, you can do better than this.

Added to that, Tony Stark is a good guy to MILLIONS of kids around the world, and yes, he's turned "dark" before (in the "Civil War" universe, which I like to think of as an "alternate universe"), but this seems a bit too much - endangering millions of people's lives just because of his supposed ego?

If anything, Tony Stark's portrayal by Robert Downey Jr. in the movies has given him an endearing and engaging humanity and deep-down goodness, not to mention vulnerability -- and Marvel has to recognize that THOSE are the qualities audiences and readers want to see. Not hubris and egotism - that's not the core of what Tony Stark is all about. Or not any more.

Ah, well, this will be a storyline in a few comic books that won't sell a lot, and then Marvel will slap it the "Superior Iron Man" run into a hardcover book or two, which will languish on a few fanboy shelves. And it will never make it into the movies.

And then Marvel will keep wondering why comic-book sales continue to decline. Really, folks. You wonder?

And the Marvel Studios Avengers movie series will continue bring in billions of dollars because they portray our heroes as we all really WANT to see them - positive, complicated, vulnerable, recognizable, flawed yet human (aside from the occasional god or alien), GOOD exemplars that kids can admire and look up to, and adults can enjoy as our modern mythology.
What's ironic is that some of the very same people working in the movies may the same ones denigrating all that was great back in the comics too: Quesada's been elevated to a higher rank in the production outfit built for making movies out of their comics, and Brian Bendis has some involvement with the Guardians of the Galaxy film. I'd say the disconnect between approaches for comics and movies have something to do with a decision they've made that when it comes to movies, they'll go a more commercial route, at least on the surface. But back in the comics, which they clearly hold a possessive view over, they see perfectly fit to wallow in reprehensible plots that'll please none but the most obsessive collectors.

I agree that turning heroes into villains is definitely a 1990s mentality that never left, and is still prevailing. Tony was already put through the wringer in a similar tale that saw him replaced by a teenaged version of himself, and look how far that got. Unfortunately, unless more people are willing to vote by wallet, I've got a grave feeling they'll keep this new setup in place out of spite while laughing at all the mindless collectors they're taking advantage of.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I do not know if I'll ever be as good as him, but I do my best.
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