Tuesday, May 03, 2016 

Oregonian sees nothing wrong with EC's ludicrous take on patriots

The Oregonian wrote about the enduring art in the old EC Comics of the early 50s. Certainly they took on some challenging subjects like race relations, which was very bold at the time. But then the paper flubs when they bring up the story of how anti-communists behave in an entry from the 2nd issue of the Shock SuspenStories anthology, dated April-May 1952:
And the 1954 hearing in which U.S. Army counsel Joe Welch famously demanded of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

Two years earlier, Bill Gaines published "The Patriots," wherein an anti-Communist mob kills a stoic spectator at a military parade because, blinded in the Korean War, he fails to salute a passing flag.
As bad as McCarthy's approach was, I don't think any murders of perceived commies were ever committed in the 50s, if that's what the paper's implying. If the guy was supposed to be blind, I can't see any sign of a walking cane, nor is he wearing any dark glasses (to my best of knowledge, sunglasses were invented at the time too, and plastic already in the early 20th century). The story makes would-be patriots out to look instantly judgemental, not even asking why he wouldn't salute the American flag when the troops passed with it (who were curiously unworried about the assault and murder in their midst). And worst of all, it makes it look like "patriots" have no qualms about committing murder. That's the issue I have with this embarrassment - it's basically a whole big, negative stereotype.

All that seems to have eluded the Oregonian's writer, who had no complaints to raise about how hurtful it really was to anti-communists. EC was not doing any favors at all with that farfetched tommyrot, and neither is the newspaper if they won't take issue with the story.

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SJWs bashing Frank Cho take away attention from Eddie Berganza case

Artist Frank Cho, who likes to do parodies of petty SJW fits, was hired by DC to draw variant covers for Wonder Woman, and SJW-based outrage culture has struck again by SJWs who despise his styles.

Thinking about this, I'd say they're trying to turn Cho into a variation on Orson Scott Card. Now it's not like Cho hasn't made mistakes I disapprove of. Heck, even Card's not innocent of screw ups. But attacking Cho because he likes to draw parodies of petty whining by SJWs will only ensure that he and others like him draw more to frustrate the SJWs, and deservedly so. And I'm not sure why homosexuality is supposed to be positive but drawing and admiring pics of beautiful women isn't. The only mistakes Cho's made, IMO, is lending his talents to editorial boards at the Big Two who've denigrated the properties they were given the keys to, and taking part in the short-range strategy of putting out tons of variant covers that only the hardcore addicts will buy. It's a waste of money.

While we're on the subject, one of the SJWs happens to be a Comics Alliance writer who said:

Excuse me? Does that mean Cho's supposed to be buying the books everybody wants and not the consumers themselves? Gee, what an epic failure to make a solid rant. The man doesn't even mention that Cho donated to a women's shelter group, something I don't recall Brad Meltzer doing, nor does he praise Cho for offering aid to women in distress. If these are honest charity groups, then it does buy something - the ability to run a shelter organization properly where battered women can go to be safe from abusive husbands/boyfriends. It's just like such a man at CA to be so lacking in chivalry.

In fact, what's so wrong with Cho that isn't so wrong with an artist like Rags Morales? He lent himself to illustrating a book offensive to women (Identity Crisis), featuring a rape scene in the second issue that's a thousand times worse than Cho drawing satirical pictures involving women's rear ends that involve zero sexual assault. If hiring specific artists really matters, one would think they'd have objections to raise about excusing and lionizing Morales so long as he's unrepentant, in contrast to Devin Grayson, who apologized for her grave mistake with Nightwing circa that same year, 2004.

And lest we forget: if this is what the SJWs are going to whine about, they risk obscuring the far more serious Eddie Berganza case. Those who really do find the continued employment of Berganza disturbing would do well to refrain from complaining about Cho's hiring and focus their attention where it really matters, namely, Berganza's spot on the company payroll. The only problem with Cho is that he'd waste his talents drawing so many variant covers, which is just a waste of money and no smart consumer should spend tons on. Nor should he, IMO, be associating himself with DiDio's bunch so long as they're there.

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Monday, May 02, 2016 

This pseudo-columnist wants the uninitiated to dislike Tony Stark

Arcamax published a sugary Tribune News Service column about the upcoming Captain America: Civil War movie, which, lest we forget, draws from the politicized 2006 crossover, and what the writer has to say about Iron Man is quite insulting:
"Captain America: Civil War," premiering May 6, pits Iron Man against Captain America, two characters that the movies have established as having both philosophical and personal differences. But surely, you say, that wasn't true in the comics, where squared-jawed heroes are always best buds!

Annnnnnd: No. Iron Man and Captain America have been teammates off and on going back to 1964, when the Living Legend of World War II was thawed out of his iceberg and joined the Avengers. But they haven't always gotten along. In fact, they've often come to blows -- sometimes by mistake, but more often because ...

Tony Stark is a jerk.

Yes, it's true! He's always been an arrogant, laws-are-for-little-people elitist
! Even in his early days, he did pretty much whatever he wanted, like dating Russian spies and making tons of money off defense contracts and creating international incidents. And when U.S. senators got all up in his business, he'd tell them to go swallow a repulsor ray.
Somebody should tell the jerk who wrote this stupid article to quit writing about comics if he can't keep himself from being so belittling. Does he actually want Tony to be a jerk, a term better applied to himself? First off, it's the fault of whomever wrote Tony in his own adventures and other books for IM allegedly being jerky. Second, I may not have read every IM story put out since 1962, but I've never gotten the impression Stan Lee and company set out to make him as idiotic as what the propagandist who slapped them in the face wants the news audience to think. They make it sound like Tony was never depicted as kindly to anybody. And is the jerk who wrote the piece trying to make it sound like Tony was some kind of a warmongering profiteer? Hardly that. Why, there was even a story written in the late 70s or early 80s where he stopped his defense contracts after he felt they were being used by other sources like the government just to prolong wars in foreign countries rather than end them.

And if he believes Tony was arrogant, does he think the same about Bruce Wayne over in the DCU? On which note, after the Dark Knight Returns, the editors began pushing successive writers to depict Batman as arrogant and controlling, even to the point where he may not have been very kindly to anybody, starting with his partners in crimefighting. This even brings to mind one of the biggest flubs post-Crisis that doesn't seem to register on Batfans' radars: in the late 80s, a retcon was written where Batman fired(!) Dick Grayson as Robin simply because he fouled up on one crimefighting job, and that, according to the editors in charge, was the reason Jason Todd was appointed the new Boy Wonder. Anybody who thinks it impossible to goof badly with Batman would be advised to consider that idiotic storyline.
Talk about wish fulfillment! Flying and heat vision are all well and good, but rich, famous and above the law are the super-powers we'd probably rather have.
Maybe, but we'd rather not have the power of arrogance, and this article doesn't do well in discussing what they think amounted to an arrogant personality for Tony Stark. Who would truly appreciate a guy who's arrogant, something several comics creators I've talked about in the past have proven guilty of?
Now, in light of "Civil War," it should be noted that whenever someone in the comics called Stark on his behavior, it was almost always Captain America. I don't think there was any master plan; I think they were just such polar opposites that many writers on many books over many decades all arrived at the same idea, to create drama by having Winghead and Shellhead explore their philosophical differences in a deep and meaningful way.

Which, in superhero terms, means punching each other in the face a lot.

And it always works! It's ultimate man vs. ultimate machine! Greatest Generation vs. Me Generation! High-minded morality vs. situational ethics!

Also, it's really glitzy to look at. It's a battle of the primary colors, between a guy in mostly blue and a guy in red and yellow. Man, that's comics all over!
No, it's not. And it doesn't always work either. It certainly didn't work in Civil War, where Tony was depicted taking up an overwrought position favoring superhero registration with the government. That's when arrogant personalities really became galling as applied to a superhero. And just how polarized were Cap and Shellhead, truly? Whether they favored government or not, they certainly weren't depicted favoring violent crime and racism. "Polar opposites", isn't clearly defined, I'm afraid.

The writer goes on to list stories featuring rivalry between Cap and IM. Some of them, however, don't exactly support what he's claiming, like the following:
1978: Back in the days when everyone thought Iron Man was Tony Stark's bodyguard, Cap became irritated that the Golden Avenger -- despite being chairman at the time -- was often absent or delayed on Avengers missions. Irritated enough, evidently, to "KANG!" him right in his armored face. "You low-life mercenary!" Cap shouts. "Don't the Avengers pay enough for your services?" Ouch.
Wow, who's being depicted arrogantly, again? Here it's decidedly the Star-Spangled Avenger. And the columnist is probably being paid way too much for his cynical propaganda.

There's also 2 stories spoken of here that probably won't impress the crowd who think Superman and Batman shouldn't kill:
1988: Tony Stark discovers that some of his technology has been stolen and is being used by various peacekeepers and criminals around the world. Amazingly, Stark decides he has the right to take it all back from everyone by force in a storyline titled "Armor Wars," breaking all kinds of U.S. and international laws, even accidentally killing a couple of people along the way (one of whom was Soviet supervillain Crimson Dynamo, but still). Somewhere in the middle of this he battles Steve Rogers, who is protecting innocent prison guards wearing Stark armor. That was pretty much it for the two being pals, according to the omniscient (and florid) narrator: "No words are spoken, none are needed. For both men know that a bond has been broken today ... a bond as old as their friendship ... a dear and precious link that may never be whole again." Sniff.

1992: After defeating the Kree Empire in "Operation: Galactic Storm" (well, with some interstellar help), the Avengers capture the creature behind it all, the Kree's Supreme Intelligence, a conglomeration of the greatest Kree minds. Several Avengers want to kill it/him. Captain America, who is moral man, says no. Iron Man, who tends to ignore the word "no," does it anyway. (That resulted in Iron Man leaving the team and forming his own for a while, with the almost too on-the-nose name "Force Works.")
Whether those stories were kept in canon in the years following, it's clear there was a time when he was depicted killing, and however successfully or not it was pulled off, the PC advocates don't seem particularly concerned about that. No doubt because they were just looking to create drama by bellyaching.
1998: After Cap and Iron Man defeat a telepath who uses a satellite network to control minds, Stark 'fesses up to Rogers that he used the network before dismantling it to make everyone on Earth forget Iron Man's secret ID. An outraged Cap tries, and fails, to explain to an uncomprehending Iron Man why this is wrong. They agree to disagree.
I'm not sure who wrote that story (it may or may not have been Busiek), but here's one involving memory loss to protect a secret identity, and a tale that, while it may not have been as awful as Identity Crisis, might still have been overwrought. Years before, Doctor Strange sometimes erased people's memories to protect his own semi-secret ID, and Green Lantern sometimes did too, yet nobody made such a fuss over it, acting as though it were throughly unjustified or wasn't an understandable belief from a sci-fi POV.
2006: The comics version of "Civil War" is different in a variety of ways, but the bottom line is that Cap and Iron Man not only beat the ever-living snot out of each other for months, they recruit other heroes to beat each other up, too. The Star-Spangled Avenger actually wins the fight in the end, but surrenders when he realizes how dopey and irresponsible it all is. Better late than never, I guess.
Just as I figured, he could offer no critique on why the whole mess was a pure waste of tree trunks. Not even a comment on how it served as a lead-in to one of the worst Spider-Man stories of all time, One More Day. And when they reference the neo-Secret Wars premise of recent, they say:
2014: Remember how Iron Man doesn't understand that mind-control is wrong? In the "Time Runs Out" storyline, Captain America finds out that he has been mind-controlled by Iron Man and his "Illuminati" allies to forget that they've been blowing up alternate-dimension Earths to prevent our Earth from blowing up. (No, I'm not going to explain that.) At the end of "Time Runs Out," Stark and Rogers are crushed by a helicarrier from a parallel world while in mid-combat. And, while I'm not explaining that, either, I will note that they get better.
Of all stories where Tony could be characterized very, VERY badly, the above had to be one of the worst. As is the premise that alternate dimensions also had to be demolished to save our own. Yet this goes by with nary a critique on how poor the rendition was just for the sake of nasty tension between Cap and IM. Why, there isn't even any complaints about how Marvel went out of their way to retcon Howard and Maria Stark so they'd no longer be Tony's parents. That was pretty stupid, but thanks to all these phonies in the press, it gets a free pass without protest.

And as far as I'm concerned, no news writer who makes Tony Stark out to sound irredeemably arrogant and doesn't criticize the scriptwriters' efforts could possibly be an Iron Fan.

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Sunday, May 01, 2016 

Simone keeps proving she's not reliable for other women

After retweeting a post about Alabama passing a protection law for public bathrooms a few days ago, she said:

Boy, I sure hope women who want to try a career in comicdom don't turn to Simone for consultations, because she'd be no help at all. She currently stands out as one woman in the biz who's letting down self-respecting women everywhere by advocating a position that could enable predators to exploit openings. And she said this right after retweeting a post by a guy who'd written for Marvel:

If Simone allegedly takes the same position there, why would she want to validate a standing that could provide predators with a window of opportunity in public facilities? A major embarrassment she is indeed. Her timing is pretty poor for the first tweet presented, coming as it is during a time when Eddie Berganza's lewd behavior of yore resurfaced in the news.

She also wrote:

Oh, tell us all about it. What about Mary Jane Watson? She certainly wasn't when Slott did his Dr. Octopus in Peter Parker's body atrocity. Speaking of which, has there ever been a lady who officially wrote Spider-Man's books? Probably not, and little or no chance there'll be one in the future, unless it's somebody who meets the current overlords' PC standards. Quite often, it's the female co-stars who fare even worse than the heroines do in the past decade. And why would somebody who's proven so knee-jerk have any complaints against her payrollers?

So there she goes again with her hypocritical standings, and ignorance for the poorest stories coming from the Big Two with lady cast members. She's never truly been a champion of inspiring and creative writing for lady cast members in superherodom.

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Saturday, April 30, 2016 

Kirby's genius

The Boston Globe wrote about the history Jack Kirby's career in artwork, and the influence he had on other parts of pop culture.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016 

Viz Media releasing a Zelda manga collection

Shack News announced that Viz Media's releasing a graphic novel collection of the Legend of Zelda manga adaptations.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016 

WW Earth One's embarrassing cameo by guess who

Since we've been on the topic of Eddie Berganza this week, I just found a picture from Grant Morrison's Wonder Woman: Earth One, featuring a cameo illustration that's bound to add more embarrassment and cheapen the story only more:
His illustrated counterpart is at the upper right corner, replete with glasses and a beard around the sides. Good grief. Depending on how one looks at this subject, that'll only make this book a goldmine of irony, because he's the editor of it.

On a related note, Paste magazine's now covering the story of Berganza's treachery. But there's still no telling if this'll lead to his dismissal, and he's not the only one in publishing/editing who needs to be shown the door. DiDio is another, and IMO, Diane Nelson should be too. Better yet, DC as a comics publisher would do far better under a different ownership with more rationale.

Update: Newsarama's finally beginning to talk about the case.

Update 2: The Outhousers says that CBR, already a pretty dreadful news site, wouldn't run an editorial about this topic, even though it wasn't particularly controversial, and may have even erased a number of forum posts. It's clear they're pretty jelly spined in their own way, and that's exactly what makes them such an unreliable major site.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016 

Maybe not readers, but what about writers and approach?

A writer on the pretentious Mary Sue site says we shouldn't blame readers for low sales on "diverse" titles. But they overlook a challenging reason why, or ignore it deliberately:
When a recent article at Poprama decided to blame readers for low sales of diverse comics, I couldn’t help but be really annoyed. The article made a sweeping generalization of comic readers mostly based on the sale of comics released by The Big Two and a lack of data for digital comic book sales. Yet, the reason for low sales of diverse comics isn’t so simple. It’s based on multiple factors including accessibility, affordability, and a lack of general knowledge that such diversity is even out there.
What about talent? Namely, whether the story is good enough and that this will last a long time? And what about how the Big Two's titles, diversity or not, get stuck neck deep in line-wide crossovers? Oh, and what about the editors/publishers involved, like Quesada, DiDio, Alonso and Harras?

And general knowledge has been commonplace for a number of years now, contrary to their claim. Newspapers and TV programs talk about them just because of the so-called diversity, but not because of story value. Did it ever occur to them that the wider audience just isn't interested because the stories could be boring and preachy?
Another important factor to consider is whether comic shops are friendly enough to their customers that they want to buy comics. In 2014, Comic creator and cartoonist Noelle Stevenson made a Tumblr comic about how men treated her at a comic store. While tools such as Girl Wonder help with finding comic shops that treat their female customers well, there are still less respectable comic shops that can discourage female comic book readers.
There's also less-than-respectable people at Marvel/DC who can discourage them too, and I just took the time in the past few days to write about them. Why should anybody who just realized how scummy Eddie Berganza is - and how DiDio, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are no better - want to put money into their pockets?
Comic book readers and potential comic book readers are just as diverse as the characters and stories they want to see. They are more than just numbers and statistics, but readers with circumstances and personal preferences that affect how they read comics. Instead of blaming existing readers for not buying diverse comics, we must devise better ways to make them accessible and draw in more readers—something all publishers should be interested in.
I'm afraid this makes it sound like readers aren't interested in quality writing, and this overlooks the size of the current audience to boot. Let's be clear: I don't know about smaller publishers, but the bigger ones have made it clear for years they only care about ghetto mentality to suit their selfish, narrow ideas of what makes a great superhero story, and this is why we're still stuck fast on the pamphlet format. And instead of lamenting that diverse mishmash isn't being bought, we should devise ways to make them entertaining without forcibly changing the racial background and gender of the older protagonists, and not act like nobody wants to read a book about a white character. We also have to judge the writers based on their talent, and not whether they're celebrities.

And since when has the Mary Sue ever protested Marvel's mistreatment of Mary Jane Watson, for example? I don't see the use of this argument if they don't care about co-stars who once had auspicuous writing to accompany them.

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It's just like Marvel to offer line-wide crossover tie-ins for FCBD

Arcamax published a fluff-coated piece about what's being offered for Free Comic Book Day (and it's worth noting that for over a decade since this idea was launched, many free specials have been mostly worthless), and look how Marvel chose to commemorate it:
Marvel Comics, the largest comics publisher in North America, reports that retailers have ordered nearly a million copies of their two Free Comic Book Day editions -- which is a good thing, as both are integral to Marvel's major upcoming storylines.

"Civil War II" #1 kicks off Marvel's second Civil War storyline -- not the one in the May 6 "Captain America" movie, but one setting Iron Man and his supporters against Captain Marvel and her allies for reasons we have yet to learn. Superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Jim Cheung provide what Marvel describes as a "snapshot of the conflict" that will rage in many Marvel titles later this year. In a backup story, writer Mark Waid and artist Alan Davis introduce a new version of Ant-Man's erstwhile partner, The Wasp. As of this writing, Marvel hasn't revealed who it will be, or even if she will be friend or foe.
But it's not hard to guess a new Wasp could turn out to be "diversified", because that's all that matters to them, not story quality. And it's not hard to guess the sequel to their insulting 2006 crossover will be as politicized in some way or other as the first one was.

And just look how they tout Bendis as a "superstar", even though his books were far from selling in millions, and their sales numbers stagnated over the past decade. Nor has Waid been anything to write home about in a while. To make matters worse, there's another writer on board who's awful:
"Captain America" #1 re-introduces Steve Rogers as the Star-Spangled Sentinel. Yes, Cap's always been Rogers in the movies, but a recent storyline in the comics had Sam Wilson, the Falcon, take his place (and his shield). A new series, "Captain America: Steve Rogers," is to launch May 25, while the title "Captain America: Sam Wilson" will continue. The backup feature is "Dead No More," by writer Dan Slott and artist Jesus Saiz, which sets the stage for an upcoming Spider-Man storyline about his many dead friends and family with the cryptic line, "If you got the chance to bring someone back, would you?"
I wouldn't be shocked if this was intended to discourage anybody who found a particular character death in the past badly written from advocating a reversal for the right reasons. (Jean deWolff's, perhaps?) All the news I've heard about this particular item so far suggest it's about resurrection of characters like Uncle Ben Parker. But no matter who appears, Slott's name alone is reason enough not to bother. Come to think of it, even Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso's involvement is too.

And nobody should bother about a crossover that's only intended to milk dozens of dollars with a story that won't hold up for more than 15 minutes, coming from one of two publishers who became closed shops for exclusive cliques in recent times.

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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 don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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