Saturday, December 20, 2014 

Dan Jurgens comments on Sony's caving to North Korea

Jurgens has posted several interesting tweets mostly criticizing Sony for yanking The Interview from screenings after a reported hacking that may or may not have been committed by North Korean hackers:

I'm not sure if Qurac's appeared as a fictional country where Islamic terrorists dwell for more than a decade now. If not, the reason could be that DC decided they no longer wanted to create metaphors for Islamic jihadism, so Qurac became a casualty of modern PC. And for all we know, Latveria might've been taken off Marvel's table too for the same reasons.

Jurgens is right. The overnight caputulation to North Korea's communists is a far cry from the WW2 era. Now, Hollywood no longer leads, nor does it inspire. And the comics medium doesn't do that anymore either. While we're on the subject, here's one more tweet Jurgens wrote about the Democrats' botched critique of the CIA's interrogation program for terrorists:

Indeed, they are. But their attempt to undermine the war against terrorism failed, as a Pew Research poll of public opinion's confirmed.

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Friday, December 19, 2014 

Joshua Dysart going to Kurdistan, but under UN sponsorship

The comics writer Joshua Dysart has announced on his site he's traveling to Iraq's Kurdish region for goals of research. While it would seem like he's taking up a noble mission to help Kurds suppressed by Iraq's Islamofascists, his choice of whom to travel and work with isn't great:
For over a year now I’ve been in contact with some people at the United Nations World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organization concerned with hunger and food security. We’ve been plotting to tell some stories about the complexity and necessity of feeding the world’s displaced people in an engaging way. Now we’re finally getting started and soon I’ll be leaving for northern Iraq. There, I’ll begin researching the current situation facing Kurdish refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict and the violent push of the Islamic State. The situation is incredibly dire, especially with winter coming. In the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq the temperatures can range from 40 degrees Fahrenheit down to near 0 this time of year.
He's right that ISIS are the evil entity, and that nobody innocent should have to starve, but why does he think a political organization that's been Islamofascism's worst enabler - with some of the worst violators of human rights sitting on their own security councils - are the kind of people he should be associating himself with? The UN was also guilty of involvement in the Oil-for-Food scandal, and one of their worst members of recent was Richard Falk, an anti-Israelist and 9-11 Truther. Falk's offenses even include blaming America after the terrorist attack at Boston's marathon. Why associate himself with an organization that's not what some used to think it was, if it ever was at all?

Dysart's mission may be for a good cause, but he shouldn't be working with members of the UN to fulfill it, since they're some of the most dishonest people you can find, and willfully employed some pure scum on their payroll. If he were smart, he'd look for a better relief organization to travel to Kurdistan with.

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An Indian comic about a heroine who fights against rapists

An Indian filmmaker in New York published a comic book with a goal far nobler than anything you may see in American mainstream today:
Two years ago this day, a 23-year-old woman was brutally gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi. Three days later she died from her injuries. The incident pushed millions in the city and all over India to protest the widespread violence against women. The protests led to tougher laws and empowered women to stand up against sexual violence.

And one man was inspired to create a comic book superhero.

Ram Devineni, a New York-based filmmaker, gave life to Priya, a survivor of gang rape who seeks to stop violence against women.

It started with a conversation with a New Delhi policeman in the days after the rape. "I asked what he thought about what had happened on the bus," says Devineni. "I'm paraphrasing here, but he basically said 'No good girl walks home alone at night,' which implies she deserved it or provoked it. I immediately realized the problem of sexual violence in India is not a legal issue but a cultural problem."

After months of traveling around India talking to all sorts of people, including rape victims, about sexual violence, Devineni decided to create Priya. Shunned by her family and village after she is raped, she takes refuge in the jungle and is stalked by a tiger. Parvati, a Hindu goddess, comes to her aid and grants her special powers that include fearlessness and a magical mantra that she uses to change people's minds.

With her new powers, Priya tames the tiger and rides him back to her village, where she begins her fight against rape and sexual violence.
How come mainstream comic book publishers in the USA can't learn a thing or two from these folks? I can't say I've seen DC or Marvel publish so much as a comics-formatted guide protesting sexual violence. In fact, their output this past decade or so makes it difficult for now without looking hypocritical, so long as they keep publishing comics with negative takes on women. To convince they can improve, they have to disavow the worst examples and publish some stories - in or out of continuity - that make clear points about why sexual assault is evil.

You'd think it would be easy for companies publishing politcized crossovers like Civil War to write up stories supporting women's rights convincingly. But no, they simply can't overcome their one-sided approaches to give it a try.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014 

Marz promotes Meltzer

It's not the first time I spotted Ron Marz retweeting something relating to Meltzer, but this time, he's done it again, for real:
Well...well...well. The man who allegedly claimed concern about a cybertroll who was harassing women - right down to making an offensive crack about Identity Crisis - has put his sincerity further in doubt, and provided free advertising for a man who authored the very story that more than a modicum of women found offensive at the time. This is very telling, and gives reason to doubt Marz was being altruistic, and was acting more for the sake of brownie points.

Mr. Marz, there really isn't much else I can say that I haven't already told your peer Cully Hamner. But, as I've asked before and will again, when you posted that tweet...had you considered what victims of rape and child abuse might think of the disgusting miniseries Meltzer scripted a decade ago, and what some women might think of you for promoting the work of a man and an editor (DiDio) who never answered any challenging questions about the one-sided structure? If you're familiar with Valerie D'Orazio, what would even she think of you? No no, go ahead and act as contemptuous as always, Mr. Marz. It'll just demonstrate what a truly heartless man some folks are coming to view you as, and prove why you're a leading example of the need to separate art from artist.

You know, when you gave Mark Millar some assistance in stopping that cybertroll who was harassing women online, you were performing an admirable mission in itself. You practically did what even Meltzer never showed the guts to do - stand up for people who were being harassed over peanuts by a vile scum of the earth. From what I can recall, no, I don't think Meltzer ever came to the defense of the troll's targets, unlike you and Millar. But this is why some people are bound to feel startled - and very uneasy - when they see you suddenly going along and embracing the work of a man who wrote something that appeals to sadists. Including the blogmistress you once mentioned. Just 3 years ago, she spoke about Grant Morrison's surprise comments on IC, and suppose you happened to be one of the apologists she speaks of? There are some issues on which I have disagreements with her. But in her defense, I'll say she did not deserve that awful experience, and you're not helping matters by giving free promotion to the author of a book that was used to add insult to injury.

I wonder if this could explain your curious quiet on the issues of two newly revealed embarrassments in showbiz, Stephen Collins and Bill Cosby, who've been exposed for committing sex offenses in past decades? Speaking of the latter, you don't know how depressing it is to discover a man once thought a genius in comedy did something so awful. It's sent my city of birth into turmoil. My parents' fellow alumnae from Temple University feel shattered. And why? Because it turned out Cosby did not want to be the iconic figure we all hoped he'd be. And while I never cared for 7th Heaven, I can understand why any former viewers would feel devastated now, after Collins' betrayal of trust was revealed. Yet, judging from your silence on the issues, Mr. Marz, it's apparent none of this seems to concern you. Why, is it because their political standings aren't exactly conservative? Barbara Bowman, one of Cosby's victims of the past, recently wrote about her experiences on the Washington Post. She wondered why it took 3 decades for anyone to believe her story. In your case, we could wonder why it'll take another 300 for you to care about her story? Mrs. Bowman said:
Unfortunately, our experience isn’t unique. The entertainment world is rife with famous men who use their power to victimize and then silence young women who look up to them. Even when their victims speak out, the industry and the public turn blind eyes; these men’s celebrity, careers, and public adulation continue to thrive. Even now, Cosby has a new comedy special coming out on Netflix and NBC is set to give him a new sitcom.
Since this was written, Cosby's projects have been cancelled by the two networks. But Mrs. Bowman's got a point: whether you're part of the industry, or the public, or both, one thing is clear: you have, in a way, turned a blind eye, not just to Cosby's wolf in sheep's clothing act, but also to the potential damage a grimy miniseries like Identity Crisis can cause to this world, not to mention how it can give mental cases the vibe you consider serious issues trivial at worst, and what would you say if you knew you were rewarding the same cybertrolls you supposedly tried to stop? In fact, what would the blogmistress the 2-legged animal online was harassing think if she found out you were excusing the author of a book that the troll used as a tool for his harassment tactics? Even if she doesn't say so openly, that doesn't mean she won't be devastated you're promoting the author of a book the very cybertroll used as a means for harassment.

What's that you say? "But I'm not supporting that miniseries, I'm supporting Meltzer's other work"? It's not that simple, Marz. See, Meltzer, as mentioned, has never shown remorse over Identity Crisis and how it's all set up, never answered any hard questions or defended the precise structure, and that makes supporting him very problematic for as long as he's unrepentant (and makes it hard to believe he supports the message in one of the car stickers he's published). Also, if you want nothing to do with Orson Scott Card (who's been a Democrat for many years), and can't separate art from artist, then I'd assume you'd be applying the same standards to Meltzer as well. Indeed, why would you be so comfy with one but not the other? But, I may have found a little argument online that easily describes your puzzling paradox: The CNN writer Sally Kohn was asking people if they'll still watch the Cosby Show, and in the comments section, I found an intriguing revelation that further confirms something I've been trying to figure out about how people of your standings think:
I just think it's funny that Sally Kohn was up in arms about Duck Dynasty; simply because one guy one the show made anti-gay comments. She called for the channel to pull the show altogether, without apology, because of one persons opinion.

But when it's Bill Cosby, and an allegation of multiple multiple rapes; she wants to keep the show on, bug not glorify Cosby at the same time. Why? Simply because the Cosby show was important to her childhood.

Just more liberal "as long as I get mine" mebtality, with some gross hypocrisy thrown in for good measure. Why is this writer still employed?
That reminds me of your mentality, Marz. Orson Scott Card's work is not important to you simply because he took a position you disagree with even though he didn't add it to the manuscripts for Ender's Game, yet Meltzer's inexplicably is, despite writing such poor renditions of the female cast directly into his books in a way that's potentially denigrating to rape victims? Kohn could count as a female counterpart to your mentality, and is a perfect example of a sad fact of reality: there are women out there with less rationale willing to throw dignity and morale under the bus, for money and agenda. Jann Jones, a DC staffer in the past decade, was proof of this in the comics medium at the time.

Still, since we're on the subject, Marz, it might surprise you to know Card once gave a favorable review to one of Meltzer's audiobooks back in 2007. And you know what? I'm tremendously disappointed with Card for that. As of now, I'm not so keen on defending Card for anything if he knows what Meltzer wrote yet lets him off the hook. It'll be interesting to see what Marz thinks when he learns the author he just despised for peanuts did the author he sides with a favor. Will Marz change his opinion by at least 180 on Card after this? Good question. This is also one more clue to a mindset I've noticed traces of: some allegedly concerned people who consider "homophobia" a major worry, but have none of the same concerns about misogyny.

And in case I didn't mention, it's not just Identity Crisis where a problem with poor characterization for women dwells in Meltzer's work: nearly a decade ago, I linked to a blogger who, while his politics were mostly liberal, still made some very eyebrow-raising and astute observations about a few other products of Meltzer: the women in a few other novels he wrote and a TV program or two he produced cannot cope with certain matters; a theme that appears to come up more than a few times.

So you see, Marz, it's not just one mere item by Meltzer that's a problem, there's at least a handful of other examples. And if so, there could be a couple more. And that doesn't bother a man allegedly trying to mend fences by scripting a number of titles with women as stars (Witchblade) and prominent co-stars? Hmm, how odd.

I know there's some women in comics fandom who'll probably argue that your contempt for mere mortals is nothing new to them, and they don't see much point in taking issue with a man who can't decide where he stands clearly. But that doesn't mean they'll remain silent for long. There might be some folks on the web better organized than I am who'll decide this is the time to start a campaign calling not just for ethics in journalism a la Gamergate, but also ethics in would-be professional writers who make fools of themselves, in contrast to past pros who speak with far more panache like Stan Lee. Think about it: they could call for boycotts of specific products by writers/artists/editors who they feel are giving comicdom a bad name, and lobby advertisers to withdraw their support and save money. They could even call for boycotts of your stuff! When you think about it, of course it's possible.

If you really don't want that to happen, and you really don't support Identity Crisis' one-sided vision, Mr. Marz, maybe now's the time to ask people you if you're acting properly by promoting the work of a man who wrote a nauseating tale, and distance yourself from him too. But, I've a sad feeling you won't. Okay, maybe you will do some soul searching. But for now, few will think you really care about rationale on the net if you excuse a novelist who pens something perverted, and take such a double-standard between homophobia and misogyny.

If we've learned something here today, it's that Marz can't seem to help himself, and doesn't think things through going ahead. And if he can't, then his points won't ever hold up. Hence, he won't ever be able to convince anybody he's changed since the days of Green Lantern's Emerald Twilight.

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Cully Hamner gives a poor impression of himself to women

Tsk tsk tsk. Artist Hamner sure isn't making a good impression of himself towards the ladies. He says:

Well now. This is definitely not something to which I take kindly. And it's something I intend to address, here and now.

Mr. Hamner, seeing you posting this, I'm wondering, are you aware Mr. Meltzer penned a story in 2004 called Identity Crisis, told from a resolutely male viewpoint, that trivialized rape? Seeing how enthusiastically you tweeted that, I think you are, and it leads me to ask: have you ever wondered what victims of rape and child abuse might think if they know what the book is like?

Mr. Hamner, sexual abuse is a very serious issue. You may be familiar with two recent cases involving notable actors/entertainers who've been exposed as major embarrassments lately, Stephen Collins and Bill Cosby, both of whom are now experiencing serious repercussions for their past sins. How do you think their victims would feel if they found out a number of artists and writers in comicdom - or any medium, for that matter - were doing almost the same thing as the media reps who covered for Cosby all these years? Just because comicdom is such an incredibly overlooked medium doesn't mean nobody will sit up and take notice. Someday, it is quite a possibility.

In fact, while we're on the subject, are you parchance familiar with Valerie D'Orazio? Come on, Hamner, I think you know who she is. You probably even met her when she was working as an assistant editor for DC. She later wrote a number of posts on her Occasional Superheroine blog - some direct, others not - where she admitted that she had a job as a minor editor on Identity Crisis, much to her regret, and she said she felt very uncomfortable working on it. And I don't think she'd be very happy if she knew you were gleefully writing tweets upholding a man who penned what she considers an awful screed. I admire her for having the courage to admit it was embarrassing to be associated with such a sick book. But do you have what it takes to congratulate her too?

While we're on the issue, maybe this is where I should tell you, Mr. Hamner, about something I'd wondered if I should bring up: a conversation my family had several years ago with a neighbor who used to work in a civilian neighborhood patrol unit. He wasn't a policeman per se, but he did know some of their local staff in Jerusalem, and was familiar with some of the cases they worked on. One evening, we were riding in his car, and he told us about a terrible case they had to deal with involving a man who was arrested for raping his sister. It was as disgusting as it sounds. I'm assuming of course, that you feel the same revulsion more sensible people do too.

Thinking back on that, I later wondered what even a victim of incest rape might think if she learned there was a comic book out there in modern times making light of the terrible experience she suffered through?

And, what will other women with more common sense than you're displaying think if they suspect you uphold Meltzer's screed, Mr. Hamner? Well, let me offer you the view of one lady who's into comics, Johanna Carlson, and her thoughts on the case involving Identity Crisis, and what goes on:
This would be why I don’t bother reading most corporate superhero comics any more. Not because the property owners are so cynical that they think of strategies like that … but because the fans eat it up, and I don’t particularly want to be associated with them. [...]

You put a bunch of immature men, many of whom were very sick as children or had absent fathers or both, and all of whom escaped into over-muscled power fantasies as a result, in charge of a publishing subgroup with no prestige and little money. Several of them have never worked anywhere else, or if they have, it was at one of the few similar companies in the same industry that behave the same way. They’re still geeks, mentally, with low self-esteem and no success with women, few of whom they actually know in person, but they’re power brokers within their little world, and there are thousands like them who desperately want to be them… and you wonder why it all ends up so twisted?
Did it ever occur to you she could be alluding to people like you, Mr. Hamner? Whether you're a contributor or an audience member, you too, in a manner of speaking, are devouring these horrors with noticeable glee, all the while showing very little concern what survivors of sexual/child/spousal abuse might think of the industry's dwellers as a whole for turning their backs on their plight, or how it might influence less rational people. That's not what I call responsible public image building.

Oh, and in case it matters, Hamner, yes, I was very angry when I found Glenn Beck hosting Meltzer on his program about 5 years back, never asking him any deep questions about his comic book work. I remember being in my parents' living room when the interview was broadcast; they asked if I wanted to watch, but I had no interest in doing so, and when I told them about what Meltzer had on his list of past products, they felt embarrassed. And Beck has since fallen out of favor with most conservatives after he a]insulted their intellect by suggesting the only reason they'd want Newt Gingrich as a presidential candidate was because he's white, b]manipulated some tapes in the Shirley Sherrod topic to make the late Andrew Breitbart look stupid, and c]said he saw nothing wrong with voting for Ron Paul, because he apparently thought his money was more important than innocent people's lives. If that's how he's going to conduct his pseudo-conservatism, then it's no wonder he's lost any audience. And he's not the only "right-winger" I've ever been let down by. There's even Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard, who took a position very much the same as yours. It finally got to the point where I was so fed up, I wrote the editors a letter to complain, and you know something? Since I've had that letter sitting around and nearly forgot about it for a year, I think I'll post it right here for you to see, Hamner:
Dear editors,

Almost every time Jonathan Last brings up a subject like the history of Batman, or any other DC Comics stories for that matter, he seems to have a bizarre obsession with bringing up a very repellent miniseries called Identity Crisis, as seen in his July 24 article ("How to make nerds Rejoice"). And whenever he does, it destroys whatever point he's trying to make. Not everyone may be aware of this, but back in 2004, Identity Crisis was notorious in comics-related circles for bearing a misogynist slant that trivialized rape and had an almost resolutely male chauvinist viewpoint. The most disturbing thing besides the dehumanizing take on women in the book, however, was that the story structure concealed a metaphor for blame-America propaganda of the kind seen following 9-11.

Given how crudely structured Identity Crisis was, almost like a bad fanfiction tale, it's hard to understand why Last has long chosen to embrace the miniseries, even as he's claimed he detests anti-American conspiracy theories (additionally puzzling: I've never seen him actually describing the story in-depth either), and why he's sided with some of the same left-wing journalists who also supported the comic. Speaking as a right-wing "nerd", I've found Last an embarrassment to my belief system. He might want to consider that sooner or later, there are leftists out there who'll exploit his support of the miniseries for claiming there's a right-wing "war on women" the same way Obama waged propaganda on Mitt Romney in the last election.

Avi Green
Jerusalem, Israel
[July 24, 2013]
I emailed this letter the very day - and certainly the very week - Last's article was published. And I didn't just merely tell them the book's misogynistic. I cut straight to the bone, making at least a few notes with far more depth. I don't know if it was ever printed, nor do I know if it had any impact. But since then, I have not seen Last writing any comics-related articles for major papers and magazines for over a year. In fact, the last one he wrote for a website other than his own was a movie-based item for a site called Acculturated. Anything he's written about comics since, has been largely confined to his own personal site. If my letter did have effect, my guess is the editors did some research and/or asked Last millions of questions about the book, causing him considerable embarrassment, and this finally got him to shut up. If he got into hot water with the editors over this, and they decided to stop printing comics-based articles by him, I'll shed no tears. If I were the EIC, I'd feel he betrayed me with an approach that's intellectually dishonest, and lied by omission.

So you see, Hamner, you can't say I'm "willfully blind" if I had the guts to fight back against a "conservative" who made himself look as bad as any leftists who gushed over Identity Crisis, which presumably includes you. If Ronald Reagan did something so dishonest, I'd speak against him too. And if I have the chance, yes, I'll write to some liberal papers too when I find them misrepresenting the medium. It's not partisan politics that's driving me. It's altruism.

What's that, Mr. Hamner, you're disappointed I took Last to task over this topic? Aww, gee, what a shame. So you're sad I went against somebody for promoting a book by your favorite author, his cowardly omissions of precise details notwithstanding? Oh well, I don't endeavor to please people who turn their backs on victims of sex abuse, so in contrast to you, I'm not let down by your sad feelings. What a shame you have to be this way, Hamner, because I thought your debut art on Green Lantern: Mosaic was pretty good, though since then, there's little else in your portfolio I care about.

And think about this: I'm sure even you know there's women out there who'd feel serious distaste if they thought you were going out of your way to excuse an author who pens a crude fanfiction, ditto an editor who answers no hard questions, mainly because no leading press sources - specialty or mainstream - will challenge them with any. What if one day, you were sitting at a desk at a convention like the SDCC, and a fangirl or lady reporter came up and asked you, "Mr. Hamner, why do you support Brad Meltzer? His Identity Crisis miniseries was perverted. Doesn't it bother you he and Dan DiDio published something potentially offensive to women?"

I think even you have to admit such a scenario could one day be plausible, because Bill Willingham, an occasional artist himself (on the Elementals) and another conservative with a questionable reputation, had an encounter almost like that a few years back (based on his treatment of Spoiler), and if you had a meeting like that with a lady, it could make for a very depressing, embarrassing day. It may not have happened today, but that doesn't mean it couldn't tomorrow. Would you honestly want a meeting based on such frustrating issues to happen?

Now if you really don't condone the vision of Identity Crisis, Mr. Hamner, maybe that's why it's time for you to do some soul-searching an ask people you know if you're doing the right thing to uphold a novelist who wrote such crude, nasty balderdash under the confidence no mainstream press outlets would ever offer a challenging query about its structure, and distance yourself from Meltzer. But, I've got a sad feeling you won't. Too bad, because as a representative of the medium, you do have a chance to mend fences and prove insiders can learn from their mistakes. But who knows? Maybe you'll be willing to show an ability to learn from your errors after all. So far, the signs are anything but.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014 

The AP Wire sensationalizes Marvel's "diversity"

It's not even new, yet the AP Wire's gone out of their way to give Marvel's most pretentious staffers the fawning coverage they haven't earned over "diverse" steps made:
For decades, comic books have been in color, but now they are more and more reflecting the true hues of American society.

The new Captain America is black. A Superman who is suspiciously similar to President Barack Obama recently headlined a comic book. Thor is a woman, Spider-Man is part-Puerto Rican and Ms. Marvel is Muslim.
Ridiculous, because there were plenty of minority groups members in past mainstream stories. The real difference they don't make fully clear is that now, several superhero roles are being filled either by characters of different skin color, or a "religion of peace" that they fail to make clear isn't the same as race. What, don't Robbie Robertson and Glory Grant, two notable staffers at the Daily Bugle, count? Doesn't Linda Park count? How about Lucius Fox? Why do only people in superhero costumes count?
Mainstream comic book superheroes — America's modern mythology and the wellspring behind several recent Hollywood blockbusters — have been redrawn from the stereotypical brown-haired, blue-eyed white male into a world of multicolored, multireligious and multigendered crusaders to reflect a greater diversity in their audience.
Oh, that's funny. What about Superman? He may have blue eyes, but his hair is dark, and so is Batman's, and 2-3 of the characters who donned the Robin costume. On the other, it's often seemed to me like there's too few girls in comics with brown hair. How come they don't make this an opinion piece instead, and note what I've sensed is lacking?
Society has changed, so superheroes — at heart a reflection of life in the United States — have to as well, said Axel Alonso, editor in chief at Marvel Comics, who in November debuted Captain America No. 1 with Samuel Wilson, the first African American superhero taking over Captain America's red, white and blue uniform and shield.
But they did change, certainly in the mid to late 60s, when Black Panther debuted, a few years before Falcon's debut (and they actually note this further down in the article), so I don't see what's so new here. And if he's long been a superhero, why does Sam have to take another guy's role instead of being his own creation?
"Roles in society aren't what they used to be. There's far more diversity," said Alonso, who has also shepherded a gay wedding in the X-Men, a gender change from male to female in Thor and the first mainstream female Muslim hero in Ms. Marvel.
No, there isn't. If costumed heroes are so important, how come we haven't seen Armenian and Danish ones entering mainstream? As for the gay wedding involving Northstar, that sold very flat in sales, no different from most other mediocre receipts in modern times.

The publicity stunt with Sam Wilson's already been exploited for political purposes:
The change to a black Captain America is already having an impact outside of comics.

Even before the publication of the first issue, unauthorized images of the black Captain America were shown at a town hall meeting in St. Louis following the funeral of Michael Brown, who was 18 and unarmed when he was killed by a white police officer. This Captain America had his hands up saying "Don't Shoot," a slogan protesters have used to highlight the number of African Americans killed by police.
The AP Wire has effectively shoved their distortions straight into the topic. It makes no difference what the facts were nor the jury's verdict, they intend to keep up the lies till the bitter end.
Alonso said Marvel editors knew when they depowered Steve Rogers and replaced him with Wilson that they would be treading on sensitive territory. "When you take an African-American man and dress him in the red white and blue of the flag, of the United States flag, ... there's symbolism in that, that is more potent and more thought-provoking, evocative" than other kinds of changes, Alonso said.

"But we're not here to editorialize. We're here to tell a story," he added. "This is the world you live in, it's changing and our characters are reconciling with that change."
He can keep insisting, but it's long been proven they're only interested in moneymaking, not serious entertainment via talented writing. Besides, they forced a sickening "ending" to Steve Rogers' story before moving on to Sam, so how can anybody with rationale appreciate the mantle pass? And, is Alonso suggesting something's wrong with dressing Sam in Old Glory colors? There's nothing wrong with that at all, but then, why can't Sam wear the flag as part of his Falcon costume? Yes, why not give that a try? It's a pretty creative suggestion.
Marvel isn't the only company looking at diversity. An alternative black Superman, one who is president of the United States, is part of a team in DC Comics' "The Multiversity." DC also brags of having more comic books featuring female leads than any other company, including Batgirl, Catwoman, Batwoman, Harley Quinn, the Joker's paramour and Wonder Woman, the longest-running comic book with a female hero.

"Our goal is to tell the best stories while making sure our characters are relatable and reflect DC Comics' diverse readership and fanbase," DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson said.
And just how big is that fanbase? I'm not sure all of the women they've cited still have titles now, and if they do, they're selling very low, another point that doesn't factor into this article. Nor has DC been printing good storytelling for a long time, thanks to their editorial mandates.
Earlier changes — a half-Puerto Rican, half black Spider-Man in their Ultimate imprint, the 16-year-old daughter of Pakistani immigrants living in Jersey City named Kamala Khan becoming Ms. Marvel — may have smoothed the way for the Captain America switch, Alonso said. But not everyone is happy with the changes: A contingent of vocal Internet fans are currently protesting a change coming up in a reboot of Marvel's Fantastic Four property in the movies, turning one of the quartet — Johnny Storm — from blond and blue-eyed to black.
The changes in a new FF movie are an interesting case of irony: Marvel's cancelled the FF in comics proper, most likely as - but not limited to - a move designated to protest the new movie. It could have something to do with the changes to Human Torch, but also with the possibility the film's screenplay is terrible, which would be ironic given how bad and knee-jerk the writers for the comics have become, ditto the editors.
Noah Berlasky, author of the upcoming "Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948," said portions of the largely white, male comic book audience don't want favored characters to change.

"Changing people's race or changing people's gender can feel more threatening or a bigger deal than changing Thor into a frog," said Berlasky, referencing a popular storyline in which the Norse god transforms into an amphibian. "Characters are always changing, but there are cultural lenses which make it seem like a bigger deal if Johnny Storm is black."
"Favored"? Is that supposed to imply 3rd tier heroes are fair game no matter how offensive a send off for the white heroes becomes, as seen in Identity Crisis with the Silver Age Atom (and his ex-wife) and Firestorm, and in Countdown with Blue Beetle? Because "favored" could easily allude to the major heroes, and certainly isn't clear here. At DC, what's frustrating about their weak changes is how adamant they are to go along with them - as seen at the time Kyle Rayner became Green Lantern for a decade - no matter how poor the storytelling was before and after the change, and this problem has persisted with various other characters.
Movies based on superheroes, like Marvel's The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and DC's Man of Steel and upcoming Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice, which will feature DC's trinity: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, are driving a new audience to comic books. That surge has comic book companies are looking to have characters that those fans can relate to, said Cheryl Lynn Eaton, head of the Ormes Society, which promotes black female comic creators and the inclusion of black women in the comics industry.
Now it becomes pure comedy gold, because sales figures - not evident here - don't reflect that. And Marvel's become such a closed room, very few women save for selective choices are bound to get in. As I've said before, if a black scriptwriter came along these past several years and wanted to restore the Spider-marriage along with coherency to the MCU, he/she would find their work flatly rejected.
"We are dealing with basically the modern myths, with stories that are going to be told for decades, and they shape the way we view ... our world in a way," Eaton said. "The stories of Superman, the story of Batman, we're going likely to be telling them 40 years from now, and we've already been telling them for decades. ... They are telling us sort of how to live life and how we relate in this world, so I think it's important for everyone, for people of different backgrounds, to have a say."
Of course, but the problem is, they're not getting that say in mainstream, which has become increasingly insular and unwelcome. In fact, Dwayne McDuffie was fired from JLA by Dan DiDio several years ago over a thoughtcrime.
There've been black comic book characters for decades, but rarely have they been upfront in flagship titles. The first black character to headline his own comic book was Dell Comics' Western hero and gunfighter Lobo in 1965, whose series sold poorly and was canceled after two issues.
Do they mean flagship superhero titles? For heaven's sake, this only obscures the importance of touting books based on the merits of scriptwriting.
Marvel introduced the world to Samuel Wilson as the Falcon, the comic's first African-American superhero, in 1969 as a sidekick to Captain America. The Black Panther, who had been introduced as a supporting character in Fantastic Four in 1966, was actually an African king, not an American. The self-titled comic book "Luke Cage, Hero for Hire" debuted in 1972, featuring a "Blaxploitation" character with an exaggerated Afro, a catchphrase "Sweet Christmas!" and super strength as the result of a prison experiment. In 1977, DC Comics introduced Black Lightning, a schoolteacher who gains electrical powers and becomes a superhero.

In 1993, Milestone Media became the first major comic book imprint to feature almost all non-white lead characters. The eponymous Hardware and Static were black. "Xombi" was Korean American. Heroes of every race, creed, color and sexual orientation populated the "Blood Syndicate," "Heroes" and the "Shadow Cabinet," who have been absorbed into the DC pantheon.

Comic books companies need to recognize the impact these characters have before they change them back to their default identities, Eaton said.
If they wanted to, they could recognize them long before shoehorning them into the roles of established heroes.
"That having Sam Wilson become Captain America and having a woman become Thor, you're stating that everyone is equal and that race, gender shouldn't not limit you, and that you're just as good as the heroes we've had. But if you pull these symbols away from them after a short period of time, you're kind of going back on what you're saying," she said.
No, they're stating that the costume is more important than the character wearing it. Otherwise, they'd emphasize Sif as her own agency, and not go to all that trouble putting a woman into the role of a man bearing a masculine name.
Alonso said they haven't written an end to Wilson's time as Captain America.

"We have not discussed at this point the end of Sam's journey," he said. "That's not been the topic of discussion yet, so we don't' have a clean and easy way out. We've just got a great landscape ahead of us to tell great stories."
What if anyone reading decides they're not telling great stories but rather, biding for time in their quest to see what sticks to the wall? In the end, that's bound to be the case, but they won't admit it.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014 

China's expanding manga industry

The Asahi Shimbun of Japan wrote about China's growing manga medium, which the Japanese publisher Kodanshu is helping to build up.

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Monday, December 15, 2014 

Marz turns Australian terror siege into gun control mishmash

Ron Marz puts on his know-it-all acts again, addressing the terrible hostage crisis caused by an Iranian jihadist that went on for 16 hours at a chocolate store in Sydney:

Curious how Marz can't at least argue that, if less Islamofacists were allowed into countries that value civility, there'd be less situations of the sort that plagued Sydney today. The jihadist, who can now rot in hell, was arrested earlier this year for sexual assault, was also arrested as an accessory to his ex-wife's murder, and faced punishment for sending obscene letters to the widows of soldiers who died in Afghanistan. And the authorities let him walk around free. Why doesn't Marz rail against an incompetent, kowtowing justice system?

Once again, Marz misses the chance to make arguments with more sense.

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Sunday, December 14, 2014 

A possible "conservative" disgraced himself

I found a gushing review of Identity Crisis on a site called Collector Times from nearly a decade ago, and this one is really disgusting, because it looks like it could've been written by a so-called right-winger, and if he is, then he should be all the more ashamed of himself. First, here's where his exact grip on DC history is flimsy:
Looking at what Doctor Light did, there are a number of individuals that could have been in Sue's place, the one "requirement" for the situation to play out EXACTLY the same being that they be female. With that in mind, there could have been a female hero or a character created to be in the situation. My guess is that in the mindset of having someone that would be both "familiar" and "vulnerable," Sue was chosen because she could be both of those things and her being at the satellite made sense due to her unusual level of involvement with the JLA as an everyday person (so to speak).
Sue was not fully involved with the JLA until the mid-80s, and in the 70s, she only made one appearance in the JLA series proper, when Ralph Dibny joined full time. Which only confirms the writer, whose name is Wally Flores Jr, is one of quite a few with no interest in researching serious DC history, which should certainly be easier than creator-owned books, even if it's only minor cast members involved. Now, here's the part where he goes out of his way to defend the book at all costs, and says:
People calling Meltzer "misogynistic" in my eyes ranks right up there with calling someone a "homophobe" because they don't approve of the homosexual lifestyle, or a "liberal" or "conservative" just because they don't agree with you. In all cases their opinions or views don't match yours so you label because what they're saying/doing makes you uncomfortable and haven forbid you have an intelligent discussion and actually LISTEN to what they're trying to convey.
I don't know if Flores is conservative, but if he is, then he's a disgrace and shame to suggest only liberals were ever outraged by that vulgarity. His blabber mirrors right-wing talking points in in a very bad way and for all the wrong reasons, and ignores all the left-wing press sources who were giving so much fawning, uncritical coverage for the sake of a monstrosity. Clearly, Jonathan Last isn't the only so-called conservative out there who's made an embarrassment out of himself.

The most stupefying thing about his review is that he admits some parts don't make sense, yet he continues to praise it anyway, as if none of the lapses in logic matter in any way, and never acknowledges the most serious accusations made, like the miniseries' lack of a female view. That is not what I call intelligent, perceptive commentary. With writers like that, I don't think Collector Times is a periodical I'd ever want to waste my money on.

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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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