Wednesday, October 18, 2017 

Seriously? Trump "changed" Green Arrow?

Inverse is blabbering all about how Donald Trump's led to the latest volumes of Green Arrow becoming more political, and in this case, definitely not for the better:
Of all the heroes in the DC Universe, the Green Arrow has historically been the most fervent mouthpiece for liberal politics. Now, as the first year in Donald Trump’s administration comes to an end, the writers of Green Arrow are doubling down on the Emerald Archer’s aim against the headlines.

In October 2016, writer and novelist Benjamin Percy told Inverse he was introducing “a certain orange-faced candidate” into his Green Arrow series for DC Comics. The character, Nate Domini, soon appeared in the six-part “Emerald Outlaw” saga, as an entrepreneur-turned-politician who rode a nationalistic, xenophobic platform to win Seattle’s mayorship.

[...] But it wasn’t the end. A month later, Trump won, and suddenly Percy’s caricature had become reality. Ten months later the Oregon scribe is doubling down, committed to making Green Arrow the most politically-charged superhero book in DC’s library.
And this time, I'd say, it's really bad news, because undoubtably, Percy has no intention of concentrating on meaty issues like the threat of jihadism looming over Europe, and little or no chance he'd confront the Weinsteins littering Hollywood. Back in the day, when Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams worked on Green Lantern/Green Arrow, it may not have been perfect or the best thing to do, but at least some of the topics they brought up were built on more sincere concerns and issues, including the problems with drug addiction in society. Today, that hardly seems to be the case.
“I have a mandate,” explains Percy, “Every issue should somehow connect to a social justice issue we’re facing right now. Every issue should have a connection to the headlines.” In the past year, Green Arrow has explored stories resembling Black Lives Matter and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Although those headlines arose towards the tail end of Obama, the events of the past ten months are guaranteed to show up in the coming future of Green Arrow.

“Anything that pops up in social media, in newspapers, the editors and artists and I will all go back and forth and find ways to channel it into the series.”
Anything? So far, all I'm seeing is little more than blatant leftist-influenced topics marking their work, with the BLM topic bound to be dealt with as dishonestly as the MSM did a few years back. The only mandate Percy's got is akin to the editorial variety, or, the leftist type. And look what else he's been doing:
“I was harkening back to that classic Green Arrow storyline, from the Dennis O’Neill/Neal Adams era,” says Percy, who in 2016, seized a reset at DC, dubbed “Rebirth,” to remake Oliver Queen into a true representative for the oppressed. “He was a playboy socialite. Even when he decided to become Green Arrow, it was almost a hobbyist decision. As Black Canary pointed out, how can you fight the man if you are the man?”

So last year, Percy stripped away Oliver’s fortune, placing him in roughly the same tax bracket as the people he protects. “By humbling him, he was able to empathize with those he hoped to serve and protect.”
So once again, Oliver Queen's been put back in the status of a guy who lost much of his fortune, but this time, it's less likely they'll tackle any planned issues honestly. And how is it impossible for a guy to empathize with the designated crowd if he's a millionaire? If that's the case, then Bruce Wayne shouldn't be rich either. Reading this, you'd almost think they didn't fully realize Queen had lost his riches before and was reduced to middle class. However, I wouldn't be shocked if this time, there's little chance he'll be shown as religious or respectable of Christianity, recalling the 1973 story where he spent time at a monestary after he'd accidentally killed a criminal.
And in “Hard-Traveling Hero,” Percy sought to humble Oliver Queen even more. In the multi-issue arc, Percy placed Oliver into an ethical “gauntlet” against individual members of the Justice League. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, even The Flash all butted heads against the Green Arrow, an effort by Percy to re-cement the Emerald Archer’s principles. By doing so, Percy believes, the Green Arrow has once again earned his place in the DCU.
But has Percy earned his privilege to write any mainstream superhero? I don't think so. Here's more proof why it's ill-advised to overlook DC's leftist leanings, and the whole notion you have to be economically poor to understand people living in the same is laughable.

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Inhumans get put down by an ingrate who distorts their history to boot

The Times Record in Fort Smith, Arizona's written a crummy article about Marvel's Inhumans, partly about the TV show in production, and come off sounding like they thought Black Bolt and family should never have come to be:
As it hits the mid-point of its run, “Marvel’s Inhumans” is obviously not as bad as critics made it out to be. But it does have a conceptual problem going back to its comic book roots, and it remains to be seen whether that will be a bug or a feature.
I think the whole article is just a bug of a feature, and the opening certainly hints at the shoddy take to come.
First, let’s address the catastrophic critical reception of the first two episodes, which were shown on IMAX theaters Sept. 1, then repeated as a television premiere on ABC on Sept. 29. As it turns out, the numbers for both the movie and TV premieres were respectable — not Marvel’s usual blow-out numbers, but good enough.

And as the series has progressed, it’s obviously better than the critical drubbing it received. The special effects are passable, except for maybe Medusa’s hair, which is obviously not an issue at present. The characters are fleshed out decently. The plot is moving along briskly.

The pall over the show seems to have derived mainly from the decision to screen a TV show on IMAX. A big canvas is necessary for a big-budget production like “Avengers.” But for a small show like “Inhumans,” the expanded image just magnifies its flaws.

″‘Inhumans’ is not a series with a big budget, and IMAX is the worst possible way to showcase cheaper CGI,” summarized ScreenRant.com’s Rose Moore on Oct 7. “Effects that may have passed muster on the small screen looked breathtakingly awful in an IMAX format — which led to them being highlighted in bad reviews.”
Umm, what if it's not better than the critical reception it got? If anything, the column itself could use a nice little drubbing based on the following, that's for sure.
Meanwhile, comics fans of the Inhumans should be pretty satisfied with the faithfulness of the show. Heck, even the episode titles are mostly lifted from old comic book stories.

But therein lies the rub: The comic book Inhumans have until recently always been supporting characters. And that’s because they aren’t intrinsically heroic — or even sympathetic.

When introduced in the mid-1960s, The Inhuman royal family was a group of mysterious (and hostile) superhumans that the Fantastic Four kept stumbling into. Eventually it was discovered that these folks came from a hidden city in the Himalayas, full of thousands of Inhumans. They were on the run because Black Bolt’s brother, Maximus the Mad, had usurped the throne. Naturally, the FF helped The Inhumans unseat Max and return home.

Which, for years, was just about the only plot involving the Inhumans. Every once in a while Maximus would take over, the royal family would go on the run, and the Fantastic Four (or the Avengers) would help restore the status quo.
Gee, talk about reducing it all to superficiality! I haven't read every Inhumans story from better days, but those I did depicted the bunch as anything but hostile, even if they lived in isolation. If anything, relations got better in some ways, if not all, as stories progressed. Say, what about the time in the early 80s when the Inhumans asked the FF to help them move their city of Attilan to the moon to help clear up an illness they were suffering? Sure, Maximus may have had what to do with that but still, one of the goals was to help the Inhumans heal from the plague, including Crystal and her expected infant fathered by Quicksilver. And then, contriving a perception that Americans don't appreciate stories about kings and queens, the writer says:
Which, you’ll note, is a monarchy. Since when do Americans like monarchies? Since when do we care which guy in an authoritarian regime is the boss? Why should we pick sides in a battle between royal siblings about who gets to sit at the top of a rigid, inequitable caste system?
Hey, I may not think monarchies are perfect either, but it's not like every single monarchy in Asia and Europe, for example, was inherently evil and corrupt like Spain's recently suggested. Sure, a superficial presentation of a monarchy may not be the greatest, but that aside, if monarchies are truly the worst thing to happen, then by that logic, every fictional story of a noble king and queen, prince and princess, emperor and empress is invalid. In other words, the Greek mythology tales, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are worthless, along with John Carter of Mars and its depictions of royalty on other planets, and even Arion: Lord of Atlantis and Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld are somehow a big wrong just because they depict royalty figures with common sense. The same must go for Sub-Mariner, because even though he was intentionally depicted as a flawed blowhard in early stories, he did act heroically by fighting evil forces and sought to redeem himself for his mistakes as time went by. Why all of a sudden the negative claim about monarchies when even democracies, presidential and parliamental, are no more immune to corruption than monarchies?
In the comics, Maximus’ ultimate aim is to kill all the humans, whereas Black Bolt wants peace. So, in that sense, sure — let’s support Black Bolt, peacemaker. But at the end of the day, he presides over a society that assigns inflexible roles by dint of birth or Terrigenesis, the process that gives Inhumans their powers at adolescence. As Americans — who declared “all men are created equal” when we asserted our independence from an unjust monarchy — that should be appalling.

Further, the characters themselves aren’t terribly likable. Do you think TV’s Medusa is too haughty and imperious? That’s right out of “Fantastic Four.” Do you find Crystal a bit bratty? Gorgon too eager for a fight? Karnak irritating? Black Bolt maddeningly stoic? Yep, that’s just how Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created them.

Plus, they don’t think much of humans. Seriously, even the best of them consider us an inferior race, not much more than monkeys. And they are xenophobic to an ugly degree. What part of that are we supposed to applaud?
Even this part is superficial and misleading at best. I think it was with a 2004 series that Sean McKeever really brought them down to low levels of supremacy-like renditions, because I don't recall even Crystal being as "bratty" as they imply in whatever Bronze Age material I read.
But it was fine in the comics for a long time. For one thing, Crystal and Johnny “Human Torch” Storm had a dramatic star-crossed teen romance going, which was cute. Crystal (and later Medusa) even joined the Fantastic Four, when Sue “Invisible Woman” Richards was sidelined by pregnancy. Plus we didn’t have to think about them much — they were remote supporting characters whose city eventually moved to the Moon. Out of sight, out of mind.

But then they became stars. Well, Marvel Comics is trying to make them stars.

Marvel has an outsider group with super-powers that come at adolescence, but can’t use them in the movies. That’s the X-Men, who are much more likable than the Inhumans, because they didn’t think they’re superior, aren’t xenophobic, want to fit in and are abused because they are different. They are a metaphor for every minority in the history of man, from homosexuals to African-Americans to angst-ridden teenagers.
Umm, even this misses some more recent characterizations, because when Grant Morrison was doing the writing for 2 and a half years in the early 2000s, they didn't seem particularly likable under his renditions. Why, they even seemed borderline xenophobic, precisely the argument the dummy who wrote this slop is trying to make about the Inhumans, without even confirming whether Marvel's improved characterization back in the comics proper, or arguing why it should've been done long ago.
But thanks to some bad business decisions in the 1990s, Twentieth Century Fox owns the movie and TV rights to the X-Men and all related mutant concepts. And, while Marvel won’t acknowledge it publicly, it appears that a decision was made to play down Marvel characters and concepts to which it didn’t have the film rights.

“In 2014, Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter ramped up his war with (Fox) with a series of moves apparently designed to diminish the stature of the Fantastic Four and X-Men in all areas under which Marvel controlled the rights,” wrote bleedingcool.com correspondent Jude Terror in March. “This has included canceling Fantastic Four comics, reducing the prominence of the characters in Marvel’s comics, and disallowing any merchandise or licensed products featuring either group. As a replacement for the X-Men, Marvel has been trying really hard to make vaguely similar property The Inhumans happen, to varying degrees of success.”

As noted, Marvel Comics does not acknowledge this to be true. But most fans treat it pretty much as a given.
That's because, alas, it is. But most news reporters like the jerk who wrote this awkward piece dismiss it as something not worth defending like they will a SJW when they see a topic of the sort turn up.
So, as the X-replacements, the Inhumans have had to step up. They have had to become more sympathetic, and more engaged with humanity. This was achieved in the 2013 crossover event “Infinity,” when Black Bolt blew up a “Terrigen Bomb” that activated dormant Inhuman genes in humans across the globe. In an instant, the Inhumans had to go from a hidden race to one that had to make friends with humanity so they could gather and protect all the new Inhumans popping up.

Incidentally, the Terrigen clouds created by the bomb are fatal to mutants. Talk about metaphors.
Talk about absolute sugarcoated disgust. Not only was the whole crossover uncalled for, does a crossover need to be written up in order for more Inhumans to be created? Of course not. Yet what's really disturbing is that it was mainly an excuse to create the Muslim Ms. Marvel to serve as a propaganda vehicle.
Anyway, it appears that both the X-Men and Fantastic Four may return to prominence, thanks to a couple of current epics titled “Legacy” and “ResurreXion.” Which is another story.

In the meantime, we now have the Inhumans as marquee players. How is ABC going to make us like them?
A better question would be why the journalist who wrote this slop doesn't want anybody to like the authentic Inhumans, isn't asking for Marvel to improve characterization back in the comics proper if it guarantees it'll make them more likable characters, just like they did with Wolverine in the Bronze Age, and doesn't even lament that they'd go to such lengths to make a character like Kamala Khan so unlikable/unappealing by forcing a bad religion/ideology onto her character and making her a mouthpiece for deceptive propaganda. He just goes on to say:
I don’t know that they will. But, interestingly, the one place the TV show is varying significantly from the comics is when it comes to Maxiumus the Mad.

In the comics, Max is an unstable genius, whose Inhuman powers eventually manifest as mind control. On TV, though, Maximus is ordinary — in fact, he is genetically human. He has been belittled by the rest of the royal family, allowed to remain (and not work in “the mines,” where low-class Inhumans go) by virtue of being Black Bolt’s brother. He is openly sympathetic to those on the lowest rung pf the ladder, because he’s been there. And now that he’s taken over, he says he wants to dismantle the class system.

If Max wasn’t so transparently power-hungry, bloodthirsty and vicious, he might almost be sympathetic.
Hmm, this is certainly starting to take a worrisome turn. Is that supposed to be deliberate, making the folks with superpowers the goodies, and the much more human antagonist the baddie? Fishy fishy. As is the premise his wish to dismantle class systems sounds like an attack on people who want to develop democratic systems and equality. You have to wonder if Maximus is meant to represent a right-winger on the TV show, and if that's the case, then the project's been hijacked for the sake of an anti-conservative agenda. Then again, hasn't that been all Marvel's position for many years since Joe Quesada took over? Surprisingly enough, it does provide an interesting revelation about where the comics have been going recently, or so it seems:
Could TV “Inhumans” actually go where the comic book Inhumans have only recently gone, with the royal family stepping down and allowing free elections in Attilan? Or will it hew to decades of repetitive comic book stories that make the Inhumans inherently unappealing?

That, in the end, will determine if “Inhumans” is a success or not. Ratings aside, if TV can transform the Inhumans into characters who grow into something heroic, into people we can openly root for, then it will achieve something the comics never have.
Now they tell us! But turning Attilan into a democracy alone doesn't likable personalities make. Nor does saying "never have", when here, according to his notes, Marvel at least began depicting Attilan embracing a democratic system, presumably with a parliament, which I thought he considered a vital element in making them likable. Guess not. No matter how the Inhumans are depicted, it's clear he's written them off in predisposition.

And even if the Fantastic Four and X-Men return to "prominence", as he puts it, there's no chance resulting stories will be entertaining either, so long as Quesada's insular bunch remain in charge.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017 

The timing for this tweet by Campbell is amazing

Last week, J. Scott Campbell posted the following tweet featuring a Gen13 story he wrote/illustrated to celebrate a quarter century since the Wildstorm line was originally created:

We see in the background a televised broadcast of a woman's march calling to stop the war on women while Caitlin Fairchild has a conversation with team mentor John Lynch. I don't know if it was Campbell's intention, but this could tie in perfectly with the past week's Harvey Weinsten scandal, who's been exposed as a serial harasser and rapist, and the discoveries have led to a lot of performers speaking out about the nastier side of Hollywood. Even Weinstein's brother Bob's been implicated, along with Ben Affleck and Oliver Stone. That's the real war on women taking place out there.

Again, I don't know if that's what Campbell's short story for 25 years of Wildstorm anniversary was intended to reflect in its political allusions, but he sure chose the right week to post this picture, as now it'll echo resulting sentiments on Hollywood perfectly.

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Monday, October 16, 2017 

Who's responsible for this latest GI Joe mess? Larry Hama, SL Gallant, or IDW?

While all attention was focused on Aubrey Sitterson, it turns out Hama's book has some troubling material turning up as well. This item about the 244th issue of GI Joe: ARAH is decidedly at least half bad news, and should serve as a warning that even Hama's series isn't immune to leftism. First, I don't know if we should be worried yet, but here's a panel from the issue featuring one of the latest recruits to the GI Joe staff:
The character, whose name is Naif Nasr, doesn't seem to be referred to as a Muslim in the material I've found so far, but that headgear he's wearing is fishy. Assuming he's not actually Islamic, that's why I'll withhold judgement for now, but I can say that, if Hama's capitulated to that kind of SJW pandering, it's very worrisome.

The following, however, is even more noticeable:
If you look carefully, you'll see that the vandal with the grey cap has NRA marked on it. And then, as if the political allegories couldn't get bad enough:
Here, if you look closely, you'll see that Trump is being carved into the side of this hut belonging to Snake-Eyes, who was killed off 2 years ago. So it seems we have here a case of hooligans up in the hills depicted as Trump/NRA supporters by artist S.L Gallant, who're willing to commit trespassing, breaking and entering and even vandalism of a military man's property. And if I didn't know better, I'd say there was a potential allusion to the whole MAGA slogan from last year's election in the dialogue there.

So who's fault is this? Some people posting on the Hiss Tank forums noticed and were rightfully put off, which led to a response by editor Tom Waltz on the thread about Sitterson, who said:
Actually, no. The TRUMP knife-grafiti vandalism was my fault... because I missed it before we sent this off to the printer. It was a silly inside gag (Gallant's always f'ing with me... he's like Loki when it comes to being a trickster, and I'd kill him if I didn't love him like a brother. Wait... does that make me Thor?) that I had made a note to myself to take care of and have modified... then it got lost in the production/deadline rush to get this out to stores.

Why am I telling you this? Not to defend my mistake (these things happen... sucks, but they do) but because it was Larry, when we were putting together the balloons and captions for the issue, who requested we remove anything overly/overtly political in the scene, because despite whatever political leanings he (or anyone involved with the book) might have, RAH (in his exact words to me when he made said request) "isn't the place for this." And I (and IDW) 100% agree with him, which makes me even more bummed that I missed it (total disclosure: I didn't realize I had let it slip through until I read this forum thread).

I wouldn't dare speak for Larry as to how he feels about anything, politically or otherwise -- he's a grown man, who is fully capable of doing so for himself should he choose to do so. However, I think it's important I point out facts in this specific case to counter uninformed online conjecture. Larry didn't want that stuff in the issue. I didn't either. IDW didn't either. But... it got lost in the shuffle anyway, and as editor, that's my bad.

Look -- we are doing a lot of stuff behind the scenes here at IDW when it comes to JOE -- a lot of exciting things. Personally, I'm so excited for what's coming with DAWN OF THE ARASHIKAGE, I could wet my trousers! (You guys wanted gritty? Get friggin' ready!) And despite just about 99.9% of what's being thrown about online (by folks who have zero clue what we do day-to-day, or who we are as people at IDW... which, if you're curious, is a VERY diverse group, with everything from young hipsters to old, crusty former Marines like yours truly, and everything in between), I can say without reservation that our number 1 priority is to the properties we are blessed to be working on... as well as finding ways to tell the best stories possible through those same properties... and not some "Marxist propaganda campaign." Hell, the only campaign I know of here is to get more varieties of coffee in the office kitchen (I keep telling all these wimps to drink it black... problem solved! LOL). Truth is, there are damn good people here at IDW (and over at Hasbro) that I'm proud to work alongside, just as I was once proud to serve alongside a diverse group of Marines back in the day -- all differences in races, genders, and political leanings notwithstanding.

My point is, to everyone here on Hisstank: please don't assume to know what folks are thinking or doing unless you either intimately know them... or you actually ask them and let them explain it to you. Your assumption might just be wrong and when you share those inaccuracies with the vast online world, it only creates unnecessary confusion and animosity. I'm not trying to scold or berate... I'm just letting you folks know that we are all on the same team here -- the team that wants to bring G.I. JOE back to the glory (guts and glory!) and prominence it deserves. And I promise -- we're working on it every single day!

As for Larry? Larry bleeds G.I. JOE. And I'm learning so much from him -- all of it good and honorable. You know who else bleeds G.I. JOE? SL Gallant (the trickster bastard). That guy's one of the biggest JOE (and overall 80s nostalgia) nerds I know! Hell... all the gang: Brian Shearer, James Brown, John Royle and his team... they LOVE being on this book. (And they aren't done yet... look for a cool announcement at NYCC... hint, hint.)

And I know you all bleed JOE, too, so please accept my heartfelt thanks for supporting us through thick and thin... the best is yet to come!

Yo Joe!

Tom Waltz
I'd like to think it was that simple, but it's not. And not everyone on their forums was convinced by Waltz either. How could they not possibly have noticed, or forgotten to edit the art to avoid having those etchings stuffed in by the artist? One poster even said:
It's commendable of the editor to take the hit, but this wasn't "just" Gallant inserting the Trump etching. The script called for an "intention", to say the least. The letterer saw it. The colorist saw it. Everyone on the book saw it.
Look, I'm a left winger liberal, and I thought it crossed the line. Just didn't feel needed in an escapist book, and it's easy to see that this will alienate fans.
Well there you go! Even that line about the bearded vandals "making the country great" is cause for suspicion. In fact, it's almost hilarious to see somebody with a NRA cap presented as a baddie in a book where firearms are fully embraced by many of the US military officials leading the cast. And if the cap and the Trump scrawling were supposed to be inside gags, why were they directly on the finished art panels? Even Hama, at this point, can't be overlooked, and undoubtably, some of his work will have to be taken now with a grain of salt.

As far as I know, Gallant's left the series, and IDW's hopefully realized Joe fans aren't standing for this newest insult next to Sitterson's shockers. But it's clear they've angered some Joe fans enough to avoid the book for who knows how long, and not everyone's going to be fooled by an otherwise ambiguous apology. And I'm not forgetting that one of their managers, Dirk Wood, once defended Dark Horse's Scott Allie despite the severity of his offenses.

Here's a suggestion, if they're really repenting: bring Chuck Dixon back for another assignment on the GI Joe franchise. Better still, show they're willing to hire a right-leaning editor. That's one way they can prove themselves better than Marvel's editors, if anyone, are at the moment, and DC's too. In fact, maybe Joe fans should openly campaign for IDW to hire a conservative for a prominent editing job with them, as well as adding cast members in GI Joe itself who're of French, Armenian, Serbian, Uruguayan, Kenyan and Macedonian backgrounds to offset the example Hama may have leaned toward.

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Saturday, October 14, 2017 

It sounds like Publishers Weekly is going against the specialty stores

Publishers Weekly wrote about new competition between comics stores and mainstream bookstores for selling graphic novels, and it sounds like veteran Milton Griepp isn't being very nice to the specialty stores, nor the trade paper site themselves, for that matter:
The comics marketplace has become a contest between bookstores and the direct market, Griepp said, as well as “a battle of the formats” between traditional periodical comics and the growing popularity of graphic novels. He noted that comics shops are “struggling to accommodate their legacy consumers while appealing to new readers,” many of whom are either unfamiliar with comics shops, uninterested in traditional comics, or looking for new retail options.

Part of the problem, Griepp explained, is that the comics shop market can be conservative in what it offers consumers. Indeed, the channel can sometimes be hostile—or perceived to be hostile—to new kinds of comics content or even new kinds of fans. A new generation of comics consumers are looking for material that includes works about and by women and LGBTQ people and works aimed at middle grade and teen readers. This is an emerging class of comics consumers—part of a younger indie and manga-influenced generation that isn’t focused solely on superhero comics—that the traditional comics market, which continues generally to cater to an aging straight white male clientele and to focus on stocking periodical-format comics, often struggles to attract.

Griepp argued that these new comics consumers can find what they want a lot easier in the book trade—either from traditional book publishers with newly launched graphic novel imprints or from a new generation of indie comics houses, which are more likely to focus on book-format comics. “Books [graphic novels] offer a complete story, good value, and broad distribution,” he said. This is in sharp contrast with the periodical format focused on serialized “incomplete” stories sold at a comparatively higher price than books.
They're making it sound like the specialty stores are actually deciding what consumers may buy there, and obscure the real problems at hand - it's the forced diversity practices of Marvel and DC that are alienating even newer fans, including people who saw the movies, but weren't part of a crowd desperate to see Iceman turned homosexual. Nor were they in favor of draining Carol Danvers' femininity, as has happened lately. If and when they want stuff like LGBT subjects, they get it in the independents, and the smart consumers aren't asking the Big Two to go miles out of their way to forcibly change any established cast for the sake of twisted visions. Point: many specialty stores can and DO sell manga along with indies, so to make it sound like that's not the case is unfair to the store managers. Not to mention the implication comics stores don't actually sell paperbacks/hardcovers is also ridiculous. I've bought plenty of paperbacks at specialty stores myself, and highly prefer them over the pamphlet format. At least he's right about the pamphlet prices, which, as I once calculated, can amount to more for a whole story than the paperback does.

Also, it's worth noting that mainstream bookstores can offer what superhero consumers want too. The specialty store is basically the way to provide more room a bookstore could lack, since they can offer  a larger selection. And if the specialty stores wanted to, I'm sure they could sell far more paperbacks and hardcovers one day than pamphlets, which all companies should honestly stop producing and just go with graphic novel format only given the high prices, which aren't justified by the poor writing the Big Two have become flooded with, along with even bad artwork that Marvel's noticeably becoming full of. Plus, how come online stores like Amazon don't count? Undoubtably, some consumers who have difficulty finding a product directly in stores find the web deliveries advantageous, and they even offer discounts the traditional stores may not.

It's just so hilarious but also sad how even the business papers are doing a disfavor to the stores, all in order to advance their ambiguous political agendas at the expense of anybody who respects mainstream superhero comics.

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Friday, October 13, 2017 

Even dubbed anime can be subject to SJW manipulation

Two weeks ago, One Angry Gamer wrote about anime dubbers at Funimation shoehorning SJW politics into the products they were translating:
Some of Funimation’s localizations of original Japanese animated cartoons contains sociopolitical commentary that was not present in the original. This issue came to a head recently when Hajimete no Gal (also known as My First Girlfriend is a Gal in English) had an episode that drastically altered the dialogue from what it was originally supposed to be, in order to include typical “Progressive” or SJW talking points. Many fans wrote to Funimation about the issue, made threads on Reddit, and tweeted at them on the official Twitter account about keeping personal politics out of the localization process. Well, Funimation responded by veering the conversation away from localization and onto the topic of harassment and doxing. [...]

This is the third major incident involving an anime that was localized to reiterate common talking points found in Social Justice Warrior circles. One of the other more notorious moments that took place was in an episode of Prison School, where the writers decided to take a dig at the #Gamergate consumer revolt, as reported by Niche Gamer. [...]

Fans have found instances where Funimation localizers have included using terms such as “SJW”, “Cuck”, “Patriarchy” and “Misogynist nerds” in the English dubs. These terms have become popularized in Western media outlets with strong Left-leaning biases.
I've got a hunch that, even though there's a lot of "cultural differences" in anime that have to be taken with a grain of salt and could require a strong stomach, their politicized dubs fail to make any clear points and go for all the easy targets. If anything, this is a vital lesson how anime, if it matters, is just as vulnerable to leftist politics as anything else. Certainly there's some out there with very liberal stances coming from the Japanese animators themselves, but usually they don't all clog the scripts with their politics at the expense of entertainment. If Funimation's crossing the lines, maybe the original studios should withhold the translation rights until they can monitor the dubs to ensure there'll be no political interference.

But who knows? Even anime producers can surely be a bad lot themselves in more ways than one.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017 

Ta-Nehisi Coates is remaining with Marvel

And now, not only has he spent time writing Black Panther, no matter how unsuited he was to be helming the book with his leftist politics, he's set to write a solo book for Storm:
The author Ta-Nehisi Coates has confirmed that he is writing a comic book about X-Men character Storm with Marvel Comics illustrator Jen Bartel.

In Coates’ Black Panther comic book series, the title character, T’Challa, was married for a while to Storm. Coates met Bartel for the first time at the New York Comic Con this month. Bartel, known among other things for her work on the Jem and the Holograms comic, had illustrations of Storm. Coates bought one and posted it on his Twitter feed, mentioning only that they “got to talk about collaborating.”
The artist on the series from IDW where where the rock singer named Stormer was turned into an overweight lesbian? Yeah, that should make a great pairing alright. If sales receipts for Coates' BP work have been floundering of late (not that anything sells spectacularly in realist terms today, as I try to keep in mind), I'm not sure there's much chance they'll have better luck with Ororo Munroe. I've noticed in the promo artwork that it shows Storm with side shavings, not unlike what turned up in the Jem comic adaptation, and I'm betting they'll use the time in 1986 when Claremont and company had her drawn with a mohawk as justification for this latest monstrosity. Seeing what Coates and Bartel could have in store visually only makes the mohawk style from the late 80s look even more tasteless in hindsight.

And there's the next strong hint why all concerned should continue to avoid Marvel's output, as it becomes clear they're not going to hire anybody who's willing to refrain from heavy politics at the expense of entertainment.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017 

What kind of "conservative" site is this that even misinterprets "fans"?

I'd long suspected that The American Conservative is not a very reliable site, and this article they published - by an editor for AntiWar, which shouldn't be hard to guess is about - proves they're not a news source that wants to be taken seriously. It talks about Marvel's ridiculous cave to alleged fans over the Northrop Grumman partnership, and how the guy interprets everything - to say nothing of behaving in a most entitled manner - is laughable in the extreme. First, he says:
What it really was, however, is the latest in a long line of attempts to ensure the American military-industrial complex is, everywhere and always, presented in an immutably heroic light in popular culture.
Oh please. No sane person, conservative or otherwise, thinks all military personnel are saints. Some very reprehensible staffers practically enabled Nidal Hasan to go unpenalized for his bigotry, and their PC cowardice enabled him to commit the massacre at Fort Hood. But, if that's what he thinks, does he believe it was wrong for Kirby and Simon to create Captain America? Of Stan Lee and company to depict Flash Thompson joining the army during the Vietnam era and fighting commies? Or to depict Nick Fury as a war hero? Most likely, he does, yet didn't have the courage to say so. Now, here's where he tried to make it sound like all comics readers are literally anti-war, anti-military types, and different from moviegoers and TV couch potatoes in every way:
Comic book readers, it seems, are a bit more savvy than the typical media audience. With superhero storylines increasingly built on moral gray areas and asking tough questions about interventionism, teaming the Avengers with a Northrop Grumman-armed group in a Northrop Grumman-supported and branded publication, clearly wouldn’t wash. Let’s face it: if Northrop Grumman’s characters and equipment would only be for “good guys,” that would not be a good read for anybody.
Wow, what concrete proof does he have those were really "fans" who started complaining on Twitter about the alliance? As in many other, similar cases, the chances a lot of these whiners don't read their products is very high, no matter how entitled they feel to the MCU creations regardless. You'd think comics readers all limit themselves to one form of media and have no interest in any other. Or that moviegoers are all right-wing, which is not so either.
Marvel has a history of addressing controversial issues in its storytelling. Iron Man, indeed, owns a major defense company, and the moral quandary of arming the warfare state is a familiar wrinkle. Northrop Grumman, clearly, wouldn’t allow their own branded characters to wrestle with the morality of wiping out populated areas with their warplanes.
Oh really? What proof does he have of that either? He's obviously trying to make Northrop sound like they're full of themselves, and don't recognize that humans, in the army or not, aren't infallible in all instances.
Fans realized what a conflict of interest this partnership would be, and in standing up against it, forced Marvel to back down. Like superheroes battling an arch-rival, the battle to keep comics out of this sort of relationship is one they’ll likely have to fight again, when the next contractor or service branch comes around.

It’s a positive story for comic book fans, and a teachable moment for fans of other pop culture. How much better would television, movies, and video games be if storytellers had the freedom to tell whatever stories they want, without manipulation, subsidy-driven cajoling, or fear that some bureaucrat down the line is going to find something objectionable and force a re-write?
Again, this is hilarious, because there are anti-war movies around, past, present and future, and tons of leftist filmmakers working round the clock to think what they can do next. Brian dePalma's Casualties of War from 1989 was one irritating example, built on the kind of narratives Walter Cronkite crafted. Therefore, the columnist is just insulting his own for the sake of a silly, dishonest portrait that could easily be debunked in a jiffy.
Hollywood has its own myth-makers, and professional sports can produce their own legends.
So in other words, mainstream superhero books are solely the property of leftist anti-war activists. I see. Just another selfish disgrace who likes to hog pop culture icons he didn't create for his own narrow visions, and must surely consider Marvel's most famous creations abominations that should never have come to be. I wouldn't be shocked if he even believed no conservative contributor to comicdom ever mattered, and he ignores that some of the Marvel movies, at least on the surface, may have contained elements he'd surely hate.

Despite what most of the initial reports stated, I think Marvel is going to still remain in their agreement with Northrop. Despite Polygon's attempt to imply otherwise, the press brief they give says here:
The activation with Northrop Grumman at New York Comic Con was meant to focus on aerospace technology and exploration in a positive way. However, as the spirit of that intent has not come across, we will not be proceeding with this partnership including this weekend’s event programming. Marvel and Northrop Grumman continue to be committed to elevating, and introducing, STEM to a broad audience.
If they're under special contract, they certainly couldn't get out of it in a hurry. That's the good news. Even so, their capitulation at the convention is still a very bad example, and in fact, that the American Conservative magazine would publish such an idiotic puff piece puts their own credentials in doubt. Why they'd associate with people taking stands one would think a contradiction of their own right-wing positions and accept laughable propaganda for publication is beyond me.

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  • 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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