Wednesday, April 26, 2017 

Fayetteville Observer's sloppy look at women in the medium

The Fayetteville Observer published an article taken from the Chicago Tribune covering the C2E2, about comics allegedly becoming increasingly female. When they bring up mainstream superhero products, however, that's where their news definitely collapses. First, here's some comments made by writer Amy Chu:
“We’re two women, just walking around this convention, and one of our first experiences is checking out the artists area and getting asked by guys if we’d model,” Chu said. “It was way worse than Wall Street — nobody on Wall Street ever asked me to model. And you’d get mansplained all the time, on everything. Nobody cared about a Harvard MBA.”
I'm not sure what's wrong with being asked to model for artists; I'm sure it's happened as far back as the Golden Age, recalling that the wife of either Jerry Siegel or Joe Shuster provided inspiration for Lois Lane's character design. Actually, what's really annoying is Chu's citation of "mansplaining", which is just liberal gibberish.
“I wouldn’t say it’s great now for women in comics,” she said. “It’s no advantage. People still question your professional credibility all the time. But we are getting closer to parity.”

Indeed, when C2E2 2017 begins Friday at McCormick Place, the comic book publishing industry will look much more female than it has been in decades, from the crime fighters leaping across its pages, to the writers and artists and editors who created them. The notable characters represented at C2E2 this year by a writer or artist include the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Batwoman, Spider-Gwen, Supergirl, Batgirl and a newly female Thor; among the several female creators attending are Chu, Jordie Bellaire (“Dr. Strange”) and Kate Leth (“Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat!!”), who started an online forum named Beware the Valkyries exclusively for female comic book store employees.
So, no questions raised as to whether turning Dr. Jane Foster into a female Thor - but with a male name - of all things, was an auspicuous idea to start with? They may not admit it, but it was otherwise a financial failure laced with political motivations, and one of the reasons why Marvel was losing audiences. Chu's right though, that this isn't the great time for women in comicdom the mainstream press would have you believe it was.
Marvel and DC, historically the largest comic book publishers, won’t release customer demographics, but the past couple of years have seen several studies, from among others Publishers Weekly and Amazon’s popular Comixology hub for online comics, that suggest between 30 and 50 percent of new comic book readers in recent years have been female. “This is certainly the strongest moment in ages for women, in terms of representation for creators and characters,” said Hope Nicholson, author of a new history, “The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen.” “In the 1940s, in the golden age of comics, female readership was on par with male. Torchy Brown, one of the first female characters in comics, was made by a black woman, who kept the merchandising rights! In the 1930s! Only now is it returning to anything like parity, and I think that’s because women have a million new entry points now, like social media and web comics.”
If we're talking about non-superhero comics and non-corporate products, yes, you could call it a strong moment. But anybody who thinks it's a great time in the world of costumed crimefighters should get a reality check; everything they're doing is at the expense of established characters, and they're not creating any new ones. And now, here's where the article takes a turn for the worse:
Owner Patrick Brower said he was, in a way, also being practical: “Without question, the majority of new customers we get now are women. And that’s because there’s more representation, and not just of gender but sexuality, religion. I’m a middle-class white guy who grew up with white superheroes, and I never thought, ‘This is for me,’ because of course it was. But when you get a Ms. Marvel, who is a female Muslim teenage hero? That’s an industry holding up a mirror to its audience.”
What, is he saying today's audience - and even yesterday's - is Muslim by and large? Wow, is that hilarious. And no Armenians are given mention. If there was a sizable audience of them, he probably wouldn't say anything. And is there more representation of religions today, or, is he just hinting at Islam?
Ms. Marvel, among the creative watermarks for comics recently, was a breakthrough. Now there’s a Chinese Superman, a black Captain America. Thor is a woman. Batwoman is a lesbian. Independent publishers have been even stronger with strong female characters: The best-reviewed, most popular indie titles in recent years are either written, drawn and starring women (“Bitch Planet,” “Monstress”), or written by men featuring strong females, in particular Brian K. Vaughan’s “Saga” and “Paper Girls.”
I'll give them some credit for pointing out independent publishers being a leading force for books with female leads and writers, but how sad they're perpetuating the support for the liberal garbage that ruined much of Marvel these past years, and DC too. Predictably, not a word about how successful or not the finished products were artistically. And that's why the newspapers are as much of a joke as the publishers whose work they're fawning over.

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Monday, April 24, 2017 

With Joe Quesada making the announcements, why should we trust them to deliver?

Marvel claims they're returning to the use of the more recognizable cast members of their universe. But the following article is one more clue that everything's bound to be undermined considerably:
Marvel Comics is kicking off a new initiative this fall titled Legacy that will "embrace our roots and move enthusiastically forward" in according to Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.
Sorry, but if he's in charge, I don't see why we should trust them. That they're making this another "event" is yet one more reason to give pause.
While emphasizing the storied past of the Marvel Universe, the publisher is also mixing in newer characters as well.

"From there, the Marvel Legacy initiative spreads out across the Marvel Universe, showcasing epic storylines hearkening back to the glory days of Marvel starring Odinson, Squirrel Girl, Spider-Man, the Avengers, America Chavez, Iron Man, Moon Knight, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Luke Cage, the X-Men, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Deadpool, the Champions, Wolverine, Ironheart, Hulk, The Punisher and so many more!"
Just as I suspected, they'll still be insisting that we accept, for example, a character like Kamala Khan whose very creation was built around her being Muslim, all without being open about the content of the religion. Some of the promotional material they've put out shows Miles Morales is going to be part of this fishy new direction too. Absent from what's been told so far is whether the Spider-marriage will be restored. If they won't do it, then they needn't wonder why Spider-fans will continue to avoid the Spidey titles by and large. So long as any of these diversity-pandering characters retain the components they began with, they certainly won't work. And much like Quesada, even Axel Alonso's another reason to avoid this. On which note, ABC's Good Morning America has some of his own drivel:
"Let's just say there's a last-page reveal that's probably gonna break the Internet."

That's how Marvel's Axel Alonso describes "Legacy," a new initiative that will take things back to the comic book company's iconic history, all while keeping an eye on the future.

It all begins this fall with "Marvel Legacy No. 1," an over-sized, one-shot special that's 50 pages in all. It's written by Jason Aaron with art by Esad Ribic and features a special, 4-panel, fold-out cover by Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.

Alonso, Marvel's editor-in-chief, told ABC News that this is a book that is going to send shockwaves throughout the comic book industry.

"That story functions as a preview of what's to come. It's chocked full of twists, surprises, Easter eggs, and let's just say, a last-page reveal that’s probably gonna break the internet," he said. "It's a big moment, something we continually get asked about. We are going to answer that question."
Why don't they answer them now, instead of going the cliched route of keeping everything secret until after it's gone to press? Point: even if Mary Jane Watson's back as Peter Parker's wife, Quesada/Alonso's presence is still bound to ensure some degree of alienation.
Easter eggs -- hidden nods to longtime fans -- are at the core of what "Legacy" is attempting to do, Alonso said. The content will be exciting for new fans, but will also pay off in a different way for hardcore fans of the Marvel Universe.

"With 'Legacy,' we want to tell stories that are accessible to all, but remind readers of Marvel’s rich history,” he said. “To drive that point home, a number of our titles will return to their original series numbering, and our stories will invoke that history, reminding readers of connections between characters they may have forgotten about, and ushering in the return of some big characters who’ve been missed. Above all else, we want to inject our comics with a massive dose of fun."

He continued, "I think 'Legacy' will also prove that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder."
That's saying a lot more than they've actually done to date. Easter eggs alone don't guarantee talented writing, let alone plausible, organic character drama.
"Legacy" will also finally answer some of fans' questions about their beloved characters, including if the universe is big enough for Miles Morales and Peter Parker to both be Spider-Man. The same will be answered about whether Riri Williams and Tony Stark can both be Iron Man.

The key here though, Alonso said, is that there are no old characters or new characters, there are just Marvel superheroes.
Is that saying there's no co-stars? Not even Ben Urich? In that case, I'm not sure why we're supposed to care. That Miles and Riri are made such a notable focus of this special only further suggests they don't have what it takes to just drop a poorly crafted direction quietly. That's surely the biggest problem at both Marvel and DC, that they can't bring themselves to abandon failure in a quiet manner and above all, admit they made mistakes.
"Legacy" will follow another initiative, "Secret Empire," where the heroes finally get caught up to speed on what readers have known for months -- that Captain America is actually a Hydra agent. Alonso said that series will be a rallying cry and unifying factor for the heroes before we get to "Legacy."
We did not need Secret Empire any more than we needed a story where Cap was turned into an evil antagonist. It goes without saying their wording is also reprehensible; they know perfectly well that's not and never was what Kirby/Simon created Steve Rogers to be.
"None of 'Legacy' hinges on the death of a major character at all," he added. "A lot of this may hinge on some resurrections. If there ever were a time to bring back characters, it would be during the 'Legacy' era."
While this in itself is a positive approach - avoiding the long sleazy and sensationalized idea of building an event on the deaths and villifications of any character - that still doesn't prove Alonso/Quesada are repenting. Besides, they've also sent telling signs they have no intention of ceasing with the company wide crossovers for good, no matter how catastrophous it's finally turning out to be.
The series will span the entire universe and touch on the "glory days" of characters like Odinson, Squirrel Girl, Spider-Man, the Avengers, America Chavez, Iron Man, Moon Knight, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Luke Cage, the X-Men and many others.
Wait a moment, what's that? The new lesbian heroine? What glory days did she ever have? She just debuted! And if they're talking about Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, that's not what she began her superheroine career as. She began as Ms. Marvel, and worked far better in that role (not to mention the costume drawn by Dave Cockrum). This is another sign something's wrong.
The aesthetic of "Legacy" will be a trip for longtime fans as well, with little vestiges from the past like the cover value stamp and corner box art that Marvel used years ago.

"As a kid, I remember ruining some of my comics by cutting out the value stamp," Alonso admitted. "I had 'Incredible Hulk' No. 181 and I cut the value stamp out, what was I thinking?!"

That issue was the very first full appearance of Wolverine in 1974.

"We are going to remind generations about that history," Alonso promised.
Which isn't the same as proving they have what it takes to tell a good story. And is he implying he wished he'd left the value stamps in place so he could make big money? That's hardly putting value in the stories inside the cover.

Quesada/Alonso proved themselves untrustworthy from the start, and I don't see any reason to trust them now. I'm sure there's more people out there who realize the same. Besides, it sure doesn't look like they're going to apologize for all the awful mistreatment of Mary Jane Watson.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017 

One good thing Gerry Conway's done of recent

If there's anything Gerry Conway's done right in the past few weeks, it was issuing a negative response to Muslim artist Ardian Syaf for his anti-semitic reaction to Marvel's dismissal over his subtle insults in X-Men:

I guess we'll have to give Conway some credit for condemning Syaf. But if he disapproves of subtly injecting bad ideological themes into the books, does he also disapprove of books like the Muslim Ms. Marvel which are practically dishonest about the Religion of Peace? Point: a dishonest portrait through rose-colored lenses is no better than a scene with bad verses hidden in the background. And till now, Conway's seen nothing wrong with exploiting the codename of the role he co-developed with Dave Cockrum for Carol Danvers in the late 1970s (Danvers herself had already been created in 1968) for a concept and story setup depicting Islam through superficial, dishonest visions. How does that help?

Since we're on the subject, this reminds me of G. Willow Wilson's taqqiya defense. One of the things she said later, in her attempt to claim the koranic verse 5:51 wasn't what it happens to be, was what can be read in the following:
After all the chatter around Syaf’s drawings has died down, one of the few lasting effects of the controversy will most likely be that it will be harder for Muslim artists and writers to work for conflict-averse cultural behemoths like Marvel. As G. Willow Wilson, the creator of Marvel’s popular Muslim character Kamala Khan, writes: “Ardian Syaf can keep his garbage philosophy. He has committed career suicide; he will rapidly become irrelevant. But his nonsense will continue to affect the scant handful of Muslims who have managed to carve out careers in comics.”
See, I think what really bothers her is the realization that Syaf's slightly more open approach with Islam, as compared with her more stealth-based tactics, will draw people's attention to the fact she's writing a book whose own problems include being political and factually dishonest from the start. I'm sure she knows not everyone's going to take her own taqqiya tactics at face value, and some will wonder why she's never included any verses from the koran in her scripts, if she hasn't at all so far. Or, they'll do research, discover all those hundreds of different verses and themes in the koran, and start asking millions of questions, making it harder for her to "explain" each and every one. People could ask, "how can a company supposedly concerned about an artist slipping revolting verses into his art backgrounds be employing a writer who remains dishonest about the same in a book she's writing?" It's worth noting that some of the sites reporting on the topic earlier linked to encyclopedia sites for Islam featuring the verse, one more reason why it won't be easy for her to keep up the pretend act.

That's why, if there's hopefully more good news to come out of this whole affair, it's that Marvel may decide to back away from continuing to support the Muslim Ms. Marvel book. It's already been tanking further in sales, particularly since the election issue, one of the most blatantly political propaganda moments in the series' run so far, and they may figure it best not to make such characters into co-stars in the books featuring the heroes they were meant to "take after", since many audience members would rightly suspect the propaganda could continue even then. After all, the whole structural build of the diverse replacements for the earlier cast members is so obviously politicized in their own way, it's impossible as they're currently developed to take them as anything simpler. And DC may decide to eventually let go of the Muslim Green Lantern they shoved into their books too, for many of the same reasons, since, if the audience catches onto one example, they're bound to figure something's not right with the other.

For now, it's only something we can hope will be the result, but I think they may realize already that the public is catching on, and they won't be able to keep up their shameless charade for much longer without causing their sales receipts to sink.

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Friday, April 21, 2017 

Graphic novel about Jan Karski

The Wyman Institute has an article about Karski's Mission, a new graphic novel by Rafael Medoff about the history of Jan Karski, the Polish emissary who helped expose the horrors of the Holocaust.

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Marvel still shows no sign of apologizing to Cap fans

Screen Rant informs everybody that there's still no point in assuming Marvel has any remorse for turning Captain America evil, since the zero issue of Secret Empire (a number perfectly describing their intelligence), and even then, the site still botches their commentary in ways I'll try to point out here:
If fans thought it was bad when Captain America uttered his famous “Hail Hydra” last year, or hoped it was all a case of brainwashing or re-writing history… we have some bad news: Steve Rogers is, and always was, evil. Rather than walking the reveal back as a case of Cosmic Cube reality-warping, as Marvel seemed to do already, Secret Empire #0 reveals the entire truth. Apparently, the controversial launch of the new Captain America: Steve Rogers story was all building to the reveal that Cap was never a hero. Not for a second.
After reading this, I have to conclude the article writer's not a hero either. What "truth" is there here? It makes no difference how you cut it, this is a retcon, and they know it, even if Axel Alonso and company won't admit it. No matter what you do with a fictional story's past settings, it doesn't change what was established in the past. Not for a split second. That is not "truth" any more than the equally unreadable The Truth: Red, White and Black miniseries from 2003, one of the early efforts by Joe Quesada to humiliate Jack Kirby and Joe Simon's creation.

Oh, and their use of the word "famous" rather than "notorious" is also pretty irritating.
It’s a bit baffling, since this reveal will almost certainly enrage those who felt somewhat offended by the reveal that Steve Rogers was a Hydra sleeper agent. Those who were deeply outraged, and insulted that Marvel’s editors and writer Nick Spencer would ally Marvel’s mascot with the Nazi-connected Hydra – promises to “hear the story out” aside – may be likely to stop reading altogether.
"Somewhat"? Even if Cap's a fictional character, does that mean we're supposed to just sit back and put up with this? And why should this be called a "reveal", rather than a story setup or something like that? Funny thing is, they do acknowledge here it's the writers/editors who're truly at fault, so it's regrettable they're making it sound as though it's some real life incident simultaneously by using words like "reveal". But, they're right about the audience no longer wanting to read what they're forcing down everyone's throats, and no sane person should pick up any part of Secret Empire, even if at the end, it's all reversed. What is clear is that Quesada, Alonso, among several others undeservedly making money on their payroll, have to be removed. Their presence alone will only ensure people stay away too.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Larry Hama's serious mistake, which he's hopefully apologized for

Several weeks ago, when Roy Thomas lamented the SJW blabber about Iron Fist not being Asian, Larry Hama went overboard in attacking the famous writer/editor on Facebook. The official post by The Outhousers was erased, but I discovered that as of this writing, it still exists on their message boards, and here's the screencaps available too. For starters:
Much as I admire Hama's past writing on GI Joe, I'm very unhappy he had to lower himself to this level. Supposedly, it's over a personal grudge:
Umm, in that case, why didn't you scan and post it online for everybody to see, Hama? This is a telling weakness in his rant; he never backed himself up, and atop that, he has the gall to be incredibly nasty to a veteran. Nicieza, surprisingly, comes off the better here.
So he's parroting the absurdity of "cultural appropriation" when Danny Rand had been white from the very start. In that case, Bob Kane and Bill Finger must've been some of the biggest cultural appropriators of all, because as creators of Batman, they conceived a guy who studied busloads of formidable combat skills, many of which came from Asian countries. And if the two of them were alive today, he'd probably be cursing them to hell and back for complaining when SJWs whine that Bruce Wayne and Robin/Dick Grayson should've both been Asian the moment a TV adaptation comes along. If he doesn't agree with changing the race of the lead, then why was he speaking with a forked tongue?

Now if some TV execs decided to change the race of Hama's co-creation Colleen Wing (Doug Moench was the other half of the creative team), he'd have a much more valid beef. And Thomas never said anybody should do something like that, one more reason Hama was overreacting badly.
Alas, Hama was being a Thought Policeman, and judging very poorly. He was basically damning Thomas for trying to address the issue in as respectable a manner as possible. And, it would seem Gerry Conway was too.
Man, does he ever. Like, why it doesn't pay to stick with a liberal ideology that teaches how to take white guilt trips, and act as though it was criminal to conceive a white martial artist over 40 years ago.
In that case, he shouldn't have bothered ranting. However, it appears he later came to his senses, as the following screenshot was posted on the Outhousers message board:
Well I'm glad he woke up and smelled the coffee, and hope he's as sorry as he said he was. He has no idea what a poor example he was setting there, and what he did was fully avoidable. Since this was written, it appears he erased all of the original discussion from his Facebook listings. Let's be clear. Thomas' choice of making Danny Rand white was no different from Bob Kane and Bill Finger doing the same with Batman. And he conveyed his argument in the most respectable way possible. That told, I'm disappointed if Hama thinks SJWs are just, because they're not, and if Rand had his race changed to Asian, they'd still be complaining, this time that the portrayal is racially stereotypical, and Hama would probably join them. In which case, what's the use of criticizing an old timer who just wanted to entertain people if Hama has no intention of supporting even something that does star a performer of Asian background? He only made a fool of himself, and this was somebody who had no issue with writing GI Joe for 12 years, a series co-starring a white guy named Snake Eyes, and an Asian-American villain in a ninja outfit, Storm Shadow, whose real name was Thomas Arashikage. So maybe he should consider that he was no different in some ways from what he accused Thomas of.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

Spencer won't admit why nobody likes his take on Captain America

Nick Spencer just posted the following tweet pertaining to his work on the latest Captain America series starring Steve Rogers:

It's a weird situation where somebody's not willing to admit turning Steve Rogers into a nazi collaborator is exactly why nobody likes what he's trying to sell them. If that's all Spencer can say, and won't admit his "writing" is tasteless and artless, then he's evidently unrepentant for the embarrassment he's lent his "talents" to. If there's any writers at Marvel now who need to be let go at a time when they've been exposed for all the failures they're proving to be, Spencer's one of them. Their superhero titles and other such books won't work so long as pseudo-writers like him are given the assignments.

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Monday, April 17, 2017 

Live action adaptation puts politics in the Shell

The recent live action remake of Mamoru Oshii's 1995 anime based on the manga from 1989 may not have been a big success. But as this Australian Daily Review article about the film reveals, something may have gone by unnoticed during all the fuss made by SJWs worried about whitewashing (which they never did when Man of Steel turned Perry White black), this despite how Japanese audiences aren't bothered:
Major has been told her brain was taken from an immigrant killed by terrorists, but all is not what it seems etcetera etcerera.
Most certainly not. Did the filmmakers conceive a metaphor for trying to separate between illegal immigrants and terrorists infiltrating western countries? I saw the anime film nearly a decade ago, and I don't remember any of this propaganda taking place there.

The funny thing is how, despite the movie bearing a likely political stance reflecting their own, SJWs clearly weren't interested in the live action film regardless if the box office returns say anything. Still, I think some manga creations work far better as they are on the printed page.

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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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