Monday, March 27, 2017 

NYT distorts about diversity

The New York Times has another puff piece about all the "diversity" the mainstream are now forcibly engaging in, and predictably, they can only think to write up distortions. For example:
While the comic book industry has been making great strides in its efforts to reflect the real world in its characters, the same has not always been true of their creators, who have typically been straight, white and male. But the ratio of representation continues to change. David F. Walker, who is black, is writing a new Luke Cage series for Marvel that begins in May; that same month introduces a superhero universe from Lion Forge, with a diverse team of creators and characters, including Noble, the flagship hero who is black; and this summer will see the return of Kim & Kim, from Black Mask Studios, about two bounty hunters, one a trans woman, the other bisexual, written by Magdalene Visaggio, who is transgender. They join the growing list of comic book series with diverse characters at the forefront.
I miss the part where Macedonians and Peruvians get some emphasis. And curious how no mention is made of Ramona Fradon, the artist of Metamorpho, Trina Robbins, artist of Vampirella, or Carole Seuling, the writer of Shanna the She-Devil. Nor do they mention that George Perez is of Latino background. And Walker's awful personality and politics go throughly without comment.

At least the creations they cite from smaller publishers are their own ideas and agencies, and thus weren't created merely to replace established white protagonists.
For a long time, “the American comic book industry has marginalized and excluded the voices of writers of color,” said Joseph Phillip Illidge, a senior editor at Lion Forge Comics. That has caused some fans to ask that characters of color have their stories done by creators of color.
This is extremely ambiguous, and obscures what's become the real picture at Marvel for starters: instead of offering a creator of color the chance to write a book starring a white protagonist like Spider-Man, they just seem to assign them to script those characters who're already of different racial background like Black Panther. Indeed, I don't think there's ever been a black writer assigned to Spidey since Jim Owsley (Christopher Priest) wrote a number of issues in the mid-80s, but if there's any black writer who did get assignments involving white protagonists, it's him (and if memory serves, he was the co-creator of Quantum & Woody). So what are they driving at?

And it sure is funny how they don't say fans of whatever they're talking about ever asked that creators of color be provided the assignment of writing heroes who aren't of color. How come no mention whether these fans they speak of ever asked if a black writer can get a gig on Superman, for example? Or whether there already has been? I know there have been some women who worked on the Man of Steel, like Louise Simonson, that's for sure. Today, however, with Eddie Berganza still editing the Superman franchise under protection of Dan DiDio and company, the chances we'll see one again soon if there's currently none is probably very minor.
When characters and creators share a special bond, there is an increased chance of authenticity. That seems to be the case in Ms. Rivera’s work on America, judging by the early reviews. [...]
Here, I'd say the mistake they're making is dragging race and sexual orientation into the whole mess. Why must racial issues be such a big deal? And if they are, who says somebody who's not of color can't pull it off? If Stan Lee and Jack Kirby could do it with Black Panther, Tony Isabella with Black Lightning, and Archie Goodwin with Luke Cage, then I think it's assured the same could be done even today. Especially if, let us consider, race doesn't have to factor into in everything at all costs. Point: racial issues alone do not a talented story make.

They do mention that there have been say, Latino creators who've written up what's supposedly lacking (e.g-Love & Rockets). However, they don't have any comment on why only costumed superheroes seem to matter in the mainstream. At the end:
While having diversity among creators and characters is a step forward, more needs to be done, said Mr. Illidge, who also writes for Comic Book Resources (cbr.com), where he spotlights diversity in comics and popular entertainment. “The ultimate answer cannot be that people can only write characters that reflect their experience,” he said. “Part of the answer should be that companies that publish books that contain a significant number of characters of color should have a significant number of writers of color in their talent pool.” Ultimately, “the more diverse voices you have in the room, the greater the worldview you’ll get in your fiction.”
But does that guarantee an entertaining story? Hardly. And this still doesn't answer any queries about why the diversity-advocates in the mainstream seem more concerned about introducing superheroes of color than civilian co-stars. Nor does it answer any questions about why only skin color matters, and not nationalities like Kenyans, Argentinians, Columbians, French, Romanians and Georgians. Hence, this is not an issue of "diversity" at all. It's just more of the same limited cliches.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017 

Marvel's new Miss America is a lesbian

Proving Marvel's still got some social justice gimmicks running amok, the UK Guardian wrote a puff piece about a solo book they're launching starring a Latina character named America Chavez (a possible allusion to Venezuela's Hugo?), who also happens to be a lesbian:
Young, queer, Latina … and strong enough to punch star-shaped holes in reality. America Chavez – AKA unmasked avenger Miss America – is a welcome departure from outdated superhero archetypes. Since 2015, she has enlivened Marvel’s heavyweight super-team the Ultimates with her determined, no-bull attitude and unparalleled street style (instead of the usual unchanging crimefighting costume, Chavez favours a freewheeling wardrobe of covetable shorts, hoodies and jackets united by red, white, blue, stars and stripes). Marvel has finally realised her potential as a standalone hero: this month’s America #1 launches Chavez as the headliner of her own ongoing comic series. Taking time out from team-ups, she has enrolled at Sotomayor University, an advanced campus that includes a Department of Radical Women & Intergalactic Indigenous Peoples and a Fifth Element-obsessed sorority called the Leelumultipass Phi Theta Betas. Before long, she is teleporting through time and space to ace a tricky homework paper, in the process offering a fairly definitive position on the morality of punching Nazis.
Which, in the minds of moonbats like the Guardian's contributors, is a thinly veiled code for punching conservatives. It may be one thing to make the new Miss America Latina, but making her a lesbian as well is only stuffing in far too much ultra-leftism, and makes the political leanings far too obvious. Which the paper is already doing when they talk about "outdated archetypes". Well if that's what they think, then there's no need for them to read any superhero comics; they can go right back to reading Judge Dredd with its bizarre depictions of the USA as a colossal totalitarian police state in the far future.
If that all sounds rather more exuberant than the usual superhero fare, it might be because of the atypical creative team behind the project. Artist Joe Quinones has previously explored some of the more absurd corners of the Marvel universe while working on the irreverent Howard the Duck series. Writer Gabby Rivera, on the other hand, is making a very high-profile comics debut. But as the young, queer Latina author of YA novel Juliet Takes a Breath, she seems indisputably qualified to plot the reality-hopping adventures of Miss America. (“I’ve always dreamt up wild, powerful and carefree superheroes that look like me and my family,” Rivera recently told the Washington Post: “Thick, brown, goofy, beautiful.”) And if there was any doubt about the fierce direction of the series, Quinones’s cover for April’s second issue is a righteous tribute to Beyoncé’s Formation video.
Well at least we know where the writer's coming from. But which doesn't make this new take on one of Marvel's early superheroine creations from 1943 (Madeline Joyce) any better. All it does is give strong hints the writer's using this as a platform for her leftist politics. It should also serve to remind everyone how ill-advised it is to think Marvel's moving away from leftist politics so easily.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017 

The new Aqualad is yet another product of social justice mentality

In the next example of how "Rebirth" is far from repairing all the PC damage Dan DiDio's done to the DCU, the new Aqualad introduced in 2010 is back, and is defined by homosexuality:
This March, Aqualad Jackson Hyde will join the ranks of DC's most powerful young heroes in Teen Titans #6.

Writer Benjamin Percy will bring back the character -- last seen in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 being berated by his mother for being gay -- into the series in a story fittingly titled "Aqualad Rising."
It's more like Aqualad sinking...into a quagmire of SJW balderdash. Say, if the mother's being made out to look bad, what are the chances they've brewed up an attack on parents, conservative-leaning or otherwise? This is no different from the time when Scott Lobdell wrote up a gay teenager in the Titans called Bunker. It's just an excuse to shoehorn a gay character into almost every series produced by a mainstream publisher, and shove the agenda down the audience's throats.

This might be one of the reasons why, according to Movie Web, Aqualad won't be part of the Aquaman movie's cast. It practically underscores the differences in marketing: whereas the filmmakers may want to appeal more to family audiences because they know that's where the real dollars lie, the comic publishers, obsessed as they are with leftist politics, have deliberately ghettoized themselves, proving they don't want audiences as big as other mediums, even though, as the Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and Archie TV shows, and even the recent Disney live action remake of Beauty and the Beast from 1991 proves, they're careening off the rails too.

The new Aqualad was a co-creation of Geoff Johns, already known as one of the worst writers to befall DC since the turn of the century. I'm not sure if he's the one who characterized Hyde as gay, but it's pretty apparent he has no issues with it either.

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Friday, March 24, 2017 

The pointless controversy over Netflix's new Iron Fist series continues

The new Iron Fist TV series on Netflix hasn't been well received, and now, its star, Finn Jones, is claiming Trump's incumbency has what to do with the failure:
Jones, who stars as billionaire New York businessman Danny Rand — who becomes the titular hero “Iron Fist” — has previously addressed critics’ complaints with the series, but offered up a new theory in an interview this week with RadioTimes.

The 28-year-old actor noted that the profile of his “white American billionaire superhero” character is too similar to that of Donald Trump, and that has been off-putting for liberal, Trump-hating television critics.

“I think the world has changed a lot since we were filming that television show,” Jones said. “I’m playing a white American billionaire superhero, at a time when the white American billionaire archetype is public enemy number one, especially in the US.”

“We filmed the show way before Trump’s election, and I think it’s very interesting to see how that perception, now that Trump’s in power, how it makes it very difficult to root for someone coming from white privilege when that archetype is public enemy number one,” the actor insisted.
Why does that sound an awful lot like anti-Trump rhetoric? And what good does it do for Jones to say that when earlier, he claimed critics don't get the series because it's "made for fans" and not critics?

But, if that's what he thinks, then does that also sum up his view of Batman and Iron Man, whose alter egos are also millionaires? If that's what he thinks, then he's got no business associating himself with anything connected with millionaire characters, and neither do the SJWs he appears to be part of.

As far as the artistic quality of the finished product goes, Heat Street says the show's failure isn't because the star is white, so Jones' argument falls flat.

This isn't the only subject that's arisen involving Danny Rand. Roy Thomas, who co-created the white martial artist with Gil Kane in 1974, had to defend his creation from all the screwballs accusing them of "whitewashing" in an interview with the otherwise pretentious Inverse website (via Entertainment Weekly):
You mentioned before all of the whitewashing controversy that’s been swirling around Iron Fist. Could you expand on that a bit?

Yeah, someone made me vaguely aware of that. I try not to think about it too much. I have so little patience for some of the feelings that some people have. I mean, I understand where it’s coming from. You know, cultural appropriation, my god. It’s just an adventure story. Don’t these people have something better to do than to worry about the fact that Iron Fist isn’t Oriental, or whatever word? I know Oriental isn’t the right word now, either.

He was a character for a comic book at a different time. It’s very easy to second-guess anything. You can argue about Tarzan, you can argue about almost any character who came up then is bound to be not quite PC by some later standard or other. Okay, so you can make some adjustments. If they wanted to kill off white Iron Fist and come up with one who wasn’t Caucasian, that wouldn’t have bothered me, but neither am I ashamed for having made up one who was. He wasn’t intended to stand for any race. He was just a man who was indoctrinated into a certain thing.
While he's correct that the SJWs are all making a huge fuss over nothing, I'd like to just quibble with his claim it wouldn't have bothered him if Danny Rand were killed off. It depends. If Danny died a hero, and not as part of some publicity stunt and crossover, I suppose that would work well enough. But if it did turn out to be part of a sensationalized stunt - one that might even turn Danny into a villain for the sake of it, which is arguably worse - then that would be objectionable. In any case, I'm still disappointed if Roy buys into the disposability mindset that saw even some of his own creations for DC killed off in the early 1990s, during the Eclipso: The Darkness Within crossover. And the irony is that some of the biggest victims at the time were a black girl and a Latina, Beth Chapel and Yolanda Montez from Infinity Inc, protegees of the original Dr. Mid-Nite and Wildcat. Something the SJWs attacking him now don't seem to mind, I notice. Why some characters can't just be written into retirement or quietly dropped from the book casts I just don't understand.
I just think some people have too much time on their hands, I guess. They have an infinite capacity for righteous indignation. By and large, that tends to be misplaced quite often because if you’re becoming all upset over things that are just stories, and if you don’t like it, instead of trying to change somebody else’s story, go out and make up your own character and do a good job of it. That’s just fine, but why waste time trying to run down other people’s characters simply because they weren’t created with your standards in mind?

Now if something is really racist or degrading to a sex or race, an ethnic group or something like that, that’s something else, but Iron Fist isn’t that and never has been. It’s all about a fictitious race, a fictitious place like a Shangri-La, and one person who happens to be its emissary. There’s no reason why he can’t be Caucasian.

Because I did want to reach out to all races. Marvel has always pioneered — for years — in having people of other races in the comics, from Black Panther through Luke Cage and a few others
. I made up the concept for another group a little later, I think it was in one of the kung fu magazines we had, “magazines” being the black and white comics, as we called them. I made up a concept — I forget if I made up the name — called the Sons of the Tiger. It was three people: one white, one black, one Asian. I turned that over to other people and let them handle it. I figured if that doesn’t hold, people are just too damn particular, they’re just too damn sensitive for their own good or anybody else’s. But then I really don’t have much sympathy at all to trigger warnings or any of that crap. I think it’s overdone and nobody but a baby needs it, an intellectual baby.

On the other hand, if they had decided to make Iron Fist an Asian, that would have been fine with me, too. I wouldn’t have cared. I didn’t consider myself the safeguard of some kind of Caucasian literary standard or anything like that. But I would have found it easier to write about a Caucasian, so that’s one reason I probably did it. If somebody had suggested, “You want to make it so he’s Asian?” Well, we could have done that too.

He could have a buddy who was Asian. It could have been a trio, like that group I just mentioned. You know, just make up a new character. Don’t worry about trashing another one. Just make up a new one. There’s always room for one, and it’s always better to be creative than to be a critic. I’ve been both. It’s better to be creative. There’s nothing wrong with being a critic, but after a while, you’re basically talking about other people’s work. That’s perfectly okay. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a perfectly respectable thing, but I think you should try to put yourself in their shoes instead of constantly complaining because they didn’t do exactly what you think they should have done. Rather than having that, you should go out and do it yourself.
And he's right. But these are just the very whiners he acknowledged they are, talentless people who have no interest in impressing upon anybody but their overblown egos.

The sad part is that, following this valid complaint by Thomas, SJWs on Twitter predictably sought to label him a "racist" and all other manner of vile descriptions I'm sure they wanted to pin on him for a long time. I have no doubt they think the same about Stan Lee, because he, too, produced ideas that don't fit their PC visions. No doubt, the SJWs see them as just some outmoded "dinosaurs" who produced escapist fare they never intended to read. They refused to recognize that he's aware "oriental" may not be considered an appropriate term for "Asian" in the US these days (over in the UK, it's still used) and just proved his point - they've either got too much time on their hands, or, they've got nothing better to do. That's exactly why they're not even requesting Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu, who is Asian, be considered for TV adaptation.

But if Joe Quesada and company decided a few years ago, I'm sure they would've been more than overjoyed to replace Danny Rand with a different character under the mask, just like they've done with the Hulk, Iron Man and Ms. Marvel, if it made for some short-term publicity in their hopes that SJWs would actually read the crap it was bound to be. As for the Iron Fist TV show, it probably is on its way to becoming the least successful of the Netflix adaptations, but I really can't bring myself to care, seeing how these adaptations have taken higher priority for Marvel than all the comics they're still desecrating.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017 

A parent recommended one of Gerard Jones' books, despite the scandal he's now embroiled in

A woman writing on the GeekDad/Mom site about video game playing recommended a book written by a certain onetime comics writer and historian, totally oblivious to what he got himself into over two months ago:
...Look, we all know that there are a lot of people who just don’t “get” geek parenting. They think that board gaming is fine, but really, all those video games are just rotting kids’ brains. They report back to us about research that is outdated and biased. Yes, even scientific research comes with a bias. Just read Killing Monsters by Gerard Jones.

To be honest, before researching for the panel, I knew video games weren’t bad for kids. We all do, right? What I didn’t realize was just how good they could be. From my perspective, the most interesting part of the research turned out to be how kids use gaming. For kids, much as Jones noted, gaming is something they choose to do not something done to them. Kids want to be in control and often don’t feel they are. [...]
Looks like somebody didn't get the memo, or she's just plain ignorant. Hey lady, haven't you heard? Jones was arrested last December 29 for trafficking child porn on his computer, and is suspected of child molestation in Britain. Some recently planned trades collecting his past work from the early 1990s have been canceled or put on hold till who knows when. That's not somebody whose "research" I'd want to recommend. Talk about outdated indeed! Because that's where it's headed, and I wouldn't be shocked if there was some kind of bias in Jones' book to boot. The topic itself of whether or not video game violence has a negative effect on kids may be valid, but Jones is not qualified to argue it.

And about that little matter of "being in control": that's certainly what Jones wanted if he really did pull the crime he's suspected of committing in England. If the writer of the piece on gaming failed to pick up on the news about Jones, I suppose she could be forgiven for not realizing what he's been arrested for, ditto the impact on the history and research books he's written. But if she does know, then she's embarrassed game players and comic book readers alike by recommending the work of an author who doesn't deserve our time.

On a related note, it's eerie how that coverscan for the Breakdowns crossover Jones was involved in on Justice League America sums up the situation almost perfectly. He really did taint plenty of books with the stench of his felonies.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Yet another Bat-centric crossover

Still another sign DC's "rebirth" is anything but friendly to writers who'd like to do self-contained storytelling where development doesn't rely on crossovers:
Ever since Flashpoint, DC Comics has tried not to stray too far into roster-wide comic book event series. That’s going to change this year with Dark Days—a big new project being pitched as what could be an over-the-top sendoff to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on the Dark Knight.

Today DC announced that Snyder, James Tynion IV, Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, and John Romita Jr. are teaming up for two one-shot comics called Dark Days: The Forge and Dark Days: The Casting that promise to “reveal the dark underbelly of the DC Universe” before heading into a new line-wide event series.
What a joke to say they've tried not to go too far into the muck. Why, the Rebirth crossover itself was basically that. The word "dark" alone is a sound giveaway that this likely to be just another excuse to wallow in grisly angles that became alienating long ago. Why, there have been far too many Bat-crossovers over the past 2 decades, now that I think of it, starting with Knightfall and later getting worse with Bruce Wayne: Murderer?/Fugitive, and more recently, Batman: Night of the Owls. Sometimes, I wonder if there's far more crossovers spreading over the Batbooks than any other franchise with additional titles DC publishes.

So here's one more sign that any attempts at improvement for the DCU are unconvincing. So long as they stick to these weak examples for publication, and Dan DiDio remains in charge, they won't improve.

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Sienkiewicz is not helping with these

Here's three more tweets Bill Sienkiewicz wrote that are really galling. First is one about Donald Trump's meeting with German premier Angela Merkel:

Wait a sec. Wasn't this the same guy who claimed he was outraged by Gerard Jones' illegal activities? In that case, what's he doing ignoring Merkel's failure to take any proper action to deal with the Muslim migrants who committed mass rapes in Germany? After seeing this, I'm starting to wonder just how serious he really is. If Trump didn't shake her hand, I'd say Merkel didn't deserve any after all the trouble she caused.

I can't tell what he's actually saying, because the text appears to have been sawed off (the result of Facebook's unreliable connections), but if he's acting as apologist for people like Merkel, then I don't know what he's expecting to accomplish. It's bad enough when there's predatory men out there, but it may be worse when you have apologist women enabling such atrocities. Then, on Hilary Clinton, he says:

She should what? Run for mayor of a small town? Even suburbanites deserve far better than her. I think after what Clinton did to Kathy Shelton, nobody should vote her into even a minor office. On the other hand, if he's saying Clinton should just retire, that would be more appropriate.

And these aren't the only revolting things Sienkiewicz's been doing lately. Over a month ago, he offered a free sketch to anybody who'd be willing to pull Donald Trump off balance while shaking hands with him on camera! He apparently erased that post, probably realizing the legal violations it could embody. Later, however, he pretended that Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau had actually done what he hoped when he shook hands with Trump, but when I watched the ABC video, nothing bad happened, so one can only wonder if Sinkiewicz really has lost his marbles. As of now, it's clear he's become a very sad case.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Is it really a "RessureXion"?

Screen Rant claims Marvel's setting things right again with the X-Men franchise. But I wouldn't be so sure of that. It says here:
...the “ResurrXion” promo tracks the new groupings and solo books across the soft reboot. The House of Ideas will be bringing the X-gene enabled back in near-record numbers, with ten different comics – including five new team books (X-Men Blue, X-Men Gold, Generation X, Weapon X, and Astonishing X-Men) as well as five new or returning solo series (Iceman, Jean Grey, Cable, Old Man Logan, All-New Wolverine) – all kicking off this April.

ResurrXion picks up after the X-Men’s short but brutal war with the Inhumans. For the first time in nearly a year, mutants everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief, as the Terrigen mists responsible for the M-Pox have been neutralized. However, the various X-teams will have to pick up the rubble and deal with the repercussions of their actions, including the fallout from their (understandable) preemptive strike on the Inhumans, Cyclops' branding as a war criminal, and Emma Frost’s insane vendetta against the Inhumans (and subsequent escape). The next round of X-books brings new adversaries and situations, in addition to classic threats like the Hellfire Club, Magneto’s shifting allegiances, and the ever-present global anti-mutant sentiments.
Yeah, that last part sure sounds old, but it's probably not the worst of the lot. If Cyclops is still established as Xavier's killer as well as a war criminal, then they haven't solved anything. Nor are they helping if they've turned Frost back into the crook she initially was when she ran a rival school in New Mutants during the 1980s.

Oh, and what about Iceman? How do we know he won't still be a time-displaced doppelganger? They recently posted the following item, about a new miniseries with Bobby Drake, said to be the first in this "resurreXion".
[...] Iceman was also revealed as gay, when Jean Grey accidentally outed a younger version of himself in All-New X-Men #40 (2012) – after which the older Mr. Drake was forced to admit his sexual orientation as well. Since then, he’s become popular with the LGBT+ community, as well as remaining a popular if sometimes sideline character in the Marvel Universe, at least until now.
Oh, has he, really? Gee, I don't think sales reflect that particularly well either. Anyway, look how they parrot that laughable illogic of "revealed". Why they can't just say "retconned" or "established" I have no idea. All I know is that they're only compounding insult to injury and making everyone less certain this'll reverse the falsehood Marvel's perpetrating. And indeed, if this is merely a "soft" reboot, that could suggest they have no intention of letting go of the whole retcon so easily. And of course, there's Joe Quesada/Axel Alonso's continued presence at Marvel to consider. Again, they alone are a prominent reason many Marvel fans want to stay away from their output, even if they cut out all the political avalanche they've been shoving down everyone's throats over the past few years.

In fact, politics or no politics, there's still that whole matter involving the company wide crossovers to consider. If they keep on with that, then there's no stand-alone storytelling to find. The embarrassment they led to via Secret Wars has got to be put to bed. And the signs are pretty strong that they have no intention of doing that. Again, that's why there's no point in being tempted to buy what they have in store.

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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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