Saturday, February 23, 2019 

What new horrors have been slipped into the pages of the Savage Dragon?

I know that in the past 15 years or so, whatever "qualities" Erik Larsen's school creation ever had, they've been trashed ever since by the addition of offensive content that's gotten to its lowest ebb yet in the 236th issue, which Critical Blast spotted hidden in the pages:
...there's no real guessing at what's involved in Image Comics' SAVAGE DRAGON #236, which features the four offspring of the titular character. The storyline, called "Savage Little Dragons" finds they tykes doing various kid activities -- crawling out of the crib, fighting with each other, watching underage rape porn on the television.

Wait. What? [...]

A child is hit in the head with a rock, then punched from behind. And then, yes, sodomized by the other child who is then seen walking away as he pulls up his pants.
If you have a strong stomach, go take a look at the pictures provided by the site, but for now, I'll just say that if this wouldn't be acceptable in a manga book, then obviously, it's equally offensive in a western comic too. At this point, Larsen can no longer claim to be somebody who understands anything about art, and isn't qualified to make the arguments he did 4 years ago. For now, here's the bottom line provided by the other site about this case:
Here's our take: mature jokes are mature jokes. But pedophile-pandering rape scenes aren't good for anybody, and they're certainly not good for comics.
That's why a rape joke that turned up in the latter half of the anime series adapted from Rurouni Kenshin, whose own mangaka was arrested and charged with storing child porn in his office and house, was one of the worst moments to be seen in a Japanese product too. It goes without saying Larsen's just further demonstrated how morally bankrupt he's become, with one of his other recent disturbing storylines involving 2 Lolita-ish lesbians. And where are all the social justice hypocrites in all this mess? Practicing double-standards, as usual, with their silence. I remember when the Daily Dot, a pretty poor site themselves, attacked him over a scene involving a threesome affair, which is a pretty cheap subject to take issue with in contrast to the current horror. If what was found in #236 is what Larsen's sunk to now, that's why he's trashed whatever valid argument he ever made, and is only giving Image a bad name today.

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Friday, February 22, 2019 

DC's sales fell so badly, they're cutting much of their line

So it turns out that in the long run, DC's offerings of the past years have resulted in failure, due obviously to poor storytelling, and now, it's resulting in a seriously reduced output line:
As DC Comics continues to take a beating in the direct market, it is learned the company behind Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Justice League will be cutting their line.

While rumors had it that DC would be cutting their line by more than half ("The New 22"), at the ComicsPRO retailer summit being held in Charlotte, North Carolina, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio confirmed they would be cutting their publishing numbers back by a further ten to fifteen percent, as he said that’s what DC believes the market can bear.

DC recently shipped 87 comics for the month of January, so the reduction would see around 74 to 78 comics produced, or potentially less, as DC only put out 52 in December (4-week month).
That's what also happens when you waste time with so many company wide crossovers, poor characterization, trashing of continuity and morale, and like Marvel, they've also poisoned their books with leftist politics. And through all this, it sure doesn't sound like DiDio's willing to take responsibility and resign, considering he played a very prominent part in this. Also notice he's still the spokesperson at the summit, while Bob Harras is largely absent, in contrast to Marvel's editors. Their comics are still so bad today under DiDio/Harras, the market can't even bear that much.

Interestingly, Ethan Van Sciver spoke a few weeks ago about how it's gotten to this point:
That on top of the fact that the comic book industry is collapsing under the weight of apathy at this point. In 2016, there were 2306 comic book stores, now there are 1900. Comic book stores are closing down and going out of business at a startling and frightening [rate]. Once we reach the critical mass of 1500 retailers, for companies like DC and Marvel to solicit their product to, it will no longer be viable. All during this collapse, DC and Marvel have employed price hikes, they have employed various gimmick scams. I mean I call them scams, that is what I think they are. A retailers job is to look at the product that they are being offered and then kind of decide based on what they know about their customer base, the people who come into their store and what they buy, how many copies of each one of these comic books that they should provide on their stands, for complete sell-through. Nobody wants to be stuck with this product, you know two weeks after its date it has gone cold. At this points comics are like bread, they have a sell-by date, and they go stale and people do not buy them when they go stale. That is the situation with comics now.

On top of this, politics within the comics, divisive politics, and enormous unnecessary... events... these silly events... like 'hey, this is Civil War 3' and there are 1200 little spinoffs books that aren't necessary to read, and it's just too much. Foot traffic has declined in these stores. Retailers are considering what DC and Marvel are doing as predatory publishing. It is a problem for them to be able to gauge how to responsibly run their own businesses when Marvel and DC are employing tricks like this. It's catastrophic. This is #comicsgate. As much as anti-comicgaters within the comic book industry would like to marginalize our voices and let people know, gaslight people, that we are wrong, we are crazy, all this stuff, the comic book industry is healthy and will survive forever, this is just a temporary setback, I don't think so. I've been through two different comic book crashes and never felt the way I feel now. I've never seen things as so very very very very bleak and those crashes, like the one in 1998, the lowest selling book was like the highest selling book today. At the point, we thought it was extinction. We thought the comic book industry was going to go extinct. That's what's going on.
I should note though, that van Sciver was involved in at least a few crossovers himself like Blackest Night, and anybody who contributes to books like those that build on tasteless components and other elements never did the industry any favors. Geoff Johns certainly didn't. Now, it's all finally taking its toll, and financially, no company who priced their monthly books at 4 dollars or more helped themselves either.

And since DiDio's the one in the spotlight at these retail panels, that's why he should agree to resign, and the Time Warner managers should consider what a failure he's proven to be, and get him to leave.

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What is so great about Bart Sears' art?

Newsarama reported that Bart Sears, whom I believe is an early example of an overrated artist by modern standards, is funding a new art book called Brutes and Babes:
Ready, set, draw! Published by Ominous Press, BART SEARS' DRAWING POWERFUL HEROES: BRUTES AND BABES was a huge success on Kickstarter, reaching nearly 300% of its funding goal. Now, DRAWING POWERFUL HEROES: BRUTES AND BABES VOLUME 2 is underway, with the Kickstarter campaign going live on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

[...] Acclaimed for his bold storytelling in comics including the million-selling Turok, Justice League International, X-O Manowar, Legends of the Dark Knight, and Violator from Spawn’s Todd McFarlane, Bart Sears taught an entire generation to draw with his Brutes and Babes column in Wizard Magazine. Bart presented dozens of drawing and storytelling tutorials, providing an expansive education in comic art and illustration.
I just don't get this. If you know where to look, there's examples from Sears' past portfolio that put his talents in question. For example, take this panel with Power Girl from Justice League Europe #7 in 1989-90, where Karen Starr looks facially more masculine than feminine, and this seemed to occur quite a bit during the first few issues. I don't think Sue Dibny and French JLE embassy chief Catherine Cobert suffered as badly in their facial design (nor Fire, also seen in the pic), but PG was most definitely the victim in Sears's art. If you think that panel on the side is bad though, wait'll you see the picture at the bottom of the list on this page here, which makes her look alternately masculine or like an old hag. What would prompt Sears, early in his career, to make Power Girl look so surprisingly ugly in her facial design, botching the ability to give full credit for his work on her assets? Most other artists before and after usually had better results than this.

And that's not all. About 15 years later, Sears also drew a new volume of Captain America and the Falcon, and here's but a sample of his character design for the two of them:
In this drawing for the premiere issue's cover, the Star-Spangled Avenger and the Falcon have heads that look absurdly fat, like inflated balloons, not all that different from how Rob Liefeld drew Cap for Heroes Reborn, and the muscles look pretty dreadful too. You could argue Sears' style hadn't aged well by the time he got around to drawing this mess. And that's why I'm wondering: what's so great about Sears' design? In a way, he was an early example of the kind of mediocrity that struck comicdom in the past few years. There've been several examples of Marvel artists drawing women - including Kitty Pryde - to look masculine, and even more recently, I'd noticed one of the Spider-Man artists making Peter Parker look feminine in terms of his mouth(!), and what Sears did was like a precursor. It's not funny, and even if it were, the recent insults would only make the jokes look dated.

So why would anybody consider Sears a master, or his project worth crowdfunding? I can only assume it's the mainstream press pushing a false narrative, because in hindsight, Sears, alas, was not one of the best artists in past decades, and his art is more like brute than babe.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019 

What does Netflix's cancellation of its Marvel adaptations suggest?

Tech Radar reports the TV shows based on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are being canceled, pretty much ending what they had to broadcast based on Marvel products:
Netflix has announced that it will cancel all future seasons of Jessica Jones and The Punisher. The former is just about to release its third season on Netflix while the latter just had its second season debut in January.

The scripts for the shows will join Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil in the great garbage bin in the sky and signify the end of an era for the streaming service.
What could be the reason? They say further down the article:
The cancellation isn't too surprising given the recent cancellations of Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil, but it's still unfortunate nonetheless.

While neither Netflix nor Marvel has come out with a clean answer as to why these shows are getting canned despite decent viewership and stalwart fanbases, some suspect that it has to do with a disagreement between the two media powerhouses and the imminent arrival of Disney’s own streaming service Disney+.
But if the 4 shows aren't revived, that could suggest they're not doing so well in ratings. IMO, it's hard to feel sorry a show based on a Brian Bendis creation got canned, and I'm honestly disappointed they based the look for Luke Cage on the image Bendis had developed as far back as 2002, with a bald head and beard. If they don't like the metallic tiara, that's one thing, but why they think a guy who had hair on his head in better days has to be changed to something so ludicrous as a bald head and beard is plain stupefying (curiously enough, the character design today makes him look much taller than Iron Fist, whereas in the Bronze Age, while he may have been taller than Danny Rand, he wasn't as gigantic looking as he looks in some illustrations I've seen of Luke Cage post-2002).

All that aside, it's just too hard for me to care about live action adaptations of comics that are being desecrated by uncaring hooligans who insult the fans every chance they get. Without respect for the source material, there's no point in upholding live action adaptations.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019 

DC cancels a Mark Russell story featuring Jesus following Christian groups' objections

I'd wanted to write about this story earlier, but had difficulty deciding which article might have the best info to comment on. Now, here's an interesting Fox report about a Vertigo project written by leftist Mark Russell called "Second Coming" that was scrapped as Christian groups who thought it insulting pressed them to let it go:
DC Comics canceled a controversial comic series starring Jesus after an online petition that blasted the work as "outrageous and blasphemous" collected more than 200,000 signatures.

The Second Coming series that reimagines the Son of God coming to earth and learning from "the world’s favorite savior," who is actually named "Sun-Man," was pulled from shelves and "will not be resolicited" by the adult graphic comic arm, DC Vertigo, according to an update sent to comic stores.

"Can you imagine the media and political uproar if DC Comics was altering and poking fun at the story of Muhammad...or Buddha?" the CitizenGo petition states. "This blasphemous content should not be tolerated. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. His story should not be ridiculed for the sake of selling comic books."
Now that's an excellent point about Islam's "prophet". If anything, it would make very little difference how the pioneer of jihadism in the 7th century was portrayed; DC wouldn't do it because Islam is the only belief system that's given a free pass, and for years now, the subject of terrorism's been practically banned in mainstream comicdom, with very few exceptions, if at all. What has become de riguerre is depicting Islam in a positive light only. As for Buddhism, I think adherents would be more likely to object if they found their religion depicted unflatteringly, though if the MSM would object, it'd be nothing compared to any objections they'd have about depicting Islam negatively.

One does have to wonder though why, 15 years earlier, women's rights groups didn't come out against Identity Crisis, if they knew it made light of sexual assault in the crudest ways possible. Sure, I know social media wasn't as widely developed then as now, but still, I do believe if liberal feminist groups wanted to, they could've spoken out noticeably, and you have to wonder if the book's metaphorical leftist politics explain why they didn't. Of course, today, after the Weinstein scandal, that's why it'd be much harder to produce such a repugnant story without some kind of backlash.

And I suppose that's why DC decided to abandon this silly sci-fi mix with religious history, as Christian groups weren't going to put up with the perception they were easy targets anymore.
The writer, Mark Russell, denied that the petition was the reason Vertigo pulled the series. He said he wanted "to get it out soon and without a bunch of additional changes."

"DC did not do anything untoward to me," Russell wrote on Twitter Wednesday night. "I asked for the rights back and they gracefully agreed. They’ve been a pleasure to work with and it will still be released, albeit with a different publisher."
Which doesn't mean anybody aware of just how pretentious this guy is has to read it, of course. But, it does demonstrate how disastrous DC's revival of the Vertigo imprint that came to be used as an umbrella for creator-owned titles is turning out to be. The new releases are mainly left-wing agenda metaphors, including Border Town, cancelled as it was because of the sex abuse scandal its author found himself in. With any luck, the imprint will soon be gone for good, brought to its knees by shameless SJWs at DC who thought they were being clever, but clearly weren't. Put another way, the Second Coming of Vertigo struck out.

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Monday, February 18, 2019 

Box office prospects for Captain Marvel movie looking lower than before

Cosmic Book News took a look at recent info strongly signaling the financial prospects for the new Captain Marvel film starring Brie Larson could be worse than previously anticipated, confirming her politicization of the production is discouraging potential filmgoers:
...the bad news for Kevin Feige and Captain Marvel is that those projections have now dropped upwards of $80 million (note: article has been updated to reflect million and not percent), as it is reported the flick may only open around $100 million.

The latest projections come from Deadline, with the site offering Captain Marvel will now open in line with other Marvel origin films, but won't come anywhere near Black Panther's $202 million. Interestingly enough, further evidence Captain Marvel is not as highly regarded among fans comes from the fact that Black Panther supporters have not supported the Captain Marvel gofundme to get girls to go see the movie.
Let me see if I have this right. They need a crowdfunding campaign to encourage girls to see the film? They don't know how to rely on standard procedure in film promotion and advertising for anybody? How strange. But of course, there's also Larson's own bungling to consider:
There is also a huge problem with Brie Larson who has been spinning Captain Marvel as a feminist movie, essentially isolating the audience, and she even recently came out against white males for some reason. I'm actually surprised and disappointed in Kevin Feige that he is allowing Larson to destroy the MCU audience, and that Disney and CEO Bob Iger haven't learned anything from Star Wars. It's never a good thing to split the audience or insult them. Do they not want white males to go see the movie?
You could even ask whether they want white females to see the movie, and if the details emerging say anything, Larson's approach is proving embarrassingly bad for the ladies too. If you really want a movie to succeed, not lose money and potentially wash up a career, you can't go alienating anyone. Yet, that's exactly what Larson's been doing. But, should we be surprised if Feige and Iger are doing this? If their politics are what they could be, it may not be too surprising if they've suddenly decided to let them get the better of their business approach. "Go with the flow" seems to be main driving factor in some leftist circles these days.
As I have been tweeting and responding to fans, the storyline surrounding the character is also cause for concern - something Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo have recently responded to - as the character's movie is not even out and already she is said to be this overpowerful character, the new face of the MCU, reason for the formation of the Avengers, new leader of the Avengers, etc. The same arguments apply to any male character as well, as Feige is retconning Captain Marvel as a be all end all character in the MCU, which is coming off as more and more ridiculous, especially as Larson does more and more interviews (with non-white males, because why - white males are bad?? Larson does realize her bosses are white males, right? Guess that didn't come into question when she signed her $5 million deal for Captain Marvel and her 7-picture MCU deal, right? Is Larson buying any young underprivileged girls tickets with that multi-million dollar contract??).
This too is something I'd noticed - touting Carol Danvers as potentially even more powerful than Thor, or maybe even Galactus! Even heroes with formidable powers usually exert a certain amount of cerebral intelligence to get the job done, mainly because we usually expect the villains, even if not superpowered per se, to be formidable in intellect themselves, and using their twisted intellect to scheme against the heroes in terrible ways and use it for creating weapons to menace the heroes (I recall reading some Adam Strange stories where Alva Xar was presented as a villain on Rann with a brain to rival that of the Earth-born hero). To make the leading lady sound near invulnerable seriously undermines whatever excitement they were hoping to convey. And Larson's insistence on insulting white men does the production no favors either. Why, Feige and Iger's failure to get her to stop only makes them look worse too. Why, what if she doesn't even use her wages to pay for kids to see the film?

This could hint at the downfall of the once highly regarded Disney corporation, and could be the first real failure in the Marvel film franchise, at least a decade after their official production outfit first began. It would seem as though, in the months following the demise of Stan Lee, they see fit to go all out with bad ideas, social justice-related and otherwise, and that's bound to precipitate the collapse of Marvel as a film franchise as much as a comics franchise.

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A TV adaptation of Tigra and Dazzler is "woke"?

In this superficial Times-Record article about new Marvel adaptations on Hulu, something fishy comes up about an item involving two notable ladies created during the Bronze Age, and along the way, it also puts them down pointlessly:
‘Tigra & Dazzler Show’ is a story about two woke superheroes and best friends, Tigra and Dazzler, as they fight for recognition among powered people who make up the eight million stories in Los Angeles. Writers Erica Rivinoja and Chelsea Handler serve as executive producers.”

This one’s a head-scratcher. These two characters have almost nothing in common, except for devolving from serious super-heroines into (mostly) jokes.

Dazzler debuted in “Uncanny X-Men” in 1980, a mighty mutant combining a number of fads of the time: disco, roller skates and weird eye makeup. Dazzler (real name Alison Blaire) could transform sound vibrations into energy, which is an awesome power, but she mostly used it for light-shows at her concerts, where she sang, presumably, Donna Summer covers. She had her own comic book for a while, where she once battled (in circumstances too implausible to relate) Galactus. Oh, and Doctor Doom. Nevertheless, her inherent ridiculousness eventually consigned the character to limbo, despite numerous and sincere efforts to update her in various X-books.

Tigra had a straightforward and traditional origin: Greer Grant Nelson drank a secret serum that gave her cat powers, in order to avenge her dead police officer husband, in the very first issue of her very own comic book, “Claws of the Cat” (1972). But alas, Greer wasn’t destined for the straightforward and traditional superhero path, because her book was canceled with its fourth issue due to low sales.

From that point on, things got very strange for Greer, relegated as she was to supporting-character roles. She began appearing in various Avengers titles, where her origin was expanded to include Cat People, demons, Cat People who were actually demons, and various bodily transformations. She gained the power to become orange and furry, a true were-cat with a magic medallion to change back and forth.

Unfortunately, she also had a Cat Person soul at war with her human soul. This resulted in some mighty silly cat behavior, including seducing a bunch of male Avengers (at the same time) and chasing mice. Again, numerous and sincere efforts to rehabilitate the character into something marginally less ridiculous have been tried, mostly without success.

So, yeah, it’s kinda tough to guess how this one’s gonna go.
Seeing how some recent Marvel TV projects were cancelled, I'm sure we can guess where this is going too, because it may be one of the first productions to involve absurd, noticeable leftism. And I decidedly take issue with the assertion Tigra was a joke, the way this puff piece construes it, because after a few years, that's just the idea the writers had in mind, to turn her into something of a tongue-in-cheek sex symbol, recalling how she was portrayed in West Coast Avengers. I'm also not agreeing with the assertion Dazzler was a joke, if only because rock music is still a thing, if not disco per se, and her solo book from 1981-86 - one of the first direct sales titles at the time - did have some interesting moments.

And does "sincere" include this recent monstrosity? Because a direction that turns to making her look absurdly masculine or just plain unfeminine is not "sincere" in my book.

I don't expect this new TV show to be a success - certainly not from an artistic view - if it's as forced in politics as the article implies. And that's too bad, because Tigra and Dazzler really did have potential at one time, before the entitled modern overlords at Marvel ruined them.

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Sunday, February 17, 2019 

3 tweets by Peter Simeti with much value to consider

Alterna publisher Peter Simeti had some more to say in connection with the terrifying experience he went through recently:

He's absolutely correct. Especially when so-called comics writers engage in offensive behavior, they risk inciting violence of the sort that people like Billy Tucci and Simeti recently encountered. Publishing higher-ups have to start taking more serious measures to ensure their contributors aren't engaging in any kind of reprehensible acts, in front of or behind the camera. Simeti also said:

There's a case to be made that social media platforms like Twitter just aren't worth using, and it'd be better to convey thoughts on a blog instead. Besides, unlike Twitter to date, on a blog you can edit your text to make corrections and addendum. There should be a request made by publishers to just make use of a blog if that's what it takes to communicate and interact with audiences, or even Facebook. A site where you can only write up brief items one after another is ridiculous.

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Saturday, February 16, 2019 

More examples of anti-sex propaganda in reviews of Red Sonja

I really don't feel happy about taking issue with "bleeding heart" reviewers, but I must decidedly do so if a point has to be made about how mountains are being made out of molehills these days. Case in point: this review from Adventures in Poor Taste of the newest Red Sonja volume, which is being written by leftist Mark Russell:
With all of the various reboots and renumberings for the adventures of Red Sonja over the years, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, Dynamite Entertainment has just launched an extremely fun and accessible new take on the Sonja legend! I was personally sold by the words “written by Mark Russell.” I knew I’d be in for something fresh, yet true to the character. That’s exactly what we get in this first issue.
Yeah, I can guess why! His on-the-sleeve politics, which he already made clear in some DC items he'd written based on old Hanna-Barbera cartoons, which is clearly embraced by the social justice crowd.
Mirko Colak’s artwork, much like Russell’s script, feels very modern, yet it also has little touches that evoke the classic Red Sonja comics penciled by Sal Buscema. The action sequences are dynamic and brutal. The landscapes are rendered as gorgeous vistas, where danger hides within each shadow. Most importantly, Sonja is not drawn or written as a sexual object. She’s scantily clad and admired for her beauty, but she’s also feared and respected. It’s a tricky balancing act for any team taking this character on, but it looks like this volume is going to nail that dualistic aspect of the character. Her femininity is not to be exploited nor underestimated, which she makes clear right from the start.
Uh, is that she, or the writer, pandering as he is to the anti-sex morality bunch? This is little more than an insult to Roy Thomas, who did more or less create the character along with guys like Frank Thorne and Buscema in the Bronze Age, drawing from a character Robert E. Howard had created in one of his own writings. This is another type of review that also decidedly fails to explain why sexualization is inherently wrong, and with a character who was intended as something of a sex symbol when she first began in the mid-70s. While the bloodletting in the tale, by contrast, goes without a whisper of complaint.

Here's another review that's pretty disgusting in its smug defense of Russell's vision, and the writer has the gall to drag the whole Comicsgate campaign into something I'm skeptical he's actually a fan of:
If you are a Conan purist who disapproves of any additions to the lore of Hyboria that were not written by Robert E. Howard himself, know that this comic will bring you no joy. Nor will it please those around you should you feel compelled to explain why a Stygian would never pray to Crom.
Oh please. So long as the ideas are developed well - which is far more than can be said for the drivel, I have no problem, unlike the reviewer, whom I suspect actually does despite what he's saying.
If you are the sort of Red Sonja fan who is deeply offended by the idea of Sonja wearing climate-appropriate clothing rather than trouncing through the snowy tundra in nothing but a few scraps of chainmail and a pair of boots, know that this is not your cup of tea and carry on.
Guess what? I'm not offended by her wearing a coat in a freezing blizzard. At all. What, do you think I'm hoping she'd suffer from pneumonia and gangrene infections? Cut the crap, please. I'm not that petty. Still, if I don't have a problem with Sonja wearing a coat in cold weather, I don't see why he does if she'd wear less in a creation that's meant to be surreal fantasy. After all, there've been plenty of time when Wonder Woman wore her bustier-style costume in snowy settings, and I'd suggest they not use her being a deity with magical powers as their excuse for making differences.
If you are a frequent viewer of certain YouTube channels where comic books are crumpled up amid complaints about how “social justice warriors” are destroying the American comic book industry, you should not read this book.
Does that mean you're not offended by contrast, kiddo? Hmm, in that case, why should I assume you're a Red Sonja fan, let alone a Conan fan, or even a Roy Thomas/Frank Thorne fan?
Do you want her to be the leader of a band of mercenaries as she was in the original Roy Thomas Conan comics? Or do you prefer Sonja as one lone warrior against a world that has little use for women like her? Do you like the idea of Sonja as a chosen of the war goddess, blessed with divine fighting skills? Or do you prefer Sonja as a tomboy teen who learned how to fight and hunt as good as any man on her own? Do you want a Sonja who is chaste and sworn only to love a man who can best her in a fair fight? Or do you prefer a free-loving, carousing Sonja who has an eye for the ladies as well? All these visions are valid and the multiverse is big enough for many Sonjas.

I mention this because there are many who will decry this fifth volume of Red Sonja as an abomination because (among other reasons) it dares to be funny. The general tone of Mark Russell’s script evokes memories of Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part One and Monty Python’s Life of Brian. It pokes fun at the ancient world and all the cliches of sword-and-sorcery, as we are presented with Dragan The Magnificent – a would-be emperor who is pulling a Number Six on the world of Hyboria while delivering chain-letters to neighboring kingdoms warning them of the dangers of refusing to be chained.
Umm, I'm not bothered if somebody wants to offer a sense of humor either. It's the potential politics even the reviewer's hinting are injected into this book that worry me. Though one could argue that mocking the fantasy genre may be what undoes the tale, if they can't appreciate it for what it was meant to be.
This humor is not applied to Sonja herself, who finds herself appointed the new Queen of Hyrkania after the previous rulers abdicate the throne when word arrives that Dragan and his armies are coming to have their way with their horses and ride off on their women. (Or is that the other way around?) This leaves Sonja facing impossible odds with no hope of victory. In other words, it’s business as usual for Red Sonja.

None of this will be a shock to those who are familiar with Russell’s previous work on The Snagglepuss Chronicles or The Flintstones, where he also mixed comedy and drama to great effect along with a fair bit of social commentary. Of course I can’t begin to see how the story of a power-mad despot who has come to believe his own hype could possible be seen as culturally relevant today but it hardly matters. Russell does a damn fine job writing Sonja as a character and proves as skilled at plotting a thrilling action sequence as he is at writing witty dialogue.
So the sense of humor doesn't extend to Red Sonja herself? As a matter of fact, that could be just what's wrong with this story. If it's the villains who're funny, that could just as well be problematic. These days, it would seem as though women aren't always allowed to be funny, if at all, and that's a problem in itself. And if he thinks despots like, say, Iran's Rouhani aren't a worry, I think that too is, umm...worrisome.
There are those who will turn up their nose at this book because of its use of comedy or because it dares to depict Red Sonja in something other than her traditional costume. Let them. Comicsgate may not approve of it, but Mark Russell and Mirko Colak have delivered a Red Sonja that can be enjoyed by people who read comics rather than wanking over cover art.
Sounds to me like the kind of person who's saying, in much the ways of some selfish and entitled scriptwriters, that he/she doesn't want the audience to buy their books. Or is putting words in other people's mouths, being judgemental, and claiming they don't read the comics and only care about the covers. Well if that's the only way you can look at them, then don't be surprised if sales tank in time. And if this Comics Bulletin review says something, this Russell story is another example of political metaphors taking up too much of comicdom:
Red Sonja #1 is a blood-soaked actioner that gleefully flips off the ruling class. Seeing characters speak with a modern cadence and dialogue in a swords-and-sandals setting is admittedly unnerving at first, but as the issue progresses it becomes a natural fit for the story Russell is telling. Though Sonja is the titular character and the book’s heroine, much of the issue is spent with a world-conquerer in the mold of Genghis Khan, an entitled ruler that does not take it well when told “no” – especially when it is said by an empowered woman. It is easy to draw a parallel between this ruler and the current leader of the United States, but what he really represents is the ruling class – the oligarchy or “1%” that Russell and many others see as taking more and more of this world for themselves with little care or regard for the underprivileged that act as collateral damage.
So it could be a subtle attack on Trump, again? Well I guess that figures. And since they allude to the apparent violence in the story, it brings me to note again: not only don't they have any complaints to raise about any gore taking place, they don't even explain how that's superior to drawing a woman sexy. Which is pure hypocrisy in the ways only an Orwellian puritan could possibly convey. I'm not sure why a story with jarring violence should be considered instantly funny either.
Admittedly, the character of Red Sonja has never been of great interest to me, especially given her typical portrayals leave very little to the imagination, similar to how others view a certain series starring a strong female protagonist. However, Russell’s script and the fantastic artwork of Mirko Colak have certainly inspired a look back at the stories penned by Gail Simone and others. Here, Sonja is a strong, capable character who is nothing short of badass. Once more, the script is crafted in a manner in which her plight can be used to point out societal issues. In this case, it’s a double-edged sword as Sonja is unwittingly named queen of a soon-to-be-invaded territory. Here, Russell lays the seeds to discuss the problem of victim-blaming and women’s ability to reclaim their own agency in a world stacked against them.
You know, if that's how he puts it, he has no business even reading this story. And I know better than to assume at face value that a possible "male feminist" actually cares about Hollywood's dark side. The other series the reviewer linked back to is Witchblade, and he indicates that no matter who's writing it, he's got a low opinion of it just because it was written to please an escapism-seeking audience, male or otherwise. And look what the following reviewer says:
...I was very pleased that the interiors didn’t display the practically nude Sonja of recent years, as i initially dreaded when the editor asked me to cover this issue.
The editor of the book asked him to review it? All that aside, from what I know, whether RS was actually nude in recent years, it's vital to note at least 2 women wrote it (Amy Chu and Marguerite Bennett), and if they had no issue with what's apparently frightening a man, then I don't know what his cowardly beef is. Just another guy who lacks courage to say he loves a hot woman. Oh, and look what this review says:
There’s not much action in Red Sonja #1, other than our heroine rather brutally dealing with some trouble on the road. [...]
Hmm, I wonder if that's telling something? Sequential Planet says:
Red Sonja actually isn’t in this issue much, which is pretty disappointing considering that its the first issue. New readers won’t get the opportunity to see what all the fuss about the character is (at least in this issue). [...]
You know something could be wrong when the star of the show is reduced to a minor player in her own book. This review also says, however:
Most of the issue’s stylistic choices are great. Red Sonja doesn’t wear her iconic bikini mail. Instead, her tattered clothing look more realistic and representative of the setting.
See, there again is the problem. Surrealism and fantasy are being made into an offense. Edgar Rice Burroughs would be considered repellent by these belief standards. Now, here's one more review with an absurdity:
...I’m sure at some point we’ll see the traditional fish-scale bikini armour that she’s known and loved for, but just for a moment at least we can have a story that concentrates on her achievements rather than her assets.
Since when didn't past stories ever focus on her accomplishments, whatever that's supposed to mean? Most interesting so far is that in all the reviews I've found, I haven't seen much more than 2-3 panels of footage from the issue, so how is one supposed to determine what this is like? In any case, these reviews are just what's wrong with commentary even 2 decades prior, as you have all these emasculated types who don't want to offend feminists, employ the stigma of hostility to sex while violence in contrast gets a free pass. Plain stupid. It's not hard to tell these aren't people who ever cared about the heroine Thomas co-developed before, and if they didn't before, chances are they don't even now, nor did they ever feel sorry her original solo book lasted only 3-4 years before being cancelled at the end of the 1970s (even Kull the Conqueror wasn't very successful at the time). If that's what they think about the hard work anybody past did, whether it was hugely popular or not, they have no business saying anything about it if they can't appreciate sexuality, and only think to act like it's some inherently bad thing.

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