Monday, December 17, 2018 

Is it possible Dragon Ball wasn't translated by the awful Gerard Jones?

I've read a few times here and there that the Dragon Ball translations by Viz Media, probably not the best distributor of manga around, were unpopular with fans because the dialogue is very poorly translated from the original Japanese to English. But what's even more surprising is what the following manga researcher said a few months ago about alleged translator Gerard Jones, as he was being convicted for his criminal offenses:

Hmm, interesting. I've noticed people discussing on social media at least a few times how there may be "writers" who've just taken credit for ghostwriters, and it could be possible that Jones, already disgraced and now in prison, was actually just taking credit for a job done by the late Canadian manga/anime translator Toren Smith, who passed away about 5 years ago. Smith, by contrast, had a better reputation, though if he was the actual translator for Dragon Ball, it must've been a rare misfire for him, though it's also possible Jones tampered with some of the already translated dialogue he was given to suit his visions. If anything, this brings up the intriguing topic of whether some overrated freelancers make a whole career out of taking credit for ghostwriters, for reasons I can't even begin to fathom.

Since we're on the subject, I also found a CBR article from the end of August, which deals not with how we can prevent predators from getting jobs in the medium, but rather, the so-called "legacies" of such vermin. It says:
The end of Jones' trial still probably comes as a shock to those who know him through either his comics work for Marvel, DC or Viz Media, or his nonfiction writing, like the Eisner Award-winning Men Of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book. While Jones was never really a superstar writer of his era, he has -- or had -- a generally well-regarded legacy in comics.
Sorry, but after some further research, I have to conclude that whatever "legacy" Jones had was a huge exaggeration, probably made by people who were understandably alienated by the direction DC took with Hal Jordan as Parallax in 1994, and wound up thinking it all made Jones' run look better in retrospect. Alas, but today it definitely doesn't. His run on GL certainly wasn't exceptional.
In the wake of his singularly horrific crimes, amidst the more pressing question of how his conviction provides justice and healing for his victims, there comes the (again much less important) quandary: What should happen to that body of work?
Even if one can separate the art from the artist, it'd be best at this time not to reprint his work, if only because we don't want such an awful man to benefit from royalties, unless maybe a legal stipulation can be attained, ensuring he'll have to forfeit them altogether. Even then, I for one have since re-evaluated some of the material he wrote, and concluded it wasn't worth the trees cut down to make the paper.
Gerard Jones had lengthy runs at the Big Two, notably being central to the Green Lantern and Justice League lines for DC, including penning what's probably still the most widely read Hal Jordan story ever. Green Lantern #46, a tie-in to the "Reign of the Supermen!" arc of "The Death of Superman," saw Hal Jordan confront and fight Mongol over his role in the destruction of Coast City, an issue reprinted in collections of what's still one of the highest-selling storylines in comics to this day.
And all at GL's expense. Much like Jones' own writing, which was definitely overrated.
Perhaps even more significant is Jones' role in some of the most popular manga ever created. When Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball were both brought to America by Viz Media, it was Jones who adapted it from Mari Morimoto and Lillian Olsen's translations. Jones' words are also how American readers first encountered the work of Rumiko Takahashi's Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2, as well as Nobohiro Watsuki's seminal Rurouni Kenshin. (Notably, Watsuki was also found guilty of possession of child pornography by Japanese authorities earlier this year.)
And he got too light a sentence. The writer of this dud piece evidently wouldn't consider the possibilities Jones' role in Dragon Ball's translations may not have been a real deal, as noted above, so Jones' role isn't so significant at all. But wow, he played a part in translating another manga produced by a mangaka who also turned out to be a perverse felon? Good heavens.
There are several other titles in Jones' oeuvre, but these are the big ones. And what should the respective publishers do? The most obvious solution and the least costly one is to let it all go out of print, but there are obstacles to this approach that make it unlikely to happen.

For one thing, while large chunks of Jones' DC work aren't in huge demand anymore from a consumer standpoint, "The Death of Superman" is, as we said, one of the highest-selling superhero stories of all time. Given the pivotal role Green Lantern plays in the final arc of that story, reprinting that story without the tie-in issue would be confusing to new readers. But aside from that, DC really has no reason to reprint, say, Batman: Jazz. Ditto Marvel, who still has comics written by Jones up on Marvel Unlimited at the time of this writing, but may not necessarily be all that motivated to keep them in bookstores moving forward.
Curious they say the Death of Superman is a big seller, but don't actually say it's one of the best written tales around. And from what I recall reading, I don't think it is, so I don't see what they're getting at. An overrated stunt, where the death and resurrection of the Man of Steel is the least of the story's problems, and it largely wound up appealing to the wretched speculator market. As for Marvel, the most standout title Jones wrote for them was Wonder Man during 1991-94, and save for 5 issues reprinted in Operation: Galactic Storm and the Infinity War, the bulk of that title is clearly not going to be reprinted for a long time. And it doesn't matter either, because the material I read from that series, in hindsight, wasn't very impressive either. I thankfully never read Jones' work on the 2099 Hulk, and that's one more title he wrote at Marvel that won't be reprinted for quite a while.
But it's Viz who has the hardest call to make, here. Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z is easily the most influential manga (not named Akira) of the last 50 years, and a book that famous and popular is simply never going to go out of print. Ditto works like Inuyasha, which is almost certainly seeing a boost in interest after Takahashi was finally inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame this year.

But Viz has an easy solution. Given that translation standards have become better and much tighter over time as manga has become the fastest-growing sector of the modern Western comics marketplace outside of kids' OGNs, and given the jarring inconsistencies in Dragon Ball/Z specifically (unnecessary censorship, bizarre speech patterns and naming conventions), it would be worth Viz's investment to commission new translations and adaptions of works Jones was involved with. In fact, Viz has already begun doing so in the upcoming omnibuses of Takahashi's Urusei Yatsura, though there has been no mention if Jones' involvement with the original translation factored into this move.
Of course they have an easy out (so why say a hard call?). And that could be to simply give the late Smith credit where it's due for starters. Or to find out if Jones manipulated any of Smith's efforts and make him apologize for harming the late manga specialist's hard work. It's interesting they mention unnecessary censorship, because that's something much of entertainment's suffered from for the past 5 years or so. If they're still okay with whenever it happens in US entertainment, they have no business bringing it up when manga is the topic in focus.

Anyway, if there's a title Jones wrote that'll certainly go out of print, it's Emerald Dawn, which is not well regarded, and was a glaring example of a company desperate to make Hal Jordan "realistic", but only made things much worse by depicting him as a big drinker, and I don't think the idea of making Sinestro Hal's trainer was a good idea either. But what a shame the CBR writer wasted so much time talking about "legacies" instead of how to prevent perverts from gaining footholds in entertainment mediums. Isn't that why all these past works wind up tainted?

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Sunday, December 16, 2018 

G. Willow Wilson leaves the Muslim Ms. Marvel, and hands it to another propagandist, Saladin Ahmed

So now, one of the most contemptuous SJWs Marvel and DC alike could ever have possibly hired is leaving the low-selling propaganda vehicle misusing the original codename of Carol Danvers, and giving the reins to a fellow propagandist, author Saladin Ahmed:
After five years, G. Willow Wilson will leave Marvel Entertainment’s Ms. Marvel, with the publisher revealing that the series will end when Wilson, who co-created the character in 2014, leaves, ahead of a relaunch with a new creative team later in 2019. [...]

The Ms. Marvel series ends with Wilson’s final issue, only to be relaunched as The Magnificent Ms. Marvel, a new series by Saladin Ahmed and Minkyu Jung in March. Wilson is currently working on DC Entertainment’s Wonder Woman and has a new series for Dark Horse's Berger Books imprint, Invisible Kingdom, on tap for 2019; in a tweet listing future 2019 work, she also mentioned her upcoming novel, The Bird King.
No surprise they'd be so gushy with a new adjective title. That Karen Berger, who founded the imprint, willing to associate with people like her has made me lose respect for DC's former Vertigo editor. Entertainment Weekly also said:
Though a novelist by trade, Ahmed recently broke into writing comics with an excellent Black Bolt miniseries (illustrated with cosmic flair by Christian Ward) and has followed that up with several others, such as Exiles, which features a team of time-traveling superheroes — including a much older, bitter version of Ms. Marvel simply named Khan. But Ahmed says he’s particularly excited to now be writing the real Kamala.

I think she’s really the face of everything that’s new and fresh and exciting and ‘21st century’ at Marvel, and with superheroes in general. To be given stewardship of that is a big deal to me,” Ahmed tells EW. “It’s always thrilling being given responsibility over a beloved character. It’s particularly meaningful for me to be taking over from Willow. She’s an incredible writer, and she’s a friend. I’ve only been in comics for a couple years, I come from fiction and poetry and stuff like that, and Willow has been one of the folks who’s helped me figure out this whole craft and business. She’s my sister, and it’s very cool to be taking the baton from her. There’s something meaningful there.”
Oh, sure there's something meaningful. A partnership between propagandists, is what. It figures a so-called novelist who played victimology cards while insulting Spider-Fans would be seen as the ideal choice to take Wilson's place, in another relaunch, now long a common practice in this day and age for the sake of short-term sales boosts.

And as sales receipts for the now concluding volume of the Muslim Ms. Marvel have proven (they were at little more than 13,000, last time I looked), it's nothing more than a lot of stale bread, and it's clear not even the social justice advocates they covet for an audience care about their dismal dreck. What's clear is that this is precisely what's bringing down Marvel, by shoving characters heavily built on ideology down the readers' throats. If they won't move away from the "project" and the propagandists they hired, it'll only continue to damage their reputation, sticking out like the sore thumb of propaganda it really is.

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Saturday, December 15, 2018 

Steve Rude says copyright problems are ruining entertainment

The Comic Lounge interviewed Nexus co-creator Steve Rude a few weeks ago, and he revealed that fears of copyright crises at the Big Two are spoiling everything, making it near impossible to work for them based specifically on that:
Comic Lounge: You've done work for Marvel and DC in the past. Do you have any desire to work on any of their characters besides cover work?

Rude: I haven’t been contacted by Marvel in ages, but I can tell you that due to editorial disagreements I’ve had with DC, it’s prohibited me from doing further work for them. These disagreements involve policies that don’t allow anything remotely copyrightable from being drawn in one’s artwork, no matter how small or innocent it might be. A pair of glasses on some characters face might be removed by editors because they have some kind of copyright attached to them. Literally everything appears to be fair game to them. Lawyers and their short-sighted compliant editors have officially managed to take all the fun out of drawing comics. Otherwise I’d most likely be illustrating ACTION COMICS with Superman, or as later offered, the SUPERGIRL book, which I would’ve loved doing.
He's absolutely correct. Petty issues like these are draining the fun from entertainment just as much as ideology is. When it's not ideology ruining the product, it's some bizarre, overwrought fear of copyright violations. How can you spin a great tale if they're going to be so cowardly?

As for Marvel, if they're not doing business with Rude anymore, I can only wonder if it's for the same reasons they may no longer hire Mike Baron - if he's as conservative-leaning as Chuck Dixon is, that could explain why Quesada's bunch no longer want to do business with the Nexus co-creators, no matter how positive their viewpoint supposedly is. Even Carl Potts, co-creator of Alien Legion, which Dixon wrote a few stories for in the past, may be on the blacklist.

But if I were in Rude's position, I wouldn't worry about it too much, since DC and Marvel both long lost direction - a moot point today - and their heavy-handed mandates would make it impossible to produce an entertaining story from an artistic perspective. I strongly recommend he look to the smaller publishers to see what they can offer in terms of artwork and writing alike, because today, that seems to be where it's possible to craft a better product. Though even then, it's advisable to be wary of what liberal politics they could go by.

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Friday, December 14, 2018 

The next excuse by Marvel for not telling great stories is changing their history

It's hard to tell if this is a self-contained alternate timeline miniseries, but what's certainly clear is that C.B. Cebulski and Marvel have found their next excuse for not telling simple, decent stories of good vs. evil: rewriting history in a Cosmic Ghost Rider tale:
As Marvel Entertainment celebrates its 80th birthday in 2019, the comic book arm of the company plans to rewrite the origins of its fictional universe — for a little bit, at least. The publisher has announced the miniseries Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History, in which the future incarnation of the Punisher — don’t ask — undoes a number of well-known plot twists in comic book history.

The six-part series, written by comedian Paul Scheer and Nick Giovannetti, with art by Gerardo Sandoval, sees Cosmic Ghost Rider — a version of Frank Castle from an alternate future where humanity has died out, and he has made deals with both the devil and Galactus to become a near-omnipotent force of vengeance, only to be driven insane in the process — trapped in the past of the Marvel comic book universe, where he ends up changing history in a number of important ways.
It makes little difference whether this is a stand-alone story. What matters is that these are the kind of stories they wind up promoting heavily, and it takes away from whatever decent storytelling they might have. CBR gushes that:
Cosmic Ghost Rider, a futuristic version of Frank Castle, debuted in Thanos #13, by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw. The character proved to be a smash hit with readers and quickly returned in a five-issue miniseries from Cates and artist Dylan Burnett. However, even though that story wrapped up in November, it sounds like the exploits of Cosmic Ghost Rider are far from over.
Oh, in an era where comics are selling so badly, I honestly doubt this hybrid of Punisher with Ghost Rider really caught on with anybody. Sales figures aren't given clearly here any more than countless other puff pieces. This all sounds vaguely like DC's Emerald Twilight and Hal Jordan blatantly turned insane. And all this serves as little more than an excuse to serve as publicity material, because this is all they know to promote, not a story where Spider-Man battles an evil supercrook, let alone some bank thieves and mad scientists. It's even gotten to the point where, as a result, the MCU is no longer "realistic", when they concentrate on this much science-fiction influence.

Furthermore, Marvel's history was destroyed a long time ago, by Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas, and this new publicity stunt won't remedy the situation.

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IDW brings back a most unwelcome former EIC as publisher

After all the scandals that arose over a year ago under Chris Ryall's editorship, they're actually reinstating him in a higher bracket as publisher, and worse, as "chief creative officer":
In a surprise move, IDW Publishing on Monday announced the return of its former chief creative officer and editor-in-chief as the company’s new president, publisher and chief creative officer.

Chris Ryall, who left IDW in March, had joined Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment the following month with the intent of growing that company’s publishing line. In returning to IDW, he will take over as president and publisher from Greg Goldstein.
This is not bound to improve their dwindling fortunes, after all the trouble he virtually allowed when he was EIC, what with gay propaganda in their Jem & the Holograms adaptation, the Aubrey Sitterson debacle with GI Joe, misuse of the Transformers, leading to loss of the license, and goodness knows what else. They recently cancelled a Rocketeer book, and that doesn't bode well for their eroding businesses. It could well be Ryall's been brought back just to ensure their exit from the market. He may not be EIC this time round, but the whole "creative" gig is still there, and that's decidedly bad news.

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Thursday, December 13, 2018 

DC/Vertigo's Esquivel scandal costs Border Town its artist and colorist

While the allegations leveled against Border Town writer Eric Esquivel are questionable, what's fascinating is how fast the leftists who were fawning and gushing over his oh-so important social justice book are now to abandon him. Case in point: his illustrator and colorist have bailed on the project:
Artist Ramon Villalobos, and colorist Tamra Bonvillain have announced that they will leave DC Vertigo’s wildly popular series Border Town in response to sexual abuse allegations levied against the series’ writer, Eric M. Esquivel.
I've looked over several responses to this case on social media, and it wouldn't surprise me if quite a few of those claiming they'd read and enjoyed the book...didn't really read it at all, and just sought an opportunity to virtue-signal. The very flawed liberal standing of "believe all women" certainly played a part here, that's for sure, and now, we see leftists eating their own, and Esquivel learning that being a radical leftist doesn't always grant immunity. I suppose artist and colorist decided to split in order to avoid additional attention given to their own serious mistakes. But, the reality is that, as they themselves made clear, they're no better than the main driver of the train wreck, and their departure only comes across as a lethargic attempt to do some damage control after all the slips they made on their part.

And DC's left-wing social justice agenda has certainly backfired.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018 

"Arno Stark" cannot be more interesting than Tony if his creation is so contrived

And nor is the forced retcon of recent in good taste. But that doesn't seem to matter at all to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which published some alleged reviews a few weeks ago beginning with Dan Slott's Iron Man run, which they predictably wasted no time in fawning over. The beginning paragraph, however, is quite surprising when you consider how biased this is:
Weird days in comic land as publishers try to figure out what readers want, which seems silly since all we want are good stories. But in their attempts to interest as many people as possible, we’ve been treated to some interesting events and welcome returns of characters not seen in a while.
Well I admit that's exactly what we'd like to see published - good storytelling - but we won't get it from writers as awful as Slott, who apparently keep some of the worst retcons nailed in place, like the "brother" called Arno, and the "revelation" Howard and Maria Stark weren't Tony's biological parents. Those aren't what I'd call interesting events at all. The article gets worse with the following:
TONY STARK: IRON MAN Nos. 5 and 6 (Marvel, $3.99) Issue five answered the question, “Whatever happened to Tony Stark’s brother, Arno?” while issue six raised the question, “Is Arno Stark more interesting than Tony?” Even though the comic is titled with Tony’s name, he does not show up at all in issue five, which spotlights his recently-discovered brother. And to further complicate things, Arno never puts on the armor, which does not matter since he’s far more interesting without it.

Where Tony slips on his armor at the slightest hint of danger, Arno uses his brain. He’s also a very complex guy with a strange set of morals, as seen in this issue. Writer Dan Slott, who is fast becoming the savior of Marvel’s writing staff, presents Arno as a man who travels the globe helping people whose plight interests him. He also has a bizarre sense of justice, which I can’t explain without ruining the stories Slott set up. But trust me, pick up issue five and you won’t regret it.

And you won’t soon forget it.

I hope to see more of Arno soon.
It's not hard to figure the story's some kind of meta-commentary intended to slam the audience for rejecting these contrived alterations. And the sugarcoating of Slott's past conduct here, is absolutely shameful. Of all the recent Spider-writers, he's proven the worst, especially with the whole Doc Ock in Peter's body monstrosity, so why should I waste time on his IM mishmash or expect any improvement? His Fantastic Four run, as mentioned some time ago, doesn't seem to be selling big either. Yet this paper actually thinks this makes for great storytelling? Sigh.
Issue six features business as usual with Tony in the armor adventuring with The Wasp as his company releases something called “eScape.” And anyone who has read comics for a while knows that the reality-escaping video experience will not end well. To his credit, Slott did not resort to bringing Arcade as the villain, the ridiculous bad guy who always seems to be at the root of these kinds of stories. There is a villain, and he’s a surprise.

Art for issue five is by Max Dunbar and Greg Hyuk Lim while art for issue six is by Valerio Schiti. All are excellent.
That's strange, didn't this article say Tony doesn't appear in 6 at all? In any case, Arcade or none, it wouldn't work with a scribe as wretched as Slott helming it.

The following clip about Nightwing is also absurd:
NIGHTWING 52 and 53 (DC, $3.99) Batman’s first Robin, Dick (now calling himself Rick after decades of jokes) Grayson, is starting a new life after a gunshot to his head has taken away a big chunk of his memory. He’s driving a cab in Bludhaven, a city so nasty Gothamites avoid it, and building a new life without costumes. Writers Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza with artist Chris Mooneyham are creating a fascinating new world for the character. It’s the best he’s been portrayed in a long time.
This doesn't sound very interesting either, since it draws from Heroes in Crisis, now shaping up as one of the most awful "events" next to Identity Crisis. But, how interesting two former X-Men writers are behind this latest misuse of the former Teen Wonder, yet they seem to put him in a role removed from crimefighting? Maybe under better circumstances not connected with Tom King's atrocity, there would've been some potential, but in the confines of the current status quo, no chance. Now, what's next:
DOOM PATROL No. 12 (DC/Young Animal, $3.99) Really? Why call a book “Doom Patrol” and then not feature the team at all? These are new characters in a horror and sorcery saga that put me right to sleep. The title bears no relation to the Doom Patrol. Pass.
I guess this can sum up where the DCU is headed next under DiDio's catastrophous management. This is one sentiment I can agree with on principle, but if the writer's going to sugarcoat the situations with IM and Nightwing, then I don't see why he'd lament this mess.
Also enjoying “The Sentry” (MARVEL, $3.99) exploring the backstory of Marvel’s near omnipotent character. Also excellent is DC’s almost female-heavy version of The Titans (DC, $3.99). The new team does not have stalwarts like the currently dead Kid Flash or Arsenal or the amnesiac Nightwing, but does feature Raven, Donna Troy, Beast Boy and Aqualad (Tempest) with some help from Miss Martian and Steel’s daughter, also called Steel.
Doesn't sound like somebody was ever a fan of Roy Harper and Wally West, the latter whose offensive death is canon in the latest Flash issues too. As for having a lady-heavy cast in the Titans, it would've been far more welcome if that too weren't connected with a story as repellent as Heroes in Crisis.

Also, notice that the prices are all just a penny short of 4 dollars? One more reason why it's not worth buying all this tommyrot. And again, if Marvel's sticking with the Arno Stark retcon in IM, they're only keeping the worst elements of recent in place to the detriment of Stan Lee's hard work in the past.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018 

Vertigo writer accused of sexual abuse

This must be the 4th time an employee for DC's been accused of a serious felony. A toy designer's written a blog post (see also archive link) alleging sexual abuse by a man now writing for the Vertigo line at the time they were both working at a comics store in Tuscon at least 5 years ago. The culprit is assumed to be Eric Esquivel, who's writing the politicized Border Town series, and suspicions are furthered by the closing of his social media accounts; his Twitter page was locked last time I looked.

So now the question is, will DC take action to get rid of their latest PR embarrassment, or, will they continue to ignore calls for the culprit's dismissal, much like they tried to avoid dealing with Eddie Berganza for a number of years? This is but one reason why the industry's image is already in the toilet, and they're not making it any better by keeping up the deaf and dumb act when serious allegations like these are brought up.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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