Friday, January 30, 2015 

Dan Jurgens on Hollywood's hypocrisy with American Sniper

Jurgens comments on the leftist reactions to the recent box office success, American Sniper:

I agree. It's ridiculous how haters of the movie on the left are lambasting it if they have no qualms about violence elsewhere. Yet few of the negative reactions are as weird as Gerry Conway's, who won't even thank the author of the book it's based on nor the filmmakers for their loyalty to his creation, The Punisher.

The movie's doing pretty well overseas, which is not going to please the left, not even those already working in comicdom.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015 

Vox sugarcoats the 90s again

While writing about why they think people can't resist Image offerings today, Vox has once again taken the easy route writing about mainstream comics of the 1990s, and independents. First, here's what they say about Image themselves:
The company began in 1992, when a band of very popular Marvel artists like Jim Lee (now the publisher at DC) and Todd MacFarlane dreamed it up. Image was founded on the idea that creators owned their work and consisted of six studios (led by each of the founders). Image rode the popularity of titles like Spawn and Savage Dragon to nearly 15 percent of the market share in 1993.

"With the departure of Jim Lee's Wildstorm studio, purchased by DC in the late 1990s, its market share retreated to the single digits," Miller explained, bringing into context what Stephenson referred to as "not a great period for the company."
How come they don't note the effect of the speculator market, which brought down values and sales? Image was no exception, and they did variant covers and other stunts not unlike the Big Two's, so how is it not possible that had a long term effect of failure on them? Then, when they talk about how the audience changed, they say:
...things are changing slowly. Comics are as accessible as ever. Trips to the comic book shop, like trips to the record store, are no longer needed. Comic shop gatekeepers are an endangered species as downloading comic books every Wednesday is no more complicated or intimidating than online shopping. And digital comic book sales at companies like Comixology have grown exponentially year after year.
Except they don't specify which titles are being downloaded, and whether they're independent or mainstream. In fact, they don't tell whether they're older or newer products being bought.
With each wildly popular Avengers movie, Groot toy, or Batman debate, the stigma of comic books being for the nerdy is slowly fading away. Comic books are mainstream. And you can see that in the heroes readers are consuming.

Back in the '90s, the X-Men comic books were the top-selling books month after month, year after year. The X-Men were portrayed as outsiders and outcasts. For the last decade or so, Batman has become the go-to comic book. Of course, Batman/Bruce Wayne is depicted as a very rich, powerful, handsome, and ideal man (despite George Clooney's best efforts).
I'm sorry, but the stigma hasn't disappeared so easily. Movie adaptations and merchandise are mainstream. Comics are not, and the dearth of sales in major bookstores does nothing to dispel it. It's true some independent comics like Walking Dead have been rising up the ranks, but even their sales aren't spectacular.

They don't even acknowledge how X-Men sales diminished during the 90s, and after Grant Morrison came aboard, that's when they began to dip below 100,000 sales units. Nor do they note how X-Men was one of various franchises that wound up being marketed based on popularity rank and iconism, not story value, which Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza provided little or none of. Even X-Men became a victim of the speculator market, when stacks of premiere issues for the sans-adjective spinoff from 1991 gathered dust at many stores long after going to press. Their take on how artists and writers function is no better:
And on Twitter, writers and artists have followers in tens of thousands range. Their fans will follow them everywhere. Accordingly, companies like Marvel and DC ink many of these talents to exclusive contracts, meaning no writing for the competition.

But Marvel and DC primarily care about each other. And that means writers are allowed to create and write their own comics.

This is how Image thrives.
Image, maybe, but Marvel and DC? What a joke. They've long become gated communities where "creativity" is reserved only for overrated embarrassments like Brian Bendis. And the problems with followings for some of the creators is that a lot of these fans don't seem to take an objective view of the creators they're following, meaning that they'll read their stuff while predisposed to liking it, and continuing to buy a sour story even when they don't. That was the case with Morrison in years past, ditto J. Michael Strazcynski.

So Vox is still deep in a box, unable to take a meatier view of the medium. They say the insanity in some of Image's products are why people can't put them down. But what if they can? I'm sure some could put down the 9-11 Truther comic they once published, if they even buy it at all. Besides, Image's sales today are no better than what they had in the 90s, and probably sell worse.

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Green Lantern 154 Vol.3's story was based on a distorted case LGBT activists debunked themselves

Judd Winick references the case of Matthew Shepard, whose death was originally blamed on homophobia:

Hmm, I guess he's still going by the mainstream press narrative of the yesteryear, much like some others of his ilk still cling to the PC narrative from Ferguson. I wonder how he feels now after a gay book writer researched the true history, and discovered it wasn't what Winick thought:
...award-winning gay author and journalist Stephen Jimenez spent years reviewing previously sealed case documents and interviewing some 100 people for his tome, “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard,” which is officially being released Tuesday.

The book contends that Shepard’s murder was more likely a crime sparked by a drug deal gone wrong: Shepard was a known meth dealer and was supposed to have taken in a drug shipment worth $10,000 that night. He and McKinney, a 22-year-old bisexual hustler, were both meth users and had sex with each other on previous occasions, and McKinney was desperate to get the drugs or the money, or both.

In short, Shepard’s homosexuality likely played little, if any, role in the crime.

“Have We Got Matthew Shepard All Wrong?” asked a recent article in the Advocate, a popular magazine for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) readers.
Not only was a gay author willing to recognize facts, even some press sources aimed at LGBT members were willing to admit (and certainly ask if) this was apparently all a big PC falsehood narrative, turning a crook into a sainted martyr for the sake of forcing their visions down everyone's throats. I wonder if Winick's sore that his source of "inspiration" for the GL story he wrote wasn't supported by LGBT members in the end, and that his whole one-sided view won't hold up in the future? He's probably never even condemned Muslim homphobia in Islamic regimes, where the real dangers take place, and if he hasn't, that's another reason why he's unqualified for commenting on all these issues.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015 

13th Dimension's 3-part interview with Len Wein

13th Dimension interviewed Wein about his time as a Batman writer in the Bronze Age, with part one and part two published last month, and part three published just this week.

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Daniel Kalban allegedly condemns Islamic jihad against Jews

The comics and film writer Kalban wrote a few tweets condemning last week's attack on a bus in Tel Aviv:

But does he really mean it? I'd like to think so, but this is the same man who went right back on his condemnations of the Charlie Hebdo murders and complained about people using it as an excuse to condemn Islamofascism. And just a few days afterwards, he retweeted these items:
So after allegedly condemning an assault influenced by the Koran and the Hadith, he goes right along and carries water for a taqqiya vehicle, and worse, implies he supports vandalism of a pro-Israel activist's property? I don't see the logic here. Some of those ads her group published were in support of Israel. What next, if Caroline Glick and Sarah Honig put out advertisements, he'll signal support for defacing their property too?

Kalban's retweets alone suggest he followed a common example among the weak: condemn barbarism one day, do a 360 the next. He sure isn't being a very inspiring writer with that MO.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

So-called pop culture & comics sites condone vandalizing Pamela Geller's ads

Anti-jihad blogger Pamela Geller's advertisements against Islamofascism in San Francisco were defaced by a leftist group called Street Cred, whose tactics included using the Muslim Ms. Marvel to paste over Geller's paid for ads on buses. But what's really disturbing are any and all of the alleged entertainment sites that're openly condoning vandalism of somebody else's property. For example, Polygon, Bleeding Cool, IO9 and The Mary Sue. Even ComicBook may have gone that route. What makes this dreadful is how badly it reflects on pop culturalists, let alone comic book readers: it gives the impression they support criminal actions and disrespect for other people's property. I wonder what they'd say if those ads were published by 9-11 Families for a Safe America?

Maybe it isn't all that surprising some of these sites could go overboard and suggest vandalism is perfectly okay, instead of buying their own ad space. I've looked every now and then at The Mary Sue, and they're not a very impressive site. When they once interviewed animator Christy Marx, they wouldn't mention the near-gang rape seen in the premiering issue of the Amethyst remake. The same person who conducted the interview even gave a glowing review to one of Brad Meltzer's books, and another contributor to the site wrote at least one other gushy take on his writings. That's basically a "media enablers" MO, and if that's how they're going to go about, I don't think they speak for pop culture fans, female or otherwise.

As galling as this is, the silver lining is that a few of sites like Bleeding Cool were willing to either present an official of the exact ad being defaced, while CBR's Robot 6, which wisely refrained from actually condoning vandalism, explained what's seen on it:
According to SFGate, these banners — only the latest purchased by blogger Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative — went up on buses on Jan. 9, and feature an image of Adolf Hitler and Palestinian Muslim leader Haj Amin al-Husseini, who opposed Zionism. With the headline, “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s In The Quran,” the ads encouraged an end to aid to all Islamic countries.
As some commentors to CBR tell them, al-Husseini's anti-Zionism doesn't even begin to describe his evil. For example:
It was a bit more than that. Al-Husseini was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and a staunch Nazi ally, recruiting Muslms for the Waffen-SS and spending quite a bit of time in Germany, meeting repeatedly with Hitler. In 1943, he issued a proclamation:

“It is the duty of Muhammadans in general and Arabs in particular to … drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries….Germany is also struggling against the common foe who oppressed Arabs and Muhammadans in their different countries. It has very clearly recognized the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution [endgültige Lösung] for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world…”

So to say that he was “anti-Zionist” is to considerably understate the facts of the matter.
Exactly. This creature was a modern day savage.

Pamela is already aware of the vandalism, which included at least two other defacing paste-overs, and depending how many ads were defaced, intends to sue for damages. She's also brought to light one of the people who may be involved. Anyone who wants to help out can contact the sources she lists.

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Gerry Conway dislikes American Sniper

Conway's given strong hints he doesn't like the new American Sniper movie, even though there's some tributes to his famous vigilante creation, The Punisher, in the movie:

Man, now we really have to wonder if he regrets creating Frank Castle. We may have to wonder someday if he even regrets creating Power Girl, and Ms. Marvel with Carol Danvers. (Note that he didn't create Danvers, since she'd originally debuted in 1967 as a creation of Roy Thomas. Conway just helped lay the groundswork for turning an existing character into a superheroine.)

While we're on the subject, NY's Vulture section wrote about the movie's homages to the Punisher, but even they can't avoid slipping some kind of bias into the mix:
Thematically, there's not much of import in the dialogue (well, other than the fact that Biggles is totally wrong — a short individual issue of an ongoing comics series is a "comic"; a self-contained story published as a longer volume is a "graphic novel"). But the choice of comic is interesting, revealing, and upsetting.

The comic is never named, but if you look closely, you can see that it's issue No. 1 of the sixth volume of Punisher, released in January of 2004 (making it very believable as something Biggles could be reading during the platoon's 2004 deployment). The titular Punisher debuted in 1974's The Amazing Spider-Man No. 129, but he went on to have many series of his own. His core concept is simple: He hates criminals and he murders them with guns. His name is Frank Castle, he became a skilled and haunted soldier in Vietnam. He came back; his family was killed in the crossfire of a mob shooting; and he subsequently dedicated himself to killing the mobsters — and anyone else who he thought deserved to die for his or her actions. His only distinctive trademark is the giant skull logo he wears on his chest.

Although Punisher has often been popular (especially during the late '80s and early '90s, when the comics industry thrived on grim and gritty antihero action), he's never been an admirable role model. However, his black-and-white view of who deserves to live and who needs to die fits right in with the moral universe of American Sniper. Kyle's platoon goes on to call themselves the Punishers and spray-paint the skull logo on their gear, carrying it during their missions to find and execute insurgents. We never get much in the way of explanation about what the Punisher means to the soldiers, but Kyle's real-life autobiography has a long passage about why he admired the lethal vigilante. [...]
Maybe the Punisher's not such an admirable role model, but what sabotages their review is their insistence on calling Frank a "murderer", yet when they get around to talking about how his family was wiped out by mob enforcers, they don't call them that, nor their savage actions against his wife, children, and the man they were in the process of executing in the park. This is very telling of what's wrong with any detractors of the Punisher's premise, ditto American Sniper's. One irony - and possible flaw - in the movie's scenes with the star reading a Punisher issue is that it comes from Garth Ennis's time writing the MAX series, which was a study in left-wing mishmash:
This is, to put it lightly, a very problematic reading of the character. To get a sense of the Punisher's upsetting worldview, we can turn to the issue that Biggles is reading in the movie. It was written by Northern Irishman Garth Ennis, who is inarguably one of the greatest Punisher writers of all time — and someone with deep ambivalence about the character's morality and popularity. He's tended to write Castle as a man who was mentally destroyed during his service in Vietnam (not unlike the version of Chris Kyle we see in American Sniper), and who has become a dangerous psychopath. A stoic psychopath with something resembling a moral compass, but a psychopath nonetheless. He's way past pursuing justice for what was done to his family — now he just kills people and tells himself he's doing it for a good reason.

The story in Punisher volume 6, No. 1 is characteristically ultraviolent. Frank makes his way to a mansion where a bunch of mobsters are about to have a party, and on the way, he muses on the warped state of his personal war on evil. He recalls that his family was killed while on a picnic, and that they weren't even the intended targets — it was some old mobster. "The old man from the park is long since dead; so are his soldiers, so's the shooter," Frank thinks to himself. "So are the people who called in the hit, and hundreds, maybe thousands more. But the war goes on." The overall "why" question doesn't occur to him.
It's certainly odd that the movie's take on Kyle reads a corruption of the original visions for Frank, turning him into more of a flat-out lunatic than a man whose goals may be questionable but does maintain a sense of honor in his one-man-army career against crime. Yet they call Ennis the greatest writer for Frank, otherwise approving his anti-war themes in the process.

But that does not appear to be Conway's reason for detesting the film. Nope, for him, it stems far more from his ultra-leftist viewpoint, and gives another hint he may not be proud of his past career in comics writing.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015 

Todd McFarlane won't work for Big Two freelance, but will as part of a crossover?

McFarlane says he won't work for the Big Two again, partly because of his prominent job as one of Image's company managers, but he's willing to leave the door open for these possibilities:
However, McFarlane left the door open to some more co-publishing efforts with the Big Two. “Does that mean there will never be a Spawn/Spiderman cross-over? No. That could happen as a joint collaboration. The same would be true with a cross-over with DC Comics. But it would just be a one month ‘event’ thing that would be beneficial to both sides,” he said.
I don't think such an idea would benefit either. I do think - depending on the situation - that McFarlane's foolishly abandoned them for the sake of working on Spawn, one of a couple Image-sponsored products that was no big deal, at a time when his art could mean something. Some of his character designs from the early period in his career for DC and Marvel could be an acquired taste, but they were competent, and certainly meant much more than the awful output of his fellow Image founder Rob Liefeld, the one who really undermined their early business.

Then again, maybe it was for the best McFarlane left the Big Two, because their writing quality was going down the drain, so his artwork would've been wasted on bad scripting. But that's why he shouldn't return for the sake of a crossover either, not even one involving his own creations. He'd only be saddled with the bad quality they've heaped upon their own properties, and it wouldn't be any better than his own products.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015 

Donna Troy corrupted

As if it weren't enough the Finches blew their debut on Wonder Woman, now comes word that Donna Troy has been distorted into an enemy for Diana:
Wonder Woman No. 38 — the third issue, out Wednesday, for Finch and her artist husband, David — reintroduces Donna Troy, a character who hasn't been seen since DC's line-wide relaunch in 2011.

However, she's not going to be the heroine of Teen Titans comics of yore — this take on the character, formed from clay by the sorceress Hecate, is a blank slate and also an antagonist for Wonder Woman going forward. "It puts a lot of power in the hands of the Amazons who created her to mold her," says Meredith Finch.

Before revealing her true history as a daughter of Zeus, previous writer Brian Azzarello had set Diana up as an outcast within the Amazons on Themyscira because of her origin of being made of clay.

"They mocked her for that fact, which is what makes Donna so ironic — that they're going to accept her," Meredith Finch says. Now that she's queen, it's been an adjustment for everybody: "They need to know their leader is a warrior and the strongest warrior of them, and she's got something to prove to them."
I'm sure we could've seen this coming for nearly 4 years already, and that only makes it worse. Donna was an Everywoman in the TT franchise, written as a woman to admire and inspire, and here they're taking all that and throwing it away.
David Finch admits that he's still getting a feel for how Wonder Woman looks, including making sure she has the size of someone who's as physically powerful as she should be.

His wife, though, has focused on the character's emotional strength. In scenes like one she has with Superman in issue 37, where she flips out on him a little bit because she's feeling so overwhelmed, Meredith Finch is aiming to show that it's OK to have a moment where you lose it, even for Wonder Woman.

"Your strength is how you pick yourself back up or how you address that moment and move forward from it," the writer says. "Exploring that aspect of who she is doesn't take away from her being a superhero. In fact, it makes her more relatable and more human.
I'm sorry, but if all she can do is hold a teddy bear, and not do something like offer affection to needy children, then it's not very realistic at all. And as powerful as Swamp Thing is, he's still no match for WW's formidable strength. Predictably, USA Today doesn't bring up the previous storyline or ask any critical questions about it. All they're doing is taking the role of "media enablers", and letting otherwise incompetent writers get away with sloppy scripting.

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Marz actually cares about James Hudnall

The artist Norm Breyfogle, who drew Batman for several years in past decades, recently fell ill and needed medical aid. Marz was willing to ask people to help him out. Besides Breyfogle, Hudnall, who wrote a few comics like Alpha Flight in the 1980s and also supports conservative politics, has also had to get an operation, and wouldn't you know it, Marz is willing to put aside his disagreements and ask people to help him too, though he admits he doesn't like Hudnall's politics:

How about that, this is a not very common instance where Marz is willing to support a right-winger. I once spoke to Hudnall briefly by email a decade ago, and he's a fine fellow, so I guess we should be glad Marz was able to use some common sense here. I'm very sorry to learn Hudnall had to experience such a terrible loss because of an infection, and wish him a safe recovery.

As for Marz, while his respect for Hudnall at a time of need is admirable, I still wonder why he can't offer the same for rank-and-file righties to boot, or even some politicians/commentators. He continues his show of contempt with the following:

Yeah, that's all we need, some kind of moral equivalence, I guess. Obama's disappointments in his SOTU address include an announcement he'd be willing to veto sanctions against Iran, and raising taxes again, in another harkening back to his "wealth redistribution" proposal. We could all do without those kind of weak policies.

Umm, periods don't always have to go inside quotations. If you're just quoting a simple line without an official endpoint, then it could be done that way.

So there's another one of Marz's ridiculous jabs at right-wing politicians we could all do without.

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Friday, January 23, 2015 

Denys Cowan has the right argument about how to diversify

Milestone Comics, the line co-founded by artist Cowan with Dwayne McDuffie in the early 90s, is being revived, and the Washington Post spoke with Cowan about his new plans, and it looks like they're no longer affiliated with DC:
Milestone originally had a partnership with DC Comics, and in the early ’90s, DC and Milestone collaborated on a crossover, called “Worlds Collide,” that introduced heroes from the DC universe to heroes from the Milestone universe.

The triumvirate behind the new Milestone Media says that there are many things to sort out on the company’s business side, including potential partnerships. The L.A.-based Milestone Media “will be working with a wide array of companies — both different publishers as well as other media companies,” Hudlin tells The Post.
Yes, it sounds like they acquired the rights back to their creations, and after the way Dan DiDio mistreated McDuffie, they're doing the right thing to take their business elsewhere. Now, here's where Cowan stresses how diversity should be handled:
In recent years, major comics publishers have aimed to make real strides in character diversity. Marvel, for example, has introduced a half-black/half-Puerto Rican Spider-Man (Miles Morales); a black Captain America (formerly the Falcon/Sam Wilson); and a female Thor. DC Comics has made similar advances with such existing characters as Green Lantern John Stewart, and by introducing Batwing (a black member of Batman’s team of crimefighters) during the debut of the New 52, and announcing that there will be a black Power Girl (Tanya Spears).

Yet Cowan says that putting a character of color in a well-known, previously white mantle doesn’t hold the same impact as creating a new wave of heroes for an ever-diverse readership and new generations of fans.

“There are all kinds of challenges that are facing people of color — that part hasn’t changed,” Cowan tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “What has changed is, there are a lot more characters of color in comics. What we feel is now, Milestone is necessary because of the types of characters that we do, and the viewpoint that we come from.”

“We’ve never just done black characters just to do black characters,” he continues. “It’s always come from a specific point of view, which is what made our books work. What we also didn’t do, which is the trend now, is [to] have characters that are, not blackface, but they’re the black versions of the already established white characters — as if it gives legitimacy to these black characters in some kind of way — [that] these characters are legitimate because now there’s a black Captain America.

“Having been a creator of these characters and a consumer, I always looked at it like, ‘Well, geez, couldn’t you give me an original character?’ ” Cowan adds. “Black Panther worked because he was original. Static Shock worked because it was an original concept. It’s a good time to come back and reintroduce original characters, as well as some new ones.”
Cowan's nailed it. If diversity is so important, then it should be developed using superheroes with their own original codenames. Even more important, IMHO, is creating new co-stars and recurring cast members. Why must every single racial group member in superhero comics be introduced as a costume-clad protagonist? Can't they also serve well as co-stars? They might even work better that way. And if you can introduce a character of color, surely it's also possible to create one of specific ethnicity and nationality, like a native of Ghana, Portugal, Chad and Croatia?

And it's the characters audiences should be asked to care about, not the costumes. So if Cowan and company base their approach along all those crucial ideas, they'll be getting right what DC and Marvel are getting wrong.

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Dan Buckley defends pointless changes to reflect Marvel's movies

Before the announcement of Marvel's planned reboot, ICV2 interviewed Marvel publisher Buckley, who wouldn't admit too many changes are being made to Marvel continuity designated to make the comics reflect the movies. First, there's these paragraphs:
We wanted to talk about a topic that ICv2 has been exploring (including at its conference), the "new comics customer," the growing gender diversity and other changes to the audience (see "Retailers Talk New Comics Customers"). What are you seeing in measurable changes in the gender mix of your products and particularly on something like Ms. Marvel that has a strong female starring character?

We’ll be very frank. This industry has not been known for doing a lot of consumer research. You probably have most of it. As Tom DeFalco said to me 20 years ago [doing a Tom DeFalco voice], "You know, Danny, the best research you could do is you print the book, the people buy them, then that’s the book they want to buy." We’re in an industry where the cost of investment to create a product is relatively low. In many ways it’s cheaper just to produce a book and see if it sells than to do a lot of consumer research. That’s where our medium is very different from television, movies and animation.
Interesting he admits their research on audience has been poor, and it's probably much worse than we think. Maybe more important is the fact that research hasn't even interested them, to know just what the audience thinks on any pertinent subject. The other article they link back to gives an interesting note about the female consumers:
The female TFAW customers were younger than the males, and were more likely to be new customers. They liked indies more than typical customers, and liked Marvel and DC’s less. Around 55% agreed with the statement “I like comics starring strong female protagonists. Often don’t like how women are portrayed in comics.” That was a lot higher than the typical customers, which had around a 25% agreement with that statement.
If this is accurate, it confirms what I've been estimating about where a lot of the current audience, old and new, stand on mainstream superhero comics. For 2 decades, there's long been a perception that female casts are treated like tissue paper in superhero comics, more likely to be subject to jarring physical/sexual violence than male protagonists, and it's very likely the female consumers find the politics seeping into mainstream comics far more alienating than what you see in most indie products too. In fact, judging from how poorly "Ms. Muslim" - if that's who ICV2's interviewer is referencing - is selling now, despite Buckley's attempts to claim otherwise, chances are a significant number of women find that alienating too, proving that there's a lot more realists out there than Buckley and company want to think. Also, while the main article in focus may not mention it, some lady consumers are surely offended by the mistreatment of Mary Jane Watson. Now, here's a bit more from Buckley:
We’ve been aggressive in trying a lot of diverse product over the last two years. I would give huge kudos to Axel Alonzo on that. He’s been very aggressive in making sure that we have more female lead characters, that we have a more diverse palette of ethnicity in the books, and the thing that’s exciting to see is that the books are selling.
They may have more female cast members (yet only emphasize superheroines), but they don't have better writers, and their idea of diversity has only been to supplant established heroes with brand new ones in the same costume. But in the end, the "diversity" has been superficial only, and sales have been nothing spectacular for female-led solos either.
In the past, we could hold onto books that were critical darlings [but not top sellers] and move them along. Runaways was a great example of that. We’re not holding on to critical darlings right now. Ms. Marvel is a legitimate top-selling title for us in all channels. And the Lady Thor book (for lack of a better term, I’ll use the moniker) is a top-selling book for us. Part of it is Thor fans checking it out, but a lot of women came in to check it out, and say, "What is this story? I want to take part in it."
How is a book selling so low on the charts "legit"? And what if it turns out not so many women tried the Lady Thor book, and any who read Original Sin's setup for this replacement started giggling at how silly it is for Nick Fury to determine everything?
Miles [Morales] has been a legitimate hit for us with Ultimate Spider-Man. Success begets more versions of these things that will beget more success and we’re very excited about it, because the more we can broaden our base, the better it is for this form of storytelling and our business as a whole.
Not sales-wise it hasn't. If the rest of the Ultimate line hasn't worked, it should be no surprise Ultimate Spidey didn't either. Now, onto the part about movies:
We’d like to talk about the transmedia aspect of Marvel’s business. There’s a perception that Marvel is changing its print continuity to align with the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity. Does that happen?

I think people like to jump to conclusions. I’m going to be very clear. Let’s go back to 12 years ago. We all remember picking up our X-Men books in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The Professor would go in to put Cerebro on and he’d wear a helmet in a room, and whatever room that was and whatever it looked like was up to the artist du jour. But that room now, after the X-Men movie when he rolled into that big open area with the metallic globe that he is sitting inside of with the ramp, and then he puts the helmet on, you go into a Marvel comic now and that’s what that room looks like. The movie defined the mass market perception of what Cerebro looks like. The comics guys are looking at it and thinking, "That’s pretty cool, I think I’ll do that!" So, to say that one medium does not influence the other a great deal would be lying.
Nobody is jumping to conclusions, and it's not as though they "like" to, unless we're talking about the obsessives who vehemently refuse to stop buying when quality plummets. For a couple years now, they've been increasingly writing stories with elements meant to evoke the movies, as if that alone will guarantee moviegoers are interested. But these are superficial changes only (like Hawkeye not wearing a mask), and do not equal characterization. The writers are also insulting the intellect of moviegoers by acting as though none of them can guess liberties are taken with comics as they are with some novel adaptations.
The fact is the comics universe continuity is driven by editorial and the creative people within that area: the writers and artists involved with the editorial staff, and business management people in the publishing group. All of those people are well aware of what we’re looking to do with our television shows, movies and animation, me being one of those people. We allow the publishing people to tell the stories that they’re telling, but when a movie comes out and does something with a character that we find to be cool and also is very defining of the character, that will probably start influencing what the comic continuity will start looking like because the creators we have writing those products are influenced by that movie.
Whatever they've done to mimic the movies hasn't been cool. This brings to mind Sean Howe's point that when you publish a comic book meant to resemble a movie cooler than the finished comic product turns out to be, you're only losing.

And a lot of their new output's been heavily influenced by editorial mandate, unless the writers are part of a favored group. Those working for them now are pretty uncreative types.
I’ll give an example for Thor. When Kirby kicked off Thor, it was sci-fi. If you look back at that material he drew with Thor, it was from his imagination. The outfits looked very sci-fi, for lack of a better term. Through the years, through a variety of different artists’ influences, and from their own imaginations, I’d say it felt more like Norse mythology or The Lord of the Rings. But now the movie’s come back. The feeling of what Asgard looks like (where Thor is from) feels more sci-fi again because we leaned into that with the movie.
This is ridiculous. From the beginning, Thor and other Asgardian deities wore outfits that honed closer to what ancient Scandanavians used to wear, whether Vikings or other tribes who inhabited northern Europe. They sure didn't look very futuristic, so Buckley's defense is laughable, and disrespects Kirby's memory. And while there was always plenty of sci-fi involved, fantasy elements played a big part of Thor's corner in the MCU too, which Buckley fails to explain clearly.
So there’s no way that these movies, which are seen by millions of people, are not influencing what we’re doing in the books, but we’re not looking to align continuity between the two storytelling worlds because, frankly, that would be a venture into madness.
Sorry, but the movies are, by ways of the editors, who're stuck in a quixotic mind thinking gazillions of moviegoers will flock to their products despite the fact they've had so little coming in. Millions of film watchers, but only hundreds of comic book readers; that's the situation for many years now. They recently withdrew from a few book chains, and unless they intend to resume sales there, I can't see how anybody could find their products at ease. Even today, there aren't that many comics stores around easy to reach.
One is not overriding the other, it would be way too hard. But they do influence each other and that’s a lot of fun.
Not everyone agrees. It all depends on the writing in the finished product, which has been awful since the turn of the century. If characterization isn't good, then all these visual changes mean nothing. The same goes for DC, who went out of their way to change Superman's red tights for a dull blue pair, and that was no substitute for good character interaction either.

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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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