Friday, September 19, 2014 

A Titans TV show wouldn't work if Batman Forever's screenwriter is attached

Several days ago, the Wall Street Journal said a TV series is in the works based on Teen Titans, and would use the 1980s rendition as its closest source material. Unfortunately, a certain screenwriter's name on the project makes me feel discouraged:
Akiva Goldsman, who wrote “A Beautiful Mind,” “The Da Vinci Code,” and 1990s superhero sequels “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin,” is writing the “Titans” pilot, along with Marc Haimes.

Goldsman was previously attached to produce a “Teen Titans” movie at Warner Bros. that was never made.

Like most television programs in development, it’s possible that “Titans” will never actually make it to air.
With Goldsman aboard, some people familiar with his work on those two Bat-films might hope it never actually makes it to the air. WB's sent too many signals over the past couple years they have no idea how to write or market their adaptations of DC stories, and this does little to assure otherwise. Choices like Goldsman only tell everyone they're uninterested in learning from past mistakes.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014 

UK Metro writer defends sexiness and strength for heroines, and then proceeds to wreck argument

A writer for the UK Metro paper told why she's okay with heroines like Spider-Woman being sexy so long as they're not helpless:
I like a little controversy in art and comics are very much an art form. I’d be angrier if the actual content of the comics I read featured helpless, sexualised females and flimsy plot lines but, as a reader, I feel I’m living in a time where strong female characters are in abundance.
That's an argument I can get behind - while nobody expects the female casts to be invincible, it would certainly be bad if they were throughly helpless. But, as Identity Crisis proved back in 2004, and New Avengers in 2007 with the story where Tigra was attacked by The Hood, it's not entirely true women in modern comic book fiction are depicted strongly. Now that I think of it, the former example gave sex a bad name too.

But then, the writer ruins everything by bringing up the Muslim Ms. Marvel series for the umpteenth time in a mainstream press piece:
In the interest of fairness though, great strides have been made to move away from this image too, with Kamala Khan as a young Muslim Ms. Marvel and Marvel re-launching Thor as a woman.
Yes, that's all we need to hear. It would be a lot better if they'd cite the current Captain Marvel series starring the real Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers, but I guess that was just too easy for them. The premise of a new teen protagonist doesn't have to be sexy, but if they're going to inject religion (and taqqiya), then they've scuttled it nevertheless.

And here's somebody who doesn't question whether it's ridiculous to arbitrarily replace Thor with a woman bearing a man's name.
I feel the world of the superhero should be fun, where creators can play with sexuality and imagery. There are some brilliant writers and artists producing fantastic, inclusive stories that appeal to all readers, whatever your background.
I also feel they should be fun, but if you set up a dishonest picture of Islam, that's not fun at all. "Fun" visions can't be approved selectively.

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More liberal bias by Patrick Zircher

Zircher's decided to put more of his leftism on display in this batch of tweets. For example:

That may have been the case at one time, but not today. Has he ever heard of Rick Veitch's Trutherist propaganda called The Big Lie? In fairness, there's a gazillion creator-owned books out there even I know too little about, so we could probably excuse him for not knowing either. We can assume he's talking about mainstream, but whereas most early mainstream adventure fare usually didn't overplay leftism and certainly didn't embrace nasty ideas the way later products like Identity Crisis, Avengers: Disassembled, Civil War and Blackest Night did, now they're going overboard and putting their dirty laundry on display in ways like never before. Once, creators did understand the value of keeping their politics to a minimum, but now, that's changed with Civil War in particular. Even before that, the Marvel Knights take on Captain America by John Ney Reiber and The Truth: Red, White and Black were more embarrassing examples of blame-America tactics on display. How are those not deeply politicized? You shouldn't just say few are deep into politics without checking to see if that still holds true, nor should you refuse to acknowledge a lot of today's bigwigs are leftists themselves.

Once, they were artists before being leftists, but today, that's no longer the case either, and you have artists like Zircher blatantly airing their leftism on Twitter as was seldom seen before.

Why indeed? The real query is, why sexual orientation - meaning, LGBT lifestyle - should only be depicted positively, and no disagreement allowed unless the dissenting characters are depicted negatively? And if he's talking about mainstream, how come so little emphasis on ethnic groups like Danish, Ghanians, Armenians, Arabs of non-Muslim background, Copts, Basque and Burmese, if there's any emphasis at all? Over the years, any presentation that has appeared in mainstream was superficial at best. That's why IMO, they've been all but excluded from mainstream. That's what he misses here, and I'm sure his query was wholly deliberate.

When topics like this come up, I can't help but find it amusing how leftists like Zircher have such a beef with Fox, when even conservatives don't take everything they say at face value. And I never understand why leftists like him keep it up when Rupert Murdoch's associations with the Saudi prince al-Walid bin Talal would probably be to their liking. I'm wondering if his buddy Ron Marz, if he didn't know that part before, will suddenly decide to change his stance on Fox after he realizes whom Murdoch's hung out with over the years.

Well I hope he understands there's nothing entertaining about depicting women as negatively as Identity Crisis and Avengers: Disassembled did either. Moral standards must apply as much in comic book writing as in real life.

Has he spoken with conservative writers who feel they wound up blackballed by the Big Two? Chuck Dixon and Mike Baron are but two who've been. If Zircher hasn't, then there's little point in this superficial note.

Has he by any chance ever read articles like these? When I read about what goes on in the darkest regions of the world, all I can think is how dark the inhuman soul can be. So much hate mongered there, and no way to tell if leftists like Zircher care enough about it. Sigh.

Update: he's written another tweet where he lets know he's oblivious to a sad historical revelation:

Well I hate to break it to Mr. Zircher, but according to this info from the documentary They Spoke Out: American Voices Against the Holocaust, under FDR's administration, Anne Frank's family was denied entry to the USA. And it should be noted that Neal Adams, one of the artists whom I think Zircher once said inspired him, was involved in the making of this documentary. And this Jewish Journal article (via Point of No Return) tells that FDR's government didn't want to repeal Vichy laws against Jews, and FDR said something very disgusting:
On January 17, 1943, Roosevelt met in Casablanca with Major-General Charles Nogues, a leader of the new “non-Vichy” regime. When the conversation turned to the question of rights for North African Jewry, Roosevelt did not mince words: “The number of Jews engaged in the practice of the professions (law, medicine, etc) should be definitely limited to the percentage that the Jewish population in North Africa bears to the whole of the North African population… The President stated that his plan would further eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore toward the Jews in Germany, namely, that while they represented a small part of the population, over fifty percent of the lawyers, doctors, school teachers, college professors, etc., in Germany, were Jews.” (It is not clear how FDR came up with that wildly exaggerated statistic.)
That's what FDR was really like. I know it's not easy to bear, but reality can be very harsh and sad. Again, let me remind here that Neal Adams was a contributor to the Wyman Institute's aforementioned documentary, and if he can wake up to reality, I would assume Zircher can too.

Update 2: here's something else more comics related I feel I have to comment on:


For heaven's sake, is this the Criticize Fictional Characters Instead of Writers mentality I grew tired of seeing over the years? Bill Finger and company created Dickles as a kind of comedy relief cast member in the Golden Age. What was Zircher expecting? That he be depicted more seriously in grim fashion? Even Ben Reilly can't be faulted for the atrocity that was the Clone Saga; that was entirely the fault of bad writing and editors who greenlighted it (and artists, recalling the awful art for one of those stories). Much as I admire Tom deFalco, any contribution he made to that embarrassment is a blemish on his career, and the same must be said about Terry Kavanaugh, another writer/editor at the time. It's bad enough to see would-be readers taking such an easy route, but stupefying when writers and artists do the same, no matter how terrible I found the stories in question. As of today, I don't let my disappointment in bad stories cloud me to the realization that the fictional characters aren't the ones at fault, but rather, the writers, no matter what their reputation. And why? Because I think that, as comics readers, it benefits better to let the wider world know we can make distinctions and know where criticism must be laid. And there's an old saying that there's "no bad characters, only bad writers". Neal Adams may have once made that point too.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014 

Did GL: Rebirth really open the doors for every DC character to be resurrected?

I don't find Alvaro's Comic Boards a very appealing place, because it did have its share of selfish little trolls over the past decade, but, here's part of a topic I thought would make something worth commenting on:
The list of character who died notable deaths and inspired others is a long one. Sacrifice is an important art of the concept of Superhero death. But not all of DCs deaths were noble sacrifice - Hawk and Dove in the 90s was a brutal end to a successful pairing, so too was the death of Jason Todd violent without purpose, but this did nothing to change the stance DC had concerning dead characters. So when the rules are this stringent the question of who I thought would stay dead forever is largely an empty one, even when Hal Jordan died in the Final Night I was not at all positive about his chances in coming back to life, much less to Green Lantern status. With the benefit of hindsight it does seem quite clear that the success of his resurrection in 2005 by Geoff Johns is what blew open the previously airtight doors of DCs afterlife - because after this they virtually opened the doors to everyone to come back.
Wrong. They did not open the doors for everyone. Only those characters of their choice, and it has been for mainly commercial reasons. And not just Barry Allen's. Hal Jordan's resurrection was too, and as bad as Johns' storytelling ideas already were, it's pretty apparent from what came after that it had more in connection with the movie that was released several years later, which quickly flopped. Minor heroes and other supporting characters like Elongated Man, Sue Dibny, Jean Loring, 2nd Wildcat Yolanda Montez, 2nd Dr. Mid-Nite Beth Chapel and Lilith Clay have remained dead, as DC has no interest in trying out these characters who once did have potential.

Still, it's good to know somebody cares about Hawk and Dove, early victims of DC editorial's deranged obsession with trashing characters based on rank status. Hank Hall and Dawn Granger had potential, even if their ongoing series didn't work out well, and the editors threw all that away under the confidence nobody would object. But as we're seeing today, there are people out there who care, and will make their voices heard for the better.

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Roy Thomas had regrets over killing off Star Spangled Kid

I found a Facebook post from a few months ago that tells some history about Roy Thomas' decision to kill off Sylvester Pemberton - the original Star Spangled Kid and later Skyman - towards the end of Infinity Inc in 1988:
This weekend I had the opportunity to talk with Roy Thomas, a very nice and fan friendly guest at Comicpalooza. I was always curious as to why he killed Skyman/Sky Spangled Kid in Infinity Inc. Thomas always treated the Golden Age characters with such reverence, the death of a Jerry Siegel-created character was always a puzzler to me.

I heard two versions over the weekend. Roy relayed to me that "he really didn't know why" and he wanted to "shake the book up since it was on it's way out". He also said the death was "out of character for him", he probably wouldn't do it again and he regretted it, especially since DC never brought the Sylvester Pemberton character back.

Later during the con, I heard from a friend that Roy said his intention was to always bring Skyman back and that it was a imposter/replacement that was killed.

So who knows? I think both stories would be true and honestly I think Roy Thomas was just giving an answer that he thought would please a couple of fan boys. Ultimately, it's DC that has kept Sylvester Pemberton in the grave all these years and the Star-Spangled Kid has a great legacy in Stargirl.
Yes, DC is the one who failed Siegel's creation, whose comeback in 1973 after years in limbo made it fairly easy to bring him into the present, not unlike his more adult counterpart at Marvel, Captain America. It's something I hadn't thought about too deeply over the years, maybe because that was one of the more respectably written deaths of its time for a superhero, and unlike the death of Jason Todd, it wasn't determined by unreliable phone votes.

But at this point, I'm not so sure I can agree Pemberton found a great legacy in Stargirl, probably because Geoff Johns didn't manage her beginnings well, any more than a lot of the more established cast members who came before her. Incidentally, Johns brought back Pemberton in one of his first JSA stories as an alternate timeline doppelganger, in a story featuring the return of Hank Hall as Extant, which only dredged up one of the worst ideas from the 1990s seen in Armageddon/Zero Hour. No wonder that story doesn't appeal to me today. As somebody who values minor heroes as much as majors, turning Hank Hall into a bizarre villain is not something I can support.

I do think Thomas could've avoided killing off even a replacement (when Alicia Masters was unmasked as a Skrull named Lyja a few years later in Fantastic Four, they didn't take any killing routes), and what could've been done instead was just write that he'd gone MIA, leaving the door open for the other heroes to search for him. But I'm glad he's set a good example by expressing regret over what's long become a very bad direction that mutated into a total farce years later.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 

Axel Alonso claims the Muslim Ms. Marvel series is great for children

The UK Telegraph spoke with Marvel's EIC Alonso, who's proven himself as bad as his predecessor Joe Quesada, about the scrutiny they came under for the Spider-Woman cover by Milo Manara they're publishing, and the way their female take on Thor is drawn. Not surprisingly, he and the paper remain superficial about religion as seen in the Muslim Ms. Marvel series, which we'll get to in a moment. First:
The comic book world has long been dominated by male superheroes, from Superman and Spiderman to Captain Marvel and Iron Man. It’s only recently that mainstream companies like Marvel have started to create strong female characters, too. Think Ms Marvel, a young Muslim heroine, Black Widow, and the latest, a female Thor to replace the current male superhero.
Anyone who adheres to bad religions and belief systems can't be very strong as a thinker, that's for sure. Again, if they'd just emphasized her being Pakistani without focusing on religion, it could've worked better. But this is the new PC Marvel, and they'd rather focus on what they think is logical.
Marvel’s decision to allow a female superhero to wield Thor’s famous hammer has gone down well with fan girls all over the world. The fact that they're doing it without giving her an overtly feminine name (‘She-Thor’ or ‘Thorita’ were just two suggestions) is even more promising.
All of them from A to Z? I think that's a bit farfetched. How do they know several million women in the world solely demand a female replacement for Thor, and not a heroine who can stand on her own without being based so absurdly on the role of a guy whose name is quite masculine? It's silly to say keeping the masculine name hasn't gone by without criticism from any fangirl.
Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, explains the idea came from the writer. But he says the Marvel team was equally enthused: “It wasn’t lost on us, of course, the power of a female Thor. The American comic book market has for decades been very much dominated by male writers and characters".
And it still is. Otherwise, they'd ask somebody like Louise Simonson to take up the task her great husband Walter worked on back in the mid-80s. But she'd probably want to work it all out with a path more faithful to past writing efforts that aren't so PC, and that's why today, they wouldn't hire her.
Alonso also explains that, although Marvel has no official policy, the company has been making an unspoken move towards diversity.

“Slowly we have made progress on that front," he adds. "We believe there’s an audience of women out there who are hungry for this and we want to make sure they get it. This is affirmative action. This is capitalism.”
Seriously, he, a leftist, supports capitalism? And I thought it was becoming a dirty word among some leftists, who prefer the term "free enterprise"! But is this really affirmative action? Not if they go out of their way to replace the male Thor in such a silly way, instead of taking the challenge of spotlighting Sif, his childhood sweetheart among the goddesses of Asgard.

Alonso says they're going by what they believe. But I think it's silly to assume women are demanding the male Thor be replaced at all costs, just like it's silly to think Blacks and Latinos want white superheroes replaced at all costs. Similarly, it's ludicrous to think women, Blacks and Latinos wanted the Spider-marriage erased at all costs, and Mary Jane Watson marginalized so badly, ending up in situations that make it impossible for people to look forward to new appearances she makes, since, as Dan Slott's proven with his last rendition, the guest appearances can turn out to be absolutely terrible and not worth reading. Overlooked by the Telegraph is what women think of all that. As I once mentioned before, if a black writer who supports the Spider-marriage came along, there's no chance Alonso and company would approve his/her wish to restore it.
An audience there certainly is. It's estimated that 46.67 per cent of comic fans are women. That's why it's so important for comic book creators to wake up to the fact that they have more female readers than ever.
If they did, the Spider-marriage would still be intact, ditto the coherent characterization for various other civilian female cast members. So it's pretty obvious they're still asleep.
“I don’t want to run away from sexy characters but I think there’s a difference between characters being sexy and gratuitous," says Alonso. "It comes down to context. I won’t say we won’t do sexy female characters. That’s preposterous and ridiculous. For one thing it’s in the eye of the beholder.”

But when you have hordes of female fans complaining about a sexualised Spiderwoman and busty Thor, then surely that’s a sign that something has to change? Especially when Alonso himself admits that there is a double standard - with male superheroes escaping this treatment?

“I challenge you to find in Ms Marvel anything that resembles the Playboy model standard,” he says. “But I don’t want to be Mr Goody-Two-Shoes. We’re creating stories. I don’t want to say there’s no room for stuff that’s not just fun. Then you’re censoring yourself.

“I want to make sure I have books like Ms Marvel and Black Widow that I’m proud about and could give to my daughter. But at the same time I don’t want to be the PC police and say you can’t be naughty; you can’t be fun.”
Alas, he is being the PC police. His staff have seen to it criticism of bad religions like Islam is haram (forbidden), and only an otherwise positive portrayal is allowed. Forget sexiness, what's galling here is his refusal - and theirs - to comment on how the Ms. Marvel book won't be honest and transparent about Islam. And if they won't be honest about the Religion of Peace's cruelty and its view on women's status, how can the book be something worth giving to a daughter? It's not whether any of the female characters look like Playboy bunnies that's concerning here, it's whether the script is open about the Koran's content that is. If they cannot be honest and tell each and every Sura from the pages of the Koran in their tale, then they're doing nothing more than marketing a misleading product to girls no matter what age they are.

The article doesn't do a very good job in its focus on She-Hulk either:
It brings us to the other issue that many fan girls have with the way women are portrayed in comic books: body shape.

Jade Sarson, creator of comic series Café Suada, recently spoke to me about how many superheroes are ‘skinny, waif sort of characters’. She was relieved that the female Thor is quite bulky, but told me that She-Hulk – a character who was once described as ‘a giant, green porn star’ – is “super thin”.
They don't even mention who called Jennifer Walters that, screenwriter David Goyer, nor do they tell how quite a few people were disgusted by his dirty language. And Stan Lee's rebuttal of Goyer's assertion She-Hulk was only created as a sex partner for Bruce Banner goes unmentioned either. From what they say here, you'd think Goyer's creepy little crack was something told back in the 80s. With all that offensive language, Goyer only proved why nobody should be quick to embrace him as the perfect screenwriter for comics movies. And what's so wrong with She-Hulk being thin? It's the way you'd expect to see in an animated cartoon, and you can't possibly expect them to draw anatomies true-to-life.
Even though Marvel won’t stop fully sexualising female characters, it's good news that they are still working on diversity. Alonso tells me he’s "open” to having a transgender superhero, as well as more story lines around the issue of sexuality. He'd also love to see a Black Widow movie starring Scarlett Johansson (as would most of her fans, no doubt).

He also says that it's likely there will be more female comic heroes. We could even see a female Iron Man (one of the big three Marvel heroes) - or ‘Iron Maiden' - as he suggests she could be called.

“I think it’s very feasible. But we don’t start with, hey why don’t we make Iron Man female? That’s not the way to go about it. Ultimately if the story’s bad, it will explode in your face.”
And they've had plenty of bad storylines dating back to the early/mid 90s. The only reason why they succeeded as well as they did is because of the mindless, ill-informed addicts who buy out of obsession/compulsion, not based on story merit. That, along with their refusal to change publication format, is exactly why they've gradually lost other audiences who think better in terms of talent. These ideas he's willing to try out are not based on story value, they're just based on PC ideas he thinks must be accepted no matter what. And that's why they're not gaining audience, but rather, losing it.

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Superman's new duds for Future's End are just duds

Newsarama is asking:

And I think the simple answer is, they're dull. So too is that ridiculous helmet Wonder Woman's wearing that looks like it came on loan from Loki over at Marvel. Supes is wearing a darker colored outfit in a rather obvious nod to the dark angle they're going for in this latest crossover tripe, all without the red tights that made for a better costume design. This obsession with superficial costume redesigns is getting way out of hand, and does not substitute for meaty characterization.

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Monday, September 15, 2014 

If you love Wolverine, you won't buy the story about his curtain call

Vox is talking about the soon to be released Death of Wolverine miniseries, and one of the first lines in this otherwise unobjective article is:
There's more to this than just telling a good, poignant story. And it has to do with money.
As a matter of fact, money has far more to do with it now than good writing. And that's exactly the problem. If they really believed in themselves, they wouldn't go for something long obvious. It's been a while since the Death of Captain Marvel, and today's staffers don't know how to capitalize on the premise used in that well regarded 1982 graphic novel like they did back then.
"It's [death] been done to death, no pun intended," John Jackson Miller, a New York Times best-selling author and curator of Comicchron, a site that tabulates monthly comic book sales, told me. "It developed in the '70s when [comic companies] began aggressively marketing the events of the lives of comic book characters to the people who were most interested in their adventures, the readers."
That's actually tipping everyone else off to the problem - they're only marketing to their established audience, and probably know death isn't something people new to the scene care about. How can they be invested in anything if that's all the publishers can think of doing?
Comic publishers want to sell issues, and, to sell issues, there needs to be "stuff" happening in them: fights, weddings, births, new characters, and, yes, deaths.
Unfortunately, births and weddings have become fewer over the years, and as DC recently - and insanely/laughably - announced, they don't want their cast to have happy lives, save perhaps for a select few. At Marvel, this has already been demonstrated by erasing the Spider-marriage but marrying Northstar to a gay boyfriend of his in the pages of X-Men. Not that it helped sales, because they remained pretty stagnant, proving few care about such a biased step that's been pushed for too long on the public.
The impact of this only grows when these events involve beloved characters. Fights can get old, but fights between two iconic characters are better. Weddings are fine, but weddings between two well-loved superheroes are better. Births are okay, but the birth of Superman is better. And deaths can be page-turners, but not like the death of a iconic character.

"The seminal moment for character death came in November of 1992 — the death of Superman," Miller said.
Oh yeah, some seminal moment alright. It wasn't much of a story to begin with, and Kal-El's demise was the only point they were interested in making. And Miller's wrong in a way about iconics and dearest beloveds being the only kind of characters the readers care about, or whom publishers see fit to kill off. Eclipso: The Darkness Within, Identity Crisis and Avengers: Disassembled, to name but some, have long proven this.
Comics readers knew that Superman, like most dead superheroes, would be coming back, but the mainstream press got hold of the story and hyped it up. This was also at a time when people were really into buying rare comic books in hopes that they could later sell them for for sky-high prices. The hype and swirling media frenzy created a mainstream demand for the book and a record day in the comic industry.

"It's what remains, to this day, the biggest sales day in the medium —$30 million of business was done on that day in 1992, and it was spread over 10,000 comic shops in North America," Miller said.
Wow, that Miller sure only cares about greenbacks, eh? And that's his biggest weakness as a medium representative. No less shameful are the people who bought pamphlets only for the monetary value and never wanted to read the stories and judge the books based on those merits. Something that otherwise goes by here without comment by the author of this piece.
Those sales are what Marvel wants to tap into. However, we're not in the comic bubble of 1992. There have been plenty of iconic superhero deaths since Superman's (Jean Grey multiple times, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Magik — and that's just X-Men characters alone). And each one of those deaths chips away at the idea that superhero death is somehow final or rare.
That's probably why some of these deaths have taken place more in miniseries than in ongoing ones, because they know it won't guarantee long term sales, nor that anybody will remain hooked. Indeed, depending where a death takes place, that's probably what gives them confidence they can get away with it. Similarly, that's why plenty of minor co-stars have become pawns for slaughter and villification, because they're counting on the audience caring about them far less than the superheroes.
Miller explained that it's rare to find a comic book today that achieves a great deal of value and retains it. There are no $30-million days in the business anymore. What retailers are aiming for are sales spikes (200,000+ issues sold) when a character dies and when he or she returns, plus hopefully some new readers.

One of the more recent examples of this was in 2012, when Marvel killed Peter Parker. He returned in April of 2014 and sold a megaton of comics:
And how is this justified? They practically legitimize sales at all costs not based on story value, and ripping off tons of people who inadvertently buy these increasingly worthless charades that are worth less and less retail value every year. But at least they admit today's comics aren't selling gigantic amounts any longer, a loss that can be attributed to the decline in writing merit. So many of these "events" are badly written, often repellent in their structures and politics, and that's why less people are buying the mainstream products year after year.
The top-selling comic for the past year has been Batman, from Marvel's chief rival, DC Comics. For the last two years, Batman has held down a spot in the top five comics sold in North America, according to Comicchron's numbers. Save for major crossover events, debuts, or the aforementioned death and return of Peter Parker, it usually holds the top spot. Batman has the kind of success that comic companies want.
Umm, how come they haven't cited any numbers? Because it doesn't sell much more than 114,000 at the moment, and even that's declining. What, are they scared people will laugh at their comedy of ignorance? When they get to the part about the Marvel movie adaptations, they say:
These movie rights have a direct effect on comic business. Marvel isn't in control of X-Men movies, and it doesn't get the same kind of money from an X-Men movie as it would from a movie featuring characters it fully owns, such as the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy. Tom Brevoort, Marvel's Senior Vice President of Publishing, has confirmed as much. This June, Brevoort said that investing in properties Marvel doesn't own, most notably the X-Men, isn't the best idea.
Isn't that taking a risk of alienating the studios they sold the film rights to? Put another way, is that a good idea to speak so negatively about the companies who own the picture deals? But then, Brevoort's long proven himself a poor spokesman for the medium, and he really shouldn't be communicating with the audience if all he can do is voice contempt based on his leftism.
[...] In the wake of Guardians' onslaught, a Rocket Raccoon comic was released in July and sold 293,913 copies, taking the top spot away from Batman.

In the same month that Rocket Raccoon got the top spot, the top-selling X-Men title, All-New X-Men, came in at 26th place. The X-Men's loss of dominance begins much earlier, around March of 2006 — two months before the movie X-Men: the Last Stand.
For good reason, honestly. The writing had become so bad over the past two decades, thanks in part to Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza, and even before that, Chris Claremont was stumbling with poor characterization and plotting. Hence, the X-Men's sales figures have been in decline for a pretty long time.

The Rocket Raccoon comic may have debuted in 1st place, but they noticeably don't mention the 2nd issue only had around 56,000 copies published, some of which may be gathering dust in bargain bins along with copies of the 1st issue. If it was a success the first month, it's a failure the next.
While there is a strong feeling among certain X-Men fans that Marvel wants to see the X-Men fail, low comic sales don't benefit Marvel. In Marvel's perfect world, it would see gigantic comic sales and low interest in X-Men movies, because then it would be able to convince Fox to give back the rights. (This is never happening in our lifetimes.) What the company would settle for is a shot in the arm for a middling franchise and new readers.
In that case, why do they persist with such terrible directions and pushing leftist politics that appeal to nobody? That's why, despite what they say, it's enough to wonder if they do want the X-Men to fail. Personally, I don't mind if movie companies want to keep holding onto the adaptation rights, so long as somebody with rationale and the money to afford it wants to buy out the publishing arm and just concentrate on putting out comics with good writing, and capitalizing on any film audience in a good way. As the movie adaptations become far more important to Marvel than the comics, it's brought me to pondering that.
The only comic book character that has died and stayed dead has been Peter Parker's Uncle Ben. Wolverine is no Uncle Ben. If Wolverine is really, truly going to die, then he will really, truly, come back to life in the future.
Suppose one day, Ben Parker does come back to life in the mainstay MCU? But at least they're honest and admit Wolverine will probably return to the living in the near future, if Marvel's still around to publish his return at all.
In fact, the X-Men have a knack for coming back to life. Jean Grey, a character who comes with a long-running footnote about her multiple deaths and future children, first died in 1980, only to be brought back over and over. Kitty Pryde "died" (she was trapped in a bullet in space) in 2008, and didn't return to the comics until two years later. Nightcrawler died in X-Force #26 in 2008 while facing a villain named Bastion, but he returned in 2013. Other X-Men like Magik and Colossus, and even fringe, baby X-Men like Wallflower have all died and come back at various points.
What I want to know is why these heroes and heroines have to die at all? Why can't they emphasize stories where they befriend and help say, people suffering drug addiction and terrorized by the mafia, and how the heroes help them? The villains could be armed with sci-fi weapons too, if that matters. But the X-Men have long been touted as quasi-isolationists, and that's stuck annoyingly with many writers uninterested in more creative storytelling. That's also a serious problem with a lot of team titles - the heroes and heroines only date each other, and few "civilians" are ever brought in. Those who are these days probably get infected with political correctness.

And Jean's death was really only twice, and the second time was really stupid.
As Wolverine's death draws near, Wolverine fans can take solace in the words of Len Wein, who created the character in 1974: "No one in comics is ever really dead, unless you can see the body. And usually not even then."
Unless the company staffers have decided they hate specific characters, as Identity Crisis and Avengers: Disassembled have proven. There's certain ones who've remained dead since then - mainly minor characters - for all the wrong reasons. And that's mostly because they're counting on nobody, neither established reader nor newcomer, to care enough to ask their unjust fate be reversed.

As for the Death of Wolverine miniseries, it makes no difference whether he's resurrected in time or not, I see no reason why anyone should support the book, and that's why I'd strongly urge anyone thinking about buying it reconsider, and if they don't own the older tales with Logan, to save the money for buying those older, better stories instead. There's no need to encourage Marvel and DC to think they can get away with this, and people who really like Wolvie wouldn't want him to just perish instead of the more creative ideas that could be tried out.

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Patrick Zircher keeps distorting the facts surrounding Ferguson riots

Zircher, the artist who drew comics like the New Warriors, Iron Man and Nightwing, and whose work I read some of years before, still believes Ferguson's riots are merely a protest, and solely the cause of white-vs-black racism. Here are at least 3 tweets he wrote to that effect:

Protesting, yes, but rioting, no. Yet he continues to live the lie this was just some sick white cop attacking an innocent black. Perhaps he should read this recent CNN report - from a company run by his leftist brethren - to learn some more about the real picture he turns his back to:
In a first account of its kind, a caller to Radio America's "The Dana Show," who identified herself only as Josie, told listeners a detailed account of Officer Darren Wilson's side. A source with detailed knowledge of the investigation told CNN it accurately matched what the officer has told investigators.

"He said all of a sudden, he just started to bum rush him," she said. "He just started coming at him full speed, and so he just started shooting and he just kept coming."

"I can even say without speaking to Darren, without even having heard his statements, that at that moment in time, he was scared for his life, I am 100% positive of that," Wilson's longtime high school friend Jake Shepard told CNN.
As noted before, there have been several witnesses to the assault that left Wilson with an eye injury, and now, about a month after the riots CNN themselves were stoking, they're beginning to admit everything was taken out of context. Unless Zircher respects his fellow leftists, we can only wonder now if he'll turn against CNN and cease watching them, their political leanings notwithstanding.

And if you think an improper, obnoxious riot that saw various businesses get trashed breaks no laws in a democratic country, read some of the legal system rules. And take a look at this slideshow of all the damage done. Some reporters were even threatened by rioters while trying to record all the vandalism. And I'm trying to figure out why the leftist media wants to back mindless, narrow hoodlums more than willing to turn against them no matter what their politics.

Has Zircher read this news about an attack by a black gang at a Memphis grocery store? It says:
Police reported they had received a September 6 surveillance video showing the swarm of black teens pushing, punching and kicking the young store employees at the entrance to the store.

According to Memphis police, the group emerged from a restaurant in the same strip mall and immediately attacked a 25-year-old man as he left his car in the parking lot and headed for the grocery store.

Two grocery store employees ran to the man's aide, and the black mob attacked them as well, brutally beating all three victims into unconsciousness.

Police report that the crowd of up to 20 teens were laughing and yelling "fan mob."

All three victims were treated on the scene and refused transportation to the hospital.

Video taken by customers on the scene attest to the viciousness of the attack. It shows screaming, joking, laughing black members of the mob attacking and kicking a white Kroger employee lying immobile on the ground.
Several arrests have already been made for this crime. Two years earlier, a white teen named Allen Coon was nearly set on fire by two racist black students. Does Zircher think blacks have gotten over racism any more than whites if this is what some think makes for great sport? And if he's really concerned about anti-black racism, then does he care about blacks who've been enslaved in modern day north Africa by white Islamofasicsts? As this article tells, it makes no difference to them even if the black residents are Muslim too; the white Muslims continue their prejudice against them.

On the other hand, he's one of the not too many comics artists/writers who's addressed 9-11, and his comment here seems fairly respectable:

If he cares, I'm amazed. It's crucial to remember, because there's quite a few leftists out there who'd rather we all forget the tragedy and what led to it. There's even Trutherists running amok, and sympathizers with their twisted viewpoints more than willing to give them a platform. And, there's pro-Islamists sympathizers trying to censor the facts surrounding 9-11. Zircher would do well to think about that.

But it still doesn't excuse his distortions of the facts surrounding Ferguson, and he shouldn't act as though Blacks, Latinos and Asians can't be racist towards a white person. Ayaan Hirsi Ali made clear 5 years ago that it's not just one sector of society that's a problem.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014 

Here's the latest batch of Ron Marz mania

Okay, here's the latest of Marz's muddles. For example:



The repeated bumbling behavior of a cynical leftist doesn't help comicdom's wider image either. Nor does failure to admit failure with the setup for Green Lantern post-Emerald Twilight. But, if he thinks comic folks are the best, why doesn't he come to the defense of those who've been largely blacklisted, like Mike Baron and Chuck Dixon? Why doesn't he ask Top Cow and Image to hire them?

How about that, he's the kind of leftist worried about climates and global warming, and getting his info from the UN, that bastion of anti-democracy guilty of the Oil for Food scandal, among other horrible offenses.

Awfully rich coming from somebody who keeps disdaining rightists and blabbering about gun control mishmash, something he hints at in one of the next posts.

What's that supposed to mean? That he's against ramming ISIS into the dust where they belong? Or that he sees nothing wrong with women suffering under sharia?

This sounds like another insult to pro-self-defense advocates of the most bizarre kind.

What about leftist comics writers and publishers who exploited 9-11 to advance their twisted viewpoints? What about Joe Quesada and J. Michael Stracynski both doing this with the notorious Spider-Man issue from 2001? And Dan DiDio/Brad Meltzer when they published Identity Crisis? The latter may have been more metaphorical, but the blame-America and conspiracy theories were still there. Why does he even continue to write a webcomic or two for DC, so long as they keep on with such tactics? And, if political affairs are what matters, what about leftists who exploit 9-11 for foisting their twisted beliefs? Speaking of which, according to a Breitbart contributor talking about Young Americans Foundation's school program for learning about 9-11:
If it weren't for the Foundation's student activists, most schools would ignore the anniversary of September 11. Even more worrisome are the professors who continue to blame America for the attacks. The Obama administration has even tried to change the meaning of 9/11 by turning the anniversary into a politically correct "national day of service." They would like us—and particularly young people—to forget who murdered nearly 3,000 innocent American men, women, and children.
So, Marz, if you're really that concerned about brand advertising, will you be concerned about the Obama administration's type, and that of the leftist professors they speak of? Alas, knowing Marz, he probably won't be.

Whoa, he's defending guns on Bruce Wayne's ride? Ladies and gentlemen, the great Marzini's done it again, and put a double-standard on display. I remember he tried to defend his split position seen in the John Carter of Mars adaptations by taking the "it's only fiction" route. But fiction, like reality, is a place to run ideas, and if you say it's not good in real life, than it's not good in fiction either, because people can still get the idea it's okay to defend yourself and other innocents. So, what's it gonna be?

I thought we don't put up with men who write stories making light of sexual assault either. Which is why I'm still wondering why he retweeted a post promoting Brad Meltzer's Batman story several months back. So long as Meltzer hasn't apologized for how he scripted Identity Crisis, I don't see why any decent person should have anything to do with him, or DiDio, for that matter.

And with that, we conclude our presentation of Marz's latest muddles.

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Friday, September 12, 2014 

Some DC beginner's guide to the Multiverse this supposedly is

Vox.Com wrote about Grant Morrison's Multiversity, an alleged explanation of the multiverse that DC is now setting up again in the New 52 era (or are they?), and starts off by asking:
With Marvel dominating the box office and launching crass, anthropomorphic raccoons to superstardom, most people with an eye on comics are wondering what its chief rival DC is up to. And DC faces so many questions. Who's going to be in the Batman vs. Superman movie? How is it treating its gay characters? How is it treating its female characters?
Interestingly, I'd say they're treating their gay/lesbian characters better than the female ones. But why is that an important question? A far better one would be how good the merits of their storytelling are, and whether they can entertain without stuffing in so much political correctness.

As a story telling about parallel worlds, there's one described here I think it could've done without:
For example, on Earth-23 (right), Superman is president, and major heroes like Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are black. Earth-7 is a ravaged war zone where all superheroes are dead. And Earth-10 is a world where the Axis powers won WWII, and Superman's insignia is a swastika.

And there are worlds in the multiverse that haven't even been revealed yet.
I don't think Earth 10 is a world I'd want to visit. More to the point, is this all the book was written for? Just so they can feature parallel takes on established cast members? If anything, the Earth 10 world alone sounds truly repellent, and I honestly don't want to read about a parallel Superman who's a fascist. The Red Son miniseries from a decade ago was enough, and besides, Morrison's long proven his capability of spoiling his ideas with crudeness.
DC is banking on the comic to help bring some clarity to what's going on in its comics universe now. It's supposed to show who the gods are that Wonder Woman prays to, where inter-dimensional travelers come from, and where cosmic beings live.

Most of all, it gives DC a chance to build out its world. Multiversity opens up the door to new heroes, new stories, and the possibility of new comics for DC to pursue. And it's been a huge success. According to Bleeding Cool, it was the top-selling comic the week it was released.
Really, was it? I looked at the BC report, and there's no sales numbers featured, so this argument doesn't hold water.
This is also a story that doesn't focus on DC's big three — Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman — as we know them (though there are variations of these characters on different worlds). These three superheroes drive DC's comics and have mainstream recognition, much like The Avengers and X-Men drive Marvel's popularity. By focusing on characters other than the big three, DC is making a bid to expand its pool of big names.
Well good luck with that. They've long proven that with their approach to marketing, what only they think makes a great story, and the kind of writers/editors they employ today, the chances of increasing recognition for the 3rd tiers - let alone readership - are very few. When they bring up how Morrison's using this miniseries for commenting on how people relate to fiction, they say that:
...it wouldn't be a stretch to think that he could be commenting on how authors and creators take real-world stories and conflicts and put them and their perspectives on the pages of comic books. He's no stranger to this. During his late '80s/early '90s run on the comic Animal Man, Morrison built his values of animal rights and vegetarianism into the comic.
And I don't see how those are more important than human rights. His work also contains leftist beliefs like anti-war sentiment, and he was one of the same writers who attacked Frank Miller for his desire to address the issue of jihadism. And, he was the writer who ran a very unappealing take on X-Men, and wiped out Jean Grey in a pretty awful way.
Morrison also plays with breaking the fourth wall and addressing the reader directly at various points. What Morrison is doing is not unlike what Steve Gerber did with Howard the Duck in the 1970s. Those issues featured commentary on comics, the comics industry, and even subtle jabs at Marvel. Morrison is tapping into that same counter-culture vibe.
Except that Gerber did it all with a lot more style and respect for rationale than Morrison ever has.
Morrison is one of the premier comic creators and writers in the industry. He's known for his work on X-Men, particularly for turning antihero Emma Frost into one of Marvel's iconic characters. He's also known for his runs on DC Comics like Swamp Thing, Batman, Doom Patrol, and the aforementioned Animal Man.
And he's also known for exploiting some of those books for allusions to drugs, which he once had experiences with, and I wonder why a UK writer like him is the one to supposedly honor optimism, slapstick, tongue-in-cheek and campiness of the Silver Age, and why he's the one who's allowed to write his books that way if he pleases for DC, while others apparently are discouraged from doing the same. Actually, now that I think of it, he did have disagreements with earlier editors during his 2 year run on JLA in the late 90s, and left for a time because they wouldn't agree that he depict Superman capable of moving entire planets like he did in the Silver Age again. But that would only enforce the argument that in some past presentations, Superman was depicted too powerfully, which is understandable when you want the heroes to have more drawbacks than just Kryptonite and sorcery. It also brings to mind how weird it is that people supposedly interested in "realism" will make exceptions for Morrison when he wants to do cartoony presentations, though that's still nowhere near as bad as his politics.

But did he really turn Emma Frost into an icon? Judging from sales, including those on solo miniseries from the mid 2000s, I'd say no, he didn't make her a megastar so much as he did turn her into more of a cartoon vixen determined to take Cyclops for herself, all at Jean Grey's expense.
[...] Superheroes, as comic writers have depicted them, have shifted from being fantastical creatures, to flawed outsiders, to regular folk like the characters of Kick-Ass, and now back to surrealism. But where do superheroes go from here?
Where indeed? They completely fail to ponder how Mark Millar's Kick-Ass IS surreal, not to mention very distasteful, and I'm still in awe a book with such an alarming depiction of hoodlums committing rape was considered worthy movie material. How are those supposed to be "regular folks" when they act like anything but?
Morrison believes the next step is changing reality, and living out our own stories. His example is his own life and how superheroes taught him morality, gave him a career, and inspired him.
If he really believed in morale, he wouldn't have attacked Frank Miller for all the wrong reasons several years ago, nor would he make light of drugs. He's not inspired by superheroes so much as he is by the leftist doctrine he's long gone by.
"By offering role models whose heroism and transcendent qualities would once have been haloed and clothed in floaty robes, they nurtured in me a sense of the cosmic and ineffable that the turgid, dogmatically stupid 'dad' religions could never match," he writes. "Words can electrify us or make our blood run cold. And the idea of Superman is every bit as real as the idea of God."
I'm beginning to wonder if he believes Superman isn't a fictional creation, but rather, a pagan deity not unlike Jupiter and Zeus, from some type of bizarre real life perspective. And, as the above lines from Supergods hints, he's not very respectable of Judeo-Christianity.

Since we're on the subject of multiple/parallel worlds, I think I'll also take the time to argue what mistake I think DC really made back when they originally published Crisis on Infinite Earths: it's not that they merged heroes and co-stars from Earth-1 and Earth-2 into just one. It's that they drastically downplayed parallel dimensions, or did away with them altogether. Before Crisis, I think there were some parallel dimensions of Earth and the galaxy featured, and the Atom traveled (or shrank) into a few back in the Silver/Bronze Age, as did Green Lantern and the Justice League. Mera came from a different dimension in Aquaman. And Amethyst was very notable for its own parallel world with magic. But after Crisis, I don't think the concept of parallel worlds was ever emphasized as noticeably as it used to be, if it was ever explored at all.

My point is, they didn't have to keep exploring worlds with doppelgangers of established superheroes. What I think could've made for great storytelling was to create parallel dimensions of Earth and other planets where different beings and other atmospherical structures could dwell. Worlds with sorcery and vast technology, even floating cities you can find in sci-fi novels. That could've made a great substitute for parallel worlds with costumed superheroes, where those who live in the mainstay dimension could travel into, finding people and societies coping with villains trying to destroy their well being whom the superheroes could lend a helping hand to. If they'd thought of it back then, chances are most of the people sorry about the loss of the Multiverse wouldn't have complained so much. Now, with such a drastically reduced audience and some of the most pretentious writers like Morrison running the store along with the editors, the chances of doing something plausible and tasteful along the lines I'm suggesting is close to nothing.

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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.
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