Monday, July 06, 2020 

If Iron Man was the villain of Civil War, that's exactly the problem with the whole 2006 crossover

Screen Rant wrote one of their frustratingly sugarcoated history pieces, this one about Tony Stark's place in the atrocious Civil War crossover from nearly 15 years ago:
Throughout the pages of the Marvel Comics event Civil War, Captain America and Iron Man face off in a battle of convictions that leads Tony Stark down a villainous path.

Written by Mark Millar with pencils by Steve McNiven, Civil War sees a crisis unfurling across Earth-616 after the villain Nitro blows himself up setting off a nuclear level explosion in a suburban neighborhood. In the aftermath of this tragedy, the Superhuman Registration Act is passed and presented to the heroes of Marvel Comics with the orders to register as government agents or cease all vigilante activities. Captain America takes up the anti-registration position, citing that in a world where heroes work for governments those in charge will determine who is and is not the enemy. On the contrary, Iron Man takes up the pro-registration position... and becomes the public face of the cause.

Throughout the conflict, Iron Man develops into the main villain of the story with many of Tony Stark's actions showing a descent towards authoritarianism. After recruiting a roster of Pro-Registration heroes, most of whom already had public identities, Stark also allied himself with “reformed” villains who were released under the watch of the government to help keep the peace. He went on to develop the oppressive technologies needed to imprison the fugitive Anti-Registration heroes led by Captain America. Although Iron Man believed he was acting for the betterment of the people, in reality he was using the same logic that countless other world-ending villains have used before him. His argument that the ends justify the means is nothing new to Marvel Comics, with characters like Thanos, Kang The Conqueror, and Magneto using a similar justification in their plans for world domination.
Missing so far is whether turning IM into a villain was justified. Or whether the ends justify that sort of means. And what did anybody who read the crossover at the time think of Tony's portrayal as a de facto villain? Or how, shortly after, Captain America was killed so that resurrected Bucky could take his place? Or, how this whole mess served as the catalyst for One More Day, the Spider-Man story that erased Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane Watson through a deal with Mephisto?
Stark’s most villainous act is also his most Shakespearean as he plays his relationship with Peter Parker against the Web-Slinger, convincing Peter to reveal his identity as Spider-Man in a live press conference. Stark gives Spider-Man a brand new Iron Spider suit in exchange for his allegiance, secretly placing a number of tracking devices and controls into the armor. When Peter joins Tony on a visit to Prison 42, the faculty designed to hold their super-human prisoners, he discovers that many of the imprisoned are being held without trial or access to a lawyer. Not only was this imprisonment illegal but Prison 42 was located within the Negative Zone, a life draining alien universe composed entirely of anti-matter where time moves faster than on Earth. Peter is outraged by this overreach and immediately protests this. During his attempt to flee with Mary Jane and Aunt May, Iron Man attacks him and sends several “reformed” villains to capture the Wall-Crawler. Peter barely escapes with his life thanks to last minute aid by The Punisher, and later makes a public reformation on his support of the Superhero Registration Act and exposes the many atrocities being carried out due to its enforcement.
Again, this was all part of the plan to get rid of the Spider-marriage, and if I'd been one of the mindless readers who wasted money on Civil War at the time, I'd feel embarrassed afterwards that a protracted story written as a leftist metaphor for the Patriot Act was also an excuse to put Spidey in a position to make faustian deals with Mephisto shortly after. Not to mention lead to situations where Mary Jane was horrifically misused out of spite. It goes without saying the jail in the Negative Zone is obviously an allusion to Guantanamo Bay, and at this point, I wouldn't be shocked if Tony were behind the attack on May Parker that led to Peter miserably falling into a puddle of guilt, and again, making that deal with Mephisto costing his marriage to Mary Jane.
While Tony Stark’s attempt to find a way to control this destruction can be seen as valiant by some, it is his quick transition towards fear mongering that reminds readers of the adage that even the best intentions can go awry. MCU fans will remember his creation of Ultron in Avengers: Age Of Ultron started out with Tony’s hope that a suit of armor all around the world would help keep the peace. Later, when The Avengers are presented with the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War, Stark makes the argument that if they don’t sign the Accords then they will be forced to eventually. A showing moment of his personality, where Tony knows that if needed he would force his will upon the rest of the team because he felt he knew best. While it can be argued that Iron Man was trying his best to save the world, in reality Civil War shows us that our favorite superheroes are closer to becoming villains that we thought.
Because, in the warped minds of these columnists, the fictional characters are all real people whom they've bumped into on the street, right? It doesn't take a genius to guess the people writing these trashy columns aren't really dedicated fans who recognize why positive characterization pays much better than negative. I thought we were supposed to be rooting for Tony, and instead, we're supposed to scowl at him as though he had been created as a villain? It's just sad.

Civil War led to much of the disasters comicdom's since been collapsing from. One more reason why I disapprove of Marvel's movie division using it as the basis for one of the Captain America films.

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The BBC gushes over the Muslim Ms. Marvel's foray into videogames

The BBC's written one of their awful fluff-coated entertainment reports on how Islam is portrayed in videogames as much as comics, and this one is about the new Avengers game where the propaganda vehicle in the form of Kamala Khan is forced into the character roster:
Marvel's Avengers are assembling once again, not on the big screen, but for a blockbuster video game.

It features many of the superheroes you might expect, including Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America. But they are joined by a new addition: Kamala Khan.

The Muslim-American teenager of Pakistani heritage, who has shape-shifting abilities, is the latest character to adopt the Ms Marvel moniker

When the game's publisher Square Enix announced that Marvel Avengers would include Kamala Khan as one of its main playable characters and make her central to the plot, it garnered praise from both fans and industry insiders.

[...] Kamala Khan was co-created by Marvel editor and director Sana Amanat in 2014.

A Muslim-American herself, Sana Amanat wanted to create a character young girls of similar background could identify with and look up to.

"I think it's absolutely insane that Kamala is in one of the biggest Marvel games that we've done," she said during the promotion of the game.

"The fact that she's the entry point character in this game makes so much sense. People from all backgrounds can relate to her."
As expected, Amanat shoves and shoves that propaganda narrative full force, milking it for all it's [not] worth. No serious questions asked why this particular character has to be put front and center of such a video game either. Yet there are a few elements in the comic, more on which anon, that actually run contrary to the censorious mindset of the Religion of Peace, despite what she's saying, one of the reason why not everyone can "relate" to her politically influenced creation.

This propaganda piece also cites other sugarcoated portrayals of Islam in more video games of recent:
Muslim characters in video games have appeared in significant roles in recent years, so this is far from the first time you can play as a Muslim character.

Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India, a spinoff of the top-selling franchise, had us playing as Arbaaz Mir, a Kashmiri assassin.

Fighting game franchise Tekken 7 recently introduced a character from Saudi Arabia called Shaheen as the latest entry to its roster.

And Street Fighter V saw the inclusion of Rashid, another character of middle-eastern heritage.
And any characters who're portrayed as Islamists with no questions asked whether or not it's a healthy belief system aren't exactly doing anybody favors. However, this is indicative of the path the entertainment world's been taking ever since 9-11, kowtowing to the enemy beliefs in contrast to the WW2 era. Under today's massively PC environment, it is not possible to make a video game like Operation Thunderbolt, which was inspired in its time by the Israeli army's raid on Entebbe in 1976. That's how far we've fallen.
However, some character designs for Muslims can be stereotypical and not very reflective of your average young Muslim, according to Sitara Shefta, head of studio at No Brakes Games.

Sitara believes Ms Marvel is far more representative of what young Muslims are actually like, and says the Kamala Khan character reminds her of her own niece.

She says the significance of Kamala Khan's inclusion in the game is a huge step for better representation in gaming.

"It's very important, why shouldn't Pakistanis and Muslims have characters and stories that inspire them?" she asks.

"They are usually depicted as terrorists or the villains we fight against in the games.

"Now we have an empowering Pakistani Muslim character, and a role model for kids from this community to be inspired by."
The irony is, last time I looked, it appeared the comics were depicting scenes and situations with Khan that would offend hardcore Islamists, like depicting her making love to a boyfriend, and associating with Jewish characters, among other things that are considered haram (taboo) under the Religion of Peace. So the above is a rather laughable argument, as "inspiration" isn't exactly what they're looking for. Only politically correct depictions adhering to their demand of how Islam should be portrayed in fictional entertainment. As mentioned, ever since 9-11, moral panic's led to a significant decrease in games where jihadists could be depicted as the adversaries.
Scott Amos, studio head at the game's developer Crystal Dynamics, said they had been overwhelmed with the response to Kamala Khan's inclusion.

"One post that really caught us was about how this current, long-time gamer said how emotional this made him - and how important it is to have a leading hero in this game now, so that generations of new gamers can see and play as someone like them in a game that is filled with these iconic giants like Thor and Iron Man and Black Widow," he told the BBC Asian Network.
It sounds like they're fudging up what really happened - complaints about the poor design for Black Widow, and how biased the whole project was from a political perspective, putting Khan into the foremost position. No surprise, really. I'd thought before Crystal Dynamics was the kind of studio that was "going woke", and this confirms something. And explains why I'd rather not play any video game based on Marvel today, because of how far they've fallen in terms of pushing propaganda instead of entertainment value.

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Sunday, July 05, 2020 

Pennsylvania columnist seems to disapprove of DC parting with Diamond's distribution

North Central Pennsylvania news site has a columnist who's following the PC narrative that DC was wrong to stop using Diamond as their distributor. They say:
This not only hurt Diamond it hurt the greater landscape. Lunar and UCS are online giants. They distribute thousands of comics across the country. They also work with Midtown comics, which again, fall directly in competition to local stores. Those giant sellers can offer discounts directly to the customers that local shops just can’t afford to do.

Orders for pull list can be thrown together on their site. It’s simple and easy, but it takes away from the local comic shops which have been the lifeblood of this industry for years.

Look, everybody deserves a piece of the pie, but when local shops are forced to eat off the same plate as the companies looking to compete directly with them, you can see the in balance that takes place. It’s eating off the same plate but being forced to eat pudding with chopsticks against a person using an oversized spoon.

Local comic shops have supported this industry for years. They kept the major publishers afloat through difficult times. DC’s move shakes the industry and it puts fans and local shops in a difficult position.

Yes, this is just the comic book industry to some people, but it also paints a bigger picture that could be heading toward us in the future as mega giants like Wal-mart and Amazon take over everything. Local shops shouldn’t be in this position. I will stand firmly by supporting my local shop. Goodbye DC comics for me until something can be fixed.
So what does that mean? That he's not going to drop DC because story merit is bad, but rather, because they dared to step out of an accepted politically correct line of business and choose one that could benefit their distribution better? Let's be clear. If there were more distributors similar to Diamond, this wouldn't be too much of an issue. But when such a corrupting monopoly is in place, it's not healthy for the overall industry. And besides, if the store side wanted to, I'm sure they could negotiate beneficial deals that would ensure they get discounts and other bonuses to aid their business, or, more precisely, Lunar and UCS could, if that's what it took to ensure good relations.

What's funny though is the discrepancy between the part telling about discounts for customers, and fans supposedly being put in hard positions. This doesn't make sense. Is there some difference between "customers" and "fans" I'm not seeing? Ridiculous. The fans who are the customers could order some products by mail, and then they'd get what they want that way. Some stores, as I've mentioned before, are closing their physical sales shop but still continuing to do business online, so it's clear that however this turns out, business is collapsing, and the mainstream led to much of this downfall by dragging down the quality of their storytelling and art. So what customers are actually left, let alone fans?

That's why, while this may have some benefit for DC in distribution, it's not bound to avail them long term unless they improve their storytelling, which includes moving away from rabid politics and agenda pushing. And they might also want to retire the pamphlet, along with company wide crossovers, one of the other faults bringing down their storytelling. All these years, these very news columnists ignored the steady decline in story merit, yet now, when a company chooses to change their distributor, only then do they sit up and take notice? No wonder they're such a joke.

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Saturday, July 04, 2020 

Time magazine attacks superhero fare for being created by white men

Time's published a grotesque article proving there's those on the left who really do have a rock bottom view of superhero fare (which we can see in how much it's been artistically destroyed over the past 20 years), where Eliana Dockterman, who was among those attacking Marvel for using Milo Manara's illustrations for a Spider-Woman cover is now attacking the genre for respecting authority figures. Some of her claims are downright flawed and exaggerated:
In the past several weeks, as calls to defund the police have gone mainstream, pop culture critics and fans have been reconsidering how Hollywood heroizes cops. Legal procedurals and shoot-em-up action movies have long presented a skewed perception of the justice system in America, in which the police are almost always positioned as the good guys. These “good cop” narratives are rarely balanced out with stories of systemic racism in the criminal justice system. The “bad guys” they pursue are often people of color, their characters undeveloped beyond their criminality.

In this period of reckoning, the long-running show Cops and the widely-watched Live PD have been canceled. Actors and writers who contributed to police procedurals are criticizing their own work and donating money to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Parents are protesting benevolent portrayals of canine cops in the children’s television show Paw Patrol. And Ava DuVernay’s film collective ARRAY is launching the Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) to highlight stories of police brutality and counteract a biased narrative.
She puts words in the mouths of "fans" she won't even identify clearly, and doesn't have the courage to admit she's speaking for a leftist crowd that despises heroism. One of the ugliest lectures I've ever seen in such a propaganda magazine. Time's long been a cesspool for the worst of liberalism, and this is no different. There have been plenty of police TV series over the years where whites comprised a huge amount of the criminals pursued by the stars in law enforcement, and the funniest irony is that quite a few of the villains could easily have been metaphors for conservatives (I remember a crooked county sherriff in the 1988-95 series based on In the Heat of the Night being depicted as a right-winger). If there's any TV show where the writers otherwise sought to avoid making minorities the criminals too often, it's Law & Order, which, over the years, took on more of a stark liberal stance.

When she turns to superheroes proper, she's just as sloppy as before:
Superheroes have dominated popular culture for the last decade—they are fixtures of the highest-grossing movies and icons to more than just our children. They are beacons of inspiration: protesters dressed as Spider-Man and Batman have turned up at recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations. And yet what are superheroes except cops with capes who enact justice with their powers?

With a few notable exceptions (more on those later), most superhero stories star straight, white men who either function as an extension of a broken U.S. justice system or as vigilantes without any checks on their powers. Usually, they have some sort of tentative relationship with the government: The Avengers work for the secretive agency S.H.I.E.L.D.; Batman takes orders from Gotham police commissioner Gordon; even the villainous members of the Suicide Squad execute government orders in exchange for commuted prison sentences. And even when superheroes function outside the justice system, they’re sometimes idolized by police because they are able to skirt the law to “get the job done.”
Simply hilarious. The Avengers are far from operatives for SHIELD like Nick Fury is. And Batman is far from taking orders from Jim Gordon; in many instances, Batman investigates and fights crime on his own. Also, is something wrong with criminals like those appearing in Suicide Squad repenting by carrying out challenging missions to fight crime on the government's orders? In Dockterman's case, apparently yes. All that aside, it's clear she's against superheroes, because they fulfill a role similar to police - that of a crimefighter. And in today's stridently PC world, that's simply unacceptable.
In fact, real-life police officers sometimes adopt the symbolism of these rogue anti-heroes. The Punisher, a brutal vigilante introduced in a 1974 Spider-Man comic who also starred in a 2017 Netflix series, has become an emblem for some cops and soldiers—to the point where Marvel felt the need to address this idolatry in the pages of its comics. In a 2019 story, a group of police fanboys run up to the Punisher and say, “We believe in you.” One shows off a Punisher skull sticker on his car. The Punisher rips the sticker off and says, “We’re not the same. You took an oath to uphold the law. You help people. I gave that up a long time ago. You don’t do what I do. Nobody does.” Another cop replies, “Like it or not, you started something. You showed us how it’s done.”

The Punisher is representative of a larger problem in superhero narratives. When Batman ignores orders and goes rogue, there’s no oversight committee to assess whether Bruce Wayne’s biases influence who he brings to justice and how. Heroes like Iron Man occasionally feel guilt about the casualties they inflict, but ultimately empower themselves again and again to draw those moral lines.
Well it looks like Gerry Conway, in his modern example of a liberal almost entirely disowning his past writings, the Batman stories he wrote in the late 70s-early 80s included, has influenced somebody. The worst part is that this feels like the time when the Acts of Vengeance crossover came out in late 1989, and Mr. Fantastic appeared before a Washington D.C. panel discussing whether to regulate superheroes and their powers, to convince them otherwise. Such a story wouldn't pass muster under today's increasingly communist entertainment industry. I can only imagine what side the Time columnist would take if it were published today. And it's phony to say Batman always followed orders from authorities to the letter. This claim wouldn't work even with Superman. But what's really disgusting is the implication IM's literally ever killed anybody. *Ahem* Tony Stark - certainly before the turn of the century - usually avoided killing criminals outright, and if he did, it was in self-defense, something Daredevil usually restricted himself to as well. Taking everything out of context and without citing clear examples from any era must be a lot of fun for these real life Bethany Snow wannabes, huh?
Most of the blockbuster Marvel and DC comics movies skirt the issue of who should define justice for whom. Captain America: Civil War and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice briefly float the idea of superhero oversight but both devolve into quip-filled CGI fistfights. (In fairness, the Civil War storyline in the Marvel comics more thoughtfully plumbs the depths of that socio-political debate.)

What’s more, given that the creators and stars of these movies have historically been white men, it’s hardly surprising that so few reckon with issues of systemic racism—let alone sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of bigotry embedded in the justice system or the inherent biases these superheroes might carry with them as they patrol the streets, or the universe.
I think what's telling here is that it makes little difference the Cap movie drew from 2006's insulting Civil War crossover - Dockterman still dismisses the film as not going far enough. And it makes little difference the producers/writers/directors of these films are as far-left as she is - she still turns against them. Of course, until recently, it's not like they went full-on SJW mode, as they look to be doing now with their adaptations of Eternals and such, though they were certainly getting close. Dockterman conveniently ignores that some of the fistfights were the result of disagreements over government regulation. As bad as Civil War is, was she expecting a full-fledged enforcement of the position unquestioned?

Though she may not do so directly, Dockterman's also damning the comic creators as well, like Stan Lee. To people like her, he'll never be valid, and this pretty much proves it.
There is some history of reckoning with policing in Black superhero films. Blade, the 1998 Wesley Snipes superhero movie, launched the superhero movie boom we’re still in today, giving Marvel its first box office smash. The movie, written and directed by white men, references tensions between Black communities and the police. In one scene, two cops walk in on Blade fighting what is clearly a monstrous vampire and begin shooting at Blade instead. Blade turns around and asks, “Are you out of your damn mind?” It’s played as a throwaway moment, but one that rings true decades on. (Marvel announced last year that two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will star in Blade reboot.)

More recently, racial injustice has become the centerpiece for some superhero films. The clearest example of that shift is Black Panther, Ryan Coogler’s 2018 superhero movie that takes as its main subject the oppression of BIPOC people worldwide. In that movie, Black Panther, a.k.a. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), rules over Wakanda, a secluded, scientifically-advanced African country unfettered by colonialism. He faces off against a would-be usurper named Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who argues that Wakanda must abandon its policy of isolationism and help combat systemic oppression across the world.

T’Challa eventually discovers that his own father and Killmonger’s father had a similar debate in the 1990s. When Killmonger’s father was deployed to America as a spy, he became radicalized by the racism he saw there. He smuggled weapons from Wakanda to help Black people suffering in America. When T’Challa’s father confronts Killmonger’s father, the latter argues, “Their leaders have been assassinated. Communities flooded with drugs and weapons. They are overly policed and incarcerated. All over the world, our people suffer because they do not have the tools to fight back.” Killmonger’s father eventually loses his life for his political stance.

T’Challa’s arc is to realize his nemesis is right: While Killmonger and his father broke laws and enacted violence for their cause, their conviction that people of color have historically lacked the tools to fight systemic oppression was correct. T’Challa eventually comes to represent a compromise between these two viewpoints: He uses his relative privilege to empower people who have been held back by colonialism and racism but finds non-violent methods to do so.
She's politicizing the Blade scene (even the Punisher's been pursued by the police far more than Blade ever was), yet she does hint why the BP movie could be overrated. It seems to take a "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" form of moral equivalence, and while this premise may have worked if set in south Africa during the apartheid era when corrupt white politicians were in charge, it doesn't work well in a country where a Constitution was developed to defend the rights of all citizens, regardless of race and skin color. Does this mean there should've been a new civil war in the US where innocent people could be wiped out by weapons provided by a criminal to renegades? Still, if this were to bear any meat, why do leftists always get excused for the racism they could've caused in past decades?

Of course, while the racism in south Africa was a very bad period in the past century, it doesn't excuse that Nelson Mandela was a communist, and both Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan considered him worrisome because of his associations with the commies on the continent. But is that who the BP movie took as an example for a metaphor? Good grief.
It’s not just that superheroes act like members of law enforcement; sometimes they interact with them directly. Spider-Man has long had a complicated relationship with the NYPD. Last year’s Spider-Man video game received some pushback over what many critics called “copaganda.” In that game, Peter Parker is a fan of the police, even fantasizing about being “Spider cop.” He spends much of the game fixing surveillance towers for the NYPD.

But the introduction of Miles Morales, who made his debut in the comics in 2011, could offer opportunities to explore the contentious relationship between New Yorkers and police. Miles, who is half-Black, half-Puerto Rican, is the son of a cop. In 2018’s animated Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Miles’ father doesn’t know his son’s secret identity. Miles spends much of the movie trying to reconcile his father’s love for him with his dislike for Spider-Man as a vigilante.
Given that Morales is the product of a line mostly overseen by Brian Bendis, this should be no surprise the character emerging from the Ultimate line (which Dockterman conveniently ignores) could embody a PC vision.
But the superhero property that most directly engages with corruption in policing is Watchmen. In Alan Moore’s 1986 graphic novel, vigilantes who believe they have the right to fight and live by their own moral codes often prove themselves despicable bigots or megalomaniacs. One particular image of so-called heroes confronting a riot looks an awful lot like the recent videos we’ve seen of police officers shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters.
I've often thought Watchmen was overrated, and this'll only enforce my belief.
If Hollywood is to do better in telling these stories, more creators of color need to be given the reins to tell them. It’s worth noting that while Lindelof employed a diverse writers’ room, it likely took his name and cache as the creator of Lost and The Leftovers to get such an ambitious story greenlit. Similarly, while the director of Spiderverse, Peter Ramsay, became the first Black man to win an Oscar for animation, Sony initially approached the two white men (who ended up producing the film), Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, with the opportunity to make an animated Spider-Man.

Writers must also shake the notion that they are bound by the strictures of outdated intellectual property. These days, few big-budget projects move forward unless they are based on existing IP. But the success of Watchmen suggests that creators can snatch up those familiar characters and still weave a new story, with new politics and a new perspective, using only fragments of what came before. Just as the Watchmen series is a radical departure from a dusty Reagan-era graphic novel, both Black Panther and Into the Spiderverse borrowed the names and backstories of their main characters from the comics but took those characters in new and ambitious directions.
Well I was aware the Thor movie already set the path for diversity-pandering when characters like Heimdall were changed to black and Asian, and this is beginning to tell more of what the BP movie's approach could really be about. If the columnist had paid better attention to comicdom proper, she'd notice that the comic depicting police outfits as corrupt the most happened to be Nightwing's solo book from 1996, written by a right-winger, Chuck Dixon. But of course, because of his politics, he doesn't count. Dockterman takes a position that if you're not a POC, you don't comprehend anything about the issues, and that's just pure insult to the intellect. By the way, isn't Watchmen an existing IP, contrary to what she says?

Dean Cain, notable in the mid-90s for his TV take on Superman with Teri Hatcher, Lois & Clark, gave an interview about this to Fox News:
A recent and controversial Time Magazine article calling for a cultural reckoning of the depiction of superheroes amid the national debate over law enforcement makes claims that are "totally untrue" and reveals the left's "cancel culture" agenda, actor Dean Cain said Thursday.

In an interview on "Fox & Friends" with host Ainsley Earhardt, Cain -- former star of "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" -- said he found writer Eliana Dockterman's piece to be "insane" and hypocritical.

"This is insane to me, though, because these people will scream anti-police rhetoric all day long but when their life is threatened and they need a hero, they will dial 9-1-1 and a police officer will show up," he pointed out. "Because police officers are heroes."

Cain conceded that while there have been some "bad situations" and "bad apples" in departments, "99.9 percent of all police officers" aim to serve and protect their communities and "do a fantastic job."

"This whole ‘cancel culture’ thing that we're living in right now is crazy. It's like an early version of George Orwell’s ‘1984,'" he said.

"And, what this article does in Time Magazine, what they talk about, I mean…from the very beginning…the author of this article makes a bunch of claims that are totally untrue," Cain said.
Personally, I'm wondering if Time intends to continue giving positive reviews to any future movies about police, let alone superheroes. Or, do they intend to take a mandatory line to pan every movie where good triumphs over evil from this point onward?
"Then she says Hollywood heroizes cops and you can destroy that in just a list of titles: 'Training Day', 'Serpico,' 'The Departed,' 'The Wire,' 'BlacKkKlansman,' 'Rambo.' I mean, the list goes on and on because a bad cop is a great villain because they're not supposed to be bad," Cain told Earhardt. "So, this stuff all just drives me insane. I promise you that Superman -- I wouldn't today be allowed to say: ‘truth, justice, and the American way.’"
The 2006 movie starring Brandon Routh deliberately avoided using the phrase, so that's one example of where PC madness came about. There was a rumor a new Superman live action might come about after all, but if PC takes precedence over talented writing, it won't be worth the effort.

To make matters worse, the disgraceful Tom King rudely attacked Cain over his argument, claiming he'd used the phrase of the American Way in a Superman tale he'd written...except it was a soldier using it in 1st person narrative. And King was foul-mouthed about it. His excuse was Cain complaining he had to wear a surgical mask to guard against Covid19 while flying an airplane, as though most liberals actually want to wear it either. I'm sorry, but either way, what King did was pathetic, explaining perfectly why he's not suited to work in entertainment. Just like Dockterman's not suited to be a commentator. Only Cain's offered the best argument here.

Time's really scraped the bottom of the barrel with this dumb op-ed of theirs, that eschews the importance of talent for the sake of political agendas. They may as well stop reviewing movies if this is what they think makes for a valid viewpoint.

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Friday, July 03, 2020 

The state of India's comics industry during the Covid19 pandemic

A writer for India's Scroll news site talks about the history of their local comic publishing industry, where it's at today, and what things are like at a time when the Coronavirus pandemic's unfortunately taken a toll on business everywhere.

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Thursday, July 02, 2020 

Scott Lobdell leaves his job writing Red Hood & the Outlaws as new accusations of crude harrassment surface

Lobdell, whose portfolio of the past 3 decades is very mediocre, and can sometimes be really sloppy, has announced he's going to stop writing the DC title starring the resurrected Jason Todd (it's unclear if Starfire is still a cast member there), and shortly after he announced his impending departure, CBR announced that new allegations of sexual harassment came up:
Creators Tess Fowler and Alex de Campi have both shared new allegations against Lobdell on Twitter, with Fowler recalling how Lobdell was "helping" her get a start in comics when she was younger. "He also came to my work to meet/watch me without introducing himself & told me I should go to a foreign con w him so he could tie me up & abuse me," Fowler said. Meanwhile, de Campi responded to Fowler's post, saying, "Scott Lobdell tried this with me too (I shut him down) and as recently as a year ago he tried it with a young female artist I know (she approached me, said 'I think I'm being groomed', I said 'yup you are' and welcome to blocksville, population: THAT GUY)"
First off, I don't find Lobdell appealing, and at least two prior accusations leveled against him did sound credible enough. But I also tend to be wary when people like Fowler make these allegations, if only because she's said to be one of these SJWs who seeks attention and may specialize in victimology (de Campi may too). That doesn't mean what's alleged couldn't have happened, although I find it annoyingly ludicrous when these people repeatedly use words like "grooming" if the targets happened to be legally adult. It would make more sense if they said "there's a creep hitting on me". The problem is that there seems to be all these victimologists and troublemakers out there of the Orwellian variety who seem to shun love and sex with the opposite gender, and want to label all males as monsters. If anybody wonders why some supposedly don't believe women when they allege a serious offense, it's because there's man-hating victimologists indoctrinated in universities and such who're making it hard for actual victims to be believed. Especially when they don't turn to legal authorities about the issues.

That said, it's entirely possible, based on what I'd read about Lobdell in the past, that he could've been more insulting to the fairer sex than previously thought. When Comics Beat reported on the topic, they brought up a most interesting theory:
The reference to Jason Todd as “tragically flawed” and “in search of redemption” is likely a reference to Lobdell’s own past. The writer admitted to having engaged in sexual harassment back in 2013, and was accused again last year of harassment as the high-profile Flash Forward series Lobdell wrote was garnering attention. Now, in the wake of Lobdell’s announcement, new allegations have been made online, accusing the writer of grooming behavior and sexual harassment.
Wouldn't that be something, if Lobdell made Todd a stand-in for himself? Alas, don't be too sure that's what Lobdell set out to do. The site also says:
Given Lobdell’s well-known history, and the recent reckoning the comics industry has been going through with creators like Cameron Stewart, Jason Latour, and Warren Ellis all being named for sexual misconduct, it’s unclear if Lobdell’s departure from Red Hood was a preemptive move ahead of more allegations coming out against him.

The question remains now whether Bob Harras, the DC editor-in-chief who continued to employ Lobdell after harassment allegations were made public seven years ago, and who also reportedly shielded noted serial harasser Eddie Berganza for years, will face any sort of repercussions for those actions.
How fascinating they don't ask whether Dan DiDio had any accountability for shielding Berganza, recalling some of the allegations made against him date back to the early 2000s. DiDio may be gone from their employ (and if he's planning to start his own company, everyone concerned would do well to avoid investing in any such thing), but that doesn't mean he didn't have responsibility for all the trouble caused. I looked at the comments section for this article, and I noticed the following:
Thank you for reporting this Joe. As I said a little while back, I’ve met (let’s say) 100 male comic professionals at Cons. All of them were sweethearts, all of them were warm and patient, all of them were professional. I’ve been going to cons as a female fan since I was a teenager (I’m 31 now) and have had a lot of exchanges. In 15 years, I’ve only had 2 bad experiences. Scott Lobdell was one of them.

I was sixteen and my friend Jenna was 15 and we were NOT talking to Scott Lobdell, who creepily smirked at our appearance, our outfits, and asked if Jenna was “into casual S&M” because she was wearing a choker-styled necklace. He made a dick joke and was just a palpable creep. I’d be curious why Bob Harras continued to employ him. I never chimed in with a lot of this because again, so many comic pros are PROS and wonderful to fans. But Lobdell… I mean, believe people the first time when they show you who they are, right?
While this may be hearsay, since it was posted as a comment in the reader fields, it does sound a lot more possible he could've grossed out the aforementioned girls with offensive language. This must've happened in 2005, at which time Lobdell would've been in his mid-40s. So if this has any meat to it, there were 2 teen girls going to a convention and chatting with each other, and Lobdell came strolling by and began leering at them, topping it all off with revolting jokes that women often find offensive. Though never mentioned so far by anybody, I've assumed Lobdell isn't married, and with his attitude, what lady in the right frame of mind would want to? Let's also remember this was the man who did a very poor job characterizing Starfire in the past decade, making her sound like she didn't want sex out of love.

There was also the following comment on the article page, making the same point I did:
Dan DiDio and Paul Levitz have done more to shield sexual predators than Bob Harras.

Can we make sure the blame is correctly applied?
Exactly. While there were reports Harras refused to take any action, he wasn't the only one. There's also the higher echelons in the publisher's office who have to be held responsible as well. Even the company finance managers could surely have some clout in determining whether somebody stays or walks, yet nothing was done. Just another truly shameful example of what goes on behind the scenes in some industrial offices.

I also found a few tweets posted by a lady reporter who also claims to have had an atrocious experience with Lobdell, that decidedly require some pondering:

Man, this is getting more and more disturbing by the minute. And that's why, whether or not Lobdell is guilty of the gravest insults to a woman's intellect, it's high time he retired from the industry altogether, now that he's reaching 60 years old, and spared us all further embarrassment. Indeed, when I looked around Twitter, there were already quite a few people speaking in most negative terms about him. In fact, after he posted his departure announcement on Instagram, I'd noticed at least a few angry replies, and later on, he locked off the topic; obviously, he's embarrassed now that people are catching onto his dark side. I wonder what Christian Cooper, one of his editors on the brief Alpha Flight run he scripted, what with its poor scripting, thinks now that the guy who penned the oh-so big a deal exit from the closet for Northstar has turned out to be a big embarrassment? I don't know if Lobdell's ever described himself as a male feminist, but I may have noticed that some people like him, Cameron Stewart and, most notorious of all, Harvey Weinstein, tend to be pretty big supporters of LGBT ideology, presumably because they believe, much like with men supporting feminism, that it'll cover their tracks in grimy activities. That's why realists should be wary of agenda supporters in many forms.

When Games Radar brought up Lobdell's departure, I shook my head in disbelief at how they referred to him as the "longest running" writer at DC, when there have been others working for them in the past with long runs too, like Denny O'Neil on Green Lantern, Cary Bates on the Flash, and Marv Wolfman on the Titans. However, they also note:
Lobdell has not announced a reason for his departure, but this comes shortly after his Instagram webcomics series QuaranComics was pulled from the social media platform.
It could have something to do with all the allegations leveled against him now. Who'd want to read it after all these new allegations about him anyway? I think he erased his Twitter account too, and even before that, he'd stopped using it about 2 years ago. It's clear the emerging negativity towards Lobdell has had a certain impact, one more reason he should be put out to pasture.

If memory serves, Lobdell once unsuccessfully tried working in standup comedy. His disastrous sense of humor clearly played a part in his smutty behaviour to boot.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2020 

The empty pledge

A whole long list of comics contributors copy-and-pasted a "pledge" on Twitter to oppose sexual abuse in the medium, following all the accusations of misconduct in the past week. But as Bounding Into Comics points out, it looks like a lot more virtue-signaling. For example, it includes:
In a footnote it explains, “We understand marginalized genders and sexes to include but not be limited to nonbinary and binary trans people, two-spirit, agender, and genderfluid people, as well as intersex people of any gender.”
Umm, I think dragging the transsexuality ideology into all this cheapens the impact of the whole issue. And I think the creators involved have to make a choice between one or the other. They can't have their cake and eat it too. They also have to take into account that there's men in the world who committed homosexual rape, such as Reynhard Sinaga in the UK, and if memory serves, Scott Allie was accused of assaulting at least one man at a convention a few years back. Is the burden of responsibility in comicdom also placed upon men towards men, and women towards women to boot?

There's also this to ponder:
The pledge appears to omit women from taking it, despite the founder of Bedside Press, Hope Nicholson, admitting that she had been named as an assaulter in a HuffPost op-ed by Tres Dean.
That's right, women can also commit offensive acts, and over the years, there's been school teachers indicted for leading illegal sexual relations with students. If women aren't held accountable, there's bound to be more Amber Heards coming about in comicdom as much as in moviedom.

Even SyFy Wire seemed to realize it's not enough to take some mere "pledge":
The pledge, generated by a group of male and female creators who chose to remain anonymous to keep the focus on the conversation, quickly spread across social media, which meant that it also quickly drew some understandable criticism. For some, the pledge read as a performative copy-and-paste statement meant to engender goodwill on social media, or a simple case of words taking the place of action. And while many creators acknowledged the good intentions behind the pledge, they also emphasized following it up with action.
Given that some of the leading copy-pasters were people like Tom King, Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder, men who've dedicated themselves to tearing down corporate owned creations, that's why their statements definitely can't be taken at pure face value. But what's pretty funny is how, just a few years ago, these people were railing against "outside" movements like Comicsgate, and only now are they suddenly willing to admit there's a problem on the "inside". But if they really cared, they would've proven earlier they're aware, and want to do something to remedy the problem. Only now, when somebody else speaks up, do they suddenly find their alleged morals they could've put to use convincingly in years past.

Den of Geek's also written about the latest crop of allegations, and here's what they say about Warren Ellis:
Ellis’ response, posted on Twitter and emailed to his newsletter list, is embarrassing in its totality. The idea that the showrunner of Netflix’s Castlevania, a man who has had multiple comics adapted into movies grossing hundreds of millions of dollars, the man whose millennial web forum launched the careers of half of comics, didn’t realize he was famous enough to abuse a power imbalance is insulting to the intelligence he used to demand of his audience.
There's just one little thing. The kind of "intelligence" Ellis demanded was of the leftist kind, and he was an early example of the SJW mentality commonplace today. Some of the products he has writing credits for include the Authority, and there were leftist creators who'd spent time around him too. But the chances anybody in comicdom would admit modern leftists may lack morals viewpoint are slim.

In the end, I'd say this pledge posted to Twitter is just some virtue-signaling hot air, and after this affair dies down, they'll likely go back to a state of ignorance again. It's highly unlikely anybody as questionable as the creators "voicing support" will guarantee commitment to solving a problem in the industry proper. Especially if they go according to their political leanings, rather than a general sense of responsibility.

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Monday, June 29, 2020 

The Simpsons is going to stop using white voice actors for non-white characters

The Simpsons continues down the path of political correctness and cultural sensitivity, along with the Family Guy, Big Mouth and Central Park cartoons, as reported by Bloomberg:
“The Simpsons” will no longer have White actors voicing the roles of non-White characters on the long-running series, part of a broader push by animated shows to be more sensitive to matters of race and avoid stereotypes.

Hank Azaria, a White actor who voices several characters on “The Simpsons,” had already said he would stop playing Apu, the Indian convenience-store clerk. Now the rest of the show will follow suit, Fox Corp. said on Friday. [...]

Hollywood has been reevaluating its practices after nationwide protests forced a racial-justice reckoning for the entertainment industry. Earlier this week, Disney said it would rebrand two of its Splash Mountain rides, which have ties to the controversial 1946 film “Song of the South,” and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel apologized for appearing in blackface earlier in his career.

On “Family Guy,” another animated show on Fox, actor Mike Henry said he would no longer voice the character of Cleveland, who is Black. Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell also said they would stop playing their non-White roles on animated shows this week. Slate has appeared on Netflix Inc.’s Big Mouth, while Bell has a role on Apple TV+’s “Central Park.”
The moral panics in Hollywood are simply stunning. Here's a problem regarding the Simpsons: what if the audience can't connect with the new voice actors they're presumably bringing in? What if they don't have the energy Azaria brought to the characters he was voicing until recently? Well at least then a cartoon that's honestly been running far too long will probably see its long over due ending precipitated.

What's ridiculous regarding Apu is that there are Indians who don't have a problem with the character, and as dishonest as the BBC can be most of the time, it's amazing they were willing to admit that 2 years ago. In their coverage of this new development, however, they tell:
Mr Henry provided the voice of black character Cleveland Brown in the animated series Family Guy for 20 years.

"I love this character, but persons of colour should play characters of colour," he tweeted on Friday.

Ms Bell, who provided the voice of Molly, a mixed-race child, in the cartoon series Central Park, said doing so displayed "a lack of awareness".

"Casting a mixed race character [with a] white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience," she added.
I think all she's doing is making it sound like it's impossible for white men and women to research and understand all the history and cultures. Or, she really believes there's such a thing as "cultural appropriation". I'm guessing the same belief Henry espouses won't apply to white voice actors by sharp contrast, seeing how these SJW/PC advocates have been going out of their way to race-and-gender-swap veteran creations at all costs. Who the voice actors behind the cartoon characters were was never an issue before, so to make it one now only makes this a whole theater of the absurd affair.

But again, given how the Simpsons has run far too long, maybe this latest PC step will ensure the cancellation the TV show's been long overdue for. And if the Family Guy follows suit, that won't be missed either. The Simpsons long lost whatever charm it may have once had.

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Man of Tomorrow trailer suggests WB is taking the right path with Superman in film for a change

One Angry Gamer took a look at a trailer for Superman: The Man of Tomorrow animated film, which appears to respect the optimistic approach the Man of Steel was most known for when writing merit was far better than it is now:
Superman: Man of Tomorrow appears to be one of those diamonds in the rough, a callback to a time when we revered honorable men, and just actions. As opposed to giving podiums to the miscreants tearing down historical monuments and the delinquents burning innocent people out of their homes. Superman: Man of Tomorrow represents media that promotes heroism completely bereft in our real life society.

If a heart as black as obsidian hadn’t been encased in the center of my chest, I may have cried a tear of joy.

The trailer was completely devoid of degeneracy. There was no pozz in sight. They even seemed to honor Superman showing him as a caring, mature, compassionate hero. The kind of role-model every young man should aspire to become.

This is the kind film that Superman deserves, and it’s the kind of film whole-hearted individuals who respect Western values need.
More than just Superman, there's also his co-creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, along with Super-fans who uphold the best values the Big Blue Boy Scout was built and grew on, who deserve it. I looked at the trailer too, and it does look promising, with the only questionable point being Lobo's role, and whether he is played as the villain he originally began as in the mid-80s Omega Men series. Or, whether the retconned background he was given in the 90s - becoming the last Czarnian after annihilating all others - was put to use in this cartoon, because if that were, it would honestly be troubling if Superman couldn't judge his actions. There's also the question of whether cartoons like this could feature leftist political propaganda. Let's hope not.

And of course, more than cartoons and films, it has to be the comics proper where these values must be preserved. Brian Bendis made Superman look like a deadbeat dad some time ago, and to make matters worse, Maxima, a recurring character who originally debuted in 1989, was turned into a lesbian, and while that link focuses on a Wonder Woman story written by Steve Orlando earlier this year, this retcon already happened at least 5 years ago in Supergirl. On which note, the showrunner of the live action Supergirl TV series, Greg Berlanti, has been indicating he only intends to bring more of his political correctness into the show. He said in an interview:
“In the DC Universe especially, there’s been a focus on us recognizing that we want to create heroes that look and felt like today, not the 1940s or 1950s. They were all very well intentioned when they created those back then, but there’s a certain responsibility that you have if you’re going to escort these iconic characters into this generation to make sure they have the heart of that character, but they don’t have to have the gender or the color of that character or the sexuality.”
And they seem to be using the recent race riots to justify their latest positions. Somebody in the comments section made the point that, if Berlanti really believes his positions, he'd create new characters to fill the roles he advocates, and not go to such lengths to insult classic creations with all this social justice garbage, which has been filled with swipes at the Trump administration and conservatives. Unless the network is deliberately keeping on such a dreadful show to push propaganda no matter how much money it loses, I don't see the use of continuing to broadcast it, and Berlanti is little more than a most alienating figure.

Superman may be getting a production he deserves, but Supergirl decidedly needs one too, that doesn't exploit the Maid of Might for rabid political propaganda.

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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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