Monday, May 23, 2016 

She's refusing to acknowledge reality, as usual

Gail Simone still pretends not a single woman's ever protested laws enabling transgenders to use bathrooms of the opposite sex, even if it gives cisgender male predators a window to exploit. Recently, her rants included:

Predictably, she's fudging up all the pertinent issues, vehemently refusing to admit there are women out there who have the guts to object on the grounds that it allows MEN to take advantage of infiltrating the ladies' room. Suppose Eddie Berganza did something like that? She's not bothered? Shudder.

Which men would those be? The Democrat politicians in Utah who passed laws that nearly allowed Elizabeth Smart's kidnapper to get away with his crime, or the Republican politicians who took steps to make sure such horrific laws wouldn't continue? Now she's even trying to change the subject and turn this all into a rightie-bash. Pathetic.

Later still, however, she posted the following jaw-dropper:

*Whistle* So...what was she saying about not being against women again? She certainly is against mothers who dare commit an Orwellian thoughtcrime and protest invasions of privacy, and declaring those who do are all "bigots". I hesitate to think of all the children she'd upset with her nasty crack about their mothers, no matter what they think of their mother's social standings. It's clear she does not recognize the seriousness of these issues, and that the demands of one segment cannot come at the expense of another. She's certainly not an inspirational figure for young girls and teens.

A little earlier, she said:

Sage advice, of course. But even if we don't buy a particular author's books, corporate or privately owned, that doesn't mean we can just ignore what they say about socio-political issues, because they can have a poor influence. And she's proven herself one of the worst commentators around. I may still own 2 compilations of Birds of Prey work she wrote in 2003. I won't throw them away. But so long as she remains stuck on such a revolting mindset, it's clear I'd never again be able to read anything she's written, if I even bother to at all, without thinking she's never written any of it for merely a quick buck, and has no faith in any of the products she's worked on. As far as I know, she's currently no longer employed at DC, or Marvel. And as I may have said before, it's for the best if Simone's not writing the famous creations of people she doesn't seem particularly grateful to for conceiving them long ago. Whatever talent she had in yesteryear has since been washed up and impossible to appreciate. It's sad, but that's how it is now. A woman who lets down other women, even in comicdom, by backing positions that only undermine women's status even more. Sigh.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016 

Nick Spencer exploits Red Skull to represent conservatives, and concerned Europeans

The previews for the debut issues of Captain America: Steve Rogers make clear that leftist Spencer has no intention of making the book welcome to rightists, or even Europeans trying to prevent Islamofascists from infiltrating, conquesting and committing crimes. As seen in this page here:
Under Spencer's twisted viewpoint, Red Skull is meant to represent decent Europeans struck by the crime the Muslim migrants brought with them. No doubt, in Spencer's opinion, any European who says what he put in the mouth of Red Skull is a crazy liar too. And the people he's seen speaking to here are clearly all right-wing types, whom in Spencer's view are nothing but evil.

As I figured, the return of Steve Rogers would be nothing to celebrate or feel relief over, since repellent left-wing political bents would make up the bulk of the story, rendering it impossible to enjoy. As a result, it's best avoided and forgotten.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016 

The defamation of Hank Pym continues

IO9's Gizmodo section perpetuated a terrible description of the original Ant-Man that did not have to be, any more than the notion he ever had to be depicted that way:
Sift through your memory banks through the founding members of the Avengers. Pick out the one who wound up living the most screwed-up life. A no-prize to everyone who chose Hank Pym. The first Ant-Man returns to Earth this week, more powerful and creepy than he used to be.
Just how was he creepy, exactly? He was far from being the literal madman they apparently want him to be in his early Silver Age appearances. If anything, he was a guy who was sad over the loss of his first wife Maria Trovaya, a Hungarian dissident, who'd been murdered while they were on a visit back there (this was at the time Hungary was under communist rulership in the 1960s). He may have been depicted with flaws, but Stan Lee did not render him as a total nutjob back then.
Hank Pym is one of Marvel’s most complicated superhero characters. Early on, the scientist created Ultron, the super-intelligent, nearly indestructible robot that became a villain who wants to destroy humanity.
But he didn't intend to make Ultron a killer, now did he? So it's regrettable they're coming close to making it sound like Stan Lee wrote Hank as though he did.
Later on, wild behavioral changes throughout his career had him adopting a whole other identity called Yellowjacket and abusing wife/teammate Janet Van Dyne, a.k.a. the Wasp . He’s one of the few superheroes to explicitly struggle with mental illness. Sam Humphries, who wrote Pym in the Avengers A.I. series, described his take on Pym to me this way in an interview three years ago:

In the past — not always, but definitely sometimes — Hank Pym’s mental illness has been treated like a cold, or a super villian. He’s crazy! Now he’s sane again. Look out, the crazy is back! How’s he going to escape this time?

I would argue that Hank’s “dysfunctional” is actually more “functional” than “normal” people. Hank has a chronic condition. There is no cure, there is no endpoint, there is no end of the labyrinth where you can say, “I’ve escaped!” You focus on managing your condition, you work hard to live a life as normally as possible, and understand that it’s not going to be as easy as it is for the people around you. This is a fact of life for hundreds of millions of people with chronic conditions... This gets really interesting when you put it in the day-to-day context of being an Avenger.
Here's another wacko who doesn't have the courage to say whether he thinks any of the assigned writers went too far with the whole insanity theme. The article's writer makes even more of the mistake: he puts it all in superficial terms without saying whether the original storylines were good or bad. Some today might argue the latter. Prior to Humphries' answer, he asked, "In terms of his fictional biography, it feels like he’s been unbalanced longer than he was ever sane." What does he mean "biography"? Doesn't "past characterization", "past stories" and "presented" sum it up better? Also from the 2013 interview:
Kotaku: Both Hank Pym and Bruce Banner are mad scientists both leading super-teams in the Marvel Universe now. Is there a rivalry between the characters or creative teams on Avengers A.I. and Indestructible Hulk? How do you make sure you’re staying out of each other’s way?

I make deliberate, factually incorrect statements about the Legion of Superheroes every day on Twitter — just to get in under Waid’s skin. Shake him out of his zone, y’know? Ya gotta get in their heads, man. You think this is a game?!
To them, it is. And clearly, to the reporter as well, seeing how he makes Bruce out to be a mad doctor, even though that side was usually more rational than the Hulk, and by no means wanted to commit crimes. Let's go back the newer article, which brings up a recent story turn that's no longer shocking:
The one-time Scientist Supreme’s ups-and-downs have been a hallmark of the character, and figured prominently during his last big adventure. Driven by guilt and responsibility in Avengers: Rage of Ultron, Pym became fused with the malevolent AI he created and the story ended with the psychologically confused man-machine fusion made flying off into space.

The fate of the two character was unclear but, after a few instances of subplot teasing, this week’s Uncanny Avengers #9 brings the two characters back to Earth. They’re not really separate entities anymore, though.

Hank Pym pretty much is Ultron now
. More specifically, he’s a cyborg that wears Ultron and wields the robot’s abilities. [...]
Yup, just what the MCU needs. Now it's not enough for Hank to be a scientist who made mistakes but was capable of redeeming himself. Now he has to be a potentially lethal man himself, not just his own mechanical creation. And, in fact, he has to be a machine himself, not just a flesh-and-blood human. In a way, this sums up what the MCU's become under such awful management - robotic cyphers with no convincing humanity, no organic drama and only a whole pile of contrived crossovers to exist within (same with the DCU, of course). And all these phony specialist news reporters only serve as enablers, because they won't raise a word of objection to what Marvel's management is doing, not even to the Fantastic Four.

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Friday, May 20, 2016 

Geoff Johns is unfit for taking charge of DC movies

After the mediocre reception for Batman vs. Superman, WB execs now want the wrong man for oversight:
The fallout from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice continues to ripple through Warner Bros.

The Burbank-based studio is making changes to the way it handles its DC Entertainment-centered films, giving oversight of the feature projects to a pair of executives and creating a dedicated division for the films. Current executive vp Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, DC's chief content officer who successfully launched the comics label's foray into television, will co-run the newly created DC Films, according to multiple sources.

This move is part of a broader refinement of executive roles at Warners, which has suffered a disappointing run of movies and has vexed producers and filmmakers, some of whom complain about a murky greenlight process.
After the failure of the Green Lantern movie, for which Johns had a co-production credit, they want a man who was said to have an overbearing influence on the proceedings take part? I really don't see the point. IMO, based on his record in pamphlet writing, that's why I sure don't think he deserves the role.

He even hypocritically told a press conference that he's going to bring optimism to these movies, after all the harm he caused back in comicdom (via Screen Rant):
He was there to talk about an upcoming comic he wrote and said he couldn’t confirm the story, but that “you can connect the dots.” Even though he declined to directly address that topic and didn’t speak specifically about DC’s film slate, he was more than willing to talk about what he thinks makes the DC mythos unique. One phrase came out of his mouth over and over again as he talked about DC’s comics: “hope and optimism.” Though Johns would never speak ill of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or its director, Zack Snyder — Johns is nothing if not loyal to the company that made him a star — it’s crystal clear that his vision for DC looks a lot brighter than the much-maligned grimness Snyder provided earlier this year.

DC’s nascent cinematic universe has so far depicted Superman as an angry god; a violent, alien entity that needs to be kept in check. This morning, Johns offered a vastly different take on the character's archetype. “I think people make a mistake when they say, ‘Superman’s not relatable because he’s so powerful,’” he said. “I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? He’s a farmboy from Kansas who moves to the city and just wants to do the best he can with what he’s got.’ That’s the most relatable character in the world."
Big talk from somebody who never exactly tried in his own way to make Supes relatable, let alone readable. And who certainly did a terrible disfavor to the Flash 15 years earlier. IMO, I can't see we should admire somebody who took an otherwise different approach to comicdom than what he may do with the movies.
That attitude isn’t surprising, given Johns’s track record in the superhero world. The 43-year-old started his career as an assistant to Superman director Richard Donner in the late 1990s, then snagged a gig writing for DC in 1999, at the tender age of 26. Right from the start, he showed a special interest in the company’s past: He revered the smiling, benevolent heroes of the mid-century and largely eschewed the gritty bloodletting that had been in vogue since the '80s. In series like Justice Society of America and The Flash, he cranked out stories that managed to be sun-dappled without being sappy.

Over the course of the '00s, he became DC’s golden boy. He was insanely prolific, producing stories on multiple series and in major company-wide crossovers like 2006’s Infinite Crisis. He was especially lauded for his eight-year run on Green Lantern, which revitalized and redefined the character. When DC executed an ambitious reboot of its entire superhero line in 2011, he was put in charge of the miniseries that launched it and its subsequent flagship title, Justice League. Johns was never the flashiest writer, opting for traditional story structures and plain prose, but he had an undeniable reverence for DC iconography (some have said too much reverence) and a willingness to think big when the company wanted to do something world-shaking.
Hmm, notice how they sugarcoat the talk of crossovers, as though it weren't a serious hindering to creative freedom and stand-alone scriptwriting. More telling is the reporter's head-shaking lies about what approach Johns took, with the Flash or anything else he wrote over the past decade. As noted, Johns' writing on the Flash was nothing short of execrable, and come to think of it, so was his work on GL, where he penned some left-wing propaganda. After David Goyer left JSA and Johns became sole scripter, that's when it started getting pretty bad there too. The reporter's dishonesty about his approach is a disgrace.

And even without the jarring violence that was particularly noticeable in Flash (not to mention some grimy, pointless allusions to sexual harassment/assault), a serious detractor in his work is that it just wasn't very good, and character drama was awfully half-hearted, right down to where, after Fury/Lyta Hall was woken from the enchanted coma Mordru put her in, she and Hector Hall were wiped out yet again in 2005. What was the whole point of bringing them back if they didn't even intend to give them long-term focus? The irony is that Johns wasn't the flashiest writer because he was really one of the most pretentious. Him think big? Nope, and neither was he very "traditional", at least not in a good sense. He wasn't very understanding of past continuity either, altering it as he saw fit.

However, there does seem to be a little bit of good news here:
...he’s currently taking a break from writing comics for a while. He penned a status-quo-altering one-shot issue called DC Universe: Rebirth, which comes out in a week and was the topic of conversation at today’s journalist gathering — but after that his hands will be too full. Whatever he does next, it’ll be rooted in a belief that DC needs to understand the deep-seated warmth and love that people feel toward its pantheon. “There’s a lot of emotional underpinning of the characters and the stories," he said. "It's not that people take it for granted. They’re just not as aware of it. But when it’s not there, you really feel that emptiness.”
And it wasn't there when he was doing the writing, so it sure was pretty empty. Don't believe what they say about what he believes either. But I'd say it's good if he's largely on his way out of DC's publishing arm. He was nothing but a wrecker of everything positive about the DCU, all because, despite what he claims, he's just another phony who goes by a cowardly vision that nobody takes the DCU seriously because of the tongue-in-cheek storytelling they were known for in the Silver Age. I won't miss him. Suffice it to say his work doesn't stand the test of time, and he certainly doesn't seem to care about it, given that he disavowed the work post-Flashpoint.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016 

NYT's untruthful about how long darkness lasted

The artist/writer Darwyn Cooke passed away recently, but the New York Times didn't do any favors for him or the medium he represented when they alluded to the 1990s:
Mr. Cooke first made his mark on comics in 2000, when the industry was emerging from a period in which superheroes had increasingly been portrayed as flawed, violent and dark.
And tragically, they and the angles of their stories still were, well after 2000, so that's not something they're referencing accurately, although they do bring up an interesting quote by Cooke:
“This kind of degradation of these characters is disturbing to me,” Mr. Cooke said in an interview published in The Comic Book Artist magazine in 2004. Rather than adding unnecessary complications, his approach was to strip the characters to their larger-than-life essence.
As impressive and correct as Mr. Cooke's comment on the past state of superhero writing was at the time, his willingness to work for DC even as they continued said degradation in miniseries like Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis ruins everything. In fact, it does drench the impact of the books he was writing since this was all going on around the same time.

Interestingly, this article also brings up comments by Ed Brubaker that reek of early SJW mentality:
The writer Ed Brubaker worked with Mr. Cooke to revitalize the Batman villain Catwoman in 2001. “I had been looking at all the previous runs of Catwoman, and I was horrified by how sexist all the art was,” Mr. Brubaker recalled in a telephone interview. Mr. Cooke’s revamp gave her more modest proportions, clad her in head-to-toe leather and costumed her in an aviator mask with cat ears, goggles and a whip that doubled as a belt. “He made her classy and sexy,” Mr. Brubaker said.
Just what was so "sexist" about the artwork that wasn't so sexist about the aforementioned miniseries that served as "event" hubs? And how come he took issue with that, but not the writing of the time, which declined in quality by the end of the 1990s, at which time Harley Quinn was being worked into the DCU? Brubaker is decidedly one cheapskate writer making petty complaints and insulting artists who could've been more respectable in personality than he was (if memory serves, Chuck Dixon was the writer who first scripted the solo for Catwoman). I suppose Brubaker considers Bill Finger's artwork "sexist" too? Brubaker is decidedly just one of those modern "creators" lacking in respect for past contributors who had more class than he does.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016 

The connections between comics and the Sad Puppies campaign

A few weeks ago, the LA Times ran an article about the Sad Puppies campaign, launched as an effort to balance out the Hugo awards because of leftist biases flooding over. The article is predictably negative, but it still tells something interesting about the campaign's connections with comics, which the awards ceremony does have a spot for, even if text books are still the first and foremost focus of the awards:
The one finalist the Puppies slated that actually finished above “no award” and even won its category? “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the smash-hit Marvel film that grossed more than $770 million worldwide and was so popular, and so obviously disconnected from the Puppy slates, that few of the Hugo voters held its presence on the slates against it.

[...] Works the Puppy slates included that made the Hugo finalist list include the novel “Seveneves,” written by Neal Stephenson, a past Hugo best novel winner and multiple nominee; the graphic novel “The Sandman: Overture,” by Neil Gaiman, also a multiple Hugo winner; the novella “Penric’s Demon,” by Lois McMaster Bujold, who has won four best novel Hugos; and the film “The Martian,” a best picture Oscar nominee (and controversial best comedy Golden Globe winner).

The Puppies will no doubt be happy to take credit for the appearance of these works and others on the finalist list. But, as with “Guardians of the Galaxy” last year, their endorsement probably doesn’t count for much in the grand scheme of things. “Seveneves,” one of the most talked-about science fiction books of 2015, was already a heavy favorite for an appearance on the finalist list for best novel. Likewise, Gaiman’s long-awaited return to the beloved Sandman universe means his finalist listing in best graphic novel was the closest thing to a shoo-in that the Hugos have. If “The Martian” hadn’t been a finalist in its category (best dramatic presentation, long form), people would have been stunned.
As stupid as the writer of this piece is being in all his efforts to make excuses, I think he's still told something that's bound to surprise left-wing comic creators, and even the moviemakers adapting some of this stuff. I don't know how many leftist creators are openly against the Sad Puppies campaign, but if Gaiman were, even he'd surely be surprised to know they've got nothing against his works. (Personal note: I honestly never saw the appeal of his take on the Sandman, and don't think it served Fury/Lyta Hall well if she led an army to slay Morpheus towards the end despite his innocence in the abduction of her child. No, I'm not kidding.)

The reporter sure is making an effort to claim GotG has a disconnect from the Puppy slate, but that's laughable. It just shows that the campaigners are more open to specific products than he wants everyone to think. If George R.R Martin's against the Sad Puppies, one can only wonder what he thinks of their choice based on his onetime readership of Marvel.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016 

2 items about Captain America: Civil War's directors

First, here's something interesting about the screenplay development from NY's Vulture section:
In the epilogue of the comics arc Civil War (Captain America, issue No. 25), Captain America is assassinated. Following the schism between the superheroes (in the comics story line, it's because of the Superhero Registration Act), Cap surrenders to the authorities, and then, on the courthouse steps, he's shot — first by Crossbones, and next by a brainwashed Sharon Carter. (The death didn't stick — superheroes don't stay dead for long in comic-book world).

This, however, was not the story that the directors Joe and Anthony Russo wanted to tell. When Vulture caught up with them at the Cinema Society and Audi-hosted screening of the film in New York, they said they had discussed the original comics version, but rejected it.

"Here's what it is," Anthony Russo explained. "We were trying to tell the story of a family falling apart. The tragic end of that story is that the family is divided. For us, the emotional catharsis that we were driving at was the difficulty of that kind of ending. We didn't want it to be that the family is divided, and then somebody dies, you know?"
Now that's incredible. They decided not to go with the kind of galling path the original crossover took regarding Steve Rogers. Seriously, it was uncalled for, and the biggest problem was that it couldn't escape the publicity stunt mentality; remember that it all stemmed mainly from said crossover, as did the seeds for undoing the Spider-marriage.

The part about superhero resurrection is interesting, because superheroes have almost always been the ones who qualified for resurrection, but not the co-stars, if at all. Why do the superheroes, costumed or otherwise, get to be revived but not the "civilian" co-stars? I'm reminded of Jean deWolffe, the policewoman who appeared as a recurring guest in Spidey stories for about a decade and was killed off in 1986 just because they thought a co-star's demise would make a great story. But honestly, it's ludicrous in retrospect, and could've been avoided.

And with that told, now for the bad news. I'm afraid there's some hugely disappointing news about the co-directors on Captain America: Civil War. They believe LGBT mentality must be shoved into following movies no matter what:
Joe and Anthony Russo, co-directors of Captain America: Civil War — the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most politically-charged outing — say it’s “incumbent upon us as storytellers” to put lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, and transsexual superheroes in Marvel’s movies.

“I think the chances are strong,” Joe Russo told Collider when asked about the chances of an LBGT character entering the Marvel Universe. “I mean, it’s incumbent upon us as storytellers who are making mass-appeal movies to make mass-appeal movies, and to diversify as much as possible,”

“It’s sad in the way that Hollywood lags behind other industries so significantly, one because you think that it would be a progressive industry, and two it’s such a visible industry,” he added. “So I think it’s important that on all fronts we keep pushing for diversification because then the storytelling becomes more interesting, more rich, and more truthful.”
In what way would it be truthful? In letting know there's bad influences and/or illnesses that come with the practice of homosexuality? How about the way advocates are so obsessed with same-sexuality nowadays, to the point where it's hammered over the head to no end? In fact, if truthfulness is what they're really worried about, then will they admit how Islamic dictatorships routinely persecute practitioners with violence and death?

Russo's claim Hollywood "lags" is just so laughable when you consider how there's various other TV shows and movies for over a decade now that've been pushing this junk down the viewers' throats in various ways. And if so, then he's not being "truthful". Russo's comments also bring to mind how Joss Whedon attacked capitalism just shortly after the success of the first Avengers movie. This is a vaguely similar situation, with 2 guys directing a successful movie and then dampening all the enthusiasm by making statements that insult everybody's intellect. The Breitbart article also says that:
While it’s not clear when or how Marvel films will feature LGBT superheroes, Marvel’s comic books have had same-sex weddings and openly gay characters grace its pages for years.
That's not very clear or accurate. It was only in the the early 1990s that Northstar of Alpha Flight was "outed" in a poorly written mishmash by Scott Lobdell, and that was a precursor to what they've been shoving on the audiences since. The sloppy scripting Lobdell was known for isn't something I'd recommend making a movie out of, because the original story from 1992 was dreadful, and precipitated the cancellation of the first Alpha Flight volume. Yet Marvel continued to whack readers in the face with such tommyrot for years to come, and the gay weddings were only recent; apparently Joe Quesada's idea of what weddings should really be all about, not ties of the knot between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, which were handled far more successfully years before.

And look at how LGBT backgrounds are what they're almost squarely concerned with, but never nationality-based backgrounds like Bulgaria, Croatia or Spain. When homosexuality is all they're willing to talk about, you know they're not being creative, let alone "diverse". As a result, how can we truly appreciate the former news when they knock our heads with the latter?

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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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