Wednesday, March 21, 2018 

If Infinity Stones is a crossover, it's not what the MCU needs anymore

Not very long after C.B. Cebulski gets his job as Marvel's EIC, they appear to be in the process of launching another event/crossover in the form of Infinity Stones, which must be another variation on Jim Starlin's Infinity Gauntlet tale from 1991 (and he's already left their employ, no thanks to Tom Brevoort):
Marvel has been getting fans even more excited about the Infinity Stones by releasing a new trailer for the Infinity Countdown #1 comic.

The new event began with Adam Warlock returning to the Marvel universe, as he teamed up with Kang and went to 2018 to help stop the battle for the Infinity Gauntlet.

[...] Infinity Countdown will be "a five issue epic" and could feature anyone from the X-Men to Spider-Man to "maybe even an Avenger here or there", according to Cebulski.
It sounds like they added a bit of Secret Wars for good measure, because the X-Men and Spider-Man figured more prominently in that crossover. If this crosses over into other books, then it's basically that - a crossover of a potentially company-wide variety. And no matter the merit of Starlin's own story, these crossovers are something that have to be put to bed already. It certainly shouldn't be too difficult to write up a self-contained miniseries that doesn't require nearly every other ongoing series in their inventory tie in with it.

I will say that, if there's any advantage the early Marvel crossovers had, they didn't emphasize killing off notable cast members like some of DC's did. But it still doesn't make the crossover obsession justified, and it goes without saying they almost always had the effect of sabotaging creative freedom for writers who did want to tell an entertaining story without interference. If nobody calls them out on just how obsessive these crossovers are getting and why it's too expensive (and above all, avoid buying them), they'll never cease. If this is what Cebulski's going to resort to, it's the latest clue he's not thinking his business/artistic strategies through well. We didn't need DC's most recent, Dark Knights: Metal, and we don't need Infinity Stones if it's a company wide crossover either.

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A professor at CSUN advocates interdiscipline studies with comics

The CSUN paper spoke about a college professor who's promoting comics for interdisciplinary collaborations at the Northridge university.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018 

New Hampshire's comics and medicine conference

Vermont's Seven Days weekly wrote about the upcoming 9th International Comics and Medicine Conference, where health and the cartoon panels combine, hosted by the Center for Cartoon Studies and scheduled for August 16 later this year.

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Monday, March 19, 2018 

Former IDW editor Chris Ryall proves why he spelled disaster for his onetime employer

IDW's now departed editor-in-chief gave a podcast interview, and in response to a tweet announcing it, he just signaled he has no respect for Transformers fans, indicating he considers LGBT ideology far more important than readership: homosexuality is such a big deal to him, he's perfectly fine with offending Transformers fans who find it objectionable. I am aware they injected some of that propaganda into the TF comics they were publishing, making it no better than the shoddy, overrated movies starring Shia LeBeouf. "More than Meets the Eye" indeed! I can only conclude he didn't get into this whole business to set a company on a path to stratospheric success, but to ram SJW ideology down everyone's throats, and afterwards take the money and run.

Ryall also gave an interview to Comics Beat where he looked back at his 14 years as the EIC, and downplayed at least one of the biggest controversies and PR disasters they experienced last year. The beginning is quite the apologia-fest:
Last week The Beat broke the news that IDW’s Editor-in-Chief (and for a time Chief Creative Officer) Chris Ryall was leaving that position. While it came as something of a bombshell to the industry, there was no dark story behind it, just a person leaving a position after 14 years to do other things. [...]
Oh, so nothing dark about the grave mistake of hiring a politically-motivated writer for GI Joe who made horrific comments about 9-11-2001 on his Twitter feed, attacked anybody who disliked the artwork as homophobic, practically attacked all opposition, right-wing or otherwise for getting him fired in the end, and never apologized for the PR fiasco he wound up causing? Stupefying. But it's just like The Beat to water down the whole mess and not admit lines were crossed in how to promote a book. The interview continues with:
THE BEAT: Let’s get right to it. You decided to leave. Why?

RYALL: It’s funny. After 14 years, when you have any job for as long as I’ve had that one–and I never had any job for anywhere near that amount of time – you know, you kick around other options here or there. You think, Is this the thing I want to keep doing or are there other things I would like to do? Well, I’ve got time to do that. I don’t know if it’s fear or inertia or just a general comfort with the job and the people and the circumstances that keep you in a place. It just reached a point where I thought, well, you know there’s not an infinite amount of time to do things and I’ve done this for as long as I have.

It just feels like it’s time to explore other things and move on from there. I’d taken the position about as far as I possibly could and I accomplished a great many things, probably more than I ever thought I would be able to, that were on my dream list of things to do. And so I thought, OK, let’s go find that new dream. Let’s go see what else what else there is to do in the world of comics or out of the world of comics.
Honestly, I'm not sure what other options he's got right now after the comments he made about Transformers fans. In the beginning, he obviously did make successful choices in publishing. But that all went downhill over a year ago, as they started associating with SJW types shortly after Donald Trump was elected, and chose to emulate Marvel's worst recent steps. This is precisely what's wrong with some smaller publishers today - they seem to literally follow what example Marvel's setting no matter how bad, not content with their own approach to win over a crowd. If they can't tell when Marvel's making a mistake, they're not doing a good job, and neither was Ryall in the end.
THE BEAT: I would think a lot of people would think that you’re a pretty brave person because being the editor in chief of a major comics company is pretty much the dream job for a lot of people. So it’s a bold move. How long did it take you to come to this decision?

RYALL: I mean it had been a thing in my head, back and forth, for months, if not a couple of years. But you’re right. But any time you’re at a job. it’s a job. So there’s going to be things that aren’t necessarily exactly the way you want them done. But I was also always conscious of how it’s a stupid thing to complain about petty little things that get to me. But if you want to work in comics, it’s certainly one of the few top jobs available to people in the comic business. We tried to keep that in mind too. I don’t take it for granted and also don’t walk away from something that would be really hard to attain. I started with my first official job in comics as the editor in chief of a major comic publisher and the publisher only got bigger and grew more from that. That’s how I broke in!
And within just a year, they lost all their gain, as they went around the bend and tried pandering to social justice mentality, reducing their profits by 91 percent. Furthermore, if he thinks it's stupid to complain about petty matters, then why did he want to anger paying customers for the Transformers? If he thinks nobody's allowed to object to terrible ideologies, then he's not fit for the job. I may have once thought he was at least halfway decent a fellow, but his comment reveals a very dark side of his personality telling that he certainly lost his moral compass just recently, and that doesn't reflect well on his career at IDW as a whole. He's practically got the personality of a Decepticon. The interview also has an eyebrow-raising revelation about interviewer Heidi MacDonald, and where Ryall previously worked:
THE BEAT: Well, let’s step back 14 years, because if I recall correctly, when you got the job you were working for Movie Poop Shoot [a one time pop culture news site run by Kevin Smith].

RYALL: Yes. That was a side job, though, I had done a lot of other things. At that point I was an advertising copywriter. I’ve been a corporate speechwriter. I’d worked for Dick Clark. But it was that website job through Kevin Smith that really opened the doors to transition to comics. It’s kind of funny that it was the side job that paid a fraction of my real job that was the thing that really led me to the greatest step in my career.

THE BEAT: Right. I think we probably crossed paths a little bit back then.

RYALL: Is it true that you were you were up for the EIC job?

THE BEAT: Ted wanted me to interview for it, but I was just back into the journalism game and I just didn’t want to move back to the West Coast. I knew that deep down, and that as awesome an opportunity as it would have been, I knew for me it wasn’t right. But I can really sympathize with your decision. Sometimes even though it might be the greatest thing on earth, there might be some circumstances or something personal where it’s not the right thing or it’s time to move on or something like that.

RYALL: It’s funny because at the time I got offered the job I think I’d also been offered a job running Kevin Smith’s comic shop in Westwood in California. It was literally in the same week. So I had to decide do I go be a comic publisher or do I go be a comics retailer. They both had their merits. But as a kid I’d always want to be on the publishing side of things and so it was it was too hard to pass up.
So Ryall once worked for the overrated filmmaker Smith, did he? Well I'm aware Smith is as much a leftist as he, and maybe even more (and let's remember the embarrassment he caused with the Black Cat miniseries in the early 2000s), so I guess this explains Ryall's thinking. And MacDonald was almost offered the job of EIC taken in the end by Ryall? It might've kept her out of the dishonest journalism she sank into since, but ultimately, I'm sure she would've been a bad choice and there's every chance she'd take to leftist pandering as Ryall did, and be a victimologist if anybody disagreed with whatever poor steps she'd take. The comics store Smith once owned has since closed, and maybe for the best, though if Ryall had chosen that career, at least we wouldn't have dreadful headcases like him littering up comicdom, as he did in the end. He also noted:
...when I started IDW was a horror publisher that dabbled in licensed things like CSI, and now it’s gone to my being instrumental in bringing in Transformers, which changes the entire scope and face of the company. So that certainly was a huge badge of honor. I’m sure I’m forgetting things after 14 years but getting John Byrne to work on so many different properties over the last decade. Certainly Locke and Key, which to me is probably the premier creator owned book that I’ve ever produced.
Imagine that. A company that once produced horror stories went on to produce more horror stories of a different kind! Namely, the Sitterson catastrophe, along with the Jem & the Holograms monstrosity. 2017 was certainly a most embarrassing year and it's cost them big. He also brought up ROM, which they licensed as well for new adaptations:
God, I don’t know. There’s so many. I mean certainly bringing Rom back was always a goal even when we first started with Transformers and Hasbro in 2005. My second question was “What about Rom?” It was a love of mine that had been out of comics for 30 years. To be able to bring that back is just a huge feat for me, just as the kid who grew up loving this stuff.
I've learned some SJW elements may have turned up in his rendition, so I can't see why he considers ROM a childhood favorite if he's going to cram propaganda down the readers' throats.

Next comes where MacDonald at least admits the controversy ignited by Sitterson existed, but sugarcoats it nevertheless:
THE BEAT: OK, I do have to bring up one of the low points however. A recent controversy that touches on a lot of how comics and social media interact is the Aubrey Sitterson situation.

RYALL: The story has gotten spun in such a way that makes us look like the bad guy and it kills me that that’s the case. Because that all came about because somebody said things that companies (that I don’t own) took exception to. But I and a of couple others really staked our jobs on not making a rash decision on having that person removed and keeping the book going and even rewarded that person with a new series. Ultimately that new series didn’t sell. I’m sure there’s all kinds of ideas of why it didn’t sell but the fact is it didn’t sell right from the start and so it had to go away. But somehow rewarding somebody with a new book and not giving in to these idiots who were trying to put pressure on things, got spun to being that we didn’t support this person. That I think is the thing that hurts, because we did. We supported him, kept his job, gave him a new book and it killed me that it didn’t work.

Also at times I was going to go out there and try to defend it, trying to say no, no you’re wrong. And keeping the conversation going and giving a forum for people to say more terrible things just felt like a losing battle. My entire time at IDW I’ve always approached things as the air is much fresher on the high road.
A confession he backed Sitterson's twisted political vision all along, and indeed, when the scandal first erupted, the staff's initial reaction was to defend him, before most fans and fansites must've surely contacted Hasbro about this, and since the toy company holds the license, IDW had to take responsibility and finally let him go. Sales receipts for the abortive Scarlett's Strike Force bore this out. I think the same has since happened with Wizards of the Coast, today a subsidiary of Hasbro's, after the scandal they caused with Magic the Gathering (which IDW wrote up a few comics based on 4-5 years ago, along with their Dungeons & Dragons adaptations). I even found this thread recorded from 4Chan where an anonymous source says Ryall violated a deal made with Hasbro not to promote the Scarlett's Strike Force title they originally didn't want published, by arranging with Bleeding Cool to give Sitterson a promotional interview. It'll surely have to be taken with a grain of salt, but some of the allegations do sound eerily possible.

So while IDW may have initially had some gems to offer in the past decade, they sure turned the gold into straw since Trump came into office. If Ryall was fired by IDW management for his alarming miscalculations, I can only conclude at this point he deserves it.

It remains to be seen where IDW will stand by the end of the year, if they're even still around at all. Ryall obviously caused them serious damage, and they may be set to lose the Hasbro license, which could lead to more dominoes falling with other licensees, and even creator-owned book writers may pull out. I'm sure if they go under, none of Ryall's apologists will blame him for the shambles the company has now. But, he is the main one guilty, and he'll have to come to terms with that, if he's willing to. All the same, he won't be missed.

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Sunday, March 18, 2018 

Hawkman and Hawkgirl are being brought back in a solo book again

But I don't expect them to do what I think would benefit the Golden/Silver Age Hawks better than what came after 1989, when the reboots that boggled continuity were launched, beginning with Hawkworld by Tim Truman. The Washington Post says:
The new series, partly inspired by Hawkman’s role in the current miniseries “Dark Knights: Metal” and DC’s desire to once again make the character a major player in the DCU, will debut in June and will be written by Rob Venditti and illustrated by Bryan Hitch.

“[Metal] has really elevated Carter Hall/Hawkman (Katar Hol), and brought him back to the DC universe in an [exciting] way,” Venditti told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. “That’s really what Bryan and I’s vision for the series is, as well.”
Dark Knights: Metal is a crossover, and I'm wondering how and why these are still considered a great way to boost noticeability for any superheroes in a shared universe. If they can only elevate them through a crossover, it just proves they lack confidence in marketing them title-by-title, hero-by-hero. One of the reasons why I believe the monthly pamphlet format has to be done away with in favor of paperbacks, where more responsibility can be maintained.
Hawkman is one of DC’s most classic characters, first appearing in “Flash Comics” No. 1 in 1940. But despite over seven decades of comic-book, animated and even live-action television appearances (in the CW’s “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”), his mythos is not as well known as that of DC’s famed trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. You might remember the distinctive look and the wings, but what about Thanagarian culture, Nth metal and the character’s famed reincarnations?
Well they botched all that after 1990, and especially after Zero Hour, where the Golden/Silver Age Hawks were all merged into one being, which is as mind-boggling as it sounds, and completely unnecessary. Worst, Sheira Sanders, the first Hawkgirl, suffered the worst as she was killed in the crossover, and it all became an excuse to introduce a Latina character in 1999 whose body she could inhabit, in an early example of social justice pandering. All in a 2002-2007 series that couldn't seem to decide what direction was best for Carter Hall.
“Hawkman is a foundational character in the DCU. Over time I think he’s lost some of that central importance to the DC universe, and we really want to bring that back and make him a marquee character,” Venditti said. “And to do that, we’re going to take him to a lot of unexpected, unexplored places and introduce a lot of new mythology for the character.”
Well maybe if they were to clear away all the mess formed after 1989, that could be achieved. But they're not going to get very far if they think Zero Hour has to be respected till the end of time.
Hitch respects the long history of Hawkman and considers legendary comic book artist Joe Kubert to be the greatest artist to ever draw the character. Hitch also admits that despite Hawkman’s comic book longevity, he hasn’t had as many definitive runs as DC’s other major heroes, which leaves room for him to add to the mythos with his pencils.
He's right Kubert was a magnificent artist, but I'm not taking the claim Hitch respects the superhero's long history at face value. Certainly not if that history includes the post-1989 reboot that wound up muddling Hawkman's continuity.
Fans who grew up with the “Justice League” cartoon and are more familiar with Hawkgirl needn’t worry. Venditti says she is indeed a part of the story he and Hitch are crafting, but don’t expect a love story just yet.

“She’s as foundational to the concept really in a lot of ways that Hawkman is,” Venditti said. “Now how we’re going to do that is hopefully going to be set up in a way that will surprise some people. Even when she’s not there on the page, she’s still there in terms of what we’re building and how we’re working towards it.”
And which Hawkgirl would it be they're using? If it's Sheira, I'd recommend depicting her with brown hair, as she originally had (Shayera Thal had red), and as for Carter, he should have blond, not unlike what he had in the Golden Age. I think the machinations of Geoff Johns and James Robinson did not age or hold up well, and their series degenerated into some pretentious nostalgia-built stories as well.

I think Hawkman was a great idea Gardner Fox conceived, but any writer like Johns who puts the characters through absurd nostalgia trips and sticks with the status quo of bad crossovers like Zero Hour isn't improving things at all.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018 

Some words of wisdom from Jim Zub for a change

Here's something sensible Zub's had to say about screenwriters who want to interlope on comicdom for all the wrong reasons:

This is just the argument that should've been delivered to J. Michael Straczynski when he first got tasked with writing Spider-Man in 2001. And Garth Ennis, Mags Visaggio, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Reginald Hudlin, Dan Slott, Nick Spencer. And even Steve Orlando and Vita Ayala for exploiting Supergirl for their own social justice agendas. They should've stopped while they were ahead.

They're also not an excuse for making video games ostensibly better than the stories they're adapted from, and any comics stories from the 1990s written specially so developers would have something to draw from were completely unnecessary; the gamemakers should be able to conceive a plot and game all by their lonesome, simply by looking at the best material from the Golden/Silver/Bronze/Iron Ages and thinking of what could suit their new game best. Also, the publishers shouldn't restrict them in which characters and other elements they can use, because to my knowledge, when Capcom was developing Marvel vs. Capcom in 1998, they may not have been allowed to use Iron Man in the player roster, and were only permitted to use War Machine. Which is fine in itself, but it should be the choice of the gamemakers, not the publishers.

Speaking of that game, there's something else that irritates me - the final boss is Onslaught, the bizarre combination of Xavier/Magneto's brainwaves that became a sentient lifeform. I'm sure it's no accident Marvel's contributors in the late 1990s came up with such idiocy, which in hindsight did not have to be, just so they could have an idea for a character to use as the boss villain. If I were in charge and they needed a larger than life character other than Apocalypse, I would've given Capcom the green light to use Galactus (who actually was used as the boss in Marvel vs Capcom 3). Some Marvel fans today may have to look back at a game like that and figure such commercialism is just what contributed to the harm the MCU underwent in that decade.

Trouble is, there's only so many would-be comics writers today who don't go through a very good period of learning. That is, to understand what makes superheroes and other escapist fare work.

A lot of readers have already experienced the same, as both Marvel and DC foisted repellent visions upon what was supposed to be entertainment first and foremost.

He may have a ways to go before getting the hang of it, but there's a lot of lazies out there who aren't even trying. One of those is Dan Slott.

J. Michael Straczynski didn't try to find that out, and he's one of those kind of writers whose audience, if any, only cares about what he writes, and not others. That said, I don't think I've heard of him in the comics medium for at least a few years already, so he's probably washed up, as he should be.

Maybe they didn't make them for fast bucks, but Liefeld sure wasn't doing much to prove he was worth it. Millar wasn't either.

This is certainly an improvement over the last times Zub tried to play expert, suggesting he may have taken the time to ponder the mistakes he made last year, but to be sure, he's still got a lot of work to do in proving he can think for himself, and not be a drone serving the bad apples in charge of the Big Two. Only that way will he truly demonstrate some leadership and wisdom it takes to heal the medium.

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Friday, March 16, 2018 

Fantastic Four getting different costumes yet again

The FF (or more precisely, Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Girl) may be returning, but the artists are wasting their time on new costume designs that are completely unnecessary, much a few years ago before the team book's cancellation when their outfits were turned red, and the site reporting about them even puts down Jack Kirby's famous designs of the past:
New uniforms are in store for The Fantastic Four, according to the latest issue of Marvel Two-In-One. A preview for the upcoming comic book shows Benjamin Grimm (a.k.a. the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing) and Johnny Storm (a.k.a. The Human Torch) wearing new uniforms as they prepare for a journey into the multiverse to seek out the missing Reed Richards (a.k.a. Mister Fantastic) and Susan Storm Richards (a.k.a. The Invisible Woman).

[...] The costume’s color scheme is broadly similar to that of the Future Foundation costumes, being predominantly white. There is no distinctive “4” symbol on the chest, but there are white “4”s lain within a black circle on the shoulders pads, which are military green running halfway down the upper arm. The pants of the uniform are black with light blue accents reminiscent of the original Fantastic Four uniform’s hue.

While the color scheme of this new uniform is a tad eclectic, the physical design looks far more practical than the classic form-fitting bodysuits The Fantastic Four favored in the past. The jackets appear to be protective as well as possessing pockets, which is something a team that is nominally made up of explorers rather than superheroes should have! It is unclear if Reed and Sue will adopt the new uniforms when the are inevitably found or how long this new look may last for the team but at least the current uniforms are nowhere near as bad as The 1990’s designs where The Thing wore a luchador mask and Sue Storm went into battle in a bikini with a 4-shaped cleavage window and high-heeled thigh-boots.
Oh, dismissing surrealism again, are we? You know what those dopey outfits Ben and Johnny are wearing look like? A cross between the outfits worn at a horse-racing competition and those of an air traffic controller. Besides, if you need pockets, the classic blue costumes could always have some, and probably did in the past, so this is just petty opportunism for the sake of denigrating somebody's hard work from the Silver Age. I'll admit the designs of the early 90s were sloppy and silly, though if I remember correctly, Ben wore a mask for a short time after Wolverine assaulted him? How come that didn't figure into their observation? Oh, but of course, because this is a film site reporting this, not a comics site! Then again, when haven't comics news sites of recent acted like they never read any of the older, better stuff either?

It's probably just a whole lot of fuss they're making to create drama, as the classic outfits could always be restored soon (though with Joe Quesada still running the store, you can't necessarily count on it), but if this is supposed to the latest status quo, it's just more style-over-substance that doesn't amount to anything.

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Supergirl #19 is offensive to women and racial minorities

Seriously, that's what I think after checking some excerpts of the material I found from the penultimate issue to the latest volume of the Maid of Might's solo tales. One which all but reduces her to a secondary status in her own book. Here's a gushy review from Geekdad for this story spotlighting a "non-binary" character who's apparently a girl taking up a mindset where she won't identify as either gender, as though that's such a big deal, and even has a distasteful-looking haircut:
...the first issue cowritten by Vita Ayala instead of Jody Houser. This issue pulls off a pretty amazing feat – despite the creative team switch, it continues the ongoing series while also telling an incredibly personal and powerful story that is likely inspired by Ayala, the first nonbinary writer at the big two. Supergirl’s reputation is still in the gutter, and the DEO is on her tale, but Ben Rubel is investigating her case and is still open to the idea that she may be on the side of good. To that end, he meets with a teenager named Lee Serrano who has a powerful story to tell about their encounter with Supergirl. Supergirl saved Lee when they were in danger from a DEO escapee, but their friendship goes far deeper than that, as Lee’s struggles didn’t end with the battle.

Lee, struggling to come out as nonbinary to their parents and dealing with extreme bullying at school, has been spiraling downward. As we saw in earlier issues of this series, Kara doesn’t really forget about anyone – not villains, and not the people she helps. So she follows up on Lee, helping them against the bullies (one of whom has a personal hangup due to trouble at home), and meeting with them whenever they need. Kara has a strong presence in this issue, and Ben Rubel’s past and conflict with his parents become a bit clearer as well, but it’s really Lee who steals this issue, coming off as one of the most genuine characters I’ve read in a while. I guess this is why it pays to have someone write from lived experience when dealing with marginalized characters. [...]
Do tell us about it. It's more like a case of victimology combined with normalization of ludicrous ideologies, but hey, you couldn't possibly expect these liberal propagandists and SJWs to admit it. In the material I found, primarily through video reviewers on Youtube, the guest, who's more or less a girl, is seemingly mistaken for a boy by the bully of the story (drawn to look like the lethargic blond Aryan stereotype), and we can assume it's all a subtle assault on boys who want to help defend the girls from male transgender thinkers who believe they have every right to use the bathrooms of the opposite sex, and believe ladies have no right to object. I remember when Peter David was writing Supergirl in 1996-2003, he featured a gay character, though at the time, it was nowhere near as heavy-handed as what we've seen after the turn of the century. We're bound to look back someday at those products of the 90s and think how quaint even that kind of leftism could be as compared with today.

Since the guest named Serrano is either Latina or black, that's why I feel this story is offensive to minorities as it makes them look like screwballs, and to women as well as men who find male transgender intrusion upon women's privacy reprehensible. It's degrading to women to make it look like "non-binary" is a mentality they should emulate, and come to think of it, to men as well. Not to mention that the culture of cutting away the hair on the sides to look vaguely like a mohawk is denigrating as well.

And it's apparently a social justice story the editors made sure the book would sport before going out with a whimper. I remember that when the now unwatchably leftist TV adaptation began, there initially wasn't a solo book in publication, and now that there was, they sure screwed the pooch. The artwork in the book is decidedly crummy too; some of this new-age computerized illustrations that don't match up well to more cartoonish designs of better artists.

The artist/writer Ayala's been gloating over the negative reactions, clearly signaling she wanted to troll the audience, and says in the following:

Our complaints are about the normalization of mental disorders and identity politics, which stems from ideology. And all this time, more challenging subjects are obscured, like Islamic terrorism and the history of the Armenian Holocaust during World War One. Quit trying to imply we're against famous creations like WW and BP too, because this is foremost about psychology and ideology, not about the female sex and race.

How come she won't provide any screencap examples, if it's such a big deal? In any case, most people have learned that constructive criticism, which she obviously doesn't accept, can make a good case against SJW propaganda like this, courtesy of cynics who adopt specific ideologies to get privileges and separate themselves from the rest of society.

Since I mentioned the TV show, there's some terrible news involving that as well. Namely, one of its cast members, Chris Vance, was accused of spousal abuse:
Chris Vance's ex-wife fears for her life and for the safety of her child after a recent incident where the actor threatened to kill her in front of their 4-year-old son.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Vance’s ex, Moon Dailly, was granted a temporary restraining order last week following an incident last month.

Dailly claims that on February 28, she received a FaceTime call from Vance while her and her son, William, were at someone else’s house for a kids playdate. She says she was excited that Vance — who played Non on season 1 of “Supergirl” — was calling because she claims that Vance had not seen their son since January 13.

But the call took and ominous turn right away, Dailly claims, when Vance immediately began questioning William about where he was and who he was with. She says Vance chided him for not speaking up loudly enough before eventually telling William, “I don’t know when I’m going to see you, we’ll have to wait until your mom gets her f**king shit together.”
As if it wasn't bad enough co-producer Andrew Kreisberg was accused of sexual harassment/assault, now one of the cast members is apparently a tyrant. Does anybody even watch the cruddy series anymore? So far, I'm not sure if it's being renewed, and if it gets cancelled, I couldn't care less, because the Maid of Might deserves far better than all this crap shoved into both her solo comics and the TV show. Even before these recent messes, when Eddie Berganza was editing some of these books in the mid-2000s, Supergirl's book was dreadful, relying on too many guest roles by other superheroes, overly sexualized artwork primarily on the covers centered on her skirt that made it look like it was going to blow upwards or fall off, and a curious lack of a secret identity like what she first had in the Silver/Bronze Age as student Linda Lee (later becoming the foster daughter of the Danvers family serving as her custodians). Berganza may be gone following his own sexual harrassment scandal, but the awful abuse of Kara Zor-El's titles continues all the same.

The only thing the issue has going for it is the variant cover, though as I've argued at times, commissioning so many variant covers is wasting a lot of money at a time when prices are high (the issue is apparently 4 dollars too, another reason to give pause to buying it). But that alone is not reason to buy it when you can always save a JPG from the web and use it for a desktop picture. A terrible shame such a marvelous drawing by Artgerm is wasted on this blatant leftist propaganda. It's drawn in far better taste than some of the covers and such on the mid-2000s when Jeph Loeb rebooted the Kryptonian Supergirl, and it otherwise led nowhere. IMO, the return of Kara Zor-El as the Maid of Might has not been successful, and has practically been ruined for all sorts of leftism that eventually came careening down the pike as the editors' politics came more to the fore. This issue, along with the TV show, are a colossal injustice to Al Plastino and Otto Binder's creation.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018 

Marvel's first African-American artist

The NY Amsterdam News wrote about Billy Graham, the first black artist who worked at Marvel and did work on some of the Bronze Age Black Panther stories with Don McGregor. Interestingly enough, before getting that job, he did some work on the early Vampirella stories in 1969, another significant point in history for Trina Robbins' famous co-creation.

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Tabloid propagandists have to quit making things bad for Stan Lee

I thought about this after watching this video about Stan the Man falling victim in his twilight years to defamation and financial swindling, and decided I'd have to respond as well, because it's clear he's been exploited for more time than thought, starting with the Marvel staffers who took advantage of him as a shield against the opposition to their social justice machinations, and extending to any of the house-related staff who tried to frame him for groping nurses and stole money from his accounts. And all this after his beloved wife passed away, which just shows how much they really care for him. From the Daily Beast, here's something that makes me feel terrible for him:
You might expect Stan Lee, at age 95, to be enjoying the fruits of his many labors: Marvel Comics, the company he served as the former president and chairman of, dominates popular culture. Characters he co-created — among them Spider-Man, Iron Man, X-Men, and the Avengers — are household names. He’s a comics legend, with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. When Marvel sold to Disney in 2010 for $4 billion, he personally pocketed a cool $10 million, and tours the world as its ambassador emeritus. And midway through his tenth decade, Black Panther, based on a character he and Jack Kirby first envisioned in 1966, currently sits atop the global box office charts, and carries a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97%.

Instead, seven months after the death of Joan, his wife of almost 70 years, beset with pneumonia, the apparent victim of gross financial malfeasance and surrounded by a panoply of Hollywood charlatans and mountebanks, he may be facing his greatest challenge, every bit the equal of any of the psychologically flawed superheroes he helped shepherd into being. According to one insider with working knowledge of Lee’s current situation, “It’s a real fucking mess over there. I think his money will be gone in a few weeks… Stan and [his daughter] JC are literally being picked apart by vultures.”
Some of those vultures - and scorpions - include the decidedly notorious Bleeding Cool, which, after trying to further the defamatory news that he supposedly groped nurses (news that might've been concocted by their employment company in revenge for JC having them fired), later tried to make his former aide Max Anderson look like he'd been unfairly dismissed, when for all we know, he could be guilty of allowing Lee to be exploited by a horde of ingrates, and let's not forget, as some of the reports stated, Anderson reportedly has a criminal record. I realize the UK Mail cannot be trusted 100 percent with what they're saying even now, but what they later reported, where it appears Lee was the real victim of anything, appears to make more sense than the tabloid trash they published earlier. Before I get to more on that, however, there appears to be some most unfortunate, questionable propaganda that made its way into this piece:
As reported by the Daily Mail on February 28, one of Stan Lee’s nurses was approached by Anderson and “offered a $50,000 cash bribe to make false claims against JC and one of her associates.” When I contact JC’s spokesperson for corroboration, I am summoned to a nondescript office somewhere in Los Angeles, where I am shown a brief phone-cam video. Filmed at Stan’s home, with multiple people in and out of frame (of which only JC is identifiable), it depicts a young Muslim woman — short, with brown hair, in a nurse’s smock. This is one of Stan’s nurses, known to them by her nickname, “Sheba,” and she is out of breath and sporadically crying hysterically as she tries to recount what has transpired. Over several minutes of shaky, hand-held video, I witness the woman, through intermittent sobs, and with those present trying to get her to remain calm, tell them that she had recently been contacted by Anderson, who told her he would pay her a substantial amount of money if she would sign a declaration against JC.

Then, she says, walking down the hill after finished her night shift that morning, Anderson had pulled up alongside her in a car different than the one she remembered him driving. He rolled down the window and told her that he had the documents he wanted her to sign. He emphasized that she would be saving his job, and that he would be very grateful. He also said he would pay her $50,000 in cash, which was in a bag on the front seat next to him, and that he “would take care of her for a year.” She told him that she was a Muslim and could not lie, as it was against her religion. As quickly as she could, she extricated herself from the conversation and continued on her way home. Now, later that same day, as her next shift is beginning, and having had time to let it sink in, the incident has clearly rattled her, and she's near panic.
Sigh. Her religion upholds the concept of taqqiya (deception), so she did lie by approval of her Religion of Peace anyway. Assuming she is what they claim, she probably figured she'd be found out and didn't want any part of it regardless, but honestly, this little matter is hard to swallow, including the part about Anderson driving a different car, and it's not because she may not wear a hijab, but because it sounds so forced. It's regrettable they just had to stuff that crap into this article, but hey, what can we expect from a site where one of the writers incited against Pamela Geller's daughters?

All that aside, from what I can tell, again, Anderson does seem to be a shady character, and if he had a criminal record in the past, it should be cause for concern. If he was exploiting Stan in any way and daughter JC wanted to stop it, then by all means, Anderson should be distanced from Lee.

Now about those who first turned against Lee himself, and then try to undermine him further by siding with this Anderson character - Bleeding Cool's been the main offender, running statements by veterans who shouldn't be associating with them, like Neal Adams, J. Scott Campbell, Peter David, and even Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos. ComicBook even quoted Kevin Smith siding with Anderson. I think it's a terrible shame Adams and Campbell, whom I respect more than Waid and Smith, if anyone, would be so quick to jump to Anderson's defense if he's guilty of assault as the prior reports stated.

Which brings us to the main point: any news sources, including but not limited to BC, have to stop with their atrocious assaults on Lee's personal life, because it's only making things worse. The poor guy's been suffering pneumonia, he's been framed and taken advantage of financially, his daughter hasn't been faring any better, and that's why they should grind their tabloid trash to a screeching halt. If CJ Lee feels her dad's been exploited and is trying to defend him, she has every right to do so. The exploitation must stop. So I think it's time for BC to quit their crap altogether, and the artists/writers who defended Anderson should distance themselves from him and not associate with BC either, given that this was a site that once tried to hurt Campbell's reputation, and possibly Adams' too. Sure, maybe they later apologized off-stage to the artists, but it's still scant compensation, and no artist or writer who believes in justice should do BC any favors.

Again, I honestly hope I won't have to deal with news like this anymore, though if Marvel's not defending Lee, I can say it just proves the modern staff betrayed him long ago. No wonder they stick to ghetto mentality today, rather than make the move to the paperback-only formats I've argued would benefit the medium a lot better than monthly pamphlets.

I hope Stan is able to get well soon and get the rest he needs. And that the scum in the entertainment industry who've been exploiting him for far too long will back off of him for good.

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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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