Friday, May 25, 2018 

The Houston Press is right: monthly pamphlets are getting too costly, and trades are preferable

The Houston Press addressed the increasing price of the pamphlets or single issue formats, which have long reached a solid $3.99 each, and are getting way too expensive for anybody to embrace the serial format in its current form, and company wide crossovers are making it worse. It's also said that:
The rise of the superhero movie juggernaut has led to an explosion of content available, but not necessarily content bought. In an interview with Publishers Weekly about declining sales, Julie Sharron, a staffer at the Secret Headquarters comic store in Los Angeles said, “There’s just too many [superhero] titles. People get overwhelmed, so it’s hard for customers to get into it. It seems like [superhero comics publishers] can’t figure out what people want.”
Or what they don't, such as the ultra-leftist politics we saw of recent, which are still lurking in some form or other, with Captain America one of the biggest victims. And what we do want, like the Spider-marriage with Mary Jane Watson and even reuniting the Atom and Jean Loring, to name but some examples, aren't being done out of childish dislike for fictional characters as though they were real life. This is just one of the reasons why older readers were discouraged, and even newer ones felt the same.
I can sympathize with her customers. Keeping up with superhero books has become a nightmare, especially if you’re a fan of staple heroes like Batman or anything involving the Avengers. It’s not to say you can’t pick a book and stick with it, but more and more they are tied to these massive interconnected universes that are designed to be consumed as a whole.

It often takes great books and shifts them into park just as they are getting going. I was combing through my longboxes the other day and decided I wanted to delve back into Wolverine and the X-Men again. I loved that book. It had a great cast of charming lesser characters like Quentin Quire and Broo and a self-contained Saved by the Bell vibe that made it utterly endearing. I stopped reading because it got dragged into the whole Avengers vs. X-Men thing and sort of ground to a halt. Same thing happened with Batgirl and Red Hood when Death of the Family was going on.

That’s not to say that these giant events are bad. I loved Secret Wars for example, but it makes simply following a serialized format a constant battle to catch up on.
Just what I've thought, and to be sure, there's others out there who've learned the hard way that crossovers ever since the original SW from 1984 have been one of comicdom's biggest undoings. DC's still been bearhugging the whole approach like nothing wrong comes of it, with Dark Metal and Doomsday Clock their most recent crossovers, and they've doubtlessly got more in store soon enough. In fact, why must some of the new characters they've introduced in DM be introduced as part of a crossover, and not by ways of a one-shot special or an anthology? On that note, I think all the attention heaped upon the crossovers might've played an indirect role in the demise of anthology series. Some of the last I know of with sustained success include Marvel Comics Presents (1988-95) and Legends of the DCU (1998-2001). Beyond that, there's been very few anthologies coming out. They used to be considered an ideal place to publish a story spotlighting minor characters to test if they could carry a solo book. But today's there's very few, if at all, and while miniseries are still around, they aren't exactly being put to use as the testing fields they once were. As a result, it appears crossovers have taken the place of these more stand-alone concepts, with one of the worst being 1993's Bloodlines, and only 2-3 of the new characters seen there ever found longevity.
That gets expensive. Make no mistake, regularly subscribing to books is rapidly becoming a rich-man’s hobby. The average cover price for a single issue is just shy of $4 now. That’s not a lot if you’re just keeping up with, say, Saga every 30 days, but it adds up really quick once those crossovers start getting involved. One of the main reasons that I stopped buying monthly comics is that it became like missing a bill and trying to double up the next month. Eventually I finally gave up and decided to wait for the trade collections.
Even if it's just one mere series, 4 is still way too much, and lest we forget, the company wide crossovers make everything worse. So the guy writing this is correct about something: trades should be the next step focus, and he continues thus:
Trade collections are where the focus should be if you ask me. There’s certainly a place for single issues, of course. Some of my favorite stories are one-shots, and as promotional tools they are top-notch. That’s how I hope the comic industry starts thinking of them, though, as promotional materials. Rather than a marketing each issue as a self-contained part of an ongoing series, market the first issue as a demo from free or a very small fee. [...]

It would be nice if comics, particularly super hero comics, moved into that model. It’s a given that every four to six issues or so is going to be collected, but the collection is still viewed as the ancillary product compared to the monthly book. That makes creators beholden to ongoing sales rather than the total consumption of their vision and limits the storytelling format. Trades as the intended ideal of the comic book would ultimately be healthier for the genre.
And, it'd ultimately cost less if one format were phased out as the other were allowed to continue from where it all left off. They could even arrange for book publishers like Harper-Collins and Random House to serve as publishers, and you wouldn't need to have Diamond's monopoly ruining everything as they have either. Best of all, it'd put an end to the company wide crossovers. So why are any and all comics publishers still relying on such an outmoded model for business and sales? And why aren't some comics pros, old and new, making the call for shifting to what'd make it a lot better for the medium too? Sooner or later, they'll have to start thinking what the next best step is for serial fiction formats if they really want to prove to the wider public it's a medium worth their time.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018 

A new remake of Thundercats looks horrific

There's supposed to be a new cartoon coming based on the famous Thundercats franchise of the 80s called Thundercats Roar. But the artwork alone is a serious giveaway that it was deliberately dumbed down with very poor notions of character design that look like childish scribbles in a notebook. The producer sugarcoats everything thus:
“I think the world that they built lends itself really well to comedy because of how silly and crazy and outlandish those ideas are and some of those settings are,” says producer Victor Courtright in the exclusive behind-the-scenes video above. “But at the same time, it wouldn’t be ThunderCats if it didn’t have super cool action elements because that’s what people came back to. It’s very much something that we want to lean on. So with the new show, we’re not walking away from the action in any bit. Every step we take towards comedy, we take two more towards really cool action scenes and explosions and lasers and actions effects.”

Here’s the official logline for the series: “Staying true to the premise of the original series, Lion-O and the ThunderCats — Tygra, Panthro, Cheetara, Wilykat, and Wilykit — barely escape the sudden destruction of their home world, Thundera, only to crash land on the mysterious and exotic planet of Third Earth. Lion-O, the newly appointed Lord of the ThunderCats, attempts to lead the team as they make this planet their new home. A bizarre host of creatures and villains stand in their way, including the evil Mumm-Ra, Third Earth’s wicked ruler who will let nothing, including the ThunderCats, stop his tyrannical reign over the planet.”
But not staying true to the character designs of the original, which were far better and more competent. Who does this mule-brain think he is anyway? And it's not the only one - from what I know, there are at least a few more cheapie cartoons airing on Cartoon Network like Teen Titans Go that use this otherwise unimpressive style that reduces everybody to caricatures. Even the SD Gundam anime miniseries have better character design than this.

Bounding Into Comics says:
But maybe the biggest difference between the promotional poster and the older artwork is that the ThunderCats work as a team. In the promotional poster, they appear to be all out for themselves and no one is actually working together to achieve a goal. That looks like a red flag to me.

What really concerns me is the actual introduction to the character in that promotional trailer. Like the artwork and animation, the dialogue feels cheap. They don’t seem to be taking the character seriously and in fact, the character is acting like Deadpool by directly talking to the audience and breaking the fourth wall. He then refers to the mystical Sword of Omens as his “magic slicing stick.” Talk about completely erasing the history and significance of the sword.
The producers can lie all they want, but they're not fans of the original stuff.

The most eyebrow-raising apologia for this new rendition, however, has to have come from Polygon:
Instigated by ThunderCats Roar, the upcoming Cartoon Network reboot of the classic 1980s sword-and-sorcery cartoon featuring feline humanoid aliens, a number of fans took to Twitter to gripe about the artistic style of the series by targeting a handful of alma maters. One school in particular, the California Institute of the Arts, was in the hot seat, as fans complained about how this newer, more humorous take on ThunderCats was drawn not in the muscle-rippling, “realistic” style of the original show but, rather, in something they derisively called “CalArts Style.”
Hmm, I take issue with their use of "realistic". These are the same kind of propagandists who demand "realism" according to their beliefs in how it should be portrayed. But when the fans they're against uphold what they think is realistic illustrations, they're suddenly against it. What a bunch of phonies these SJWs can truly be.

What's really odd is that several years ago, there was an attempt to revive the franchise with another series in 2011 that used more Japanese-style character designs (the 80s cartoon was also developed in Japan), which Forbes mentioned in their take on the subject, where the writer stated:
So when I see the vociferous reaction to the simplified and somewhat goofy art style and tone in ThunderCats Roar I can understand why fans feel this way. It’s not about taking ThunderCats seriously or anything like that but purely down to the artistic approach being used here, after all the original series was often humorous and silly.
And that's why using such a cheap, simplistic approach to art is moot and trivial. What the animators of this new rendition are doing practically gives animation in America a bad name, making US animators and artists look like they have no sense of style and aren't willing to take challenges in any way.

At the very least, maybe what the producers should've done was promote it as a parody of the original, but promotion clearly isn't a strong suit of theirs either. They've done a serious disfavor to art as much as to the fandom that's out there, and certainly won't be tuning in to see this waste of shoestring resources that could've been used to finance a documentary about animation instead.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018 

Janet Jackson influenced a multi-culti comic universe with girls

Complex spoke about the influence famous singer Janet Jackson appears to have had on the creations of Aza Comics. This is, however, something involving multiculturalism, and not only that, it even ridiculously says:
With their one-dimensional female characters, comics didn’t provide the inspiration Truesdale needed, but music did. As she sat down to create, she found herself listening to Janet Jackson’s 1989 album Rhythm Nation. And before she knew it, the main character of her first comic novel, The Keepers: Origins, was a lot like... Janet Jackson. The idea of Jackson as a fierce warrior at the helm of an entire universe is not hard to fathom considering she has been the queen of pop music for decades, spawning progeny from Britney Spears to Aaliyah to Teyana Taylor. On Sunday at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, the 52-year-old legend will finally get her due when she receives the Icon Award.
What do they mean by one-dimensionals? And why don't men count? It's not like there aren't menfolk in any comics who couldn't rate as 1-D, depending on the quality of writing.
Truesdale says she was around 7 years old when she took a trip to a comic book store with her dad and bought a copy of Wonder Woman. She fell in love with the genre, and specifically with female-centric stories. But she lost interest as she got older and got the sense that many of the women presented were based on tropes and were created with the male gaze in mind. When she picked the comics back up as a young adult, she realized that not much had changed. So she started doing her research.
Funny they should say that, because from the art samples they've provided, you could easily figure even the Aza creations have their appeal to the male gaze.
“A lot of women who were already into comics, they told me that Wonder Woman was somebody who they liked, and it was because she was a character that stood by herself. She was three dimensional, she had a whole backstory, and she existed as her own entity—she wasn’t a spinoff of any other male character; she was a complete, self-autonomous character.”
Now isn't that something! WW is 3-D. But what about the Black Canary, Vixen, Donna Troy or several of Marvel's own superheroines from better days? The real Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers, and Jean Grey, Dazzler, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, to name but some more. If you know where to look, you're bound to find plenty, even in non-superhero comics. Citing WW as an example is much too easy, and proves we still have people around who don't search deep enough, which is a shame.

But at least she's created her own casts of characters rather than go the cheapie route like Marvel did in the past years, and that's what should count. So I'll wish her luck in getting her books sold, which she says in the article are more like novels. Maybe that's the most ideal way to sell them in major bookstores too!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

A writer for the Federalist thinks the Jawbreakers controversy was "ginned up" and doesn't clearly mention the bad acts of Meyer's foes

Another focus on the Meyer/Waid controversy topic at the Federalist, how it all came to be, but this is one all but a dissenting item, and has parts that can be disagreed upon, including the assertion he's a "professional troll" in the literal sense:
Meyer’s popularity needs to be traced back to his start, which began with Twitter spats with different creators, editors, and publishers, generally calling out shoddy work in books or whenever they’d post something political on Twitter. One quote his detractors regularly cite came from him calling an editor a “c-m dumpster” (original word modified).

His Twitter account generally launched attacks on Marvel editors, many of which are young women. While, yes, they were overwhelmingly progressives, attacking them online isn’t particularly a way to gain friends in the industry.

Focusing on female editors is also an offshoot of the “fake geek girl” phenomenon, where many a “fan” complains women in an industry are infiltrating to destroy it and don’t actually care or like the thing they’re working on. It’s hard to put any stock into this idea.
For heaven's sake, I don't agree with everything Meyer does, but for one thing, he's far from a troll in the negative sense, and he didn't solely go after women, young or old. There's also men like Mark Waid, Nick Spencer, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Dan Slott, Steve Orlando and the now former Marvel editor Axel Alonso. It was hardly a problem with women alone, feminist or not.
Later Meyer formed a YouTube channel based on his Twitter, where he’d discuss books, many of which he’d cherry-picked to incite outrage clicks. He’d take on a book like “Squirrel Girl,” complaining about it being written for a 12-year-old girl with a smattering of politically correct platitudes thrown in. But a book like that isn’t exactly highbrow critical thought, it’s a book written and made for tweens (or tween-brained adults), not dudes who’ve been reading superhero comics since the ‘80s.
Even if it is aimed at tweens, that doesn't make it any good. Back in the 80s, there were books like Power Pack that dealt with its cast of younger protagonists and the stories built around them seriously, and more intelligently than expected. The more recent offerings from Marvel suffer from overt social justice propaganda injections, far-left politics included, and that's no recipe for success. All that aside, why does the writer sound like he thinks today's male audience, depending who they are and what their viewpoint is, wouldn't make a great audience for a book like Squirrel Girl? A notable complaint by some observers is that there's little or no new audience coming in to buy and read these items, and without the right ingredients, the chances of getting them will continue to remain slim.

At least the article does admit leftist progressivism's gotten worse over the past several years, and so too has Marvel's ability to hire real talent:
Plenty of other talented individuals who worked at Marvel also packed up for greener pastures. Since then, Marvel has had a very hard time filling those shoes and much of the writing is done by either a few over-worked individuals (Charles Soule must be writing something like 10 monthly books) or the occasional headline-grab name like Ta-Neishi Coates.

None of these headline-grabbers come from comics, so their books tend to not be created with comics in mind. Thus they end up being talky treatises turned into narrative. Many writers fall onto using Twitter headlines of the day as muse, which is how a discussion about the pros and cons of brunch ends up in an X-Men book.
All that aside, what matters is that Marvel so far has failed to hire or rehire real talent who can avoid building outrage culture and alienating the readers. Worst is the blacklist still in place against Chuck Dixon and any other conservative the management deems unworthy of their time. Unless anybody starts campaigning seriously to end the blacklist, it'll continue and ultimately affect even the less conservative-minded.
The comics Twitter crowd is just as unhealthy and vile a community as any other Twitter crowd. It rewards outrage and denies taste or nuance. Many a comics controversy comes from a loud feign of outrage on Twitter—Howard Chaykin’s “Divided States of America” proved its title when the cover featured a man hung with a racist or homophobic slur written on him. The outrage proved the point Chaykin was making with the series—however, he anticipated the outrage to come from the Right, when it actually came from the Left.
Yes, that must've been quite a surprise for the creator of American Flagg. No less so, to be sure, was Image's caving and refusal to stand behind the cover illustration for Divided States of Hysteria, which the columnist forgot to specify.
Diversity & Comics and the people he attacks have a ton in common. Both want the other’s products and preferences removed from the marketplace, and neither will stop until the whole thing is burned down.
Sigh. No, this does not make sense either to draw up a moral equivalence. The difference is that Meyer wants better writers assigned to corporate-owned superhero books who don't put their leftism front-and-center, while his opponents want his products banned altogether. At worst, it risks sounding like some of the weakest writers for National Review, hardly a great bastion of conservatism today. If the columnist were to try and take up a similar career in commentary and get some of the worst editors/publishers like Joe Quesada and Dan DiDio out of comicdom, he could have a chance of bettering Meyer, if he thinks there's a valid cause in store. But that's not what he's doing, and it risks letting too many bad apples off the hook for the wrongs they've foisted upon famous creations.

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Monday, May 21, 2018 

Sidney museum's comics history exhibit

Here's an article in the Canadian Victoria News about a comics exhibition at the Sidney museum with a display of products from the Golden Age to the present, including some rare Canadian superhero comics from back in the 1940s.

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Comicsverse favors the Muslim Ms. Marvel, and takes a negative stance on WW film star Gal Gadot

I just found a most disturbing contrast on the far-left-leaning Comicsverse site, in regards to two subjects. One is an interview they did with a BBC representative, following up on film producer Kevin Feige's troubling comments, and they're gushing even worse than some other favoratists did:
BBC News: Kat Vendetti of ComicsVerse, which uses the high art of comics, as their website puts it, as a platform to discuss issues that promote positive social change told me first what she knows about the possible movie in the possible pipeline.

ComicsVerse: Kevin Feige from Marvel studios has said that she’s going to be appearing in a future movie. I think that’s the most logical trajectory, given how the movies have been going.

BBC News: And she already exists on paper as an identifiable character. As Ms. Marvel but also as Kamala Khan?

ComicsVerse: Yes, and she’s fairly new. She debuted, I think, in 2013. Since she made her premiere in the comics, she’s been hugely successful. Her series has made so many bestseller lists, has gotten so many reprints. She’s made animated appearances. So it was just a matter of time before she would make her big screen appearance as well.
Yep, keep up the comedy please. No sales figures, no nothing. Just a lot of hot air, bias and favoratism, is all. But what's telling besides that is the site rep's "I think", strongly hinting she's not as well-versed in the medium as the site's supposedly meant to be. The reason they may be pushing a character with an Islamic background into the movies has what to do with their horrid politics and belief it's better than anything else, and the quest to indoctrinate the audience into believing this is a valid form of culture.
BBC News: We’ll talk about the specific cultural implications in a moment, but I guess it’s fair to say that BLACK PANTHER was a monster hit, way beyond the African-American community, and therefore, this could be this could be a monster hit way beyond the Muslim American community.

ComicsVerse: You know, speaking to the success of Black Panther, it just shows how needed these movies are. I’m a white woman, so I’ve had plenty of characters myself that I can look up to with Wonder Woman and with Captain Marvel coming up, which isn’t a whole lot to say. Given my experiences watching Wonder Woman and the excitement I feel for the Captain Marvel film, I can only imagine how others might feel getting to know Kamala Khan in a MS. MARVEL movie.
Well from what I once learned, the Captain Marvel movie with Brie Larson may not have gotten a great behind-the-scenes reception as hoped, and so there's no telling if the finished product will either, seeing how it's already shown signs of being the first standout social justice-influenced movie in Marvel's stables.

And can she imagine what victims of Islamic terrorism anywhere in the world - including 9-11 Families for a Safe America - might feel whenever they learn the religion that led to the deaths of their beloveds is whitewashed and depicted in positive terms unquestioned? Doesn't look that way from what I'm reading. Comparing ideology to race/nationality is also very degrading.
BBC News: Do you think it’s a boost for Marvel’s intentions or maybe a slightly worrying element that there will be a lot of responsibility on the studio … on the filmmakers because there’s so much anxiety in the Muslim American community about discrimination. They need to see a positive role model.

ComicsVerse: I don’t know if I have much authority to speak on that a whole lot. What I can say is that when Kamala Khan first made her debut in the comics, there was a lot of backlash and criticism.

ComicsVerse: G. Willow Wilson, I think, has said before that she wasn’t sure what kind of success her character would have, but Kamala has been hugely successful for a variety of reasons. She’s incredibly relatable as a character. Anybody can see themselves in her.

ComicsVerse: The idea of the modern American hero is not Peter Parker or Captain America anymore. It’s a character like Kamala Khan. She’s more reflective of the experience that you can have as an American.
Ah, how fascinating. So Spidey and Cap aren't ideal US heroes any longer. Any particular reason? Most likely, it's political correctness and a disrespect for Kirby/Lee creations that, until recently, most commentators didn't even have the courage to admit they harbored. As for the Beeb, it's just like them to back up the victimology stance, and not admit the ideology itself is a negative example. Furthermore, what can anybody see in the Khan character the sales figures - which are down to around 13,000 by now - prove they're not?

The next example is their comments on Israeli-born Wonder Woman movie star Gal Gadot, asking if her winning a spot in Time's list of 100 most influential people is the right decision. It's not too difficult to guess they believe the answer is no, and their op-ed gets more irritating as it goes along:
This year’s TIME 100: Most Influential People of 2018 is a who’s who of progressive, feminist icons. The list includes #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke; queer writer, producer, and actress Lena Waithe; West Virginia’s first female fire chief, Jan Rader; trans rights advocate and author Janet Mock, and many others.

On the other hand, the list also includes its fair share of conservative figureheads like Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and conservative talk show host, Sean Hannity. The jarring combination ranges from every side of the political spectrum and places misogynists in the ranks of revolutionary social justice advocates.

Indeed, like 2018, the TIME 100 list is full of surprises. In the middle of these names, Wonder Woman inexplicably appears. Or, to be specific, the woman who plays her on the silver screen, Gal Gadot.

The inclusion is perplexing, not because Gadot isn’t influential, but rather because WONDER WOMAN is so 2017. Moreover, Gadot deserves only partial credit for bringing DC’s most recognizable female superhero to life. Director Patty Jenkins is largely to thank for the overwhelmingly female-centric focus of the film.

So, why didn’t Gadot or Jenkins make the list back in 2017? In fact, Patty Jenkins was one of the 2017 runners-up for TIME’s Person of the Year. Again, the question remains: Why Gal Gadot, and why now?
What kind of ambiguous query is that anyway? Is that supposed to mean the jerk who wrote this puff piece doesn't think Gadot deserves any credit? Why not equal credit with Jenkins, and why not "better late than never"? Something fishy there alright.
Gadot earned her stripes as a performer in the first WONDER WOMAN movie. Since then she joined forces with other heroes in the JUSTICE LEAGUE film. Naturally, Gadot is also slated to appear in the 2019 WONDER WOMAN 2. Among these accomplishments, Gadot also embodied Wonder Woman to help promote the character’s controversial position as an Honorary U.N. Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.

Nonetheless, her appearance on the 2018 TIME: 100 list does not completely add up. Next to the numerous radical, queer, and/or people of color who made the list, the former Israeli Defense Forces member is a conservative choice. Next to the conservative, however, Gadot is a highly palatable icon of female strength. I suspect that Gal Gadot not only saved the DC universe as WONDER WOMAN, she strategically saves the TIME: 100 list as a politically-moderate choice for an influential female artist, however delayed the pick may seem.
And I can only guess - conservative choices are a crime, in the writer's view? Why do I also get the vibe they actually side with the UN on the issue of "controversy"? They do admit that "Gadot does live up to the praise", but soon fall back on more of the same shady commentaries:
Ultimately, why Gadot made the TIME 100 list might not really have much to do with Gadot at all, but rather what she symbolizes. Gadot is just progressive enough to appease progressives, and she’s just beauty queen/mother enough to please conservatives. For example, unlike Wonder Woman, Gadot is not queer, but she’s comfortable playing it on screen.
Umm, what absolute proof do they have that WW is lesbian per se? Or, better still, why does the buffoon consider being a beauty queen and a mom something that pleases only conservatives? That's a telling clue how what we have here is a hardcore progressive who thinks a woman being hot or a parent or both is garbage. But here's where it really begins to stink:
Her controversial support of Israeli nationalism is chalked up to “serving her country” (see Carter’s description). Moreover, Gadot’s real military experience makes her more credible as a feminist warrior princess because she is serving a traditionally male role. However, while she looks progressive for supporting Israeli women’s equality, her role directly harmed others, including women.

Mostly, however, American fans push Gadot’s involvement in Palestinian oppression aside. As a result, fans can believe that Gadot can kick ass in a mini-skirt and make it sexy, all while espousing moderately (white) feminist values. As delightful and palatable as Gadot is to most audiences, it is unclear if she deserved to be on this year’s list of the most influential people.
Ugh, ugh, UGH! So she buys into the whole "palestinian Arabic people" hook, line and sinker. And no willingness to admit that not only is it all a lie, but that both the PLO and Hamas are responsible on their part for brainwashing and indoctrinating many men, women and children alike to be monsters for the sake of jihad, first against Israel, then against anybody else considered a kuffar. Oh, is she implying Arabs aren't white? Guess so, and I've seen that flaccid tactic before. So, this is the most telling clue the writer doesn't think Gadot should be allowed to get an honorable mention because of her politics. We can only guess where the writer stands on the USA embassy's move to Jerusalem (along with Guatemala and Paraguay), and the fact that several Islamic countries banned the WW movie from local screenings.
Although Gadot lovingly embraces her role as Wonder Woman, embodying the character’s best traits in the real world, Gadot simply does not push the envelope. Instead of recognizing her for her influential role in 2017, TIME 100 simply uses her to fill a white-feminist sized gap.
And that's all you need to know that somebody's writing off whites as inferior, undoubtably without even praising any black Africans who made the lists, or recommending those who should. She doesn't even seem concerned about slavemongering by Islamofascists in Mauritania. I don't see why they even bothered to review the X-Men Wedding Special if this is their position. If they don't like Gadot because she's a proud Israeli, it's illogical they should appreciate even a fictional Jewish character like Kitty Pryde, let alone any of the Jewish creators/publishers who made it all happen. Comicsverse's bias is a pure disgrace and unworthy of representing the medium. It's a lucky thing for Gadot that Time would choose her for a place on their top 100, a list which, I'm guessing, happens to cover nearly a year, but Comicsverse makes it sound more like it all pertains to this one, which is fairly dishonest too. If that's their take, then maybe they shouldn't go to see the WW movie sequel, if it's in the works.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018 

The filmmaker who adapted Valerian & Laureline to screen has been accused of sexual assault

In some news related to comics adaptations for the silver screen, the film director Luc Besson's been accused of rape, with Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento bringing up the news at the closing of the Cannes film festival:
Yesterday, French radio station Europe 1 reported that Paris authorities have opened an investigation against French film director Luc Besson, after an actress told them that he had raped her the night before.

According to the complaint, the actress says that she met Besson on Thursday evening at the Bristol hotel in Paris as the Cannes Film Festival was wrapping up. She describes how she was given a cup of tea and blacked out after drinking it, and awoke realizing that she had been raped. She says that the director left a wad of money for her before departing. The actress also noted that she had previously been in an intimate relationship with Besson for two years, one that she felt pressured into for “professional reasons.”

[...] The director of films such as Fifth Element, Lucy, and most recently, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Besson has a history of dating younger actresses: he began dating his second wife, Maïwenn Le Besco in 1991 when she was 15 years old (Besson was 32 at the time), and they had a daughter two years later. Le Besco has noted that Besson’s 1994 film Léon: The Professional, was inspired in part by their relationship, and that then 11-year-old star Natalie Portman’s parents demanded numerous changes to the script because of age-inappropriate content.
It's too bad though, that, as Portman's demonstrated of recent, she's a bad lot in her own way as well. But putting that aside for the meantime, I once saw that cruddy movie from 1994 at least 2 decades ago, and recalling at least one filthy line of dialogue Portman was given in the script, it doesn't really shock me at all Besson could be the pervert he's now been accused of being. And it sounds like he pulled an act similar to Bill Cosby 4 years after that scandal first broke, and just several months after the Weinstein scandal did, meaning he didn't get the message. Probably because of France's atrocious legal system that makes it difficult to make a public accusation like in the USA. (Update: this posting tells more about what's wrong with Besson.)

According to this article:
He has also campaigned for greater visibility of poor communities in depressed French suburbs, not just through his films but by setting up his Cite du Cinema film studio and school in Seine-Saint-Denis north of Paris, one of France’s poorest regions.
This is a pretty superficial description of what Besson's foul personality is really like. About 3 years ago, when the jihadist attacks on Charlie Hebdo first took place, he wrote a letter basically excusing the jihadists, parroting the illogical claims all of society is racist and Islamists couldn't possibly be the same. He should never have been allowed anywhere near the comic strip he adapted, and recalling Cinebook may have published an introduction he wrote for one of the volumes they translated, they'd do well to remove it from any future editions.

As noted before, Asia Argento said she'd gotten word about Besson's revolting antics several months prior:
Following a fiery speech at Cannes' closing ceremony that took festivalgoers to task for continuing to harbor predators, Asia Argento said that she has known about sexual misconduct allegations against Luc Besson "for eight months."

The comments followed reports, which emerged around the same time that Argento was presenting the best actress prize at the closing ceremony, that a 27-year-old French actress had accused the Valerian and a Thousand Planets director of raping and drugging her in a Paris hotel.

“I’ve known for eight months,” Argento told The Hollywood Reporter when asked if she was aware of the Besson allegations when she made her speech.
Well this is not going to reflect well on his career, let alone the work he did on Valerian & Laureline and even a film based on Michel Vaillant in 2002. It's bad enough Bryan Singer and Brett Ratner tainted the X-Men movies they directed, and now, a European director's also facing similar allegations, tainting the comics-based movie he directed or scripted just as badly. I guess now, this'll spell the end of Besson's career too, serving as an example of a shady European entertainment rep whose past is coming back to haunt him.

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Paul Levitz predictably sugarcoats Brian Bendis

In a New York Daily News article about Superman's 80th anniversary, the now embarrassing former DC editor/publisher Levitz has served as Bendis' apologist. First, I'll decidedly take the time to look at the following:
It's also a poignant reminder that it all started with Superman, and Levitz understands this about as well as anyone. He's had a connection to the character even before his run as president of DC Comics.

"Superman was my first favorite comic book character. The first comic book that was given to me. I remember the baby-sitter handing me a copy of Action 300 to shut me up," he said.
Considering how badly they've handled the Man of Steel - certainly ever since the overrated Death & Return of Superman saga from 1992-93 and the story where Max Lord mind-controlled him in 2005 - that's why it's pretty hard to believe he considers the Big Blue Boy Scout or any other character in the DC stables his favorite. Now, here's the part about Bendis:
It's a world that writer [Brian] Michael Bendis will take up, moving from Marvel to DC and taking over Action Comics. The move has been likened to legendary artist Jack Kirby's move between the two major comic book companies. In fact, he's already made headlines with his Superman story in Action Comics #1000 with its potentially status-quo-changing revelation.

Levitz believes that Bendis' experience and gift with crafting snappy dialogue could definitely work for the 80-year-old character, especially in terms of Lois and Superman's dynamic, which offers a lot of potential for the writer at the "peak of his power."

"This is a really interesting case and I'm very curious to see the result. I've had no inside information on where he's going. I'll just be watching like everybody else," Levitz said, not showing any signs of wishing Superman would hang up his cape anytime soon.
IMO, Levitz is just pretending - much like many other apologist gushers - that Bendis is a big success in anything. But it's nothing more than an act, elevating phonies to overnight sensations when Bendis' work on Avengers and X-Men was just garbage that didn't handle the women well, denigrated Scarlet Witch and Jean Grey (and it makes no difference even if it was a doppelganger from an alternate timeline), and he was one of the leading engineers in a lot of the crossovers they brewed since the mid-2000s. So why should we even expect Bendis to manage the Clark/Lois dynamic well? We can't. Plus, when Bendis worked at Marvel, that's when they really began padding out their stories for the sake of trade formats, and it brought down the quality of writing even more.

And I'm not interested in the possible status quo change to Krypton's origins either. Bendis has also hinted he's got a negative take on the American Way slogan, and that's just one more reason to feel discouraged.

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Friday, May 18, 2018 

West Coast Avengers title relaunched, only to serve as a vehicle for already failed characters

The Hollywood Reporter's announced that the West Coast Avengers series is being revived, only to serve as a rather obvious "refuge" for at least a few characters whose previous books were disasters of the social justice variety:
The new miniseries will be written by Hawkeye’s Kelly Thompson, with art by Stefano Caselli, and sees the titular star of the earlier series — Kate Bishop, teenage superhero turned Los Angeles-based private eye — gather a team of fan-favorite younger characters together for a very simple purpose: Keep L.A. in one piece.
But who do these "fan-favorites" include? Let's see:
Other members of the team include X-Men supporting character Quentin Quire, fourth-wall-breaking Gwenpool, dimension-hopping superstar America Chavez…and Bishop’s non-powered boyfriend Johnny, who might find that the superhero life isn’t what he expected. Clint Barton, the original Hawkeye, will also be a player in the series, with Thompson teasing that he “doesn’t want to admit how much it’s fun for him to mentor” the younger heroes.
Ah, now America Chavez is one character who was built on grounds for social justice pandering. And if they've turned Bishop from X-Men gay all of a sudden as they did with Iceman, that amounts to said pandering too. In this posting from Marvel's website, Thompson says:
But with every super group is a wild card, and according to Thompson, that wild card is America Chavez:

“I think America is the biggest question mark, and I think that’s something we’re excited to explore: Why does she come back to LA? Why does she come back to be with Kate? Does she miss [the group dynamic] too? Because America, she likes to play things a little close to the vest.”
Simply put, she comes back to LA in the book because Marvel under Cebulski has reached a point where they don't have the courage to just quietly drop these SJW creations and admit they were poorly crafted to begin with, and nobody's interested in reading these stories because it's painfully obvious by now they're not worth the paper they're printed on. Marvel may be "excited", but how many readers are? If the previous books didn't sell big, then there's very little chance any more will care.

As it stands, Marvel's still proving itself a joke, acting as though these recent SJW ideas must stay in print, when here, the New Universe titles of the late 80s like Star Brand, DP-7, Kickers Incorporated and Nightmask now largely stand forgotten and nobody's clamoring they be brought back and kept in print at all costs. If this is the mentality we've reached in regards to how failed products are handled today, something is definitely wrong with the industry.

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Unprofessional "pros" can hurt the business

Charles Rodriguez wrote a whole item on how so-called pros in comicdom who engage in hostile behavior to fans can prove detrimental to the medium as a whole:
Mark Waid and other comic book pros provide perfect exemplars of how access to the internet can easily lead to potential PR disasters. Walt Disney’s Mark Waid, a once beloved comic book artist, repeatedly called and harassed a smaller publisher, one Antarctic Press, to prevent them from printing an apolitical action graphic novel called Jawbreakers. It’s not the first time that Mark Waid has made himself and those he represent look bad because of social media drama.
Yep, once there was a time Waid had positive regard. He was the co-creator of Impulse with the late Mike Wieringo back in the mid-90s, after all, as a cousin for Wally West who was born with his superhuman speed and became the new Flash sidekick, quickly achieving his own solo book just like Robin, Superboy and Supergirl at the time. Now, Waid's basically tarnishing what good regard he once had for the sake of...jealousy? I don't know. All I know is he's lost his mind, let his politics get the better of him, more so than in the past, and now they're taking their toll.

The guy also presents a few examples of what artwork's become like of recent with a few pictures from a Star Wars comic, and seeing these, I just have to post them here so you can see why this just isn't very good, and is in fact laughable:
So Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo are drawn to look photo-realistic? If this is just what it appears to be, it's waaaay too much, and only diminishes the appeal of the story. You'd think they photoshopped Harrison Ford's head onto the drawing, and maybe they did, but in any event, what matters is that this serves as an example of being overly demanding, and lessens the quality of art. There's plenty of artists who draw inspiration from real life figures (from what I know, John Romita Sr. used Ann-Margret as inspiration for Mary Jane Watson's character design), but this is trying much too hard, and turns the concept of art into a silly joke. If the early Marvel series from 1977-86 had been like this, it would've been dreadful. As noted here:
Richard Meyer has pointed out issues in the art and in the writing. Issues that are apparent, even in apolitical comics like Star Wars. For this sort of criticism, Richard has become a black sheep and enemy # 1. This is because many of the more political stripe see criticism of work made by minorities as hating minorities. Meyer argues that they are just hiring young inexperienced people for low pay and that the results are self-evident.
If they were trying to lower the costs of illustration by making their drawings look like the real deals, they blew it. And here I thought some artists in the past argued they have an "unlimited budget" for these projects. If so, they're not utilizing it correctly.
Every Tweet costs Marvel, erego Disney, money in the long-run. Is it in their interests for Mark to tell customers to “fuck off” and to “never read” comics? Is it in their interests to be blind to poor products? Sure, it could be a troll, but if it’s a fan that’s a great way to alienate them. Same goes for every other company that Mark Waid works for. Not only that, but it may result in people never buying comics from other companies, thus hurting the whole industry.

Other comic book professionals have been just as aggressive. Stating that they wish they could punch Richard Meyer and those like him. How do you think fans would respond? How does this make Disney, DC, and Marvel look?
I'd say it makes it look like they're hiring a whole bunch of lunatics who don't learn lessons from how Hollywood celebs usually go about their business, and the smart ones wisely avoid making themselves look like vulgarians and schemers in public. Worst, it makes the comics business as a whole look like a refuge for crude, nasty, selfish and entitled troglodytes from the margins of society, and weakens the image even more.

You can read the rest of the item for more, but for now, it should be made clear that if the leaders of the industry really want to make it a success, they cannot put up with inmates running the asylum, and have to start laying out the guidelines, to say nothing of enforcing them when a creator is discovered engaging in bad activity. They also have to stop the publicity stunt mentality that's been taken to extremes over the years and led to the flood of politics washing out entertainment value from modern superhero and other comics.

Only that way will the industry be able to improve itself, and even then, there's still many more steps that need to be taken from a business perspective. But that's another story.

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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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