Friday, June 23, 2017 

Yes, there's potential for kids comics out there, but how are they marketed?

NY Vulture says that there's a whole industry for kids comics out there today. While this is correct, the question is just how they're being marketed, and advertised. And, they also miss some key issues as to why the medium's lost so much audience:
Indeed, there’s a whole new influx of those connoisseurs into the family of comic-book readers, and they all look like my sibling. Although the medium began as a killer app marketed to young folks in the 1930s and continued to appeal primarily to folks under 18 for a half-century afterward, comics publishers like Marvel, DC, and an array of smaller firms took a turn toward darker, more adult-oriented material in the mid-1980s. At the time, it was a wise decision: It reduced turnover by holding on to children of the Baby Boom after they might have otherwise tossed the habit aside.

However, by the turn of the millennium, that shift toward the mature became a demographic time bomb. The intended readership was getting older and older, and few young people were replacing them. As Telgemeier put it to me, “You have this industry, comics, that has spent the past few decades fighting so hard to say, ‘We’re not just for kids,’ and it overcorrected to the point where there really wasn’t anything for kids.”
The above has no mention of how company wide crossovers were a major factor in driving away audiences from the Big Two's titles since the mid-80s. True, the superhero publishers in particular went way too far in trying to prove themselves "adult" to an audience that never asked nor cared, but crossovers and limiting sales to specialty stores for many years also had a devastating effect.

And then there's the question of how they're selling those children's comics, let alone pricing them. If they're selling them as monthly pamphlets for 3-4 dollars, that's one mistake. What they should really do is publish their stores in paperbacks; why flood the bargain bins with something that might otherwise flop when it matters? They even cite at least one product that's propaganda:
As a result, supply is rapidly rising to meet seemingly insatiable demand. DC is hiring for a new division targeted at young readers, and has already done a bit of a stealth launch by publishing youth-friendly takes on their fabled characters like Supergirl: Being Super and DC Super Hero Girls: Finals Crisis. Marvel has built on the surprise mainstream-bookstore success of their young-adult comic Ms. Marvel by introducing more series in that vein, such as The Unstoppable Wasp and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Conventional book publishers are growing their youth-comics investments, comics publishers are doubling down on their production for youths (BOOM! Studios is relishing the ongoing success of its all-ages KaBOOM! line, for example), and kid-specific comics firms are expanding (youth-oriented publisher Papercutz just opened up an imprint for tweens called Charmz).
Again, they bring up Marvel's blatant Islamic propaganda vehicle, which as of recent has been tanking deservedly, particularly ever since the election issue. And which wasn't an exception to some of their crossovers either. In fact, none of the other titles above have been selling in millions either, so Vulture's fawning article is just more unintentional comedy.

The biggest mistake, IMHO, is the continued reliance on monthly pamphlets instead of going straight for trade paperbacks. Yet even if they did change their approach, something tells me the press would still sugarcoat their sales if they didn't do wonders and the writing/art was otherwise bad. There is, to be sure, a whole new market out there for kids, but not only are the Big Two not cashing in on it properly, none of the medium seems to be doing any better.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

Joss Whedon's "feminist" credentials are in serious doubt after this screenplay draft discovery

Whedon was originally hired to write the screenplay for Wonder Woman 12 years ago. But as the leaked copy of his draft signals, he's far from the pro-feminism advocate some leftists might've wanted to think he was:
...Whedon, who has prided himself on being one of Hollywood’s most virulent liberals and wannabe male feminist allies, is suffering a huge backlash after his original script for Wonder Woman was leaked online.

[...] Whedon’s original take on Diana Prince, however, isn’t going down well with his feminist friends. For a start, they are objecting to his descriptions of Wonder Woman: “To say she is beautiful is almost to miss the point…her body is curvaceous, but taut as a drawn bow.”

Whedon also has taken flak for having Wonder Woman being called a “whore,” a “bitch” and a “feisty little filly.” Then there’s the fact her story is told from Steve Trevor’s point of view-rather than the Wonder Woman-centered take in the finished movie. And Diana does un-feminist-friendly things like fight with her mother.
It sounds vaguely similar to some of the recent stories written by other phonies in the comics proper. His description of WW as a "drawn bow" sounds pretty bizarre and idiotic too. On top of all that, it should be no surprise somebody who wrote the introduction to the Identity Crisis paperback could conceive such obnoxious moments in his screenplay draft and rely on a man's POV instead of a woman's.

The backlash against Whedon now could be just what he had coming to him all these years, and as a result, he probably won't be remembered well in showbiz history.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017 

David Hine's political tweets for the UK elections

Here's some tweets the British comics writer David Hine posted for the UK election. For example:

What a laugh. Those phonies, fully backing the Tories, is he saying? Please. He practically linked to a paper in one of the tweets below that's anything but favorable to the Conservatives. In fact, the New Statesman sided with Jeremy Corbyn of recent. Whether the shoddy BBC went against him, the notion the British press - largely left-wing themselves - was ever against Labour is decidedly ridiculous. With that told, Hine certainly appears to be on the Labour leader's side:

So he supports Corbyn, that communist who's sided with Hezbollah and Hamas, among other anti-semites and racists? Sick. And only explains why he'd be in the category of writers whose art you have to separate from the artist.

I don't think May is so great. But if he considers Corbyn better in every way, that's terrible and only makes a bad situation worse. Don't flatter yourself, Mr. Hine.

Let me get this straight. Is he against the death penalty for murderous criminals? If so, another groaner. Besides, didn't the London police just mete out the death sentence a few weeks ago to the jihadists who attacked Borough Market with a full-size van and knives? Those repellent Islamofascists deserved to be put to death for the horrors and murders they committed. How are monsters like the jihadists not a coalition of evil? If memory serves, Hine was one of the writers for Judge Dredd, Spawn and The Darkness, the kind of comics where the stars could end up killing criminals, so I can't figure out what Hine's logic is here.

And people like Hine cannot be contemplating a belittling of serious issues like the recent spate of Islamic terrorist attacks.

Here's another bizarre post:

Is that supposed to be some kind of attack on Churchill? Pretty disgusting. While we're on the topic, it's worth noting that Winston condemned Islam in his book, The River War.

But if he supports Corbyn, that ruins everything. The man's basically an ally of the wrong side, making him a poor choice. If only Hine would support Nigel Farage, but I've got a feeling Hine's against Farage for the very reasons I'd support the UKIP's former leader.

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2 bad writer citations is just 2 too many

The Indianapolis Star talks about how fathers don't need to be Superman, just themselves in order to be successful. While I'm sure there's truth to that, the article is sabotaged when the columnist brings up 2 very distasteful sources to make his point. Their quotes are in response to the story of how Jerry Siegel was inspired to create Superman following his dad's murder in a store robbery:
“Your father dies in a robbery, and you invent a bulletproof man who becomes the world’s greatest hero,” observes Brad Meltzer, best-selling suspense author. “I’m sorry there’s a story there.”

Noted comic-book historian Gerard Jones agrees. “It had to have an effect. Superman’s invulnerabilities to bullets, loss of family…all seem to overlap with Jerry’s personal experience. There is a connection there: The loss of a dad as a source for Superman.”
Tsk tsk tsk. On the one hand, they cite a book author who's responsible for penning Identity Crisis for DC, the miniseries that makes light of serious issues like sexual assault, which the historian may have committed. On the other hand, they cite a historian who was recently arrested for uploading child porn to the internet and may have committed sexual assault, a serious issue that the book author's miniseries for DC makes light of. That's double the insult to the intellect, and only makes a mockery of the whole article.

But worse is that they almost all sound like they're taking a negative stance against the assumed reasons why Siegel and Shuster created Superman. The Man of Steel's invulnerability is supposed to be a form of wish fulfillment, something you wish you could've had, even as you know it will never be. In that case, no wonder their respect for these famous figures is as dubious as it should be.

In the end, what matters is that neither writer, based on their writings or their actions, is qualified to speak on the matter, and citing them for an article about the value of being yourself only makes the impact soggy.

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Monday, June 19, 2017 

Bendis is turning Defenders into yet another "street level" vision of his

Blastr interviewed the pretentious Brian Bendis a few weeks ago about his new job writing another volume for the Defenders, which, predictably, he wants to turn into a street level adventure, and even star characters he's already worked with, in a series that's intended to follow up on the Civil War sequel:
The Defenders sees Bendis writing and Marquez drawing a new iteration of the classic Marvel super squad, featuring the same lineup as the upcoming TV Defenders: Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Iron Fist. [...]
In other words, they're also trying to use a gimmick to make the book "recognizable" to anybody who's seen the TV shows. But that doesn't make it readable, let alone faithful or respectable to the source material and/or characters. I'm guessing the TV show using the name Defenders may not put emphasis on sorcery like the older, better series from the Bronze Age with Dr. Strange and Valkyrie did.
Much like the gritty world the Marvel Netflix shows exist in, this series finds our heroes putting their boots on the ground for street-level justice. But don't confuse 'street level' for low-powered action. During a 'Next Big Thing' media conference call that also included Marvel Senior VP Tom Brevoort, Bendis clarified that "street level is not a power set. It's an address."
Sure it is. More likely it'll all be an excuse for Bendis to do things as he alone sees fit, but isn't respectable of how things were done in better times. The idea itself may be what could've been done years before when he was forcing his silly street level vision on the Avengers at the expense of the cast members who gave that series its edge. But it's done much too late, and with a writer who's got no respect for the creations or the audience. And if heroes like Dr. Strange have no part in this rendition, that's one more reason why it otherwise doesn't have a genuine component to make it significant.
He also pointed out that these heroes are doing what superheroes do: saving the day, seeking justice, but they're doing it at the community level, with a sense of immediacy. Marquez also pointed out that the artistic tone of the book is very much noir in design, and even name-dropped Blade Runner and John Wick as stylistic inspiration.
But not Dr. Strange, huh? What if "community level" means SJW activism as it's practiced today? The older series from 1972-86 did have some social commentary, but it wasn't forced like so many of their products from recent years have been. And if Bendis and company are trying to make the series resemble a movie, again, in the words of Sean Howe, that's only a guarantee of failure. Now, here's some of the main interview paragraphs:
Brian, this is one of the few Marvel teams you haven't written before ... though obviously you've written all these characters before. What was the biggest appeal in drawing you to this assignment?

Obviously I have a deep passion for the street-level heroes and stories of the Marvel universe. My intention was to return to the streets after Guardians of the Galaxy no matter what. The fact that all of the pieces that I would need to make this book fell into place just when I needed them to and then they all became big TV stars which made the title of the series obvious :)

These are characters I have a great affinity for. I also really know how they think and relate to each other. Putting that to the test of a new threat to the streets of Marvel was too exciting not to do.
He's boasting and bragging as usual. If he really like them, I don't think he'd see to it that Luke Cage now sported a bald head, for example. In fact, I don't think he'd have his diversity-pandering replacement for Tony Stark, Riri Williams, sport a round-shaped hairstyle when there's so many other styles that they could've used. All he did was make it look like he's stuck too obviously in the 1970s, and wouldn't consider that not all blacks sport those precise styles. His idea for character design is, if anything, absurdly stereotypical, and Cage is decidedly unrecognizable from his original character design.
You said you wanted to do a sprawling epic series set at street level of the Marvel U. Can you share any details of what fans can expect along those lines, like which villains will pop up?

Well we have a very big villain reveal in the Free Comic Book Day issue coming this Saturday but other villains including the Black Cat, Hammerhead and the Kingpin will be front and center. There are some very interesting characters on both sides of the law creeping into this book. Also, with the story set the way it is, there's going to be a lot of opportunity for cameos and team-ups.
What's this he's telling? Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, has been anything but a villainess for years now. When she began, she practically had a sense of honor and respect for Spider-Man too. If he's reverting her back, that's as galling as what they've been doing to Mary Jane Watson, something he certainly hasn't objected to.
What's it like returning to Daredevil and writing that character again on a regular basis?

Well I have snuck him into a few projects over the years including Daredevil: End of Days and other things including New Avengers so I always found a way to scratch that itch. But to get back into him at this level has been like reuniting with one of my best friends after many years away. My very angry Catholic guilt-ridden good friend.
He should never have gotten the assignment to write Hornhead's title either. And his work on any Avengers series, let's remember, was pretty sleazy and pretentious to boot in the past decade when he was working on that franchise, so I wouldn't recommend his Avengers books to any couch potatoes who've seen the Netflix series based on Marvel products.

Since we're on the topic, Blastr also spoke about Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland, and what comics inspired him, or which writer:
“The comics that sort of resonated with me most and I used for my performance was the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. They’re so modern and up-to-date with what’s happening in the world right now. For me, it was just a really, really strong thing to follow and I have so many screenshots on my phone from like lines that were written that I stole to use for the movie.”
Oh, do tell us about it. What's so modern about a book that ultimately led nowhere, and whose doppelganger star was later thrown out by writer Bendis for the sake of a character marketed according to diversity, not good storytelling? In hindsight, it doesn't sound like Marvel was investing much in the Ultimate line to begin with, seeing how several characters were killed off, and resurrection was not an option. If fantasy options were being curtailed, that only destroys - rather than builds - creativity. I don't see what was so great about the Ultimate line that wasn't so great about the Silver/Bronze Age books, and if Holland thinks the Ultimate books are superior in every way to the earlier stories, that just demonstrates what's wrong with today's crowd, which is quite possibly of the "millenial" variety.

Bendis is one of the worst influences on comicdom today, and most Hollywood types are too ignorant to notice.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017 

DC's Legends TV show is turning SJW

If the Legends of Tomorrow series on TV hadn't turned as political as Supergirl's TV show has been almost since the start, it certainly is now. Specifically, the 3rd season features a character based on one that drew from the casts of Captain Marvel in yesteryear, here retooled to serve a most notorious agenda, as this fluff-coated column in the Greenwood Democrat tells at the bottom of the list:
“Legends” will add a character named Zari Adrianna Tomaz (Tala Ashe) when Season 3 premieres Oct. 10, a Muslim-American “grey hat” hacker from 2030. She’s better known to comics fans as the superheroine Isis — although I’ll bet good money that code name won’t be used, due to current events in the Mideast. “Adrianna Tomaz” is an homage to “Andrea Thomas,” the secret identity of the character on the live-action “Isis” that aired on Saturday mornings in the 1970s.
So much like Paul Levitz tried doing with Dr. Fate in the New52 farce a few years ago, now a TV show based on some of DC's output is doing the same, foisting more of this tired whitewashing of the Religion of Peace upon the audience. Sure, the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria may have taken away a lot of the appeal of the ancient Egyptian deity name Isis, but if that won't be used in this TV show's season, why do they insist on ascribing the very belief system the terrorist organization now operating in the middle east goes by - and is part of their acronym - to an older character? It's pure hypocrisy at its worst.

With this news, it's become pretty apparent the TV adaptations of DC products have all been hijacked in some way or other to serve a political agenda. Another reason why it's better to change the channel. Maybe they should rename the series "Legends of Tomorrow's SJWs" instead, because that's what it's shaping down to be.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017 

Manga about museums

Here's an article in the Japan News about a museum worker in Gifu who's drawn up a manga strip depicting what life is like inside the very archive she's an employee for.

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Friday, June 16, 2017 

The WW books that aren't recommendable

The Greenwood Democrat published a sugar-drenched column recommending several Wonder Woman paperbacks to read after watching the movie. But the list includes such wretched items as Grant Morrison's take on the Amazon Princess, the Earth One GN:
Writer Grant Morrison takes Marston’s “submission to loving authority” idea to its logical extreme in this Wonder Woman origin story from a parallel universe (Earth One). That results in this Earth’s version of Etta Candy blurting out, after she hears Diana’s story, “So let me get this straight: You’re from a paradise island of science fiction lesbians? With a side order of bondage?” Yes, and there’s the gorgeous art of Yanick Paquette, too.
And, a disgusting scene where, even if it isn't shown directly, WW grabs Steve Trevor in a most inappropriate spot. That his racial background was changed to African-American in Morrison's rendition - another example of SJW/diversity-pandering in motion - is nothing compared to such a crude, perverted scene that puts Diana in a bad, irresponsible light. In fact, neither are the scenes where WW wears pants for the sake of it. Suffice it to say the crude act performed on the GN's take on Trevor is even racially demeaning. An interesting aside, no SJWs seemed to have any objections to raise about the crudest parts of Morrison's graphic novel, the leftist Kotaku site's negative take notwithstanding. If not, it just attests to how Morrison and artist Yanick Paquette are evidently some of the favored creators of SJWs, as opposed to J. Scott Campbell, Milo Manara and Frank Cho, who, while not without their share of questionable moments, are utterly despised.

Then, there's Brian Azzarello's rendition:
When DC revamped its entire line in 2011, writer Brian Azzarello took the opportunity to change Diana’s origin. He came up with the idea (used in the movie) that Hippolyta had lied to Diana about her being a clay statue brought to life — that she was, instead, the daughter of Zeus, given a false origin to protect her from the wrath of Hera.

A number of long-time Wonder Woman fans prefer the clay-statue origin, but I think making Diana the scion of a sky god — equal in stature to Hercules and Thor, equal in power to Superman — is something the most famous heroine in the world deserves. Plus, this gave Azzarello the excuse to include the entire Greco-Roman pantheon as major friends and foes.
Gee, I wonder why Marston's creation "deserves" this retcon, any more than IronMan/Tony Stark "deserved" a retcon that changes his biological parents to step-parents? Some of Azzarello's writing was pretty grisly and uninspiring too, and not something I would recommend to moviegoers or anybody else new to the medium. And this is what the movie uses? While I don't mind taking liberties with adaptations, I still think it's a huge mistake to rely on these very recent retcons for movie material. If you know where to look, there are stories from the Bronze Age that are just as good, and maybe more.

They even recommend WW: The Circle, by another "scribe" who's turned out to be an embarrassment:
Of the surprisingly few female writers ever assigned to write Wonder Woman, Gail Simone (“Batgirl,” “Secret Six”) is probably the biggest name. She dives deep in this storyline into Diana’s relationship with her mother and fellow Amazons — many of which, it turns out, think the only child on Paradise Island is an offense to their patron deities and want “the abomination” dead. Simone brings her trademark deft characterization, clever banter and inventive weirdness to the tale, which includes Wonder Woman allying with a tribe of intelligent white gorillas and the Amazons fending off an invasion of supervillains.
I don't see what's so encouraging about a story where a society that usually respects its heiress to the throne now considers Diana abominable. Truly revolting. If that's the best Simone could do with the creations she was entrusted to work with, then I just can't feel sorry to see her dropped from writing assignments by the company, even though they're ironically no better than she.

Another bad choice here is Greg Rucka's The Hyketeia:
Bound by an ancient Greek rite, Wonder Woman must protect a young woman from Gotham City — a criminal who is sought by The Batman. Dark Knight battles Amazing Amazon both physically and philosophically in this graphic novel by Greg Rucka and J.G. Jones.

Rucka has written a lot of excellent Wonder Woman stories, including the current series as it re-visits the Amazing Amazon’s origin once again. Rucka re-tells the story of Diana’s arrival in “Man’s World” with artist Nicola Scott in “Wonder Woman: Year One,” and continues untangling her origins in the modern day with artist Liam Sharp in “Wonder Woman: Lies.”
Having read some of his work, I must firmly disagree with that assessment. I still can't get over that hilarious moment where Medusa turned a security guard to stone after he looked at her visual image through a video security camera, but when Rucka's character named Veronica Cale looked at her through a mirror, nothing happened. By the way, what's there to untangle? Only Rucka's farcical scriptwriting. They even bring up a GN called The True Amazon:
Is Princess Diana just a little too perfect for you? Good news — here’s a tale showing how bratty and selfish the daughter of an Amazon Queen can be! Well, until she learns a few life lessons in this delightful graphic novel by writer/artist Jill Thompson (“Scary Godmother”).
Here too, I'm at a loss to understand how a story where Diana's portrayed as a stuck up brat is something moviegoers who admired her as an altruistic figure would want to read about.

The only two parts of the list I'd recommend are the Golden Age archives by Marston and George Perez's reboot from 1987. I think that, despite the Silver Age reliance on slapstick adventures, there is what to try out from that era, ditto the Bronze Age, and most stories leading up as far as 1995. But after that, it starts careening downhill, no thanks to the hacks who were getting their feet through the door at DC, and ruined everything by the mid-2000s. No one who's hoping for engaging stories starring WW should waste their time on the awful writers who make the majority of the paper's list.

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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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