Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Will a book about marginalized heroes be political?

DC's planning a comic that's supposed to focus on marginalized characters:
Some of the most interesting glimpses into superhero universes have taken place from less conventional perspectives, from the gumshoe detectives of Gotham Central to the blue-collar construction workers of Damage Control. This winter, 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley will reexamine some of the most iconic moments of the DC Comics universe through the personal stories of John Stewart, Extraño, Vixen, Supergirl, Katana and Renee Montoya — all heroes from historically marginalized or underrepresented groups.
Strange, I'm not sure Supergirl falls into the category of marginalized and/or underrepresented. I do know that if Extrano, the homosexual cast member of the New Guardians from 1988 is shoehorned into this project while still characterized as such, then it'll be pretty political alright, as it will be if Montoya continues to be retconned as a lesbian, which she wasn't when she originally debuted in the mid-90s. (It was Greg Rucka who changed her in the early 2000s when he launched the Gotham Central title.)

And while John Stewart, Vixen and Katana could make for worthy focus, it won't look good if the planned story is built on the leftist politics common today, yet that's surely just what they have in mind, which won't make this a great product.

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Could this be a positive sign what Cebulski thinks of Mary Jane Watson?

Marvel's new EIC gave a layout of his requests for contributors to GMA News, and explaining what aspiring artists could do, he relayed the following:
"Do three-page sequence of an action scene, Spiderman, Wolverine or Captain America fighting a villain something big and badass, show how you do action, how you do scale, show them how you tell a dynamic story."

For the next sequence to complete your six pages of comics for your portfolio, bring out the human side of the superheroes through creating soft story scenes.

"Then the other would be a small fight scene because Marvel is much as about the human side as it is about anything else, so show a day scene, Peter parker, Mary jane talking to each other."
Does this prove he's open to Spider-fans who want the marriage between Peter and Mary restored, along with all the continuity thrown out the window? I hope so, although "small fight scene" can be reason to worry - what if he's asking artists to draw them quarreling? Hardly the kind of positive stand-alone illustration I'd want to conceive as part of an audition.

If Cebulski's signaling he's open to the fandom and not going out of his way to act like a fictional character is the worst thing on earth that could happen, that's good. But if he's against righting a wrong and standing up to a man as awful as Joe Quesada (who hinted he'd like to sabotage any efforts to restore MJ's place in Spidey's world), then I'd strongly recommend aspiring artists take their portfolios elsewhere and not humiliate their reputations by lending their talents to people with juvenile views of life. The same goes for writers who want to maintain a positive reputation among the comics audience. Those who believe comicdom should be taken seriously as an artform should not associate themselves with "representatives" who go out of their way to give comicdom a bad name. Not even at DC.

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Monday, January 15, 2018 

How successful will a Conan comeback at Marvel be?

Marvel's regained the license for publishing comics based on Robert E. Howard's pulp tale warrior, which they'd originally developed for comicdom in 1970 under Roy Thomas:
After 15 years with Dark Horse Comics, the comic book adventures of Robert E. Howard’s famous Cimmerian hero will return to Marvel Entertainment, with the company announcing that it has regained the comic license to Conan the Barbarian.

In a brief release, Marvel announced that it would publish Conan “comic book titles, collections [and] reprints” beginning January 2019, with artwork that featured the character alongside Thor and Wolverine. “We’re thrilled to be working with Marvel and look forward to the new adventures in store for Conan,” president of Conan Properties International Fredrik Malmberg said in a statement accompanying the news. “As the most well-known and creative publisher in the industry, we think Marvel is a great fit for our stories.”

Marvel was the first comic book publisher to produce Conan material, starting with 1970’s Conan the Barbarian series. The character was such a success, he would eventually span a number of spinoff titles including Savage Sword of Conan, Conan the King and Conan the Adventurer. In addition to publishing Conan comic books through 2000, Marvel also produced a newspaper strip featuring the character from 1978 through 1981.
But how effective will any stories they publish at this point be? As good as Cebulski turns out to be in his role of editor, I expect. Prior to this, I'd say there'd be no good to come of it when you have Axel Alonso around. Of course, with Joe Quesada around on the upper floor, there could still be reason to worry. He can't be underestimated, assuming he has any influence over Cebulski.

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An accurate statement about Wally West

In a conversation with Rich Johnston, Ethan Van Sciver is definitely correct about something:

Very true. And whatever one may think of Crisis on Infinite Earths, if there's something Marv Wolfman and George Perez did right, it was making Barry Allen's exit heroic as he did his part to stop the Anti-Monitor. I've read reprints of the original introduction for Wally in late 1959, at a time when DC was developing kid sidekicks for the adult heroes much like Robin was the sidekick for Batman. It was almost a year after Supergirl had first been introduced when Wally was created. I have no problem with teen sidekicks and the teen heroes at DC went on to form the Teen Titans.

And there's a stark difference in how Wally replaced Barry as Flash, as opposed to how Kyle Rayner replaced Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, who had no teen sidekick (but did have allies like co-worker Tom Kalmaku): Hal was turned into a nasty killer in the form of Parallax, in contrast to Barry's heroic curtain call. If it hadn't been for such a forced setup for the sake of publicity and shock tactics, I figure Kyle entry would've been easier to accept...but then there's that little matter involving a refridgerator and the dismemberment of his first girlfriend Alexandra deWitt, at the hands of Major Force. The whole story by Ron Marz was just so forced and contrived that it'd make little difference whether Hal's exit from the mortal plane was heroic or not; they did not do a good job developing Kyle as a character, so it's no wonder sales declined to little more than 40,000 copies a month by the time GL's 3rd volume was cancelled. And even then, they didn't handle it well - Marz, writing the last few issues, had to cap it all off with a story where it looks like Kyle's mother wound up being murdered by Major Force, and even if she wasn't, Kyle, in one of the shoddiest moments, momentarily hands his power ring to Force. It makes no difference whether he took it back quickly after, he still gave the villain what he craved, and the motivations were unremittingly dumb.

You have to wonder why they had to go to such lengths to do that, instead of say, conceiving a story where one of the two nephews Hal had could now be grown up and become a successor to his ring-wielding uncle, and the passing of batons could've done under much more respectable circumstances. Hal may not have had a sidekick like a few other Silver Age heroes, but he did have relatives who could've served as ideal heirs to the ring.

As for Flash, it all went downhill after Geoff Johns took over, and that's why I think it's regrettable Van Sciver, correct as his statement is, had to work with him on the books Johns was assigned to. Johns, as I've said before and will again, is one of the worst, most overrated writers to ever litter comicdom, and not all that different from Brian Bendis, who, let's remember, is now going to work for DC, and the first book he'll be getting is the 1000th issue of Action Comics with Superman. I believe, if Van Sciver really wants to set things right, he'll call for restoring Wally West as the main Flash, and abandoning the brand new Barry stories, which as sales are proving, isn't enchanting anybody. And television shows already littered with partisan politics shouldn't dictate what characters you can use or not.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018 

So Busiek's wondering what was done with Carol Danvers...

He recently asked the following about the real Ms. Marvel, whose alteration to Captain Marvel was forced, and of recent, badly masculinized for the sake of social justice pandering:


Well of course he never got to. That's because, in a manner of speaking, he was pushed out by Joe Quesada's regime. Or, he didn't care enough about other people's creations to stick around and ensure they'd enjoy good writing, because after he left Avengers and Thunderbolts, in came the awful Geoff Johns on the former, and Fabian Nicieza on the latter, which had its original volume cancelled a few years after.

In any case, he's no longer fit to script anything involving Carol Danvers - certainly not after he wrote a nasty swipe at Jim Steranko some time ago, as seen in the screencap on the side - and I wouldn't be shocked if he'd be willing to comply with the SJW tactics Carol's suffered from of recent, turning her into a masculine-like figure for the sake of degrading social justice. In fact, Marvel was already beginning to victimize Carol as early as 2002 when she began wearing a silver body armor suit across her chest, and this could be seen in Johns's dreadful story arc called Red Zone, which moved with the speed of molasses, and was an early example of Marvel's tedious exercise in lowercase lettering. IIRC, the outfit (sort of like a bulletproof vest) also appeared in Busiek's subsequent Avengers/Thunderbolts miniseries Best Intentions, one of the last stories he wrote for Marvel at the time, and was pretty weak compared to his previous work.

Some of the ideas Busiek has for a career Carol could work in are certainly inspiring and clever, but at this point, I wouldn't expect him to convey them well. Okay, assuming C.B. Cebulski has an understanding of what makes these notable creations work, maybe Busiek could be suitable enough for writing more stories with Carol Danvers under his oversight, but it'd have to be in a context that's in synch with what the MCU used to be, not what it became under Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso. Or, maybe a better choice for a writer today would be somebody like Mike Baron, Chuck Dixon, or even an aspiring lady writer who knows how to leave partisan politics at the door and not succumb to the kind of social justice that's brought Marvel down these past years. If anything, Busiek's certainly undermined his reputation these past few years, and in the end, he's a washout whose otherwise just not fit for writing superheroes today.

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Friday, January 12, 2018 

Thank goodness someone's creating their own new casts and universes, though politics are still involved

NY's Vulture wrote about smaller companies conceiving their own lines of superheroes with casts of "diverse" backgrounds. Though a clickbait article it may be laced with the usual propaganda, at least here, we have a case of independents ideally taking the route of developing their own new characters of different racial backgrounds in their own creations, rather than forcing alterations upon already established characters. At the start, we're told:
In awkward stutter step, corporate comics have attempted to get woke in recent years. The Big Two publishers, Disney-owned Marvel and Time Warner–owned DC, have made changes that put a few nonwhite and female characters into the spotlight: a woman assumed the mantle of Thor, Iron Man was replaced by an African-American girl, and a Pakistani-American girl became Ms. Marvel, among other switch-ups. There have been a handful of high-profile hires of women and people of color into creative positions, including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Rainbow Rowell, and others.

In an entertainment landscape where inclusivity is increasingly de rigueur, such moves make sense, but they often ring a little hollow. There was a black Captain America for a little while, but he eventually relinquished his star-spangled shield. There’s an Afro-Latino Spider-Man, but he’s regularly upstaged by the still-around white one. And their adventures are almost always written by white men, as they still form an overwhelming majority of the comics industry’s key employees.
Umm, I thought Marvel already took care of that, albeit in a ghetto-mentality sense: they assigned a black writer to write Black Panther, an Islamist to write Muslim Ms. Marvel, and even a gay writer to work on Iceman-turned-gay. Not that the writers they did hire are any more talented than their white counterparts, one more reason why they haven't been selling as well as Vulture wants everyone to think. At least they admit their desperate attempts to be "relevant" are clumsy as can be, mainly because of the very rushed way they did it, in very quick succession, one after the other. Let's not forget DC was guilty of this too about a decade before Marvel, when, after mistreating a number of their own superheroes in Identity Crisis, they introduced a black Firestorm, Latino Blue Beetle, Asian Atom and even a female Manhunter in their pages. Oh yes, and there's even the lesbian Batwoman, as if their universe truly needed more than just Batgirl. The irony is that they all but got rid of the Asian Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, whose introduction by contrast was far more plausible and respectable, because the prior Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, was still around, and they also wronged Spoiler/Stephanie Brown and Linda Park, wife of former Kid Flash Wally West. Which must be saying something about what they really think of minorities, or at least women of color.

And it didn't stop there. For at least a few years already, Wally West's not only been reverted back to a teenager, he's had his own racial background changed for the sake of it. So on the one hand, you have a case where a plausibly introduced Asian woman was kicked to the curb, and another where suddenly, a contrived change of skin color is applied to a veteran protagonist, along with erasing his past history. If you think there's a potential form of discrimination there, you could be right.
In light of all that, David Steward II and Carl Reed aren’t impressed with the mainstream’s slow crawl into the 21st century. Both African-American men, they’re co-founders of Lion Forge Comics, an upstart publisher that recently launched its own superhero universe starring and created almost entirely by people who aren’t white males. Sitting in a pan-Latin steakhouse in Hell’s Kitchen, they calmly express their disdain for the big boys on the block.

“When they do diversity, it’s all almost …” Steward says, trailing off.

“Reactionary,” Reed finishes from across the table.

Steward nods and adds, “It’s almost kind of an advertising gimmick of sorts. They take Thor and make female Thor, but female Thor is going to go away, you know? If you’re really going to invest in that at that level, then it needs to be a new character with its own origin that you’re going to push and pull and really get behind.”
Speaking of which, isn't it interesting how all the buzz over the oh-so important change of Jane Foster into a female Thor has since collapsed, and the SJW press doesn't care anymore? Marvel's been advertising that Jane's going to die of cancer, and aside from how pathetic and disrespectful they're already being to a famous creation, they're even capping it all off by making a workable character into a sacrifice. Granted, if they do intend to put an end to Jane Foster, it sounds on the surface like they'll have her die of natural causes, an idea sorely lacking in many superhero tales today. But don't be shocked if they botch even that much, and they've already proven their capability.

As for "slow crawl", well here's a serviceable explanation why: they spend so much time making minority group members into superheroes instead of supporting cast members and building them up, it's no wonder their efforts are so contrived, and doomed to failure. If only costumed protagonists matter so much, then they haven't etched out an organic setting at all. Back in the Golden Age, not all leads in an adventure comic wore costumes, and even in the Silver Age, we had Adam Strange and Nick Fury, who were anything but superheroes. Today, mainstream has fallen victim to so much insularity, costumed heroes are practically all they stand for.

Anyway, I'll certainly give the developers credit for conceiving their very own universe of heroes with different racial backgrounds other than white, which is a far better idea than changing established characters' own backgrounds. However, I'm annoyed at the leftism turning up in the site's following paragraph:
In other words, being progressive is arguably Lion Forge’s biggest selling point. They’re not alone. The company is part of a new vanguard of small comics publishers who are attempting to grab eyeballs and dollars by embracing progressive politics both behind and inside the pages of their products. There have historically been other indie publishers who have brought people other than white men to the fore, but never before have this many companies made it a part of their bedrock mission. It’s a bold and largely unprecedented experiment for a notoriously innovation-averse industry — and it’s an uphill climb.
"Progressive"? Since when hasn't that happened? The mistake made in the past was acting like the Big Two MUST add minorities to their pages in almost every way, and it got them nowhere, because skin color and sexual orientation mattered so much more to the emphasis, and less attention was given to storytelling merit even now. That's why they failed. "Progressive" is practically the reason why the Big Two's obsession was bound for disaster. As for adversity to innovation, you don't know the half of it: if they won't concentrate on story first, and consider introducing co-stars of different race can be more effective than making them superheroes proper, than obviously, they're as negative to innovation as is possible to be.
“The big challenge is just, how do you get the book in front of the right people? How does a book find its audience?” says Maytal Gilboa, founder of Emet Comics. The company, founded in 2015, has put out an array of comics that place women and girls in the spotlight, and it’s struggled to gain a foothold. Emet has drawn critical acclaim for works like Jean Barker and Joey Granger’s Zana, which depicts two girls’ adventures in an alternate universe where South African apartheid never ended; and Melissa Jane Osborne and Veronica Fish’s The Wendy Project, in which a girl confronts trauma by engaging with the Peter Pan mythos. But for the first two years of Emet’s existence, Gilboa wasn’t able to convince the industry’s near-monopolistic distributor to comics shops, Diamond, to carry her titles. It wasn’t a matter of bigotry, just lack of confidence on Diamond’s part that a tiny company like Emet could move enough product.

The key to convincing them, in Gilboa’s mind, was building a grassroots fan base online and at conventions by wearing her politics on her sleeve. “Our mission statement is very clear: We are a place that is 100 percent focused on empowering female creators, in expressing a female point of view on the world,” says Gilboa. “I think that’s why we’ve been able to build a company relatively quickly, and be relatively successful: because of how clear our brand and our messaging is.” Last year, Diamond finally took the plunge and started distributing her.
I think the key to success is how well written the stories are, not skin color, gender and sexual orientation alone, that's for sure. Another is publishing the stories in paperback format, and not wasting time on pamphlets at all costs. What if speculators buy them just because they hope they'll be worth gobs of money someday? If I were a comics creator and found out my products were only being bought in hopes of becoming mighty rich on a "collector's item" someday, I'd be furious. To be a comics writer, I'd want my stories bought to be read, not encased in a plastic box casing hard to open and put on display in a gallery. That's supposed to be for paintings and pictures, not books of any sort. However, the next writer they cite appears to have taken what I think is a better route, although simultaneously misses a few things:
Not everyone takes Gilboa’s route of trying to break in with Diamond. C. Spike Trotman is one of the biggest success stories in the progressive small publisher movement, and when the distributor comes up, she doesn’t mince words. “Diamond can suck my taint,” she says in a dulcet lilt. The company she founded and runs, Iron Circus Comics, largely eschews the comics-shop market, preferring to focus on libraries, bookstores, and online sales. That’s unsurprising, given that Trotman has always held a special disdain for the gatekeepers of the mainstream comics world. She’s loved comics since she first discovered the funny pages in her youth, but growing up as an African-American girl, she didn’t see herself represented in the strips she perused. After getting a degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at the turn of the millennium, Trotman pondered comics as a career. She quickly realized that there was virtually no one who looked like her in positions of leadership.
I'd argue one reason for that is because, even as the Big Two claim to be "inclusive" they've not only kept blacks, Asians and Latinos with better creative ideas out of prominent positions, they've also turned the companies into cliques more insular than ever before, where writers are chosen entirely on their political positions, and how willing they are to go along with company wide crossovers that take away even that much creative freedom. I have no doubt there's minority group members who'd love to write Spider-Man with Mary Jane Watson's marriage intact, and who'll never get the chance so long as Quesada has any say in the matter. Even DC's had problems with the crossovers and political overtones.

And the lady entirely misses that the Big Two have had black protagonists like Misty Knight, Vixen, Bumblebee and even Monica Rambeau, who originally succeeded Mar-Vell of the Kree with the Capt. Marvel naming after the alien hero died of cancer in Jim Starlin's 1982 graphic novel, one of the more respectable stories you could find. I'll give her credit for taking a better route than merely the pamphlet market, but it's just so ridiculous how she acts oblivious to how there have been black heroines in past history. I assume her disdain for the gatekeepers (meaning, the veterans?) kept her from doing serious research?

And since "progressive" came up, they also cite a company that unfortunately lost its mind in those kind of politics:
Once Osajyefo and his collaborators — Tim Smith III, Khary Randolph, and Jamal Igle — had the cash, they decided to publish with another company that has made its bones by being progressive, albeit in a way that’s much more brash than Iron Circus or Emet: Black Mask Studios. Founded in 2012 by Brett Gurewitz, Steve Niles, and Matt Pizzolo, the firm has always aimed to afflict the comfortable. The company’s prologue was the publication of a Kickstarted anthology of comics about Occupy Wall Street, the proceeds of which went to buying necessities for the protesters in Zuccotti Park. The trio were able to raise the money, but Pizzolo says they couldn’t find a publisher willing to put out something so intense.

“They were nervous about doing anything political,” he says. In their discussions about what to do, the topic of Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s late-’80s anarchist masterpiece V for Vendetta came up. “What Niles said at the time, his observation from the reaction that we were getting, was that if V for Vendetta were created today, there would be no publisher for it” because it would be seen as too ideologically radical. There was a time when the Big Two took bigger risks, Pizzolo says, but now that their comics and the characters in them are lucrative cross-platform corporate products, Pizzolo thinks the powers that be are afraid to take the risk of offending.
And why shouldn't they be? Much of the public, both right and left, have already found out and are getting very tired of being belittled by socialists running a bad movement that thankfully collapsed several years ago, and was never a positive example either. More to the point, it's not proving lucrative, and even SJWs aren't buying them. I'm guessing when they speak of the Big Two, they're alluding to just several years ago when their own pandering to ultra-leftists first began seriously, with Civil War just one example. By now, such social justice monstrosities have taken over their line of books entirely, to the point where they've become unreadable, and sales began sinking belatedly. It's about time it happened, as the Big Two have done enough over the past decade or so to ask for declining receipts. The news about Black Mask gets more ludicrous:
He and his collaborators decided to self-publish and start bringing others along for the ride. “There’s something missing to support those types of works,” says Pizzolo, “and we might as well build the infrastructure in a sustainable way, to support other creators who might not have been able to find a home for something that is a little bit more politically radical, a little bit more subversive, or even just an authentic message that has a political component to it in some way.”

That mentality has been part of their DNA ever since. Black Mask’s books’ premises speak for themselves: Kim & Kim follows a pair of intergalactic queer bounty hunters, Calexit depicts a California that has seceded from the union following the election of Donald Trump, The Dregs is about gentrifiers who murder homeless people, and so on. BLACK is six issues in and launching a spinoff called BLACK [AF]: America’s Sweetheart at the end of the month, and Osajyefo believes a key reason the series became one of Black Mask’s biggest sellers is how openly progressive it is. One can see that particularly in the form of artist Randolph’s covers, which depict jarring scenes like superpowered energy coming from the arms of a lynched black man or a hoodie-wearing black teenager escaping racists on a Donkey Kong–esque journey to defeat Trump. “People aren’t gonna be able to walk past this and not at least pick it up,” he says.
Man, if that isn't politically motivated, I don't know what is. If that's all they can think of, I don't see how they expect to sell through the roof. Besides, what sane person wants a neighborhood to be a slum with badly kept buildings?

I think forming one's own publishing outfit is a great idea, and a few of the sources cited certainly sound like they've got the right idea how to entertain. But the above example is hardly the most appealing, and coming at a time when many Americans feel alienated by the showbiz industry, I think it's very ill-timed, and at least two commentors made a point why:
If I hear any film/comic/TV show use the "diversity" to promote itself, its a hard pass. Diversity is a very negative connotation now. But these people dont get it. If people wanted these trash titles they;d be selling. Hopefully Marvel learnt a lesson.
Alas, don't bet on it so easily. Unless Mary Jane Watson's restored as Peter Parker's wife, the chances are slim. Another said:
If they are doing this to score Social Justice Virtue Points, then this is just another example of patronizing tokenism. If they want to do this, then it should make sense to the story being told. The market will decide how well they have done at that.
Exactly. Their best choice would be to concentrate on entertainment, not partisan politics. Is that so hard to do?

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Some fashion revolution this must be

Fashionista magazine wrote a sugary article about fashion designs by artists in modern comic adaptations like Jem and the Holograms (already under scrutiny for its social justice pandering), and there's a few parts here that have to be taken issue with. For example:
Of course, there are reasons for this. When constructing two-dimensional worlds either for comics or cartoons, every aspect is a labor of love. [...]
Not if it's the kind of atrocities Marvel's been forcing onto their casts of late, and down the audience's throats. Any artist who willingly engages in what Axel Alonso (and undoubtably Joe Quesada) mandated - including the dumbing down of character physiques - isn't doing it as a love labor, but as disrespect for hundreds of past artists like Dave Cockrum, Jack Kirby and John Romita Sr, who had better ideas for fashion in their time, along with character physique, which, while semi-restricted in those days of the Comics Code, was still far more imaginative than what we've seen recently.

And then, there's the following comments by artist Jen Bartel:
But Rihanna isn't the only source of inspiration of Bartel's illustrative work. She approaches her designs with the eye of someone dressing an actual flesh-and-blood human being. "The first thing I think about is functionality: As a woman, one of the things that will immediately pull me out of a story is if the female characters are all dressed in absurd clothes that wouldn't even physically work, and would likely make it impossible for them to move around or even walk properly," she explained. "Once I've figured out how functional her clothes need to be, I start thinking about who she is as a character. Is she someone who is sexual and seductive? Is she shy and quiet? When designing clothes for fictional characters, my main goal is to help further the narrative and help the viewer understand what the character is all about."
I'm afraid this is something only a person who can't appreciate surrealism could say. If she's implying a costume like Wonder Woman's "wouldn't physically work", we already know that; it's not meant to be realistic. If she can't dig surrealism for what it is, she has no business whatsoever wasting time in a medium whose past contributors she obviously doesn't appreciate at all, not even the women with better understandings than she has.

Besides, if the comics she's working on now are in any ways dictated by PC mandates like Jem is, then there's no point in bothering to give them financial backing.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Is Lee really guilty, or is this news all part of an attempted defamation against him?

I'd read about the allegations Julius Schwartz supposedly committed sexual misconduct, in the late 80s-early 90s, if any time, though it's never been clear if there's any concrete evidence. Now, wouldn't you know it, even Stan Lee's now sadly come to be accused of similar behavior, whether factual or not, as the following UK Mail article (via Breitbart) is saying:
Comic book legend Stan Lee has been hit with several allegations of sexual assault and harassment by nurses caring for him at his Hollywood Hills home, DailyMail.com can reveal.

The Marvel creator, 95, is alleged to have repeatedly groped and harassed a string of young female nurses employed to care for him.

He is said to have asked for oral sex in the shower, walked around naked and wanted to be 'pleasured' in the bedroom.

The nursing company which employs the women and caters for celebrities and high end clients is now in a legal dispute with icon Lee, DailyMail.com has learned.

But as yet no police complaint has been made and no lawsuits filed.

A lawyer representing Lee told DailyMail.com that Lee 'categorically denies' the 'false and despicable' allegations and fully intends to clear his 'stellar good name' and suggested the allegations could be part of a shakedown.
I certainly hope it's just a case of defamation, because this #MeToo movement, started by Alyssa Milano, has already gone too far, with too many allegations that aren't concrete, and even long before, it's not like there weren't similar cases, with Schwartz's quite possibly being one of them, as I'll try to elaborate further down. For now, the paper quotes a "source" who claims Lee got "handsy", and that sounds similar to the allegations made against Schwartz, suggesting the language was borrowed from the ambiguous allegations against the late DC editor.

That said, while it is likely the allegations against Lee are defamatory as well, I figure it'd be best to note that, from a realist's viewpoint, it is possible even for guys of backgrounds like his and Schwartz's to do bad things, and even if it's at an advanced age, that doesn't make it any less distasteful. But so far, the allegations at hand are just that, with no definitive proof Lee actually did anything overtly severe. And a representative of the new caretaking service now working for him said:
Julie Wozniak, a rep for the new firm Vitale Nursing Inc, insists that Lee has been nothing but 'polite, kind and respectful' since they took over.

'It has been a privilege to care for him,' she added.
This does sound plausible. However, Lee's made some pretty poor choices over the years of whom to associate with, such as a leading business manager of his:
Lee's burly minder has been accused of 'intimidating' and 'frightening' some of the nurses involved, further casting a difficult light on Lee's reputation.

The man, Max Anderson, has been Lee's right hand man for years and acts as his road manager at comic book conventions. He is often seen in photo shoots alongside Lee.

Anderson - real name Mac Anderson - has a serious criminal past.

According to court records in Riverside, California he has a 2002 felony conviction for beating and injuring his wife, for which he was jailed for 365 days and spent 36 months probation.

Then in 2010, according to court records, he was found guilty of beating his son with a belt, putting him in a chokehold and slamming him on the floor.

The boy went to school with his arm in a sling which raised the alarm with teachers.

For that crime he was sentenced to 36 months probation, a fine and anger management and parenting classes.
If this is fact, Lee did himself a terrible disfavor that casts a pall over his image, his possible innocence of the charges against himself notwithstanding. Also, as told in this Hollywood Reporter list of history moments, Lee was once chummy with Michael Jackson:
"I don't know how big a comic fan he was, but he was a big Spider-Man fan. Spider-Man was his life. He wanted to be Spider-Man. He wanted to produce Spider-Man. He wanted to direct Spider-Man. That's what he wanted. We had gotten very friendly, and he came over to my house once with his baby to talk about it. He gave the baby to [my wife] Joan to hold. She spent an hour looking after the baby while I was talking to Michael. He was a very sweet guy. I remember once he told me he'd like me to do a little scene with him [in a music video]. He was shooting it in Jersey in an abandoned aircraft airdrome. There were about 300 people there. I came in the back door, and he was onstage. All of a sudden, he said, 'Hold it. Stan, Stan, come on up.' I felt like the most important person in the world! Michael Jackson stopped what he was doing to say, 'Stan, come on up.' I'll never forget that."
As anybody familiar with the trial Jackson went through in the early 2000s knows, he was charged with child molestation. Though he was acquitted (as he also was of the original accusations in 1993), some people are still bound to understandably believe Jackson could've been guilty, and if he was, then friendship with Jackson was a decided mistake. The article also notes Lee once had contacts with film director Oliver Stone, who's also been accused of sexual harassment. Even that doesn't help Lee's own reputation, if he keeps company so obviously with shady people. I'm skeptical the accusations against Lee are literally true, but he does seem to make some poor choices of friends and business partners whom he'd do well to distance himself from if he gets out of this jam okay.

Anyway, since I've raised the subject of Schwartz again, I might as well add that this got me to thinking more about whether or not the allegations against him made any sense. I do know that when I'd first read about them, I was unable to find any wide-ranging information that spoke of the conventions he'd supposedly acted crudely at, and felt prompted to write over 2 years ago why I was unconvinced by at least two people, one whom I have no problem saying again was propagandist Heidi MacDonald, who's been quite the apologist for the bigwigs destroying DC and Marvel, because I'd discovered her apologia extended to atrocities like Identity Crisis, which make light of the very subject in focus here now. I also later added a bit more data to this post about allegations that Schwartz supposedly groped ladies at conventions, but while I'm sure he and Lee are no saints, I'm still finding reason to be uncertain if the men testifying are being 100 percent honest, for at least 2 reasons: one, how come in all this time, there've been no mass numbers of victims stepping up to plate to testify in their own voices? And even if the allegations against Schwartz were true, there's still the question of just where did men like Stephen Bissette, Ty Templeton and Brian Augustyn stand at the time this allegedly happened? What if, contrary to what they said about trying to persuade Schwartz to exercise more caution, they didn't think it was such a big deal at the time, and only now, in the post-Harvey Weinstein era, they've suddenly decided it was bad? What does that say about their own personalities? Let's not forget Eddie Berganza and Scott Allie's own offenses were swept under the rug by more than just DC & Dark Horse. I found out Bissette, much like the artist with the initials "CD", once associated with cartoonist Dave Sim of Cerebus, at the time this supposedly happened, and if Bissette didn't see anything wrong with Sim's shoddy visions, it stands in basic contradiction of his supposed stance on Schwartz. I'm supposed to believe a guy who did favors for such a sleazebag is being sincere to the max?

I looked around Twitter, and only found one accusation against Schwartz by a woman who said he'd kissed her at a convention, but it sounded pretty mild, and for all we know, it could just as well have been consensual. I found another testimony on that same social media platform by another lady who said in contrast that hugs/kisses between them had been consensual, and even on Martin Pasko's Facebook thread, there were some women who said Schwartz had been respectable to them, so whether any allegations against him were true, they only seem to amount to a few, and too little to reach the critical mass some SJW-types on Twitter were making it out to sound like. Indeed, most of the people who made negative comments about Schwartz - and Lee - had very telling signs they were leftist social justice screwballs who weren't being any more altruistic than some of the leading accusers are. Indeed, Bissette and Augustyn's accounts aren't entirely clear, and "big, wet, sloppy kisses" is also kinda vague. Though if he did act inappropriately, it could be argued the loss of his wife and mental breakdowns similar to any Lee's suffered in his elderly age might've led him to lose his moral compass. Schwartz was over 70 by the time it supposedly happened, and while that's still no excuse, it could at least explain how he lost his way. Furthermore, if they really did care, why didn't they try to warn Schwartz they were worried that, if a fangirl felt violated, she could call the cops? Unlike the case with movie actors and directors, the chances a comics creator would be arrested are much higher, as the medium's less influential thanks to the ghetto mentality they've stuck with, and that might've gotten Schwartz to be more cautious if he didn't want to end up in a jail cell. But no sign they ever tried that psychology, so I just don't know what to believe.

And whether or not he was guilty, I want to make clear I'm very angry at MacDonald for distorting and reducing the whole subject to the level of a tabloid, because it made it much harder to make an exact judgement and figure out if any of this made sense. And how come, if I could find those interviews she spoke of on the Internet Archive, she by contrast couldn't? Some "reporter" she is, I'll say. And her coverage of the allegations against Lee also reeks of sensationalism:
Welp, there goes another icon. [...]

The Daily Mail is the National Enquirer of UK tabloids, so a little salt grain should be thrown on all this, but it’s perhaps the saddest story I’ve ever written here on The Beat.
That's all she can say? All this from somebody who's own reporting came off quite a few times as no less tabloid than theirs. Fascinating how she apparently decided straight off the bat she's taking this story at face value, and won't find any way to verify. Say, this reminds me, a few months ago, when the Weinstein scandal first made headlines, she even said:
A confession: I’ve been struggling all week to know what to say about the Harvey Weinstein scandal. I mean, #metoo because #existingwhilefemale. I reistsed saying this, thought, maybe because my own experiences with sexual harassment are, to me anyway, so minor compared to the outrages and horrors that have been revealed in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations. My experiences don’t define me, and I won’t list them here, but the steady parade of the women I idolize, strong women, smart women, sharing that hashtag is hard to process. Thinking back to my own humiliations and violations has been a demoralizing experience. Have I internalized it all too much? Not enough? And somewhere the vague, yet burning knowledge that we have to do better. Somehow.

All I can keep thinking is, what is wrong with men? Why is dominating, marginalizing, degrading and treating women as less that human so central to the idea of masculinity? Why do you do this to us?
Okay, first of all, for somebody who implied Schwartz kissed her several times on unspecified dates (and downplayed Identity Crisis), I'm not sure why she'd say her experiences have been minor. Second, if something's wrong with men, what about women like Diane Nelson, the DC Entertainment chairwoman, Meryl Streep and Hillary Clinton? What about that onetime DC editor named Jann Jones, whose potentially high rank must've made her feel comfy enough to ignore complaints about Berganza? To limit the discussion to just men and not include women who turn their backs on sex offenses only misses the boat entirely. And who says degrading women is central in every way to masculinity? Sounds like a rip on the whole male species now.
Men are so hung up on this “hero” ideal, an ideal the whole superhero industry is founded on, but in the real world, it’s an ideal that only applies to made-up bullshit situations. Men are not trained to protect less powerful people who speak out. Harvey Weinstein was a public feminist but a private pig, and it was so, so easy to get away with.
Good grief, this is beginning to sound like a meltdown into male-bashing. Besides, has it ever occurred to her "feminism" as practiced almost ever since Gloria Steinem, has been otherwise meaningless, intended for propaganda purposes, and wound up hurting women more than helping? Or that men who claim the title are such phonies? Joss Whedon certainly proved as much.
For some men, the #metoo hashtag has been a wake up call to the reality all women live with every day of their lives. But if I’ve been demoralized thinking about my trivial incidents of harassment I can’t imagine the courage and strength its taken women from Lupita Nyong’O to Isa Hackett to McKayla Maroney and dozens and dozens more to revisit their abuse. They are the true heroes. It would be nice if men realized that, too.

So that’s where I’m at. Men, don’t be pigs and, most importantly, don’t let other men be pigs. It’s called simple human dignity, and all women deserve it.
But what about women trying to stop men from being pigs? These last lines are almost hilarious. Just like men aren't inherently evil, women aren't inherently virtuous, and if any of the accusations against Streep and even Oprah Winfrey are true, they turned their backs on Weinstein just as much as the menfolk in Hollywood, or worse, did favors for him. Furthermore, if MacDonald really wanted to get Berganza out of a job he didn't deserve, she would've fearlessly called for a boycott of DC's products until genuine action was taken against the man. Yes, seriously, if that's what it took to get the scum out of there other than an article on Buzzfeed. And it's not just women who live with the hazards of sexual harassment and abuse. Even men have had to deal with it, as the cases of Kevin Spacey, Bryan Singer and even Jann Wenner make clear. After reading about the latter case, I'm glad I stopped reading rags like Rolling Stone a number of years ago. The last straw was when they put one of the Boston jihadists, Dzokhar Tsarnaev, on the cover, causing outrage with their sensationalized coverage.

If MacDonald's only going to concern herself with men - and very selectively, I'll bet, noticing she even complained about "islamophobia" - and not women acting as enablers, then she's only undermined her alleged complaints even more. This is just another reason why I cannot take her allegations against Schwartz at face value, nor some of the other people's, and recalling the idiocy with the milkshakes, I have to suspect the medium spokespeople's fascination with creating drama in hopes this'll sell comics for them must've also had what to do with some, if not all, of the ambiguous allegations against Schwartz over a decade ago. The #MeToo-niks have existed long before the Weinstein scandal, and if their intentions aren't altruistic, that's exactly why the problem of sex abuse in entertainment will never be solved.

So anyway, having thought about this a bit more, while again, I don't think Lee and Schwartz are saints, I've finally concluded there's too little concrete proof against either one to prove they were/are as bad as one was accused of being, and the other now is. I'm decidedly fed up hearing these stories because of how tabloid they've been turned into, with no clear examination of history or whether victims actually exist and are convincing. When it goes down to such a level, it becomes pretty apparent the media brewers are only looking to create drama, not solve a problem or do justice. Veteran French actress Catherine Deneuve just joined a letter denouncing the way #MeToo was handled, and considering the hashtag's creator, Alyssa Milano, is associating with anti-Israelist Linda Sarsour, that's just why the motives behind aren't sincere, if at all. So I think it's best for the leftards to just shut up about Lee/Schwartz, because they're not helping, and did too little to get the really rotten apples like Berganza out of the medium, let alone make a point comicdom has to stop making minimimzing serious subjects.

So, I hope this'll be the last I have to say in regards to this subject, and that Lee can prove his innocence against this particular accusation. That said, I will admit I'm still very sad that, in his old of age, he won't speak out against the bad steps Marvel's taken to tear down much of the hard work he did, and realize Schwartz likely wouldn't either (and to my best of knowledge, didn't when he was still around). If there's anything they have in common, it's that they were both products of the mindsets of their times, one that apologists for the bad steps in the medium today surely embrace.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Which way for GI Joe now?

Bleeding Cool recently ran a guest article by a guy giving his ideas of what to do with the Joe franchise in comics. Surprisingly, he does bring up some challenging subjects, but first, let's comment on the beginning:
In a March 2017 interview with the LA Times, Simon Waters, Hasbro Senior VP commented, “The world has changed, and I think you’re going to see G.I. Joe changing with it.” He added, “There’s going to be a much more contemporary approach to the whole franchise, and that will allow us to develop different characters.”
Well we've seen the changes they made this past year under Aubrey Sitterson for one, and were not impressed. They changed Salvo from a man into an overweight woman, and we're supposed to find that great why? It goes without saying Sitterson's alarming contempt for Joe fans on one of the notable fansite forums and his disturbing comments about 9-11 only precipitated the audience decision not to give him the time of day, and so, the series and spinoff he was writing crashed to the floor and never recovered. Hopefully, he's on his way out of the medium to boot. That doesn't mean the rotten apples at Hasbro aren't still there. If they are, they decidedly need to go along with Sitterson.
This is the stick and rudder IDW needs for the direction of the comic book GI JOE franchise. The world has changed and IDW has all of the elements it needs to move the franchise into the future. With over 15 years of war, audiences and readers have become more sophisticated. The 1980’s Joes fighting with laser beams and cheesy battlecry is a thing of the past, as is the deployment of America’s premier Tier 1 fighting force against dinosaurs and other supernatural threats. Readers don’t read GI Joe for science fiction, they read it for guns, bullets, bombs, and Americana. They read it to see the Joes fight terrorists in the form of Cobra which is bent on world domination. Chuck Dixon’s work on GI Joe: Special Missions presented a much more grounded Joe world which was in line with what the country has been experiencing since 9/11. Having any new Joe titles land somewhere between Dixon’s Joes and Nathan Edmonson’s The Activity would be optimum.
First, is this the Saturday morning cartoon, or the comics Marvel originally acquired the license to publish? Because in the latter, the Joes and Cobra alike usually used bullet weapons (M-16s and automatic pistols, for example), and their missions, while they did have sci-fi elements and surrealism, was still based on how military can operate in real life, and metaphors for what was eating up the world at the time. I can't remember if they made serious use of battlecries either, and certainly not on missions where they could be going under camouflage in a woods. That was more in the cartoons.

But the guy's got a good point about what a lot of Joe fans usually read the comics for - seeing the military operation combat terrorist movements, primarily in the form of Cobra. That's what Dixon was particularly successful in working on, and I'm glad to see he's being given credit. IDW or any other company holding the license for GI Joe should rehire him.

On the other hand, he also says:
There is another opportunity for IDW here. There are many military occupational specialities (MOS) and units that do not have a GI Joe character on the roster. This presents a real opportunity for IDW to create some new and exciting characters to add to the team, instead of just reusing the same core group of characters like Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Roadblock, Shipwreck, etc. By new characters, we don’t mean throwaways like Big Lob, Captain Grid Iron, Salvo, or Banzai either. Let’s see some real badasses. [...]
Not so fast. Let's remember the awful remake of Salvo as an obese woman was a fiasco, and you sure can't call that a badass creation. Even if that's not what he meant, he's still falling into the trap of acting like fictional characters are literally real life people whom he met on the street. If you don't find their personalities great, then gee whiz, that's something that can be modified. So long as it doesn't render the characters unlikable, it should work well enough. What a shame we have here another example of somebody running the gauntlet of blurring difference between real and fictional worlds. That's no way to run an argument on how to build a cast of characters for an adventure.
In January 2016, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced all MOS and positions would be open to women without exception, as long as they qualify and meet the standards required, of course. This means increased diversity for the team and not just relying on the Big 4 females in the Joe Universe, Scarlett, Lady Jaye, Covergirl, and Jinx. It would definitely be interesting to see some new women in the fight.

Racial and ethnic minority groups made up 40% of Defense Department active-duty military in 2015, up from 25% in 1990. Black people made up 17% of active-duty military, higher than their 13% share of the US population aged 18 to 44. The share of the active-duty force that is Hispanic has risen rapidly in recent decades. In 2015, 12% of all active-duty personnel were Hispanic, three times 1980’s share.

I am Puerto Rican and Dominican, an Afro-Latino. I can tell you that the only two Hispanic Joes are: Hector Delgado – Shipwreck and Rafael Melendez – Zap. There are not many Asians aside from Quick Kick and Jinx which are boring characters, at least to me. I was never a fan of the whole ninja angle with Joe’s as there are no ninjas in the military. Besides, there are so many incredible jobs and units that do not have any Joes at all.
Let us be clear. Of course there's always room for new characters, ongoing and guests, of black/Latino/Asian descent, and women. But they should be brand new cast members, their own agencies, and not retcons of established characters. As for ninjas, well that's all part of the surreal side to GI Joe, as are the sci-fi elements like Cobra Commander wearing a helmet concealing his identity. And the writer shouldn't be slipping into that joke-land approach again with fictional characters while dismissing the writers in charge of their persona development entirely.
Let’s also consider that terrorism has many faces and for the Joes, that face is Cobra. Al-Qaeda isn’t the only terrorism show in town; ISIS, the KKK and a host of others are very prominent. Creating a new threat vector for the Joes in the form of a new terror organization would certainly breathe new life into the franchise. Cobra would still cause havoc but it wouldn’t be the only Big Baddie anymore…Again, this means more toys and merchandising. [...]
First off, it would definitely be a courageous step if the Joes fought jihadists, something the medium by and large have made an effort to avoid, to the point where they wound up producing material sympathetic to the positions of Islamofascists, as seen in the Marvel Knights Captain America during 2002. But in the current climate of fearmongering, the chances are still very extremely slim, and those who do have watered it down in some way or other. Some, like the recent Omega Men retcon, have even, horrifically enough, turned the bunch we're supposed to be rooting for into terrorists. So long as that keeps up, even metaphors for real life figures and beliefs won't work out well.

And I don't think anybody would want to turn Al Qaeda and ISIS into toy merchandise so easily, because it could be seen as giving real life evil a spotlight they don't deserve. Real life enemies should, for the most part, remain what they are, and not be marketed as toys children could play with.

It's also worth taking time to look over this Newsarama interview with editor Tom Waltz, where he goes into discussion of the girl who takes up Snake Eyes' role:
Nrama: That issue was originally published back in the spring of 2016, and I’ve heard it said that Larry only plots ahead two to three pages at most. Did you and the rest of the team know that Dawn would be taking on the mantle of Snake-Eyes or was that something that evolved as you and Larry worked on developing her story?

Waltz: Larry works in a very organic and fluid way, so Dawn’s transition is something that has evolved naturally within the ongoing story he is constantly plotting. As for Dawn taking on the mantle of Snake-Eyes, it was something that really jumped out at me when I first took over editorial duties for the series. As both the editor and a fan of the book, I saw so much potential in the Dawn-as-Snake-Eyes tale that was unfolding. It just felt like all the pieces were in place for her to take the next step toward becoming Snake-Eyes.

But not an easy step, by any means - Dawn is literally possessed by Snake-Eyes’ memories (thanks to Dr. Mindbender’s Brainwave Scanner), so the change is a terrifyingly confusing one for the young girl (and one she is not making voluntarily) all of which, in my opinion, make it more believable and far more dramatic. I wasn’t sure what Larry would think about the idea when I first brought it up to him, but to my pleasant surprise, he was immediately onboard -- not only because Dawn’s story was so intriguing, but also because he saw this as an opportunity (through Dawn’s implanted memories) to finally present stories from the original Snake-Eyes’ past that he’s long wanted to tell… and which many fans have requested over the years.

So, once we had our story plan in place, Larry quickly came up with the very cool design for the modified Snake-Eyes’ costume Dawn wears. It’s an awesome costume and I won’t be surprised if it becomes a cosplay favorite in the near future.
In all due honesty, even if the real Snake Eyes is dead, this still sounds like the kind of social justice tactics Marvel and DC took of recent, even if here, it's only implanted memories. It's honestly ludicrous, and if Chris Claremont could run out of steam long ago as the X-Men scribe, who's to say Hama hasn't worn out his own welcome as GI Joe scribe? I'm sure there's a lot of Snake Eyes stories fans have asked for, but with the mute guy in the dark costume whose background usually remained classified, not a girl whose identity is known, and who by contrast may be able to speak. If they want to implant SE's memories, that's one thing, but it'd work better if they'd give Dawn Moreno her own costumed role and/or codename. It may not be as dreadful as how Marvel's been doing it, but this is still treading that same SJW tactics that brought down Marvel in the past few years. And that's not what the audience is truly asking for.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2018 

Marvel's still pushing their social agenda into films, and DC's doing the same in video games

The Fort Smith Times Record wrote a sugar-coated column about as many as a dozen movie projects based on comics this year, including animated ones, and the list even features an example of Marvel's obsessive push for "diversity" at all costs:
10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Dec. 14): This 3D animated movie stars a Spider-Man who is younger (and darker) than Peter Parker. He’s Miles Morales, who in the comics originated in a parallel universe. In the comics, both Spider-Men are on the young side, but in this movie Parker is a middle-aged mentor for Morales.

That may not be the most confusing part. The movie is named “Into the Spider-Verse,” the name of a 2012 story in which a plethora of spider-people were introduced to the mighty Marvel Universe. It remains to be seen if the movie follows that plotline, but if it does, expect an army of wall-crawlers battling for their lives against an unstoppable, interdimensional killer named Morlun.
What, J. Michael Straczynski's tedious villain creation, who only seemed to exist to get Spidey from point A to point B of an inconsistency with his origin? (Aunt May claimed, after she'd discovered he was Spidey a second time in 2001, that she and Uncle Ben had an argument and he went out for a walk, and got shot dead in another part of the neighborhood rather than in their house.) I just don't get what's so great about the concoctions of such an overrated writer. And why does this have be more about Brian Bendis' PC creation than about Peter Parker?

And that's not all. Just a few weeks ago, ComicBook revealed the sequel to the Injustice video game will make even clearer use of the SJW-pandering Atom, Ryan Choi, than even the Justice League movie did:
The latest video for the subatomic manipulator, The Atom, shows more of his personality that DC fans have come to favor, while also showing off those sweet, sweet fighting moves. "Armed with his quantum bio-belt and a prodigal knowledge of physics, players can utilize all of scientist Ryan Choi’s subatomic powers to deliver justice against Superman’s regime."
Oh, and they still keep up the nasty premise the Man of Steel's turned into an evil being, I see. This is even worse than the League movie's already terrible mistakes. I don't see how this emphasizes heroism any more than it respects the Silver Age superhero who's been kicked to the curb for the sake of this insult to the cerebral cortex. In fact, the Atom's not the only one who's been replaced in the costume for the sake of diversity: even the Latino Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, and black Firestorm, Jason Rusch, have been adapted as the cast of computer clashers in the sequel to the forcibly dark fighting game produced a number of years ago. With that level of political correctness flooding the video game, something is definitely wrong.

In fact, if you want an example of diversity-pandering in reverse, Marvel's even conceiving a black variation on Valkyrie from Thor's world (and who appeared in the Defenders during the Bronze Age), based on the role of the actress Tessa Thompson from the Thor movies. Though this appears to be a character with a similar name coming from an alternate dimension in a new Exiles series, it still reeks of SJW pandering:
The fifth member of the group, which is made up of alternate universe takes of familiar Marvel characters, will be a new incarnation of Valkyrie that closely resembles Tessa Thompson’s version of the character from last year’s Thor: Ragnarok.

“Like everyone else who has seen Taika Waititi’s brilliant Thor: Ragnarok movie, all of us on Team Exiles are big fans of Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie,” series editor Wil Moss said in a statement from the publisher. “So when we realized that we had the perfect series — where the roster is made up of alternate reality versions of Marvel heroes — to introduce a comic book equivalent of that version of Valkyrie, we jumped at the chance!“ [...]

Curiously, Moss’ statement was accompanied by one from series writer Saladin Ahmed in which he clarifies that the new comic book Valkyrie is “not technically from the Marvel Cinematic Universe reality,” but is nonetheless, “basically the liberalization of the larger-than-her-physical-frame swagger that Tessa Thompson displayed in Thor: Ragnarok, turned up to 11.” File that clarification under potential rights issues, perhaps.

The new incarnation of the character, defined by Ahmed as “the Lone defender of Asgard,” will be canonically gay — he describes her as “maiden-wooing,” wonderfully — and features character design from series artist Javier Rodriguez that combines elements of original comic artist John Buscema’s visuals with the Thor: Ragnarok design.
More of the LGBT pandering too, I see, and an ultra-leftist writer's part of the "festivities" as well. Sure, this may be an alternate dimension variation, but it's still a form of pandering nevertheless, and at the same time, I think there's a valid critique to level at the Marvel movies for their own SJW-pandering, because it was never necessary, and if that's how they must do it, then it only demonstrates their lack of confidence in selling the product. Even some of Disney's recent live-action remakes of past cartoons have some of this bizarre catering going on, as though it were an emergency and the films would never make squat at the box office without them. Maybe the movies can't be faulted for influencing these absurdities back in the comics, but some day, I've got a hunch they won't age well, and people will begin to view them as products of a desperate mindset lacking confidence in its ability to sell to an otherwise non-existent audience.

If anything, it makes clear a lot of money's being wasted trying to cater to the social justice audience that didn't buy the comics, and probably won't watch the movies or play the video games either. The disrespect for Silver Age heroes (and even Golden Agers) couldn't be more obvious. If they throw the white protagonists out with bath water - in licensed merchandise as much as the comics themselves - it just shows how little faith they have in their own ability to sell, and how filled they are with cowardice. So much, that the Justice League movie certainly didn't sell as a result.

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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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