Friday, November 17, 2017 

The Simpsons attacks Trump staffers

We should've known, it would only be a matter of time before a cartoon series that turned out to be overrated would end up demonizing a member of Donald Trump's staff in the worst way possible, as the series writers compare Kelly Anne Conway to the nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels:
Sunday’s episode saw Marge Simpson defeat “sexist” Mayor Quimby to become Springfield’s first female mayor. When Marge’s favorability begins to tank, a political advisor convenes a focus group and discovers “throwing” Homer Simpson “under the bus” is the key to boosting Marge’s popularity with voters.

“I’ll be the Kellyanne Conway of this thing!” the political adviser tells her strategists and a room full of focus group participants.

“Kellyanne Conway!” one woman in a focus group says. “I like how she always looks like she just woke up.”

“I think it’s inspiring how now a woman can be Joseph Goebbels,” another woman in the focus group says, while the entire room mumbles in agreement.
A few months before the recent episode, there was another one depicting Sean Spicer in a most nasty manner. The Family Guy was no better in its own depictions of Conway.

Stuff like this makes me glad I quit watching the Simpsons back in the mid-2000s.

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The Boston Herald supports the PC approach to the Punisher

For a paper supposedly right-leaning, the Boston Herald sure isn't making a great impression with the following review of the new Punisher TV series, which begins with:
Marvel has been trying to make the Punisher a household name since 1989, when Dolph Lundgren starred in the first big-screen adaptation of the gun-happy anti-hero.
As a live action franchise, maybe, but not as a comics star. Yet that's nothing compared to the following, very troubling descriptions of what the premise involves:
Frank did some horrible things while working as part of an elite military squad in Afghanistan, and the past is coming to collect in blood.

Elsewhere, a federal agent named Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah, “Emerald City”) is trying to get justice for an Afghan police officer who was murdered there.
If leftist ideology was shoved into this show, that shouldn't be a shock. Even Marvel's live action productions obviously aren't immune to fishy plots filled with ultra-liberal ideologies. On which note, look which past writer they consider the best:
In the best “Punisher” stories, most written by Garth Ennis, Frank is a single-minded sociopath determined to kill bad guys, typically mobsters, typically in hails of bullets and explosions of blood and body parts. The stories stand as some of the most darkly funny and gory mainstream comics published. If ammo was turned into snowflakes, Frank Castle’s New York City would be under 20 feet of snow.
Just how is Ennis the best of the best, and not Mike Baron, Chuck Dixon, or even Carl Potts? And why do they think Frank as a sociopath makes the best rendition, rather than simply a man outraged at how terrible law enforcement and legal procedures allowed violent criminals to get away with murdering his family? I don't think the black comedy approach used by Ennis was particularly impressive either, and gore galore is no better. Certainly some of the Punisher stories I read in the past were bloody, but nowhere near the horror-thriller level they make it sound like.
“Marvel’s The Punisher” concludes on a note that suggests healing, if not redemption for Frank.

That just misses the entire point of the character.
I'd say the paper missed the point far more. They only seem to care about a leftist's idea of what Punisher should be like, and I think that's what ruined Frank Castle by the turn of the century. If leftism illustrates the TV show's approach, I'd say that was idiotic, and it reminds me of a description I may have read of the Daredevil TV program's own ideas, which also make it sound like Matt Murdock's been depicted as borderline sociopath. I honestly don't think that's a good idea either. I'm not saying the POV should be right-leaning in every way, but the politics that may have seeped in sure don't leave room to assume they're getting it right. And the supposedly conservative paper isn't helping their cause by taking such a peculiar stance either.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017 

What creators have spoken about the Eddie Berganza scandal?

I looked to see what comics writers and artists were talking on Twitter about the scummy ex-editor at DC whom the top brass went miles out of their way to employ at all costs, providing him with many of the top titles like Superman and Wonder Woman. When I looked to see if Ron Marz - whose work on Green Lantern volume 3 Berganza served as co-editor for - had anything to say, Marz appeared to be silent, suggesting he's just too plain embarrassed to have a volume now tainted by two awful men, the other being Gerard Jones. However, Kurt Busiek did talk about the issue, beginning with the following:


He needn't apologize for posting the previous announcement in advance about Berganza, but he sure does need to apologize for condoning the notion of allowing men into women's bathrooms on the pretense that they're transgender, as though that immediately ensures they won't be crooks. Why, what if Berganza suddenly started barging into the ladies' rooms at the DC offices and claiming he was now a woman as justification? Would that be appropriate?

No, we want him to answer knowledgeably, because that's how to get informative insight. But I've got a feeling he can't do even that much, what with the kind of politics he supports. Let's also remember Kurt worked at Dark Horse under the oversight of Scott Allie when he was one of their leading editors, and he sure didn't seem to regret it.

What we want to know is his unambiguous opinion on creepy men like Berganza and Allie. To know if he actually supports ensuring a safe environment for women, and not just in the office, but also in public facilities like bathrooms. Without a firm position on the issues, he has no qualification to comment.


Not nearly as ignorant as Busiek's support for allowing transgender men into women's bathrooms. Tsk tsk.


Which Busiek failed to do when it came to Scott Allie and the public bathroom issues.

Umm, but he did once work for DC as a freelancer, if anything, for 5 years in the 2000s. And at a time when Berganza was employed very actively by Dan DiDio and company. Sure, a lot of writers could work at home, but many still visit the offices to work out various ideas and other subjects with the editors.

What about if Gal Gadot said so? Could he guess then? Gadot just verified that Brett Ratner's been taken off the Wonder Woman sequel project.

Still not good enough, and if he's joking, it's not funny in light of the allegations.

Another writer who commented was Jay Faerber, who says:


Fortunately, they have, but there's undoubtably more scum working there now who won't be booted without a major news scoop to precede it. The same obviously goes for Marvel.

Another writer who spoke up is Jeff Lemire:

If you do, then challenging query: do you also love the characters DiDio's crowd abused in the Identity Crisis miniseries from 2004? And do you abhor the misogynist angle they used in that disgusting book? There's a point we can make that, if DC could make light of serious issues like sexual assault in such a sick story, it can't be any surprise when they fail to get rid of men like Berganza sooner, and practically promote him to such high status.

There's also this awful editor who may or may not be working for them anymore named Andy Khouri:

Gee, in that case, why did this disgrace who once worked for the far left Comics Alliance website ever take the job of editing books like the new take on the Omega Men and Green Arrow? Say, what does he think of his former colleague at Comics Alliance, Chris Sims, who was harassing Valerie D'Orazio nearly a decade ago? I don't think he ever panned him for that any more than the rest of that dreadful site's staff, so why should we believe him now?

Ssuuurrreee he will. If he wanted to, he could've protested long ago. But he didn't. Don't take such an ultra-leftist at face value. Besides, as the following notes:

Obviously, he didn't condemn Harras (or DiDio), so there's an excellent point made. Let's now turn to another former DC employee, Janelle Asselin, who said:

The same could be said about his protectors, and the pretenders who're supposedly concerned. I'm sure there's grounds on which to sue them for failure to prevent a felony.

One more writer I found was a guy named David Gallaher, who said:

So long as men like DiDio are still in charge, and even Bob Harras, who apparently also enabled Berganza's behavior, I've got a sad feeling he won't be. I've also got an equally sad feeling we're going to be hearing about more writers soon at Marvel too, who turn out to be sexually abusive while the leadership puts up with it. The biggest problem is the silence of the writers, freelance or otherwise, who care far more about the jobs they can get than in protesting injustices within the medium proper.

Update: The Press of Atlantic City's got a podcast discussion of the recent sexual abuse scandals in Hollywood, and their conversation includes Berganza.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017 

A superficial article about the Justice League's history

The Times-Record of Fort Smith, Arizona published a superficial, unchallenging piece about the Justice League of America's history, in anticipation of the new movie that's due to come out in the next week. Some of the notes include:
2. The members of the JLA in its 1960 debut were Aquaman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Superman and Wonder Woman. (Cyborg didn’t exist yet.)
And nobody finds it absurd that Vic Stone was plucked out of his membership with the Teen Titans to suit the PC visions of Dan DiDio and Geoff Johns? Or, that continuity was almost entirely thrown out the window in 2011 for the sake of a merchandise-influenced rendition of many prominent superheroes? If they want to add Cyborg to the League, that's find in itself, but changing continuity so cynically didn't do any favors for the title.
3. The Justice League has had three origins. The 1962 origin brought the team together to battle an invasion from the planet Appelax. The 1977 origin brought the team together to battle an invasion from Mars. The 2011 origin brought the team together to battle an invasion from Apokolips. (The second was adapted for the “Justice League” animated TV show, the third is being adapted in the movie.)
Not mentioned is Johns's bad writing in the Justice League tainting the third origin and making it hard to appreciate. When you have such bad scripting involved in the four color edition, it becomes awfully silly to make it the basis for a movie. If that's all Johns wrote the comics for, then his goal was entirely commercial, not altruistic.
6. Joss Whedon (“Avengers”) was brought on to finish “Justice League” after original director Zack Snyder resigned to deal with a family emergency. We don’t know yet what changes Whedon made, except that he reduced the movie’s running time from 170 minutes to 121 minutes. (Maybe he just removed all painful references to “Batman v. Superman.”)
Not if Ben Affleck is still cast as the Masked Manhunter. Let's remember the criticism he received for sexual harassment that's turned up in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, and of course, Whedon didn't do much better with his own philandering. For all we know, that could taint the movie, which wouldn't be good.
10. A 1988 story established Black Canary as a founding member of the Justice League in place of Wonder Woman. (This terrible idea was quickly dropped.)
I think I own a copy of that story from the Secret Origins anthology of 1986-90, and it wasn't as bad as they're claiming it to be. Mainly because it wasn't until the mid-to-late 2000s that DC tried to restore WW as a founding member, to no real artistic success, because of all the serious errors they've made since that time.
11. Cyborg first appeared in 1980 as a member of the Teen Titans. His history was re-written in 2011, erasing his Titans tenure in favor of being a founding member of the Justice League, instead of Martian Manhunter. (It’s not easy being green.)
And that's just the problem! Again, if they'd written he graduated to being recruited as a member of the JLA, that would've worked a lot better, but instead, they insulted everyone's intellect with crappy stories written by Johns that insult all the hard work crafted by better writers who made better use out of J'onn J'onzz.
12. When Wonder Woman lost her powers in the ’70s, she resigned from the Justice League. When her powers were restored, she demanded the League monitor her during 12 labors, like Hercules, to ascertain her worthiness to return. (Yes, it was her request, but it still feels sexist.)
Gee, what's so sexist about that moment in storytelling that wasn't so sexist about Identity Crisis? And it was in about 1969 WW lost her powers, and they were fully restored circa 1973.
13. In the mid-1980s, the League was headquartered in Michigan. “Justice League Detroit” consisted of Aquaman, Elongated Man, Martian Manhunter, Vixen and Zatanna, plus new characters Gypsy, Steel and Vibe. (It didn’t last long.)
Well gee, that's because it just wasn't considered the most exciting period in Justice history. I do vaguely remember George Perez once said he was bothered by the stereotypical accent Vibe was given by Gerry Conway, and that could've undermined the last 2 years of the League too.
16. Black Canary was created in 1947, so by 1983 DC was having trouble explaining why she still looked to be in her early 20s. So “Justice League of America” #220 revealed that the then-current Black Canary was actually the daughter of the original, kept in unconscious stasis due to her uncontrollable sonic scream while she grew up, and with her dead mother’s memories downloaded into her blank brain. (It’s considered polite to pretend this story never happened.)
But you can't, I'm afraid. Sure, I'll admit the whole retcon co-written by Roy Thomas was pretty awkward and embarrassing with its Oedipal touches, but if we act as though they'd never thought of it before, we won't be able to judge or learn from history, will we? The last line in the column says:
20. In 1994, a character named Triumph was revealed to have been a founding member of the Justice League, but on his first mission was teleported into a dimensional limbo that also affected the timestream, erasing all memory of him. (Got that? OK, now go back to forgetting him.)
Must we? I think it's honestly a shame DC had to foist Zero Hour upon the universe, and throw out some storylines that might've worked. Which, come to think of it, is just what this boring article is doing in turn. I think it'd be better to just forget this cruddy news item ever got published, because of how unobjective it truly is.

Update: while we're on the topic of the Justice League, this Breitbart entry says the signs are not looking good for the movie from a critical perspective, a fact Time Warner's apparently been trying to hide, but Metacritic's been willing to let be known. Well, I figured the signs could be looking dim for prospects, but the following week will let us know the overall verdict the public delivers.

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Monday, November 13, 2017 

It looks like Eddie Berganza is out of DC's employ

That's certainly what Bleeding Cool's sources are telling now:
Bleeding Cool has received word from multiple senior figures in the comic book industry that, as of today, DC Group Editor Eddie Berganza will not be returning to the comic book publisher. [...]

It was both this external media pressure and internal pressure from staff and creators, as well as concern from Warner Bros., that led to this decision, as well as the voices of others who hadn’t spoken out until the Buzzfeed piece. So we have been told that the suspension is intended as a precursor to dismissal.
Let's hope this is for real, because Devin Faraci, the scummy former movie writer for Alamo Drafthouse's website Birth-Movies-Death was reportedly still on their payroll at least until September. And why exactly did it take a notable news site to persuade them to give Berganza the boot, well after some of the women he'd troubled had already left their employ?

While we're on the topic, I also did a little research on Berganza's writing credits, and discovered he wrote at least one issue of the Titans franchise in 2008 (issue 23 of that volume), and most fascinatingly, one of the artists was none other than Ardian Syaf, the same disgrace who recently got canned at Marvel for injecting stealth references to the Islamic Koran along with antisemitism into the artwork. That story, among others Berganza apparently scripted, will probably gather dust on the warehouse shelves for at least a while, assuming DC's decided to stop reprinting a lot of his work now that it's tainted.

I also found a video interview Scott Lobdell conducted with Berganza during the 2012 Wondercon. Another man who's already confessed and apologized (not very convincingly though) for at least one act of sexual harassment himself. So that's an item that won't age well.

But now, who's going to take Berganza's place in editorial? So long as Dan DiDio's still there, along with Bob Harras, who apparently tolerated his mentality, there's no chance it'll be somebody inspiring.

Update: The Hollywood Reporter's given fuller confirmation Berganza was fired. Good riddance, but the troubles aren't over yet. Here's another report on Breitbart.

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Inverse recommends Punisher books to read before watching the new TV show

And wouldn't you know it, they're all very recent items, written mainly by far leftists, with little or no mention of the conservative-leaning contributors. First comes this line about his creator:
Originally appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man in 1974, the Punisher is the brainchild of Gerry Conway, who didn’t think much of his character until fans embraced him with wide-open arms. [...]
And he still doesn't think much of his creation, if his conduct of recent is any suggestion. In fact, it's not impossible there's leftist "fans" out there who don't think much of Frank Castle either, because of the perceived "right-wing" vision the character goes by.

When they turn to their list, starting with Punisher: Year One from 2009, they say:
...Abnett and Lanning’s Year One is all over the new Netflix series just as much as Garth Ennis, who arguably left the biggest bootprint in 21st century Punisher lore.
See, that's the problem. Ennis is one big leftist, and as such it figures these liberal sites would cherish him, because of the bizarre anti-war stance he injected in one of the MAX books he wrote. And on the Welcome Back, Frank story Ennis first wrote in 2000, they say:
...Released in 2000, the new series set the tone for the Punisher for the next two decades as it pretty much salvaged the Punisher after his popularity waned in the ‘90s.
Whose books they otherwise don't recommend, although, when they get around to the later volume of War Journal that was published at the time of Civil War, they do mention some of the writers of yesteryear:
Though Punisher had long inhabited a more “realistic” world than the rest of the Marvel Universe, War Journal put Frank in the middle of Civil War, where he shared panel space with none other than Captain America. War Journal does one bold thing with Frank, painting him in a relatively new light as a Captain America fanboy who maybe learned the wrong lessons of crime-fighting.

The title, War Journal, is lifted from another, equally influential 1988 series, The Punisher: War Journal, which ran for a whopping 80 issues and featured talents like Mike Baron, Carl Potts, Roger Salick, John Wellington, and even Jim Lee.
I notice they didn't cite Chuck Dixon, who'd been one of the writers during the latter end of the whole run. And if they couldn't list the original War Journal spinoff series per se, then they're not really recommending it, even though it's a lot better than what came later.

They also don't stress how offensive it was to depict Frank as a Cap fan who dresses up in his costume to dole out his own approach to crimefighting, making Frank look more like what today's liberals want him to be: a lunatic.

None of the books on the list are what I'd consider recommendable material. I'd rather recommend the books of the late 80s-mid-90s than what Inverse is pushing here. In fact, I'd figure them to be much better than watching the TV show.

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Sunday, November 12, 2017 

3 filmmakers working on comics projects turn out to be sexual harassers

The showbiz dominoes keep falling. Here's some news about at least 3 Hollywooders who worked on comics projects. First, as if it weren't bad enough the Supergirl TV series is already flooded with leftist politics, it turns out one of their producers has his own share of offenses just like Weinstein & Spacey:
Warner Bros. has opened an investigation into Andrew Kreisberg, the executive producer of some of the studio’s biggest DC Comics series after fifteen women and four men accused him of sexual misconduct.

“We have recently been made aware of allegations of misconduct against Andrew Kreisberg. We have suspended Mr. Kreisberg and are conducting an internal investigation,” Warners said in a statement late Friday. “We take all allegations of misconduct extremely seriously, and are committed to creating a safe working environment for our employees and everyone involved in our productions.”

Kreisberg’s work includes series including Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. [...]

Anonymous sources who spoke to Variety said Kreisberg would regularly touch people without permission, inappropriately kissed women, and asked for massages from female employees. They also claimed he would habitually make comments about people’s appearance and sexual desirability, adding that the Supergirl producer made the workplace feel “unsafe” and that he “scared people.”
The article also mentions Eddie Berganza was suspended on Friday following the Buzzfeed report. Not good enough. They should fire him altogether, and it's time for Dan DiDio and Bob Harras to get the heave-ho to boot. After all, they were some of the leading executives who covered for him years ago.

In more news on the same subjects, Bryan Singer, the X-Men movie director, also accused of sexual abuse, has come up in discussions again, and this time, it's reported that a student petition at USC's been presented asking for Singer to have his name removed from the study departments:
Sexual misconduct allegations against A-list Hollywood director Bryan Singer have resurfaced in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein fallout. On Monday, a petition was launched calling for calling for the removal of Singer’s name from the school’s Division of Cinema and Media Studies.

The petition, says the X-Men director’s name being tied to the USC School of Cinematic Arts “gives the impression that we, both as an institution and as members of the entertainment industry, value his financial contributions over the safety, respect and future of students. It sets a precedent of lenience for sexual criminals and further undermines the visibility and respect that victims of harassment and assault deserve.”

The USC School of Cinematic Arts said it’s taking the petition “very seriously.”

“We are aware of the Change.org petition and appreciate the concerns of our students and alumni,” the school said, according to Variety. “We want to assure them that we are taking this matter very seriously and are monitoring the situation.”
IIRC, it's said that when he was directing the first X-Men movie, he wouldn't allow any real comic books on the film sets proper. Doesn't sound like a true comics fan, and his offensive sexual conduct behind the scenes only makes it all worse.

Another director who also worked on at least one of the X-Men films, and served as a producer on the Wonder Woman movie, Brett Ratner, was exposed as a baddie:
Hollywood’s widening sexual harassment crisis has ensnared a prominent film director after six women — including actress Olivia Munn — accused Brett Ratner of sexual misconduct in a Los Angeles Times report on Wednesday.

Playboy Enterprises quickly distanced itself from Ratner as his attorney denied the allegations and late Wednesday Warner Bros. severed ties with the director, whose expired first-look deal with the studio will not be renewed, according to a person with knowledge of the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. [...]

Munn also complained about on-set behavior, alleging that while visiting the production of Ratner’s “After the Sunset” in 2004, he masturbated in front of her in his trailer. Munn described the incident, without naming Ratner, in a 2010 collection of essays.
After this news, WW star Gal Gadot's balked at starring in a sequel unless Ratner's distanced from the project.

I think this is why neither the Supergirl TV show nor the X-Men movies are going to age well. The former's already swamped with leftism, and at this point, one could figure leftist politics and sexual harassment go hand-in-glove after reading these scandalous reports.

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Saturday, November 11, 2017 

Buzzfeed covers the case of Eddie Berganza's sexual abuse acts

As the coverage of sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood continues, it figures the comic book industry would likely be the next place investigating journalists would visit, and Buzzfeed's just run a big item focused primarily on Eddie Berganza, whom DC never fired even after he committed several offensive acts:
Liz Gehrlein Marsham had been working at DC Comics for less than three weeks when she said a veteran editor named Eddie Berganza cornered her, stuck his tongue in her mouth, and attempted to grope her.

For Marsham, who was 29 at the time, a foot in the door of DC had been a dream come true. “I was so excited,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I ran around the office the first week taking pictures of things and sending them to my parents.”

But the six years after that 2006 encounter were a “period of slow heartbreak,” Marsham said. Berganza’s actions and DC’s response would change the course of her career — and become fodder for the rumor mill surrounding Berganza and the increasingly open secret of his misconduct. Marsham would be forced to choose between working under Berganza, who she said made her feel profoundly unsafe, or avoiding him at the cost of advancing the career she'd been so proud to start at DC.

“By the time I left,” Marsham said, “I was really demoralized. I was physically ill from being stressed all the time and trying to hide it. I just felt like I needed to get out, however I could.”

Within an industry that has created some of the most influential American fiction serving as the basis for blockbuster films, TV shows, and video games, Berganza has become notorious for the contrast between his personal conduct and professional success. Professionally, he’s moved through the ranks at DC from group editor to executive editor and back again, shepherding properties like Superman and Wonder Woman — properties that grow more valuable by the day as superhero movies dominate box offices and define pop culture. Berganza has become a quintessential company man at a big company inside an even bigger company; DC Comics is part of DC Entertainment, which is owned by Warner Bros., part of Time Warner Inc.

While Berganza’s misconduct is alleged to have occurred years ago, with no fresh accusations suggesting he continues this behavior, the recent reckonings of powerful Hollywood figures like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey have emboldened more victims across more industries to tell their stories. Now, for the first time, three women who say Berganza targeted them in the past have come forward to BuzzFeed News. Five people, including two of those women, confirmed that they spoke to higher-ups at DC about Berganza’s behavior.
Yet this article has a few faults, such as Dan DiDio and Diane Nelson's lack of mention. After all, they're pretty high up on the corporate ladder at DC, so they should surely have responsibility to shoulder for allowing Berganza to not only continue employment, but also to get enormous promotions. Why then don't they warrant mention, nor the former's own oversight of Identity Crisis, which could explain in part the initial tolerance for Berganza's perverted behavior?

It's worth noting that early in his career, one of the first books Berganza was assigned to edit was Green Lantern, at the time Gerard Jones was writing it, and earlier this year, let's remember, Jones was arrested for illegally storing child porn on his computer equipment, and suspicion of committing an even worse physical crime in Britain. Is that an eerie coincidence two scum worked together on the same books?

And while it's good Berganza's been exposed by a major news outlet, one has to wonder what the situation is over at Marvel. It was alleged some time ago that at least one employee for Marvel committed felonies, yet that appears to have been swept under the rug and not reported again for a long time now. Any chance Buzzfeed's willing to tackle the mystery of whether Marvel's protecting sex offenders like DC's executives have?

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Friday, November 10, 2017 

Sonny Bunch on Stan Lee's universe

Sonny Bunch, one of the editors for the Wash. Free Beacon, wrote in the Weekly Standard about Lee's history as a comics writer, and makes an interesting note in the following:
Reed Tucker’s Slugfest: Inside the Epic 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC tracks both sides of the most interesting era of the struggle for the soul of comic-bookdom. Featuring new interviews with a bevy of industry heavyweights, Tucker’s book is lively and engaging. He does a good job of capturing some of the confusion DC Comics—home of, among other superheroes, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman—suffered in the mid-1960s as it saw its market share slipping away to the upstarts over at Marvel. “So DC did what any big company does when facing declining sales and potential ruin: it called a meeting.” DC staffers pored over Marvel books, analyzing the covers, the colors, the logos, the word balloons, the art. Jim Shooter, who worked at DC as a teenager in the 1960s and would later go on to be Marvel’s editor-in-chief, recalled one theory his mystified DC colleagues aired: “They thought maybe the readers liked bad art because [Marvel’s was] crude, like a kid would draw. . . .‘Maybe we should tell the [DC] artists to draw worse.’ ”

DC didn’t get it because compared to Marvel DC has long been a more corporate entity, an organization that made as much revenue from licensing its iconic characters as from its creative storytelling. Plus, there was a generation gap. “DC’s brass grew up during the Great Depression, which had imprinted on them a respect for work and the firm that employed you,” Tucker writes. “In short, they were company men.” Ironically, that description will sound familiar to anyone who has read Batchelor’s book on Lee, who was himself deeply affected by the Great Depression and absorbed the ethic that a good job was worth tolerating all manner of crap, so long as you’re putting food on the table. That Lee transcended this limitation even as his enemies at DC struggled with it helps demonstrate just how special he was.
Maybe, but the problem is, if Lee began as somebody who believed in being a company man, he remains that way today, having lost direction in his old age and descended to the level of tool for the establishment, since he's never critical of anything they do, if at all, and his penchant for promotion's thus degenerated into a sad theater of the absurd. For example, if we take into account his sugary comments the other year about Nick Spencer's transformation of Captain America into a Hydra-nazi agent. That was a real low, and a sad demonstration in a nutshell of how far Lee's fallen if he couldn't gather up the courage to say Quesada/Alonso's steps were poor taste. Then, on the topic of DC/Marvel rivalry, Bunch says:
That rivalry continues today, but not on magazine racks. The comic book itself has devolved into a niche product aimed at a shrinking market; whereas bestsellers in previous decades would sell millions of copies, the highest-grossing titles today are lucky to crack into six figures. There are event-driven booms followed by individual title busts. The lifecycle of Marvel’s rebooted Black Panther series is instructive: Debuting atop the charts in April 2016 by moving more than a quarter-million units on the news that bestselling activist-author Ta-Nehisi Coates was writing the new book, the title’s sales dropped to just over 25,000 copies by this summer, and a Coates-written spinoff has been canceled.
I would've appreciated the above a lot more if guys like Bunch would lay the blame where it matters most, at the feet of Quesada/DiDio, clearly state how men like them have to shoulder blame for bringing the universes they're in charge of down to toxic levels, and insist they be distanced from the properties. Or, encourage people to boycott the companies until these sorry excuses for editors and publishers are taken off the list of staffers and they stop turning them into these enclaves for leftists. If you can't stand up for an art form by calling out those responsible for its decline, you're not championing it at all.

Since we're on the subject, it reminded me of some recent news about a student interview at Virginia Tech taken in 1977 with Lee (videos available here and here) where he had some odd things to say about DC's attempts to figure out Marvel's success overtaking theirs. His discussion included the following:
Lee said he and his staff had friends who worked for DC, and they would tell their Marvel pals how DC staff would have big meetings to try and crack why Marvel was moving more books.

"They studied our books, and they'd say, 'You know, I noticed they use a lot of red on their covers. Maybe that's it,'" Lee said in the vintage interview. "And they would start putting a lot of red on their covers. The minute we would learn of that, we would take all the red off our covers. And our books still sold better, and that would drive them crazy."

When the color theory didn't pan out, Lee said DC assumed Marvel's success must be linked to the abundance of dialogue bubbles on the covers, so Marvel did away with those.

"It never occurred to them that we take the work a little more seriously and maybe we have a little bit more of a sense of humor," he said. "And maybe people don't like things that are a little bit stuffy. They like things that are whimsical or humorous."
While I do admire Lee's past work, this honestly sounded superficial to me, and not very accurate if you look under a microscope. The period I estimate he was referring to was the mid-to-late-60s, and while there may have been a lot of red in some of their covers, they still had some to offer even within the span of 1966-69. Mainly because, while they may have changed Giant-Man's outfit to blue, they didn't exactly change the red in Captain America, Spider-Man and Wasp's outfits. There's also their own Capt. Marvel of the Kree to consider, whose costume was usually red to boot.

The claim he makes about word balloons on the covers is even more disputable, because well before 1961, DC already made copious use out of them on their own covers. In the beginnings of the Golden Age, most comics covers could have captions with exclamations on them, but rarely used dialogue balloons. But as time went by, you'd see they gradually began using more word balloons on covers of the Golden Age (Action Comics #77 is one of the earliest I could find), and in the Atomic Age to early Silver Age, there came more. I looked at some examples on the Grand Comics Database, and between 1953-65, DC had dozens of titles with at least one word balloon on the covers coming out every month. For example, Action Comics #182, #245, and #252 featuring Supergirl's debut, Brave & the Bold #5, Wonder Woman #65, the 105th issue of the Flash, continuing the numbering from where it left off in 1949, Green Lantern #11, and even Aquaman #14. In the early 70s, that's when they actually began downplaying word balloons on some of their titles like the early Swamp Thing tales. Not all covers from DC had the balloons, of course, some made do with just captions, but there you have it, they were using them well before Lee claims they got the idea.

So how could DC think word balloons had anything to do with Marvel's initial success when they were already long using them as well? It just doesn't make sense to me. Also, DC already had plenty of comedy and humor in their own books; the difference is that they relied on much more bizarre slapstick than Marvel actually used.

By contrast, I'm surprised Lee didn't get deep into whether DC fully understood the emphasis on personalities, personal problems and character interactions Marvel was specializing in. When I watched the videos, I think he brought it up, but it was rather vague. From what I know, DC did figure out that part sooner or later, and tried to duplicate Marvel's success. Results were mixed. Some writers working on books like Teen Titans did work this part out well enough. But others dealing with books like Green Lantern were not so successful, as the attempt to put Hal Jordan through a dilemma over Carol Ferris initially choosing another guy for her fiance demonstrated, after which he took different jobs other than airline piloting, and this led to a drop in sales for GL, which even Dennis O'Neil was unable to boost, leading to a 4 year cancellation after 1972, putting GL in Flash's book, before it was revived in 1976. How come Lee didn't make that a big subject? I don't get it.

So anyway, there's a bit more about Lee's history in publication, and how he commented on the topics with press sources, and again, it's a shame Bunch wouldn't get deeper into the subject and argue what's gone wrong and why the Big Two have to cut out their modern leftist agendas and social justice propaganda.

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  • 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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