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Thursday, January 30, 2014 

James Robinson turns Airboy into a crude fanfic

Robinson continues to put his love for Golden Age products under a question mark with a new take on Airboy that sounds like a Mary Sue fanfic where he writes himself into the proceedings:
With a tender yet vulgar touch, Robinson's latest work explores the ideas of obscurity and what it means to be a creator. Fueled with drugs, booze and sex, Robinson and Hinkle are transported into Airboy's world where he fights Nazis and protects America -- except he has no idea that people aren't reading him anymore.

After Robinson left the stage at Image Expo 2014, he sat down with CBR News to share more about his uniquely meta comic and how it isn't just a book about wild debauchery, but also a story with heart (along with the drinking, drugs and sex).
It sounds very unappealing already. Why does he think alcohol and drug chugging make for a great story?
CBR News: On stage, you mentioned that the themes for your new book "Airboy" are "drink, drugs, and indiscriminate consensual sex." Is there more?

James Robinson: That will definitely be a theme that runs through the book, the monumental excesses that Greg and I get up to while we are attempting to come up with ideas for this character that we, at first, have no affinity for. We do enough drink, enough drugs and enough sex that we begin to enter Airboy's dimension and talk with him and experience life from his perspective.
And what's that supposed to mean? That they have to drink and chug drugs in order to magically enter his world? Or that Airboy's life is twisted beyond belief? The headline for this article says Robinson's "up to no good" with Airboy. Do they realize that's actually correct?
It sounds like it would be pretty easy to take these characters that were once very sincere and serious and pull them across the irony threshold to become a laughable caricature -- but it doesn't sound like you and Greg are doing that. It sounds like you're taking him seriously and treating his emotional reactions about his relevancy in the world with dignity.

You take someone like Batman, who has changed and evolved over the decades. If they'd stopped publishing "Batman" at the height of the Dick Sprang stories he would've been quite a campy, silly character, fighting villains on giant props and all of the things back then that Batman was known for. I could see how you could poke fun at that, too, but you see how a character can evolve when it grows with the culture who reads it. For today's reader, Batman is a very sophisticated character and you can add that sophistication if you want to. With Airboy, the idea of this young man that finds himself in our world when he was fighting to keep it free from fascist tyranny, and we haven't really changed for the better. Those are the questions we've been asking.
It all depends what stories we're talking about that make Batman a sophisticated read. The Golden Age stories could qualify, and so too can Denny O'Neil's and Steve Englehart's. But if Robinson were doing the writing today, no way. And how shameful of CBR to suggest he's treating Airboy with dignity.
What has Airboy been doing since he last appeared in comics?



He's just been in his world, fighting Nazis and thinking everything is fine. We take him on a drinking tour of San Francisco; the gays in the Castro think he's adorable. You know, he's got to experience all of [our world] before it drives him crazy and he has to go back to his world -- and we go with him.
This is pretty shameful too, and creepy. Again, Robinson opens the floodgates of politically correct sleaze, and I don't understand how he can think "everything's fine" if nazis are on the loose. Indeed, that's the most insulting part of his whole statement, acting as though dealing with issues like nazism (or jihadism, for that matter) is something totally fun. Absolutely not. It's a very dark, repulsive subject.
With all of the mayhem, do you think it will follow the same trajectory as "Sex Criminals" in terms of availability through Apple?

I'm sure Apple won't let it through. It'll be a challenge. And, you know, there is a real heart to it, it's not just us living this excessive life, there is an emotional thread running through it -- but no one wants to hear that. They just want to hear about the sex and drugs.
Obviously, this'll be a lot more adult than Charles Biro's Golden Age tales from Hillman Enterprises or the modern ones published by the now defunct Eclipse Comics, one of the first comics Chuck Dixon wrote when he began his career in the mid-80s. In fact, on Dixon's board, the reaction was negative, and I believe the following replies say something worth pondering:
There was a lot of talk about how much he loved the Golden Age heroes, but he certainly killed off a whole lot of them, I noticed.
And:
...maybe he loves them as cannon fodder? Seriously. He seems to share Geoff Johns' love of slaughtering characters, but maybe Robinson feels that no one really cares about the Golden Agers so he can get away with more than he could if he were writing current heroes. That actually casts both The Golden Age and Starman in a slightly different light. I'm starting to think that maybe nothing happened to Robinson - maybe we've just wised up to his schtick.
I think there's a valid argument here. After all, Robinson's Starman series began with the death of a character - David Knight - at the hands of a marksman. And David, son of Ted Knight, first appeared 4 years before in the series starring Will Payton, making him a character who could have become a worthy recurring cast member in the DCU turned into cannon fodder instead. The JSA series (he co-wrote the first several issues) began with Golden Age Sandman Wesley Dodds committing suicide to keep a villain from mashing him to a pulp. That may not sound as bad as being murdered, but still amounts to a hero dying a rather unnatural, unpeaceful death. And let's not forget his degrading Cry for Justice miniseries that killed off Lian Harper, and even had a cameo by the corpses of the Three Dimwits (their names are Winky, Blinky and Noddy), the comedy relief trio originally seen in the Golden Age Flash tales.

The 1994-2000 Starman series was also notable for retconning Mikaal Tomas, the Bronze Age protagonist who took the name, into a gay humanoid who had homosexual relationships, and the storyline where the Mist's daughter drugs and rapes Jack Knight, and she later gave birth to their child. The ultra-nostalgic view it took could've been a flaw, yet not as much as the shock tactic. I think I can see where Johns drew his "inspirations" from.

The more I think about it, the more I figure it's possible many people were misled by Robinson and didn't realize the wool was being pulled over their eyes until now. But at this point, it's pretty apparent he has degenerated into a terrible sleazebag writer whom we could all do without.

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This just sounds disgusting. I don't even want to check out Starman now if this is the kind of sleaze he's going to introduce to comics.

I always love how these writers claim they're fans of characters... but kill them off.

I certainly have my issues with Robinson, and 'Cry for Justice' was repulsive from beginning to en, but you rather lost me when you talked about his having Mikaal Tomas not be strictly heterosexual as if that's a bad thing ... I actually considered that a plus for the character (who, really, was SO disco).

Such A Great Blog........

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I don't know why you keep getting mad at Captain Comics, he's nothing but a front man regurgitating info from his superiors after all.

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