James Robinson has been rejected by a community he supposedly backed
Airboy issue 2 has just come out and it’s really transphobic. It has multiple instances where the protagonists use the T-slur, this is the same as using the N-slur, and Image Comics somehow thought this was OK to publish? The story doesn’t stop there, the abuse gets much worse. The protagonists are on a bender, getting wasted on drink and drugs with self loathing thrown into the mix. I could write that in a million ways, all of them not abusing anyone but the protagonists that I want to show abusing themselves. Instead this comic decided instead to punch down.Since the writer hasn't provided any statistical reports, there's no way to tell if that last part's honest and for real. California is a very ultra-liberal state (and so is The Mary Sue). But a lot of the other points are well taken, that this book is the pits, though not necessarily for all the reasons given. Robinson already made clear, in a way that sounds self-justifying, that this book would be wallowing in pure sleaze. And forcing David Nelson into a situation where he'd have sex with a transgender is as bad as pairing him up with that nazi agent called Valkyrie in some of the older comics, unless she reformed and defected to the goodies (and yes, I believe she did). All Robinson did was humiliate the character while simultaneously putting himself and the artist through a pointless charade.
The trans women in the club don’t speak, they function as sexual objects of the protagonists who are disgusted with themselves for finding the trans women attractive. In one scene we’re shown two of the three male protagonists getting oral sex in the club bathroom. Afterwards the comic shows us that the protagonists don’t feel good about having sex with trans women. This is playing into the idea that trans women are sluts, prostitutes, drunks and drug users, tropes that are inherently dangerous to trans women. It also clearly says that trans women are attractive, but that cisgender guys need to be wasted to have sex with them. It doesn’t stop there though, it gets worse.
Airboy has one last major punch for trans women, the trans panic trope. One of the three characters, Airboy himself, starts yelling at the other protagonists. He’s angry and disgusted that the woman he’d just been with had a penis, he’d not been told that he was with a trans woman. This is using one of the most dangerous tropes possible for trans women, one that has let men murder trans women and walk away perfectly free. This isn’t an exaggeration. The only state the trans panic defence has been barred from is California. This comic is perpetuating the trans panic trope and that’s vile.
The writer of this piece also says:
[...] And I’m utterly sick of cisgender guys saying ‘Oh this isn’t bad, I don’t see what the fuss is about.’ You can go to Twitter now and see leading comic creators saying exactly that. This lack of empathy and an attitude of ‘I’m alright so you should be’ is wrong. It’s really sad to see it coming from comic professionals.For heaven's sake, if any really did and she's mad, how come she didn't just cite some examples up front? I myself already thought the script sounded bad enough when Robinson bragged about it the other year, and after reading what somebody said on a prior edition of Chuck Dixon's message board about Robinson's writing styles, it got me to reevaluating his take on Starman even more than before. However, while the writer of the above entry on the Mary Sue didn't provide any details about creators she thinks defended this already pointless mess there, she did provide some info in the comments section on this other entry. For example, she said:
I schooled the author of Chew last night on Twitter on this topic, he responded with sarcasm. Mark Waid retweeted him in support.I guess that proves Waid isn't quite the homophile he wants everyone to think he is either. That's the leftist school of thought for you. If a right-winger's lacking empathy, that's bad, but if it's a left-winger, not so much in the minds of these men.
That said, thinking further about this topic, I have a strong hunch Robinson would never have made the same kind of disparaging remarks about male homosexuals and transgenders. Which suggests his comments on female transgenders in the mini stem from the same mindsets that produce standard anti-female sexism. It brings to mind how, in the past few decades, when I watched some TV crime dramas filmed since the mid-80s, it seemed like male homosexuals were often depicted far more favorably than lesbians were. You could sometimes see lesbians turning up as villainesses (I vaguely recall two stories like those in Hunter and Silk Stalkings), but how often were gays depicted the same way? Not often, I don't think, but I could be wrong. In comics, the relation between Mystique and Destiny was implied to be lesbian, and as anybody familiar with them knows, both these characters in X-Men were villainesses. But what are the chances you'd see a gay pair of criminals getting roles as big as Mystique and Destiny's? There never seemed to be one in the X-Men line, and if there hasn't been now, there probably will never be, since in the minds of these moonbats, women make far easier targets.
Back to Robinson, there's even been a few calls made for getting the Airboy miniseries yanked off store shelves, which, you could argue, runs the risk of censorship. What should really be done is to boycott it and not waste precious money and time over what already looks like a pointless sleazefest. Personally, I distanced myself from hacks like Robinson long ago, after I realized he's not so talented, nor is he respectful of the DC/Marvel worlds as he's claimed in prior times. After all, he was the one who also coughed out a story doing away with Lian Harper! I once owned the first trade collection of his Starman series, and once I might've thought it was impressive. But as mentioned, over the years, I took another look and began to reevaluate the book and concluded it had a problem with meta-commentary, and there's also several character deaths to consider, not the least being Ted Knight's at the end of the series, when he goes down along with the old Mist in a pyhrric victory.
Robinson made a statement trying to apologize where he says:
[...] As anyone who has read the first issue will know, this series is a semi-autobiographical piece of meta-fiction that shows me at a self-destructive and unhappy time in my life before I sobered up and entered a better place in both my work and the world as a whole. To illustrate this, I portray myself and my artist Greg Hinkle as two blithe idiots pin-balling through a succession of stupid and self-destructive actions, doing and saying stupid and thoughtless things. I intentionally portray myself in the worst light possible and as the worst kind of person.I don't see how that justifies taking other people's characters and humiliating their images in the process. Why kill off several characters in Starman and JSA? And why must the only way the female Mist can prove herself a menace be to kill off 3 Justice Leaguers? All Robinson (and Hinkle) has done is give hints this mini is more about Robinson than about Airboy per se. Furthermore, he already told CBR he doesn't see anything wrong with pot smoking, so I don't see what he's getting at now. Some of his past comments on Twitter only demonstrate why he still hasn't overcome self-destruction and unhappy feelings.
As a result, I can't feel sorry if he ends up shunned by the ultra-leftists he says he favors, not unlike how Joss Whedon was rejected by some feminists. I think a lot of the Starman run's gone out of print, and this whole controversy will only ensure it takes time till we see it again. Not that it matters much, because the 1994-2001 book's visions were decidedly overrated to start with.