MSM screwball sides with SJWs against WW's traditional costume
The "Big Three" at DC Comics -- Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman -- are getting new looks in June. But it's the Amazing Amazon who's getting all the attention.Uh uh. Even Supes and Bats are getting some, but he'd rather the general public think otherwise.
Before the inevitable jokes about how women like to change their outfits, let's look at the boys first:The reasons shouldn't be that hard to guess: the editors wanted to do it for the sake of their tedious ideas for how to depict the Man of Steel even without his powers. But you can't expect somebody who's long been in the tank for the higher echelons of DC/Marvel to admit that.
In this month's Superman books, the Metropolis Marvel is losing his super-powers for reasons unknown. He travels to his Arctic fortress for help, but the A.I. that runs the place doesn't recognize him any more -- and reclaims the Kryptonian super-suit. Left with few other options, the not-so-Superman begins fighting bad guys in jeans and a T-shirt.
That's quite a comedown. But don't worry -- it's inevitable that the Man of Steel's powers will return, at least before the next movie. In the meantime, though, what's really off-putting isn't the outfit -- it's the haircut. Supes has lopped off his spit-curl and adopted a buzz-cut. What, is he a Marine now?Well actually, that's a rather fitting rejection of these uninspired costume changes that don't equal good storytelling. But it'll be more convincing if the readers don't put their money down on the counter for these cruddy substitutes for entertainment. However, when Wonder Woman comes up, Smith proceeds to say:
Plus, it just doesn't look like Superman.
Meanwhile, over in Gotham, Batman and The Joker disappeared in final combat in May in the caves that honeycomb the city's foundation. With the Dark Knight presumed dead, the city has created its own Batman: Ex-Police Commissioner James Gordon, sporting a high-tech battle-suit that would make Iron Man envious.
Again, we know that at some point Bruce Wayne will return. This is comics; the status quo never changes for long. But again, it's not the idea that's bad -- it's the execution. Gordon's armor makes him look like a big, shiny, blue rabbit. The title of the book is "Batman," not "Robo-Bunny."
Plus, it just doesn't look like Batman.
You'd think these dramatic sartorial changes would result in howls of outrage. But the online reaction has ranged somewhere from "Ho-hum" to "Meh."
But, boy, if a superheroine changes her outfit, the Internet cracks in half!Oh for heaven's sake. If it really matters, I too can say that Superman's new look is truly awful and a huge insult to Siegel, Shuster and fans. Some of whom I'm sure remember the electro-Superman outfit from 1997, but would rather forget, most certainly if they thought the stories it was seen in were terrible. And throwing regular Batman out for the sake of a mecha-Batman is also an insult. I could also say the new WW outfit is yawn and snooze inducing, and just simply "meh" and "ho-hum" because there's no chance the stories coming will be worth the effort either. Let's remember that David and Meredith Finch recently turned out some WW stories that were panned. I think he should quit implying all fanboys - and fangirls - are inherently bad. It certainly doesn't work for somebody as pretentious a columnist as Smith's long been, and he proceeds to make things worse when he says:
Wonder Woman's new ensemble isn't terribly different from her old one. The biggest change is that it shows a lot less; there's a black body-suit that covers her from shoulders to boots, with a variation of her usual outfit over it, so that everywhere you used to see skin is covered in black. Oh, and she has pointy (and presumably retractable) metal things that jut out of her famous bracelets.
Naturally, fanboys went berserk on the Web, calling it everything from a crime against tradition to a personal insult. That's to be expected; there's a reason why "troll" has returned to the modern vocabulary.
After all, tradition really can't apply when Wonder Woman has gone through so many outfits in her 70-plus years of existence. Her first costume made little sense; a girl from an ancient Greek culture appeared on our shores decked out in essentially a red-white-and-blue swimsuit instead of, say, a toga or Spartan armor. The in-story reason was that she wanted to appear friendly by adopting our colors, but the real reason was that her debut was in the fall of 1941, and within months the U.S. would be embroiled in World War II. Patriotism was a must in comics in those days, no matter where you were from.Okay, this is getting pretty bottom of the barrel already. Is there something wrong with taking special liberties with the Greek mythologies William Marston was drawing from? The Amazons in the ancient tales were a hostile bunch, and it was even written that they would cut away their right or left breast, because this supposedly would make it easier to use archery or throw a spear. Should Marston have kept those parts of the ancient tales too? Because Brian Azzarello shoved some of those ideas into his post-Flashpoint take on WW, and made it truly awful.
I'd say it was far better to make the Amazons a much more politer, intelligent group as was first done in the Golden Age, and the red/white/blue costume was quite fine as well. What's wrong with Marston and company using their imaginations to be creative and flattering, turning out something considerably better?
The star-spangled culottes in that initial outfit became shorts, short-shorts, bike-riding shorts, superhero briefs, hot pants and more over the years, while her boots and red bodice went through similar mutations. And in 1968 the Amazon Princess lost her powers, chucked the uniform altogether and went through a "Diana Peel" phase, dressing mostly in white jumpsuits.And some that were far less inspired than the white jumpsuit, which, unlike this rather obvious step by today's DC publishers, wasn't so forced. What's that supposed to mean a "variation"? It was more or less the same costume as the original Golden Age creation! And most of what followed never tried to make her outfit more practical in every sense. Smith fails to note that Gloria Steinem, of all people, campaigned for the restoration of the traditional costume and powers when Ms. magazine was launched in the early 70s. Today, I'm not sure there's many like her who'd do the same.
Tradition? Hah! Sure, Wonder Woman eventually returned to a variation of the original costume in the 1970s, but she has donned innumerable outfits since -- some recognizable, some not.
Smith makes matters worse when he starts attacking some of the artists and writers critical of the practical outfit for WW:
So the pearl-clutching from Internet posters wasn't really convincing or surprising. What was surprising were comments from some professional comics creators.
In a Facebook post, writer/artist J. Scott Campbell ("Gen13," "Danger Girl") criticized the new uniform's metal shoulder pads which he said "NEVER look good on women." He continued with, "No grace to this approach at all," and "on a side note, I find the continued knee-jerk reaction to Internet message board critics demands to keep female heroines covered from head to toe an overreaction."
Campbell also tweeted his idea of a new costume for Wonder Woman ... which to this fanboy looked a lot like the old one, only with a really cute, petite Wonder Woman in it who looked about high school age.
Now, Campbell has removed his post and tweets, so I give him the benefit of the doubt. He probably popped off, maybe semi-seriously, and then thought better of it. I only mention his comments here because A) they're easily found via Google, so they will never die, and B) a number of other artists responded with their own criticisms of the outfit, artists I won't name here (but again, the Internet is forever).Excuse me? I'm not so sure Campbell actually erased those Facebook comments he made, because it was on his personal page, not the special fanpage he's also got set up, and that access is apparently restricted to login. Last I looked, his messages on the thread by Rob Liefeld are certainly still around, and I hope he stands firmly by them. In any case, this was not Finch per se they were criticizing. It was editors/publishers who may have mandated this move, and maybe even the writer should be held accountable. It's not wrong for one artist to disagree with another's ideas, but that wasn't really the case here.
I was stunned that pros would put their names to criticism of the work of a fellow professional (in this case new "Wonder Woman" artist David Finch). It's equally surprising that they'd criticize a major publisher for whom they, presumably, would like to work for some day. Whether these comments will be overlooked I can't say, but I don't expect any will win "co-worker of the year" any time soon.
And I suppose it's wrong for Campbell et al to criticize DC/Marvel if they don't agree with their modern MO? As it so happens, Campbell and several other artists/writers did once work for DC in some form or other (Danger Girl was originally published under a Wildstorm imprint called Cliffhanger before it was transferred to IDW), and for all we know, they might've grown disillusioned because of all the editorial mandates that could've affected creator-owned properties too. I think Erik Larsen, awful as his politics are, quit working for them because Kevin Dooley was proving one of the worst editors they've had, making last-minute changes Larsen couldn't stand. From what I've seen him saying, it's not too hard to guess he's in no hurry to work for them again (but so long as he sticks by bad leftist biases, it won't matter much anyway), and neither are most other creators in-the-know about how awful DiDio's made it there, and how awful Quesada made Marvel.
Worse yet are the ones who went beyond criticizing Princes Diana's fashion choice, and assumed the new costume was the result of pressure from a highly organized, sinister cabal of liberal feminists who are undermining their right to draw half-naked women with bodacious ta-tas. The fact that "fan service" -- as the depiction of scantily-clad girls is called -- is so important to these artists is pretty tacky all on its own. But to assume that someone is out to get them for their peculiar tastes -- with zero evidence -- tops this slutty sundae with a healthy dollop of paranoia.Has this dummy read sites like the Mary Sue? Because if there's any source really giving feminism a bad name, it's them, and they attacked Campbell too. Smith's use of the word "slut" is disgusting, and brings this down to a very low level. There are differences between "sexy" and "slutty", and he's running the gauntlet of making Campbell and his ilk out to be perverts without providing any clear balance. It hasn't always been called "fan service" either; there was once a time when "good girl art" was a term used to describe illustrations of hot women. Also important to note is that neither Campbell nor other artists like Frank Cho have depicted their lady cast scantily clad in all situations. There have been Danger Girl stories where the trio adventured in snowy regions and had to wear winter coats.
And say, wasn't this the same Andrew Smith who, in 2004, wrote at least 3 asphyxiating columns praising Identity Crisis? Who practically spoke in a whimsical tone about how Sue Dibny had been "raped by a supervillain" yet never said a word about how it was an anal rape presented in a near 1st person perspective? So according to Smith's twisted vision, "fan service" featuring scantily clad babes is wrong. But screedish stories where sexual abuse is featured only as a plot device are allowed. Just who does he think he is then, telling artists far more respectable than he is that their styles are "slutty"? He should be throughly ashamed of himself. Not only does his column risk making a baddie out of Campbell, it also ignores any and all women who have no issues with his style of artwork, Joyce Chin included. Even Gail Simone, galling as her far-left politics are, hasn't been seriously negative towards such styles.
I won't say Campbell hasn't made mistakes in his career, or that the book he's turned out don't have questionable content. I do think he's making a big error by drawing covers for Marvel at a time when they've been reduced to shambles by Quesada and Alonso. But as far as I know, he's a pretty decent, respectable fellow who hasn't sunk to the same levels as Dan Slott and Tom Brevoort have, and to date, I've never noticed him supporting the tripe written by the Meltzers, Johns' and Bendis' out there. That's why I honestly wish he wouldn't work for Marvel even as a cover artist, mainly because, what's the use of letting good art be wasted on bad scriptwriting? Similarly, why waste good scripts on bad artwork? I'd strongly recommend Campbell look to see if Dynamite, Image, IDW, Dark Horse and the revived First Comics (which recently formed a partnership with Devil's Due) have something he could work on instead, where his talents will be put to more positive use. Suppose the new First/Devil's Due wants to try writing more adventures for Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton's E-Man again? (I own the first issue of the second series from 1983, and a trade collection is supposed to be released soon.) I'd say Campbell's talents would be a perfect fit for drawing Nova Kane. But so long as DC and Marvel are run by awful moonbats, there's no point in talented creators lending their talents for use at the Big Two.
That having been said, let me knock myself off my moral high horse by noting that I don't care for the new outfit either. No, I'm not lamenting the lack of nudity or cleavage. I just find it kinda cluttered. The layering effect would make sense if Diana was going to be hanging out in Chicago in winter, but she isn't, so it seems constricting and hot (in the temperature sense). And all the doodads -- the bracelet blades, the shoulder pads, the seams everywhere -- looks busy and pointlessly complicated. It's like somebody took two or three outfits and threw them together ... or as some of the critics suggested, an outfit made by committee.Well in that case, why put down the traditional costume and imply Campbell and his ilk are all just some kind of pervs? Reading this, I get the feeling he did read The Mary Sue, whose editor, Jill Pantozzi, said she wasn't a big fan of the new look either, but went along with it anyway by showing no opposition beyond that, and was pretty hostile to Campbell too. And chances are the outfit certainly was made by committee, so it's not like Finch was the sole scapegoat. The artists who criticized the new look never even panned Finch directly; their displeasure was leveled against the editors/publishers who were mandating this in the first place. The pop-out blades attached to the bracelets are also unnecessary, and too much like Wolverine's claws.
And it just doesn't look like Wonder Woman.
Still, no worries. Like with Batman and Superman, this too shall pass. Someday Wonder Woman will once again be squeezed back into the star-spangled swimsuit.As far as I know, she's wearing her traditional costume in the JLA titles. But what if even that's tossed out? What if this new nonsense ends up becoming the norm? That's why people who really like the creations have a right to voice their displeasure.
But at least for a little while, she gets to wear pants!She was already drawn with pants a couple years back, and nobody liked that design either because of how forced it was even then. For now, Smith has again proven himself a disgrace. His comments on Campbell could also be harmful to accomplished artists like George Perez, and even late veterans like Nick Cardy, Will Eisner and Dick Dillin, who had some pretty flattering designs of their own.
Lost in all this mess is whether the stories in themselves are even worth reading, or if the SJWs making these petty complaints about costumes are even reading the books, practical outfits or not. That the stories aren't worth the paper they're printed on is pretty apparent, and judging by how low the sales are, I'd say it's a forgone conclusion many SJWs aren't even reading the books no matter how placating the publishers become. As some of the comics creators who've been through this experience may realize, the SJWs attacking them work under the same mindset as the anti-GamerGate crowd, and Anita Sarkeesian's MO isn't all that different from Fredric Wertham's. If the SJWs really have such a problem with beauty in entertainment, one has to wonder if they really were ever against Wertham's positions? My guess is, they probably weren't.