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Sunday, December 01, 2019 

Character survival depends on merchandise?

As bad as Gail Simone can be today from a political perspective, she did recently tell an interesting tale from a gathering she once had with DC staff for story planning:


So according to her, a prominent writer, whose name should decidedly be known, saw no value whatsoever in Lois Lane, denigrated all the hard work begun by Siegel and Shuster, and seemingly believed a character's existence depends entirely on merchandise. You can see why Sue Dibny and Jean Loring were taken down so repellently in Identity Crisis, along with Jack Drake, father of the 3rd Robin, who may still be gone from DC continuity, even as the loathsome roach of a miniseries is no longer canon. Come to think of it, you can see why Dr. Light was turned into a rapist, something most of Superman's rogues gallery are unlikely to be changed into (though if memory serves, the Toyman was turned into a child killer at the time the Death & Return of Superman went to press, and slaughtered Cat Grant's son). That sure doesn't sound to me like a dedicated writer who believes in basing storytelling on merit. And what did the rest of the contributors she attended with think of the idea of offing cast members simply because they're minor?

However, Simone takes an awfully naive view of another certain writer:

This is laughable when you consider what bad steps Bendis did take, denigrating Scarlet Witch, Tigra, Jean Grey and a few other Marvel women at the time he produced Avengers: Disassembled. What's more, he did irritate Super-fans some time ago when he all but phased Lois out of Clark's life. It may be one thing to jettison the son, contrived and cynical as it was the way they did it, but Lois clearly has a lot more supporters, much like Mary Jane Watson, who were right not to take kindly to any bad steps Bendis made to drop Lois from the cast.

And whatever Simone's standing on a famous Superman cast member like Lois Lane, her politics in real life drain the impact from what she's telling now. I'm as big a fan of Lois Lane as the next, but I can't feel much admiration for a would-be comics writer with politics as reprehensible as Simone's got.

Still, I hope one day we'll learn who the mystery writer was at the gathering, and why he lacks faith in any fictional character to use for building stories around. A fictional character's longevity can't depend entirely on merchandise, even as there may be action figures manufactured based on Superman's leading lady on the toy market.

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