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Monday, October 28, 2013 

Greg Rucka acknowledges mainstream comics went bad, but not his own mistakes

Rucka was interviewed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal about writing career, discussing how female casts have fared, and they say his creator-owned work gives them better focus. While that may be so, there's one thing they don't nail very well:
...In his comic books and novels, women characters invariably come with fully formed, complex personalities and rich back stories, be they British spies (Tara Chace from Rucka’s “Queen &Country” comic/novel series), deputy U.S. marshals investigating murder in Antarctica (Carrie Stetko in Rucka’s graphic novel “Whiteout) or even a certain iconic Amazon (Rucka’s acclaimed run writing “Wonder Woman”).
I don't think so. Not by the time his run came to end, that's for sure. The run that featured more than a bit of sloppy leftism, was largely canned for the sake of crossovers like Infinite Crisis, and, in the worst contradiction to what the LVRJ says, featured WW breaking the neck of Maxwell Lord to free Superman from his mind control that forced the Man of Steel into a violent, potentially lethal rampage (in issue #219 of the 2nd volume). And how does Superman thank her? By condemning her for taking a life to keep him from possibly costing those of innocent people more defenseless than he. Even Batman betrayed her. No questions were ever asked about why Max was depicted so forced and out-of-character either, to the point where he'd take Blue Beetle/Ted Kord's life in the Countdown special. I don't see what's to acclaim about that. The story's title was "Sacrifice" and boy was it ever: much like Ted Kord, Maxwell Lord became one of many sacrificial lambs under editors who don't give a crap about character-driven storytelling, let alone recurring cast members. Max may have been resurrected a few years after, but it doesn't excuse the bizarre villification of WW for acting in defense of a guy in distress, the out-of-character rendition of Max notwithstanding.

Rucka went on to say:
There are excellent stories being told in comics today, he says, but comics also suffer from “a legacy of 80 years of incredibly bad stories.”
Why do I get the vibe he thinks a lot of older tales are bad, and is touting the newer output at their expense? Of course there are older items dating back to the Golden Age that were written in poor quality, but there were still a lot better stories to be told in those olden days. If he's dismissing the hard work of people who went to such pains to create all the products he had the pleasure of writing later on as baloney, I must shake my head in disapproval of his MO. And yes, of course there are good newer items to be found if you know where to look, but mainstream products for the most part have become very bad, in no small part thanks to Rucka too.
Also, Rucka says, the language of comics “is quite literally a visual language, and many people actually were never taught to read it. So they don’t know how to read a comic, but they can see the imagery, and the imagery itself in many cases is rightly pretty offensive.”
Yeah, including that ghastly panel where WW turns Max's neck 360 degrees. I believe Rags Morales was the artist for that one, and he's already proven himself even worse a leftist than Rucka.
Many mainstream comics “are sexist (and) they are over-the-top with their violence,” Rucka says, “and they’re not getting better at that.”
Nor did his work at DC, where he was one of the architects of Infinite Crisis, with one example being his reuse of the name OMAC, from a comic DC published in the mid-70s. I'll give him credit for acknowledging some of the biggest problems with mainstream superhero comics today. But if he can't take responsibility for his own contributions to the problem, then he hasn't accomplished as much as he'd want people to think.
Rucka’s resume includes writing for both Marvel and DC for a cast of characters that includes Batman and Superman. For several years, he also wrote a highly regarded run of Wonder Woman before DC let him go.

“One of my biggest regrets in my comic career was losing that job,”
Rucka says.
Would the other regret happen to be his participation in the Infinite Crisis crossover, plus the idiotic depiction of Superman, Batman and numerous other people in the DCU damning WW for trying to thwart danger, even if it came at the cost of the mind-controlling perpetrator?
He laughs. “It’s been 10 years, so I really have to get over it. But to this day it bugs me. I feel like when you get a character like that, like Wonder Woman, it’s a privilege. For all of the silliness — and there’s a lot of silly stuff — it’s a privilege to be able to write for an icon of that scope and power, and you want to honor that.”
He sounds like he's pulling the same stunt a mainstream paper could - implying superhero comics are inherently silly and childish, long after all the efforts made to prove otherwise. And what honor comes from tarnishing heroism, along with other people's childhoods?

In fact, isn't it a privilege to write less famous characters too? Third-tiers like Booster Gold, Jade, and the Atom? If I'd been offered the chance to write lower-rankers like them, that'd be an honor too. The whole point is how well you can write a story for any of them.
How does a writer approach a character — a Wonder Woman, a Batman, a Superman — that has achieved iconic status? First, says Rucka, “I tend to focus very strongly on character. I’ve always considered myself a character writer.”
He's also a pretty left-wing writer to boot, judging from his remake of Batwoman as a lesbian. It was pretty odd how, when originally introduced, the editors were reluctant to make use of his rendition of "Kate Kane", then all of a sudden, they spun at least 180 degrees and decided they would go so far as to launch an ongoing series that may not last much longer after editorial decided they wouldn't please the leftist diversity crowd the same way Marvel did with Northstar last year.
Then: Honor the character, but don’t be intimidated by whatever it is an audience may expect.

Rucka has found that “you cannot focus so much on the audience, because if you stop and think, ‘Wow, this character has a 75-year-old history and a lot of people are very invested in it,’ there’s a good chance you’re never going to do anything.

“I try to approach it with the clear understanding, at least from my part, that what I’m being offered is an opportunity to work on something much bigger than myself, and try to serve that character the best I can in the time you’ve been allotted.”
And we all saw how that worked out in the end, yet he's not brave enough to admit it. Besides, if he'd wanted to do "anything", he'd offer something right-wing pundits could appreciate too. But, he didn't.

Though he didn't name the companies directly, it'll be interesting to see if the big 2 will still give Rucka jobs after his statements. He'd do better to just concentrate on his privately owned concepts for now like Queen & Country, and not consider it a loss to no longer work for DiDio and Alonso. Too bad he couldn't own up and admit to the paper he made mistakes while he was still working there.

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Rucka's running Postmodern Comics Bingo.

"visual language"


"people don't understand"

"old stories bad"

"new stories good"

hack, hack, hack.

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