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Monday, July 14, 2014 

Dan Slott puts words in a Jezebel writer's mouth

Slott recently came under indirect scrutiny by the women's magazine site Jezebel for the fanfictionish story he did in Inferior Dr. Octopus where Ock made love to Mary Jane Watson. In this article, where they also address the case of Rick Remender coming under attack by Capt. America fans, they say:
Tom Brevoort, an editor and the SVP of Publishing at Marvel, accused fans of "using rape" to further their "agenda." (I wonder if he's related to George Will?) [I happily stand corrected on the following point but am leaving it intact for transparency. Brevoort's objection was unclear and I had difficulty finding more information about this issue. To clarify: "Peter"/Doc Ock and Mary Jane did not have sex but some readers believed they did, thus Brevoort's comment. Original content begins here—He dug his disgusting hole deeper by using the example of the outcry over an issue of Superior Spider-Man where Mary Jane believes she's having sex with Peter Parker, but is in fact bumping uglies Doc Ock in Peter Parker's body (COMICS, everybody). You know what that is? That's rape. MJ consented to sex with Peter Parker, and thats NOT the man she was having sex with. When you impersonate another person in order to have sex with someone, that is rape (though only if they're married, in the state of California)]. Further posts reflect his sincere belief that most of the people complaining haven't read the issue in question (I have, for the record). He genuinely seems to believe that this is just because of some "haters" while continuing to espouse the thought that rape is a serious issue...just not serious enough to understand that while what happened in CA #22 may not have been statutory rape, it may have been rape anyway, and is certainly problematic especially within the context of Remender's other work. But that's ok because he's very respectful, guys.
My thoughts exactly, as noted before. What Slott - not mentioned in the article, but who counts as one of the guilty parties - wrote in that futile charade could also be construed as sexploitation. But after this was published, Slott tweeted:

What retraction? I looked and couldn't find one anywhere, so Slott's just blowing smoke to self-impress his smug ego. It's just like him. Just because he wasn't mentioned directly doesn't mean they aren't criticizing him, and anybody who puts 2 and 2 together will realize he was the scripter of the issues. Slott also wrote a post where he condemns rape, but doesn't apologize for his dreadful fanfic (nor does he take issue with DC for publishing Identity Crisis in 2004), so his argument has very little impact. I did, however, find a few reader comments worth pondering, such as:
As an artist in the industry I openly long for the days when the writers of comicbook superheroes STOP writing comics for themselves and start writing comics for kids again.

Must every ounce of fun and innocence be sucked out of the superhero genre?
These days Marvel and DC (especially) are hell bent on crafting their characters to appeal to an audience who would rather be thought of as 'deep' and 'mature' so that the inevitable movie can also make the audience feel like they are watching something just as high brow as they think they are. So our movie Superman just can't be a guy from Kansas with superpowers who is committed to use his abilities to help mankind. He has to be some brooding loser who was raised by a cynical asshole of a father who would actually suggest it might be better to let innocent children die to avoid revealing his secret as a super powered alien.

We have this 'controversy' because we have a writer who felt it was important to give us a peek at the sex life of Sam Wilson. And we have an editor who saw merit in this aspect of the story and thus it appears in the comic. I'm willing to bet Sam and Jet having sex really has no bearing on the total story. I'm willing to bet that if you removed the panels that gave us this 'controversy', the story wouldn't change much at all. This self serving need to make DC and Marvel superheroes 'edgy' and 'mature' and 'gritty' and (my personal favorite) grounded in reality (ugh) is slowly dissolving what makes the idea of superheroes special in the first place.

The fact that many of the people responding to this 'controversy' are doing so with threats of rape and violence further illustrate that this industry is appealing to the wrong sensibilities.
Yes, he's got a point. Again, we have an alarming case of nastiness that's hurting the medium's reputation, and superhero comics in general. And then, there's this comment:
I am so happy to see this. It's been such a disheartening week to love comics, where the wagon-circling impulse amongst creators has led myself and many of my friends to drop our pull lists like crazy. I've literally gotten into pages-long arguments in the comments sections of articles with actual writers where they have called this a 'lynch mob' of a 'real flesh and blood' man while ignoring the effects of misogynist and racist writing on their fans and their own misogyny afterward people who effectively said —and have been saying, less dramatically *for over a year* please stop being so sexist in your book; it's really problematic.

And for those months, no replies, no interest, and no clarification on text or off of Jet Black's age, but her age was one problematic issue in an entire book suffused with misogyny. Then you add into that the brew of stereotypes concerning Black male sexual predation, and look at the frame setting up the sex scene in Sam's apartment (NAACP magazines on the table, jazz poster on the wall) and it's like you've got your pick of which nasty little Choose Your Own Adventure you want: MRA "was it *really* rape?" narrative or "biad Black man taking advantage of young sexually inexperienced white women and encroaching on white male sexual territory"? Both of those narratives have ugly histories that hurt real people.

In this run alone, Remender rewrote Cap's mother, previously described as the pillar of his childhood, as a graphically-depicted victim of domestic abuse, then showed STEVE ROGERS, CAPTAIN FREAKING AMERICA, the closest thing the Marvel universe has to a paragon, as identifying and sympathizing with the abuser. He fridged Sharon Carter, a long running and complex character in her own right, and to this point, has shown no one mourning her as an individual, rather than as *Steve's* loss, He created in Jet Black a female character whose powers "required" her to be nearly nude, for reader objectification purposes, and kept her age completely ambiguous, despite months of loud reader discomfort and protest, which he cannot have been unaware of, and THEN this. Then he, and the rest of the white male defense league have the gall to act like he is somehow a victim of this? Come on—there were issues of titillating scenes of her angsting over her impure thoughts for Captain America while readers were still saying for the love of god, is that really a teenager? And then he age-dropped her right before the point of no return. This was absolutely the straw that broke the camel's back, and it's been coming for months.
Seriously? Remender tarnished Cap's background that sickeningly, right down to his mother's status? Jack Kirby and Joe Simon would be spinning in their graves if they found out. As if that weren't bad enough, I also found a few panels from 3 issues that reveal some grave examples what Remender's style is like. For example from Captain America 8:
A character gets shot through the neck. Cap's series may be perfect for mature issues, but graphic gore of this kind is decidedly submerging very low. Then, from the 10th issue:
That's where Sharon Carter was wiped out again, for no good reason. And then, from the 11th issue:
Is this serious? Remender and his artist depict Steve Rodgers keeping nazi and communist memorabilia hung on the wall of his loft as though it were something to admire? Well...this is really sinking below rock bottom, and is downright disturbing. But it's not solely the writer's fault. It's also the editor's, and whoever greenlighted this stupefying betrayal of what Steve stands for should be boycotted along with Remender's work. It's not merely a matter of firing writers when the editors and publishers have to shoulder some blame too. What the detractors should really be calling for is a boycott, and vote with their wallets. How that never occurs to anyone is beyond me. And Slott's defending this awful bungler? Shameful. What would Kirby and Simon have to say about this?

Slott also said:

Look who's talking! He'd be advised to ponder his own words and comprehend why it pays to have a mirror present, because he was the one who downplayed repellent trolling online, and seems to have forgotten. And then, there's that little matter Jezebel's contributor brought up...

Remender may not have depicted Falcon as a statutory rapist, but he still turned out a very bad story all the same, and coupled with his hack work in Uncanny Avengers, I'd say he's one of plenty modern writers whose offerings are worthless, and even if not guilty of one accusation, still has other misdeeds on his record that make him one writer we should all keep a distance from, much like Slott.

The lesson here is: vote with your wallets, because that's the only way the editors/publishers will get the message.

Update: oh, I almost forgot. Look what else Slott said in conversations:

He thinks anti-male sexism and anti-white racism is trivial? Tsk tsk. He got some interesting responses:

And, as we've learned here, that includes Slott, who's white too. There's more:

Yeah, that's Slott alright. Not willing to admit he concocted a tasteless fanfic gimmick.

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There was no retraction, but in Slott's fantasy world, everyone else is wrong and he's right.

Either CA #22 was clumsily written, failing to make it clear that Jet Zola was an adult, or the ambiguity was intentional, to stir up controversy, and therefore publicity. Either way, it doesn't speak well for Remender's writing, or for the editor who failed to correct it, or for the publisher.

And now, Steve Rogers' mother was a victim of domestic violence? And Bruce Banner was abused as a child, Henry Pym is a wife-beater, Tony Stark is an alcoholic, and Billy Batson is a street punk.

Today's "creators" are so neurotic and dysfunctional themselves that they can't even grasp the concept of sanity or normality.

LOL ... yeah, where the hell is the "retraction?"

Slott really IS delusional.

"You've got the bigger slice of pie."

What's this "you" garbage? Slott is whiter than an albino juggling eggs in a blizzard. He also has a hell of a lot more money than quite a number of white guys, so who is he to lecture.

"You can take it."

Strong words from someone who throws a hissy fit every time he gets criticized (indirectly or otherwise).

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