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Friday, July 18, 2014 

Jonathan Last sounds like he wants Archie comics destroyed

The Weekly Standard's pretentious columnist Jonathan Last addressed the impending "death" of Archie Andrews, and again gives signs just how unqualified he is to talk about the state of comicdom:
...it makes you wonder: Didn’t they get the memo at Archie Comics? Gay is yesterday. The future is trans! You have to wonder why the transphobic writers and artists at Archie are happy to include well adjusted homosexual characters, but have no room for trans-characters in their stories. It’s this sort of cis-gender bias which is holding back sales of comic books and keeping them in their ghetto subculture. It’s not like the character of Jughead hasn’t been silently signaling her true gender identity for years with her tiara. If only they’d be more inclusive.
If that's supposed to be funny, I'm not laughing. Their publishers could easily take that as an argument that they should start featuring transsexuality in as positive a light as they do homosexuality, and both subjects are pretty synonymous. It's bad enough how they've taken to glorifying homosexuality, but adding transsexuals whose lifestyles are depicted just as positively won't make things any better, nor will they encourage any parents to buy their books for their children. Despite what Last is insinuating, you can be sure Archie's staff is anything but opposed to transsexuality, and for as long as they're still around, they might proceed to explore just that (in fact, I think Gail Simone wrote a story involving a transsexual in Batgirl last year).
The lesson we can all take from this, I think, is that the people who run Archie Comics are small-minded bigots and that Archie got what he deserved.
Now just a moment here! I may not have been interested in their products in a long time, not since my childhood. But does that mean the redheaded star "deserved" having all this political correctness dumped on him and the rest of the cast? Of course not! This is just another invoking of the insane mentality of damning fictional characters rather than how they're written. It's enough to wonder if Last never really enjoyed reading comics in his childhood, and is so vindictive he's happy this is happening if that's what it takes to destroy the company altogether. But all he's doing is proving yet again why he was never qualified as a comics commentator. Would he say the same about Superman and Spider-Man getting what they "deserve" because their publishers could have been liberal too? Or that Richie Rich "deserved it" after Harvey Comics went out of business 2 decades ago? That's a very stupid thing to do, and fails to take into account the modern staffers who're truly responsible for reducing these famous creations into obscurity. One of the main culprits in the damage to Archie is publisher Jon Goldwater, whose parents/grandparents like John L. Goldwater, Louis Silberkleit and Maurice Coyne would surely be embarrassed if they saw how militantly leftist their successors became, betraying their tasteful, kid-friendly visions for the sake of modern PC. Shouldn't Last be criticizing the junior Goldwater for denigrating his forefathers' creations? Yet all he does here is tear down on their products while letting the real villains off the hook. The current staffers at Archie might be bigoted - that is, against conservatives and family values their predecessors used to respect - but that doesn't mean the creations they're in charge of should have to meet a miserable end just because the modern staffers have no respect for what's in their care. All that does is slight the original founders and make Last look as bad as the junior Goldwater.

And why doesn't he consider that by going along with this, Archie is throwing away any chance they have of regaining the family/children's audience that once made them a success? The real problem besides that is their failure to change the long outdated pamphlet format and switch to something bookstores would be more comfortable with like paperbacks. Yet they continue to inexplicably remain fixed on an outmoded model of business because of the widespread mentality that an insular business approach is preferable to one that pleases a general audience, and possibly because they think that's the perfect way to let loose with their politics.

While we're on the subject, Newsbusters found Goldwater's been promoting his leftist politics on two different TV/radio networks. On CBS, he said:
MASON: But a nearly 75-year-old comic book needs to stay relevant.

MASON (on-camera): Are you trying to make a political statement with this comic book?

GOLDWATER: No. Gun violence is too prevalent in this country, and we should do everything we can to prevent it. So am I making a political statement? Absolutely not. But should Riverdale be a safe and secure metaphor for every city in the United States? It absolutely should.

MASON: Goldwater insists it's not a sales gimmick. [...]
However, in an earlier interview on NPR, they said:
STEVE INSKEEP: The politician [friend of Archie] is a veteran, who is pushing for better gun control in Riverdale. The publisher of the comic books, Jon Goldwater, acknowledges that this end might seem a bit political.

JON GOLDWATER, ARCHIE COMICS (from phone interview): Frankly, we do have a point of view here.
So, why is he so timid about admitting he's making a political statement? I guess when Goldwater realized his slip of the tongue, he panicked and turned to the denial tactic instead during the next call he made. Also, that part from CBS about needing to keep "relevant" makes little sense if they can't specify how, or won't use a wider range of ideas than what they're heaping into their output already. It's a classic defense for using political correctness, and inability to accept simpler storytelling methods as legitimate. Yet Last ignores all this and can't bring himself to complain about how younger audiences are being distanced from comics that used to be great for them, even when they did deal with more sophisticated storytelling. If Last really cared, he'd be taking issue with the publishers and writers for their poor faith. Instead, all he can think of doing is resorting to the very tactics that help destroy good creations, by acting like they should literally be allowed to self-destruct as though they weren't good to begin with. IMO, that's not what a true fan should be thinking.

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Last was being sarcastic, not funny.

You have to admit that besides its adaptions of other franchises like TMNT and Sonic this company's never been one for headlines, even recently.

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