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Thursday, April 16, 2015 

Chris Sims even made one-dimensional put-downs of Hawkman

The charlatan from Comics Alliance may be keeping out of sight for now (honestly, he should retire altogether, for all I care), but prior to his leave of absence, he wrote at least one more sloppy little rant where he belittles Hawkman, while making cases against shared universes for superheroes. I could probably overlook that argument, but I cannot and will not overlook this:
For starters, with a large enough universe and an equally large roster of characters, it inherently makes an individual character less special. This is the argument that I always go to with Hawkman to talk about why he’s terrible: Even if you boil him down to the bare (and bare-chested) essentials, he’s a dude whose sole defining trait is that he can fly. The DC Universe already has a dude who can fly, and he doesn’t even need a set of wings and a complicated backstory about being a reincarnated space pharaoh to do it. Thank you for bringing the mace and all, but that position is filled.
Carter/Katar's terrible, and not the scriptwriting? Goof number one. Number two is his failure to acknowledge Carter's maces, which Katar could use as well, nor any of their other hand-held weapons like swords, crossbows, quarterstaffs, shields, occasional guns, let alone their fists and feet. I take it Sims didn't understand that Hawkman's mace-handle broke while fighting Superman in the picture he posted that may have come from Justice League of America #200? Wait a second, I get it! He must've looked at the picture and concluded Hawkman and Superman are only good for disco-dancing! Well, in that case, roll out the electric guitars, turn on the neon light bulbs and glitter-balls, and let's rock!

But seriously now, let's turn to another paragraph he wrote about Martian Manhunter:
Really, it’s the same thing that I was talking about with regards to the Martian Manhunter a couple weeks ago, in that a lot of what he has to offer is stuff that’s already provided by characters that are far more prominent and well-developed than he’ll ever be. So the question, then, is whether these characters would be able to work in higher profile roles if they weren’t in a position of being inherently overshadowed and crowded out by having to coexist with more established characters. Of course, the counter-argument to that is that you just have to figure out a new take on a character and make them fit into the gaps, and they can be just as entertaining as anything else, even if they’re operating in the same circles.
Oh, tell us about it. The only reason J'onn wouldn't be well-developed as he says is because he's not asking for it, and doesn't care either. Point: if J'onn were ever more major - maybe on the same level as Green Lantern and Flash - I think he'd be defending him more than he actually is. But truly, the reason he's so negative, from what I can tell, is because J'onn is a 3rd or 4th tier of a character, just like Hawkman, and whomever sits in those low ranks is not something he sees fit to offer admiration for, not even on the basis of how good the writing is. Sims' arguments are just so transparent, like a tabloid.

Maybe the real question here is, why does each and every character have to get a full-fledged ongoing series? Surely a miniseries wouldn't be a better way to go? That's a much better way to test the waters for an ongoing series to follow, and it worked for Birds of Prey, though that series has since been mostly destroyed by editorial mandates.
The inevitable consequence of having a universe is that you’re eventually going to get a problem that threatens the universe, which is as true in comic books as it is in astrophysics. And the inevitable consequence of that is that everyone who’s part of that universe should probably show up and do their part, if only to illustrate the scope of what’s going on, even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Umm, how come he's lamenting crossovers, but not criticizing the editors for their obsession with ripping off everyone's hard-earned money through such a cheap stunt? Frankly, I don't think I've ever heard dimwits like these opining that the Big Two should cease with crossovers, and that smaller companies should avoid similar stunts. It's not inevitable if the editors got it through their thick skulls that it's unfair to the wider audience out there that might like their products, and the insular basement dwellers should consider it's just not worth it to keep buying, mainly because it only ensures lessons will never be learned.

Now, here's where Sims does cite one of the ideas that distinguishes Hawkman:
I mean, just look at the image above. I’ll give you that maybe, maybe Hawkman thinks he could hit something with a mace hard enough to stop the universe from imploding or whatever, but what the hell are you doing there, Vigilante? You don’t even have powers! And don’t give me that, “Well Batman doesn’t have powers” nonsense either; you, me and Marv Wolfman all know that you ain’t Batman.
My, what have we here, but a mention of the mace! But I thought he said the Winged Warrior's only defining trait was flying! So what was his point earlier? And about his citation of Wolfman's Vigilante creation, Adrian Chase was defined as more amoral than Batman, and as his series went along, was willing to endanger the lives of policemen who got in his way. In any case, what matters isn't whether two or more characters have powers or don't, or use martial arts. What matters is the quality of writing. That's what made Denny O'Neil's take on the Question work well too, and he had some defining features of his own, like a blank mask!

At the end, Sims compounded his illogic with the following:
Yet ultimately there’s so much that you can get out of having a shared universe — at least in the world of mainstream superheroics — that they’re more than worth the hangups and messiness that come along with ‘em. And really, they’re not what’s holding Hawkman back.

Hawkman is what’s holding Hawkman back.
Translation: Hawkman is just some crappy guy who's only a borefest. That's what he's basically saying. Wrong. It's the editors who submerge their shared worlds in crossovers who're at fault. Once, the knew to keep much of their output self-contained. But Secret Wars ruined everything, and now look where it's gotten us to.

And how come no appreciation for Hawkgirl/woman as one of the first superheroines whose role was based off that of a male counterpart? Why don't Sheira/Shayera get any mention? And Comics Alliance considers this tabloid columnist a perfect employee? Again, his writing is but a prime example why the wider public doesn't take comics, superhero or otherwise, seriously. Because people like Sims won't discuss the surrounding details intelligently. I also can't believe somebody who writes such dumbed-down commentary is really sorry about all the trouble he caused Val D'Orazio either.

And that's why it'd be better if he just retired.

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I think the guy's spent too much time keeping Comics Alliance working and not enough time paying attention to anything else, though given the current state of mass-media I don't know whether its a good thing or a bad thing.

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