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Thursday, May 19, 2016 

NYT's untruthful about how long darkness lasted

The artist/writer Darwyn Cooke passed away recently, but the New York Times didn't do any favors for him or the medium he represented when they alluded to the 1990s:
Mr. Cooke first made his mark on comics in 2000, when the industry was emerging from a period in which superheroes had increasingly been portrayed as flawed, violent and dark.
And tragically, they and the angles of their stories still were, well after 2000, so that's not something they're referencing accurately, although they do bring up an interesting quote by Cooke:
“This kind of degradation of these characters is disturbing to me,” Mr. Cooke said in an interview published in The Comic Book Artist magazine in 2004. Rather than adding unnecessary complications, his approach was to strip the characters to their larger-than-life essence.
As impressive and correct as Mr. Cooke's comment on the past state of superhero writing was at the time, his willingness to work for DC even as they continued said degradation in miniseries like Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis ruins everything. In fact, it does drench the impact of the books he was writing since this was all going on around the same time.

Interestingly, this article also brings up comments by Ed Brubaker that reek of early SJW mentality:
The writer Ed Brubaker worked with Mr. Cooke to revitalize the Batman villain Catwoman in 2001. “I had been looking at all the previous runs of Catwoman, and I was horrified by how sexist all the art was,” Mr. Brubaker recalled in a telephone interview. Mr. Cooke’s revamp gave her more modest proportions, clad her in head-to-toe leather and costumed her in an aviator mask with cat ears, goggles and a whip that doubled as a belt. “He made her classy and sexy,” Mr. Brubaker said.
Just what was so "sexist" about the artwork that wasn't so sexist about the aforementioned miniseries that served as "event" hubs? And how come he took issue with that, but not the writing of the time, which declined in quality by the end of the 1990s, at which time Harley Quinn was being worked into the DCU? Brubaker is decidedly one cheapskate writer making petty complaints and insulting artists who could've been more respectable in personality than he was (if memory serves, Chuck Dixon was the writer who first scripted the solo for Catwoman. Update: although Jo Duffy may have written the first issues, and if a woman had no issues, then Brubaker's criticism is laughable). I suppose Brubaker considers Bill Finger's artwork "sexist" too? Brubaker is decidedly just one of those modern "creators" lacking in respect for past contributors who had more class than he does.

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Okay, we can take from that that Brubaker doesn't like Jim Balent's Catwoman. "Horrified"? Quick, someone get that man to a safespace! Seriously, though, she's a sexy vamp character, you can't exactly draw her like she's a dowry duchess. (Well, you could, but it would defeat the purpose.) Good thing Balent has since moved from DC, as I'm sure his current colleagues would give him some grief, like Brubaker here. On that note, I'm impressed/surprised Guillem March has been around current DC for as long as he can.

As for Cooke, I liked New Frontier, but it definitely had its flaws (Wonder Woman's subplot was shortchanged to an extent, YMMV about the Center and there was a swipe at Nixon I didn't really care for). While I'm glad he said what he said on the degradation, fair enough on those statements vs. Identity/Infinite Crisis.

And I haven't gotten around to reading Cooke's Catwoman's work, but no time like the present. Anyone else here actually have and give me any potential warnings or, to use current terms, triggers?

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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