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Tuesday, December 25, 2018 

The politics of Mike W. Barr

I found a guest post on the ultra-liberal Bleeding Cool written by veteran Mike W. Barr of Outsiders fame from September, about how DC's handling his creations in their transitions to cartoons, including one that introduces them through a Young Justice cartoon. What he says about the transformation of Halo is the upside, but, as you'll see at the end of the same paragraph, there's a very sad downside. And, he goofs in his references to Asian DCU cast members:
The ‘Net went a little nuts for a short time speculating on the identity of the third character. This is Halo, who, in her transition from comics to cartoon has been transformed from a cute blonde white girl to a cute Middle Eastern girl. I fully support Middle Eastern characters, but I object to the concept of race-bending simply to hammer diversity into the cast. (Imagine the uproar if Channing Tatum were cast as Black Lightning.) Given Halo’s origin, there is a way that she could be Middle Eastern, should the producers choose to use it. (Years back Alan Davis produced a Justice League “Elseworlds,” “The Nail 2,” in which Halo was black.) I would have been glad to advise on this. Many producers of TV, cartoons and comics feel more characters of overlooked ethnicities are needed. I agree, which is one reason why Jim and I created Katana, DC’s first-and-still-only Asian super-heroine. Others who feel the same should do what Jim and I did: create them, rather than change existing characters for the sake of change. But in these days, when an Islamophobic Idiot is sullying the White House, I do like the concept of a Muslim super-heroine and the fact that I am connected to her. Ambivalence abounds. As the King of Siam once said, “’Tis a puzzlement.”
Okay, he's made the bold point that race/gender/orientation-bending for the sake of diversity at the expense of what came before only makes things worse. But what a terrible shame he not only wrote up an indirect attack on Donald Trump as an Islamophobe, he's even cowardly implying he likes the concept of presenting a violent religion in a fully positive light, obviously with no questions to ever be raised about whether anything's wrong with Islam at all. And that moral equivalence only hinders his whole argument. He shouldn't have gone into that at all.

And, as anybody in-the-know about DC's creations knows, Katana's not the only Asian protagonist, superheroine or otherwise, in the DCU. As far back as the mid-to-late 70s, there was Lady Shiva Woosan, and later on in Justice League, there's Kimiyo Hoshi, the female Dr. Light, who didn't replace the male villain by that name wholesale, if it matters.

Following the error Barr made in his reference to Katana, he later added the following in response to readers who pointed it out:
One reader forwarded a link that disproved my contention that Katana, the co-creation of artist [Jim Aparo] and myself, was the only Asian super-heroine in the DCU. I had not heard of most of these characters; they seem to have been created after DC took me off the comp list. But I should have remembered Tsunami so that’s on me, and thanks for setting me straight.
This, honestly, is just the problem with some vets, especially in the age of the internet. They make no attempt to do searches on the web for information to confirm whether more have been added or not, suggesting a lack of faith in the medium they worked in, if they can't at least try to do the math. Though it's nothing compared to their ignorance on the components of Islam.

Anyway, since we're on the subject, I also found out that, whatever Barr's standings on the Outsiders themselves, they still got a remade origin recently in the pages of their new takes on Suicide Squad:
In this new Suicide Squad story, we get a different backstory for the Rebirth version of Halo, even though she's still painted as a weapon of mass destruction Katana found when Amanda Waller sent the assassin to Markovia. Katana rescued her, but kept her a secret from Waller, as she feared she'd use her as an operative for Task Force X. This reshaped story sees Katana, who now has a home and income thanks to Waller, preying on the villain's maternal instinct, using Waller to pull strings and help her officially become Halo's adoptive mother.

Changing Halo's name to Gabrielle, Katana clearly feels indebted to Waller, and thinks that by working for her the mastermind will be distracted from potentially discovering the girl's gifts. That may be difficult, though, as Halo still has trouble acclimatizing to simple concepts like love, gender or even mortality. This time, however, she has a mother instead of a watchman, like Batman, as Katana is caring for her and loving her as her own. Katana even admits to the Soultaker (the sword that houses her husband's soul) that she hopes her efforts with Halo will, in some way, make up for the death of her own children.
Man, does the part about gender sound fishy, suggesting identity politics are being shoved into this. Of course, let's not forget Barr was the writer of Camelot 3000 in the early 80s, which certainly came close to exploring the themes taken to extremes by today's SJWs.

It's certainly amazing Barr agrees that the kind of race/gender-bending that's become prevalent these past 5 years or so is contrived and adds nothing to the story as a result. But it's a terrible shame he takes such a naive view of Islam simultaneously, because superficial views of these issues don't solve the world's problems, and it's enough to wonder if these liberal writers ever had faith in the superhero/adventure themes they'd worked on years ago.

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I know at least one blogger who takes a very dim view of Halo (and of some other characters like Kitty Pryde, Captain Marvel (Billy Batson), etc.).

Getting back to Young Justice, that cartoon is nothing like the comic book it stole the name from, the same goes for the Teen Titans cartoon and comic. In fact, judging from the overall tone and story composition, among other factors, it seems more like the Young Justice cartoon is inspired by the Teen Titans comic and vice-versa.

Remember a couple of decades ago when colorizing old black and white films to sell more DVDs was considered an outrage against the art of motion pictures? The present "colorizing" of previously established white characters is effectively the same thing and for the same purpose. Forget the virtue signaling SJWs about racism, they're irrelevant in the real world economic calculus of Disney/Warner stock prices. Disney et al are endeavoring to sell more movies and more comics IP which can be made into movies in an America where much less than half of the population identifies as white. Given the low white replacement rate the ratios will only get worse. Which means white males in general will be less than a quarter of the potential customer base and decreasing. I leave the implications of this as an exercise for the reader.

Barr did not say anything about the religion of Islam, good bad or indifferent. He said he was proud to be associated with a Muslim character, which is a different thing. Including a Muslim character in your work does not mean you are proselytizing for the religion.

Interesting that you objected to his characterisation of Trump as an Islamophobe, but took no objection to the description of him as an idiot. Trump isn't Islamophobic as such, that is just an attitude he runs with because it always got traction at rallies. He likes Muslims if they are rich and particularly if they make a point of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in his hotels, so much so that he let those guys literally get away with the murder of someone who was under the aegis of the US; he likes Muslim strongmen like Erdogan.

Trump is an "Islamophobic idiot" because he invested $100 billion in African-American communities in the US, instead of giving it to Iran.

"Getting back to Young Justice, that cartoon is nothing like the comic book it stole the name from, the same goes for the Teen Titans cartoon and comic. In fact, judging from the overall tone and story composition, among other factors, it seems more like the Young Justice cartoon is inspired by the Teen Titans comic and vice-versa."

According to Peter David, or what he said about it, what was the 2003 Teen Titans animated series was originally pitched as a Young Justice series, but the Young Justice characters weren't available to use at the time, the Teen Titans were. So Cartoon Network went about it accordingly, tone and all. I fully agree that tonally speaking, the 2003 Teen Titans animated series was nothing like the source material (speaking as someone who loved that show). Knowing about the original YJ pitch makes sense as to why the animated Titans series didn't always act like their more angsty comic canon counterparts, but I don't know why the Young Justice animated producers decided to pull the reverse: make a heavily angsty animated series from considerably lighter comic source material. Or I guess that's how Greg Weisman wants to roll, these days. We'll find out when the series returns, next month. Whether it was worth the wait, well....

Looking back on Comic YJ, what little I saw of it, no way would a character like Mighty Endowed be allowed, animated or otherwise. Amazed David was able to get away with that, back then, but different times, etc.

And disappointing about Barr, but that's the way it goes. Being Islamophobic doesn't seem to matter much, anyway, as we still keep importing them. Haven't gotten into a Rotherham situation yet, but give it time.

Meanwhile, Finland has its problems:



(Also, I think Mr. Bee and the 2nd Anonymous commenter are onto something.)

Trump... "invested $100 billion in African-American communities in the US, instead of giving it to Iran."

Trump promised on the campaign trail 100 billion to the inner cities; mostly to rebuild infrastructure. The money never came. This past month, he announced a proposal to give tax breaks to those who invest in downtown neighbourhoods (including but not limited to some african Americans), which it is estimated in projections by some pro-Trump people could maybe provide up to possibly 100 billion in investment to those neighbourhoods. No money yet, just an executive order creating an Opportunity and Revitalization Council, as if government does not have enough committees. It sounds more like a way for the government to give easy money to real estate developers trying to gentrify urban neighbourhoods and get rid of the poor who live in them than any kind of gift to African-Americans downtowners. Unless Trump can get Mexico to pay for the program...

All of the anti-Trump crybabies are trolling. Halo is yet more SJW garbage. Is Greg Berlanti going to step in and make all of the characters gay to fit his agenda like everything else he does?

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