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Thursday, October 10, 2019 

A sugary item about Greg Rucka

Here's another gushy article in the Fort Smith Times-Record, this covering the TV adaptation of Greg Rucka's Stumptown graphic novels, and they make sure to sugarcoat Rucka's resume in the process:
Dex really isn’t that strange to comics fans, though, because she began her life on the printed page, created by one of the best writers — and writers of women — in the biz. His name is Greg Rucka, and he’s responsible for Tara Chace of “Queen and Country,” Carrie Stetko of “Whiteout” (they made a movie about her), Rowan Black of “Black Magick” (they need to make a movie about her), Forever Carlisle of “Lazarus” and Renee Montoya of “Gotham Central” (after the character migrated from “Batman: The Animated Series”). He co-created Batwoman (who is getting her own TV show) and wrote an acclaimed run on some female character named “Wonder Woman” (who I think also got a movie).
He also participated in turning Max Lord into a villain for the sake of it in Countdown to Infinite Crisis from 2005, and in the pages of Wonder Woman, this culminated in WW breaking the Justice League financier's neck to free Superman from his brainwashing. Despite this, the Man of Steel turns against her for taking a life, no matter how serious a fix he was in, at risk of having Lord turn him to committing potentially lethal deeds. In hindsight, I don't think his run on WW was so great, and the villainess he introduced named Veronica Cale was mostly dropped very quickly when Infinite Crisis came about.

And he did not co-create Batwoman as a role or a character. The original Batwoman, Katherine Kane, first debuted in 1956, and was co-created by Sheldon Moldoff and sci-fi writer Edmond Hamilton. She was dropped from the cast after 1964 (replaced a few years later by Barbara Gordon as Batgirl), and after reappearing briefly in the late 70s, was killed by the League of Assassins in Detective Comics #485. What Rucka did create was the new Kate Kane, whose most defining trait was lesbianism.
“Stumptown” is Rucka’s latest offering at Oni Press, a small publisher that specializes in quirky, character-driven and often very good material in which the Big Two (Marvel and DC) have little interest. Oni is also where “Whiteout” and “Queen and Country” first appeared. Rucka and Oni are a good fit.
This is an oxymoron, since, if Oni's dabbled in leftism, Marvel and DC have done the same, becoming more extreme in the past decade. Still, one thing must be right here - Rucka and Oni are made for each other.

Even Matt Fraction gets a fawning regard here, when they cite his introduction to one of the first Stumptown GNs, where he compares it to the 1974-80 Rockford Files TV series:
I really wasn’t sure where Fraction (“Hawkeye,” “Immortal Iron Fist,” “Sex Criminals”) was going with this, but he’s a good writer and I generally enjoy the journey to wherever he ends up, which usually feels accidental (but you know he’s planned it meticulously). He’s a comic book writer; his analogies are bound to be arcane and his logic not necessarily linear.
But Fraction's got his share of pretensions too, as over a decade ago, he made a liberal mess of Iron Fist. I don't think he planned anything meticulously, and if he puts heavy-handed leftism into his writings, it was no accident.
So Stumptown has a lot going for it, just from the fact that it’s created by Greg Rucka, and it’s Greg Rucka who is putting words in Dex’s mouth and it’s Greg Rucka who has dreamed up her complicated, messed-up life. Most series Rucka writes eventually win an award, and for good reason.
Nope, I'm sure they win awards based on privileged, preferred classes. At least this article acknowledges one important thing: the writer is responsible for what comes out of a fictional character's mouth, ditto actions.
But “Stumptown” has its negatives, too. Oddly, one of them is that it’s on a big network, ABC.

For one thing, that means it needs network-sized ratings to survive. Take “Supergirl” as an example of this problem. The show debuted on CBS, but was going to be canceled due to low ratings. Instead it moved to The CW, where it’s one of the strongest shows CW has. The ratings didn’t change much — but the network, and the expectations, did.

Also, the premiere episode of “Stumptown” sometimes feels like a network show. I’m not sure how to define that, except to compare it to the terrific shows all over the streamers in this era of “Peak TV.” Shows like “The Expanse” on Amazon and “Stranger Things” on Netflix. These shows take their time, trusting that the audience won’t get bored and change the channel. They are often set elsewhere or elsewhen, opening up story possibilities that a show set in modern-day Portland won’t have. They take chances with their storytelling, killing off popular characters or abruptly changing the status quo.
I don't see how killing off popular characters is "taking chances". In hindsight, I think that's one mistake Chris Claremont made with Courtney Ross in Excalibur, when he had her otherworldly counterpart, Satyr9, terminate her and take her place. But it's almost amusing Supergirl's TV show is cited in such a sugarcoated way, ignoring all the extreme leftism it wound up flooding its scripts with. I guess that's why it changed networks - to keep the propaganda machine running. The ratings didn't rise, but because CW relies on smaller sums for audience, that's why it was able to survive until now. But, there's still the possibility it'll be cancelled (along with Legends of Tomorrow), and if it does wind up in the Tinseltown dump, it won't be missed.

At the end of the Times-Record column:
So yeah, “Stumptown” the TV show is pretty good, and will probably get better over time. But go ahead and read the comics, too — they’re already terrific, and maybe if we support them, Rucka will write some more. The world (and ABC) can always use more “Stumptown.”
Based on how pretentious Rucka really is, I'm afraid that's why it'd be better not to support him at all. He's not an impressive personality, yet his politics are just why he's embraced by the wider establishment in entertainment. IMO, sometimes it can be easy to boycott an awful writer based on what creator-owned stories they're turning out, even more so than the corporate-owned items they're assigned to write, like Rucka's shoddy work on Lois Lane, which doesn't need our financial support either.

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They want positive responses, not negative. The later means less revenue and hits and possibly shutting down from lack of cash.

"But it's almost amusing Supergirl's TV show is cited in such a sugarcoated way, ignoring all the extreme leftism it wound up flooding its scripts with. I guess that's why it changed networks - to keep the propaganda machine running. The ratings didn't rise, but because CW relies on smaller sums for audience, that's why it was able to survive until now. But, there's still the possibility it'll be cancelled (along with Legends of Tomorrow), and if it does wind up in the Tinseltown dump, it won't be missed."

Speaking of Supergirl/Legends of Tomorrow and the CW, think you can do a post explaining in full-depth the whole Streaming model that CW utilizes and whether or not that would work in the long run? Cosmic Book News comments in that article you linked to are not buying the idea that Supergirl's going to get cancelled and had particular issue with the Nielsen Ratings bit saying the CW doesn't rely on that bit, so we need a counterpoint to their arguments.

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