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Thursday, August 18, 2022 

The Atlantic continues the fluff-coating

The Atlantic wrote another sugary puff piece allegedly about comics history and stuff they recommend, and continue to make superficial, ambiguous claims about the current situation:
In the past decade, comic books have perhaps been best known as the inspiration for sprawling film and TV franchises—but they are still, well, books. After years of work and advocacy from the likes of the Marvel mastermind Stan Lee, comics are no longer perceived as unsophisticated kids’ entertainment; instead, they’re a respected storytelling format—not to mention homes to gorgeous artwork. They’re cultural cornerstones, enough that collections of Black Panther, Captain America, and The Amazing Spider-Man issues are being republished as Penguin Classics.

This doesn’t mean comics have stopped changing and developing over time. Modern story lines revisit and reevaluate classic characters, while new series push the form even further. In 2018, the Batman writer Tom King put a familiar hero in a vulnerable place, investigating his feelings through an attempted wedding between the Caped Crusader and Catwoman that demonstrated the sacrifices that being a superhero requires, and what that means for their relationships. The epic Saga uses familiar character tropes and archetypes, but its characters have diverse identities and backgrounds, and it incorporates heavy topics like war and bigotry into its story lines—all while maintaining a core focus on love and family. Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam removes one common comic-book feature entirely: men. She also offers little exposition on the rules of her futuristic world, choosing instead to immerse readers in the story as it unfolds, presenting interplanetary conflicts and boarding-school antics.
Anybody who's going to sugarcoat King's resume cannot be taken seriously. The sugarcoating extended to what they say about the 50th issue of the Batman volume he wrote:
“Up until now, their will-they-or-won’t-they relationship was based on an assumption at the core of comic books: A hero and a villain can’t be together, because they live on opposite sides of the law. But in drafting a wedding plot over the last year, the writer Tom King has upended tradition by trying to pursue something novel for two of comics’ most iconic characters: personal growth.”
Considering Bat and Cat didn't marry in the end, and how grating King's characterizations in his stories are, I have a hard time taking all this blabber about "growth" seriously. Why, if the twosome had been married, couldn't there come any growth from that? Unfortunately, these are doubtless the kind of people who stood idly by while Joe Quesada destroyed Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson's marriage in late 2007, so at least that could explain why they're lecturing everyone about supposed character growth even here. And about the GN titled On a Sunbeam:
“With On a Sunbeam, Walden has created a science-fiction universe that is about women, queer love, old buildings, and big trees. It may piss off science-fiction purists.”
If it's built on man-hating themes, it certainly will be appalling. Something tells me though, that if it were about men and built upon women-hatred, they'd change their narrative considerably and airbrush it all the way. That aside, what do they mean by sci-fi purists here? Science fiction and fantasy can build on all sorts of themes, ingredients and ideas, and the whole notion anybody's going to take literal offense at an idea that's not an intrusion on established writings of the past is laughable. All that matters is whether the story in question is written for political purposes, and that's tragically the problem with a lot of modern "fiction" these days - too much of it is written by leftist ideologues for the sake of galling agendas.

But of course, you couldn't expect a leftist magazine like the Atlantic to acknowledge heavy-handed political agendas by leftist ideologues has become a big problem these days, could you? Alas, no.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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