Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shameless Plugging

I finally managed to post something for Zamaron! Go read:

And Then There’s “The Girl”: Further Analysis of Guy Gardner.

The title makes sense when you read it. It's basically all about how Guy is a woman. Seriously. :-) It's not terribly coherent, but when is that new? :-)

In honor of the momentous occasion, a page from the second Warrior Annual:

Poor Lizzie Jordan never had a chance. :-)

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Recollection: My Brief Stint as a Marvel Fan

Not many people know this, but at one point I only read Marvel comis.. I didn't find them terribly satisfying. But I read them. Among my preferences:

1. Favorite X-Man: Cyclops
2. Favorite X-Team: Excalibur
3. Favorite Non-X-Man: Pete Wisdom
4. Favorite Non-X-Team: Fantastic Four

Basically I liked Cyclops for his sense of duty and responsibility. Excalibur for their relatively amiable cooperation with their government and public relations. Pete Wisdom because he seems to enjoy being a mutant and does not appear to angst about the heroic life he was forced into (and he makes me laugh). And I liked Fantastic Four for their open, public, nature as superheroes because they wanted to be superheroes.

Honestly, if Superhero Comics had a Kinsey Scale, I was a 6 trying to be a 0. :-)

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Brain fried. Check back later.

I want a Big Barda comic. I don't care how. I just really like Big Barda. She kicks ass.

Also it would be cool if she had a kid. Because Barda and a kid would be cool. Scott can be there too. Or not. I just want Barda. Because Barda is neat. And I like her armor.

(Sorry if you were expecting an actual coherent post today. My brain is fried. Still Barda is cool. And should have a comic.)


Monday, August 28, 2006

Random Mumblings about XS:

You know with the Legion reboot, I keep wondering...what happened to XS?

I like the new Legion, don't get me wrong, but I'd kind of grown attached to the post Zero Hour version and I'm particularly interested in the characters that we haven't seen rebooted yet.

I liked XS a lot. From her first moment of choking under pressure in Legion. I'm not sure what it is, seeing as how her cousin Impulse did nothing for me, but I really liked her.

I think it may be because she wasn't nearly as over-the-top as he was. She got to be a fun character without resorting to the tired schtick that plagued her cousin, particularly in team books like Young Justice. She was still a fun character, but the humor wasn't as jarringly slapstick. It probably also helped my temper that she could actually, occasionally, sit down and shut the hell up. :-)

Some of it might be the setting too. Bart's backstory and personality always struck me as contrivance on top of contrivance. I'm not actually against contrivance all the time (After all I always liked Conner Kent/Kon-El as son of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor) but in Bart's case, it just felt like too much.

In Legion though, everyone has a crazy story. Everyone's at least a little contrived. What's too much in the modern DCU fits in more in the Legion.

Regardless though, I really liked XS, she was cute. And her character design was neat too. Since Inertia's apparently back, I'd really love to see an appearance from her too. And with Wally and company gone (at least for now) Bart could probably use all the family he can get. Get Owen in there too somehow for a real hat-trick. :-) I just think it could be fun!

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mild Feeling of Accomplishment!

All throughout reading Battle For Bludhaven, I was trying to figure out where the heck I'd heard the name "Gardner Grayle" before!

Well, digging through a bunch of old Secret Files and Origin Comics, I actually found him! In the "Silver Age" Secret Files, he's listed as the (then) current Shining Knight.

From Shining Knight to Atomic Knight I guess. Still, he was one of the few bits in Battle for Bludhaven I actually liked so I guess I should go look him up. :-)


Cross-Dressers Get No Respect:


Aw, poor Madame Fatal. Dress up like an old woman to fight crime a few times and you're reduced to a Birdcage joke at Wesley Dodds's funeral. Poor guy. :-(

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Wonder Woman Musings:

Over on comicbloc, there's a casual debate about Hippolyta as the Golden Age Wonder Woman.

Of course I chime in.

Anyway, my thing about the Earthiness of the Golden Age versus the Silver Age in the last post really plays into why I'm very much in support of Hippolyta as the Golden Age Wonder Woman.

Basically, as much as I love Diana, I think Marston would be very disappointed with the direction his character has taken. He designed a character full of casual strength and earthy sexuality. But our Diana really doesn't fit that. She's justice on high, pure and lofty. She's the embodiment of high ideal.

But that's not the Wonder Woman I see in the old Golden Age comics. Golden Age Wonder Woman looks like a GI Pin-Up to me. Betty Grable posing for the soldiers. She's curvy and sultry and empowered in her casual sensuality. Sure she left Paradise Island to go kick the crap out of Nazis, but that cute bit in uniform that crash landed on her little Paradise played a good part of it too. She wanted a piece of that hot little number.

Diana doesn't have this anymore. She's a bit too much like her Earth-1 counterpart, I think. They really didn't know what to do with Steve by then. I think Steve probably was partly Marston playing with a bit of wishfulfillment, being this cool suave dashing fellow that's not afraid to chat up this hot chick who could bench press his ass. Marston could write it well though because he understood the appeal, I don't think later writers did. So Steve kept getting written out while Diana evolved through her white-suited Avenger-esque incarnation and so on.

But by divorcing her from Steve Trevor and then post-Crisis removing him as an interest at all took away an important part of the original character. The new Diana is a crusader and a paladin. A holy warrior.

But the Wonder Woman that beat up Nazis...she was no lofty warrior. She was a rough and tumble, salt of the earth brawler, unafraid to get down and dirty with the boys. She was fun.

Hippolyta, at her best, embodies those qualities a lot more than Diana does. She's got that fierce, rough, hard-edged battle fury. She's sexual. Her relationship with Wildcat had the same casual power and warmth as E-2 Diana seemed to have with Steve. She's not pure like Diana, who's biggest crime, killing Max Lord was completely righteous and justifiable at the time. She made some ghastly mistakes. She's got blood on her hands and split knuckles in spirit.

In that link, there's the argument that having Hippolyta come first cheapens Diana and makes her into a copycat. I disagree. First, inheriting the role from her mother doesn't cheapen any of the fantastic things Diana's done, any of her sacrifices. Second, I seriously believe having Diana as the first Wonder Woman, ignoring the Marston original, or *worse* supplanting her with the idea that this pure, lofty ideal was fighting those nazis instead is a cheapening of the original Wonder Woman.

Hippolyta feels like Marston's design, I'm perfectly happy letting her be Marston's design. What's in a name?

Though I'd like to replace the time travel with "left the island to go fight nazis (and possibly get laid) and came back to be Queen again". It's much simpler really.

And really...who's to say that Diana is actually the counterpart of the E-2 Wonder Woman. I mean, when I saw Diana Prince giving the wise words of advice to our Diana, telling her to embrace her humanity. I didn't see Diana getting advice from herself, I saw Diana getting advice from her mother. E-2 Diana was Hippolyta in that scene more than she'd ever be our Diana.'s not like names stayed completely constant across the multiverse. If E-2 Kal-L's counterpart is named Kal-EL, why can't E-2's Diana's counterpart be named Hippolyta.

There's a deeper symmetry too...on Earth-2, you have Diana and her daughter Hippolyta. On post COIE Earth, you have Hippolyta and her daughter Diana. I've described the similarities between E-2 Diana and Hippolyta...if you think about it both Lyta/Fury and our Diana have some interesting similarities as well. They're both unusual in their births (Lyta as daughter of Diana and Steve, Diana in her clay origin), they're both very young compared to the other Amazons, they're both more academically/scholarly inclined than their mothers...

Maybe that's why Lyta ended up killed off in JSA. It's not that her backstory was too's that, basically, she's a redundant parallel, when Diana is as much a counter of the original Fury as she is, in a way.

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Look, In the Sky!

Okay, so I've finally had the chance to rent the George Reeves Superman DVDs. Yay for an actual paycheck!

Anyway, tonight I've watched the very first episode! It was pretty interesting to see the Earth-2 Superman in action! It makes me want to reread Infinite Crisis (which on a whole, I liked a lot).

He is Kal-L right? I never quite can remember where one cuts off into the other.

As much as I love the movies, this version of Superman, like Dean Cain's in Lois and Clark, feels a lot more like the comic book Superman I'm familiar with. I was surprised actually. I'd somehow gotten the idea that defining the Superman character as Clark Kent first, with the blue suit just a convenience for superheroing, was a relatively new approach. But in this first episode, it was all Clark. Superman only made a very brief appearance to save someone.

I wonder if that's an Earth-2 versus Earth-1 thing. I've always avoided the Silver Age Superman stories because in the ones I've read, Superman always, to me. Maybe it's just the dickery, but I always felt like he was too detatched. The Golden Age stories always felt a bit "earthier" if that makes sense.

It seems like the earthy human quality in our Clark Kent is more inspired by the Golden Age than the Silver Age, in my opinion.

Anyway, the show is a lot of fun. I like Phyllis Coates's Lois Lane a lot. She's got that sharp, low voice and quick staccato speaking style that really seems to suit the character. I loved the bit where Perry couldn't get the bottle open, but she could with some well placed taps.

The only part that rang false was when she told Jimmy to go faster, he said he was afraid of a ticket, and she agreed. Come on now.

It was weird to see that the Kents had different names in this tv show. I got so used to Jonathan and Martha that hearing "Eben" and "Sarah" gave me pause. Yet another incarnation where Jonathan Kent dies of a heart attack. :-( I much prefer having him alive. But I liked that Jonathan/Eben's death seemed much less of a motivating factor in Clark's heroism in this version. Here it's Sarah/Martha gently pushing him to use his powers for good, which feels more right than the movie version's constant fatherhood themes.

And finally, George Reeves on the farm, in the denim and leather...very hot. :-)

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Friday, August 25, 2006

EiE: Infusing Estrogen in the JSA 3: A Sidekick for Wildcat?

This week's Infusing Estrogen idea came about in the replies of one of the previous posts. As I am, at this moment, too lazy to track it down, I'll reiterate the idea here.

Basically, I really like the idea of setting Holly up as a future successor for Wildcat.

I'd like to clarify, I do NOT mean that I'd support a replacement of Ted Grant any time soon. For one thing, I think that would lead to exactly the same problems we saw with poor Yolanda. It's a very bad idea to suddenly replace a popular character for someone new.

However, it must be noted that Ted is in a strange place right now as the JSA goes. He's skirting the line between Supernatural and Human in my opinion. He's a character with origins in the 1940s and a supernatural way to have existed so long, but he doesn't really share the same otherworldly quality that Jay, Alan or Carter have. He's, as described in the comments there, a normal guy with a few tricks up his sleeves.

Those tricks though have run out. In JSA Classified, Wildcat was officially dropped down to his last life. Which means that barring any admittedly likely bizarre event, Ted Grant is now mortal. Which means that he can be a Father. His name can be a legacy to pass down.

Now, since Ted is such a popular character, and really no one wants to see him leave any time soon anyway, it's important to establish a successor with a role outside of just being his replacement. I'd actually go so far as to choose an already created character for this role: Holly Robinson from Catwoman.

Personally, I don't think Selina's going to keep from being Catwoman for much longer. It's just not going to happen. She's already suiting up and I doubt that's going to stop. This means though that Holly's in danger. A second Catwoman? Can we say "Redundant Character"? As cool as it'd be to have both run around, it's never going to last forever, eventually someone's going to write a story where Holly is killed to cause Selina angst. I'm sure of it.

While I don't necessarily resent that in principle, I'd hate to see that happen to Holly. I think Holly's interesting and I particularly like her relationship with Wildcat. They've got, I think, a very personal relationship, but one that lacks the particular sexual undercurrents Ted has with Selina, for example. Theirs feels more familial, already more father and daughter.

Which is why I'd like to see Holly pulled in as a sidekick character for Wildcat. Wildcat shines when he has a student and Holly is cute and charming and could really benefit from working with the legends of the DCU. I think that it would be interesting to see her interactions with the different people in the JSA.

I think placing her in a position similar to Sandy the Golden Boy's was for Wes, it would give her a chance to establish a presence in the JSA long term, to build relationships and interactions that will strengthen her own ties to the JSA. Whether or not Ted ever does get written out himself.

I think thematically, she'd work well as a sidekick to Ted. She's a physical fighter like he is, without powers (that are applicable in a fight at least) and she's dressed up like a cat in public. Then eventually (FAR in the future), when Ted sees fit to retire, there will be a very logical successor in the wings. One that fans of the series will be familiar with and hopefully accept in the role.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Lesson Learned from Golden Age Comics

Evil Henchmen have terrible aim.

That's right, even on a moving vehicle, in a relatively stable vantage point, ten feet away from a target sprawled across the hood, with nowhere to dodge...the henchman will not make the shot.

Evil Henchmen suck.

(panel taken from Adventure Comics #80)

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Character I Don't Get...

It occurs to me, rereading JSA (again. I like JSA) that I've never really understood Dr. Fate.

I mean, I've got some vague knowledge of the back story, I know who Kent and Inza are, Linda and Eric, Jared Stevens and Hector Hall. I've got some vague idea of what/who Nabu is supposed to be.

But I don't really get him. He's not connecting for me.

It's not Hector Hall's fault, I don't really dislike the character. I found the neverending quest for Lyta boring, but Hector had interesting potential, especially being annoying as in Infinity Inc. (Though I think JSA's Hector was never quite as irritating and thus not as much fun as II's. Possibly because, like his dad, he's a character I love to be irked by.)

Maybe it's the Order/Chaos thing. I've only read bits and pieces of Gemworld or Hawk and Dove. I know Kid Eternity's connected to it somehow, but I don't really understand.

I don't think it's the magic thing. I tend to like magic using characters. (Speaking of, am I the only one who'd think it'd be awesome if this new Zatara is like the Kingdom Come one, kid of Constantine and Zatanna. I mean sure with the Vertigo-DC divide it'd be a trick even getting him to meet his dad, but that'd be some pedigree right there. Definitely would be fun to play with. But I digress).

I don't know. Probably what I need is to find specific stories in which Dr Fate (any of them) is being particularly Dr. Fate-ish. Stories that contain the quintessential Doctor Fate if you will, so I can get a better handle on the concept of the character. I don't suppose there are any huge Dr. Fate fans out there that can recommend some stories to me?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Thoughts on Possible Changes in BoP

I've been reading around here and there and came upon a reaction that startled me. There were a few sentiments doubting that Birds of Prey would last without the Babs-Dinah relationship to keep it afloat.

This, frankly, blows my mind. Because, yes, the friendship between Barbara and Dinah is a very important part of the series appeal to me and I'd hate to see it go...

But the idea that Birds of Prey couldn't survive without Dinah AND Barbara strikes me as utterly ridiculous. Barbara and Dinah are wonderful characters together, but they're also wonderful characters apart. Whether Dinah is in the story or not doesn't change that Barbara Gordon is one of the most brilliant and empowering characters in comics. Whether Barbara is in the story or not doesn't change the fact that Dinah's a warm, charming, confident person. Sure they're better together than they are apart, but they can survive without each other.

Honestly, I'm a bit shocked by the idea that Dinah wouldn't remain in Birds of Prey. That honestly never occurred to me. I mean...she's been in JSA and Birds at the same time before. And she was showing up in post Identity Crisis JLA as well, without any sort of problem. She's a character that works amazingly well as liaison to any team. Her role as a Bird of Prey means an instant connection between her new team and Oracle as well which is always a good thing.

I remember the hints before OYL about not getting attached to the first Canary we saw, but I'm pretty sure that had to do with Shiva's Jade Canary than Dinah herself. Given the huge soul searching affirmation quest that we saw when she was tracing Shiva's steps and then coming back with a daughter...

Well, it just doesn't seem likely that she's going to be leaving Birds to me. It seems like Ms. Simone's invested way too much in her to lose her now.

But even if Canary does leave, we've got Barbara and we've got whoever Barbara's new team will be. The OYL team of Oracle, Huntress, Shiva and Gypsy was very entertaining. I can only imagine that the new team will be too. I enjoy Gail Simone's writing, she's staying on the book. I've got a lot of faith that no matter what happens, the series will be fun to read.

There's no guarantee that the loss would be permanent anyway. And heck every one of the main Three were replaced at one point or another in their comic career and lasted, so I've a hard time believing that BoP wouldn't survive the loss of an important, but hardly the central, member.

I just get confused by the negativity I've seen. Maybe it's just me, but when I saw the solicit for the new cover, I was busy going: "Oooo! Bulleteer! Bulleteer would be awesome! Or Holly! She should pick Holly! No wait! BARDA. Barda would be the awesomest move EVER!" I was quite surprised to see so much trepidation. This just seems like it has the potential to be incredibly great!

Just my opinion of course. We'll see soon enough. :-)

Monday, August 21, 2006

I Don't Think [52 Spoiler] Deserved To Die

I think it's been long enough that I don't have to put this in cut-away tags.

I don't know if I believe Booster Gold is dead.

On one hand, as deaths go, being cradled as a skeleton in someone's arms is pretty freakin' dead from where I'm sitting. Didio, Johns and the rest of the creative team seems to refer to him as dead. He's pretty damn dead.

On the other hand, it just doesn't feel right.

This isn't because I have any particular fondness for the character. Booster is funny sometimes but that's it really. I don't have any qualms with his portrayal in 52 because it isn't markedly different from his own series. I do think it ignores later developments where he's grown up a little, but it really doesn't seem out of character for me. I can buy the oddities as a kind of grief fueled regression.

I suppose I'm a little annoyed because I didn't really care.

I know superheroes die all the time. And most of the time come back. And I'm not going to be upset if any do come back, because to quote someone: "Everyone comes back, except Bucky or Jason Todd...oops."

But I want to care. I cared when Hal died. I cared when Ted died. I cared when Clark died. I cared when Conner died. Hell, Jack Drake and Steph Brown, neither character really being among my favorites, still got me a little sad.

This though... I think, as cliched as this sounds, I wanted a grander redemption moment. At least a clearer one. It seemed to me that Booster went out more trying to save his reputation than save the city. And fair enough, that's not completely out of character. And there's a moment where he seems like he might be choosing the city...but I wanted something clearer.

Basically I wanted a moment where Booster knows he's going to die and does it anyway. And I didn't feel I'd gotten that from the comic. Sure it's cheesy, and probably out of character, but it's what would be necessary to redeem a character as self absorbed as Booster.

In a strange way, I think a hero's death must be earned. Death is a special thing for a hero, whether it's permanent or not. Many lesser heroes are remembered more because of how they die than they'd ever have been alive. A good death can occasionally even ensure a resurrection of a character that doesn't deserve it.

I think this might have been the motivation for Steph's gratuitous torture in Robin. I mean, War Games was started because of her screw up. But it was her bravery and strength being tortured that gave her death a respectability beyond say...Jason Todd's. Jason's death wasn't really a hero's death, I think. Jason's death is remembered more as him screwing up and paying the ultimate price. I don't think people remember Steph's death the same way.

Countdown was an entire book devoted to taking a third-rate joke character and making him worthy of the death they were about to give him. A death worthy of being the death knoll of the pre-ICrisis DCU. They made a huge effort to take the character beyond the joke status of the JLI, beyond the lesser sidekick status in Birds of Prey and highlight the parts of his character that made him awesome. They showed him at his best, his most heroic. The underdog who never stops fighting. And when he *hurt*.

If we assume everything is as it seems, then I think Booster's death is supposed to be of similar importance in 52. But I have a problem with that. I don't think he's earned that. I don't think the character, as portrayed in 52, is worthy of a death that important.

If they wanted to write him out without changing him, they should have just sent him back to the future, and given this death to someone who deserves it.

I admit, I've got a weird paradox here. I think that death is a special thing and that heroic deaths are, in their own way, rewards. I guess it's because going out to save a city is an awesome way to be remembered. Which may be why deaths like Pantha's, Wildebeest's, Bushido's, Conner's or Kal-L's don't bother me. They might have had debatable effect, but they went out trying to stop a madman with the powers of a god. But, it's also true that aside from Conner (who would be really easy to resurrect if/when someone chooses) none of these characters even approach my favorites so of course I don't mind much that they die. If Sand or Guy had been killed against Superboy Prime, I'd have had a fit.

I am a bit of a hypocrite.

But I do know that I really hope Booster isn't dead. Because he didn't deserve to go out like this. The quieter Booster we saw in Countdown, Maybe. The Crusading one in the OMAC Project, sure. But the IC/52 Booster that may or may not even be the same character? No. He wasn't worthy of this death.

Of course, there's the very high chance, given all the straightforwardness regarding his death, that things aren't what they seem at all. So I'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Random Thoughts: November Solicits

So Ragnell just linked the DC Solicitations. Most aren't up yet but there are a few that intrigue me. I'm doing another reaction snippet post to try to hide the fact that I don't feel like writing anything of substance tonight either. I'm lazy. Anyway:

The Collateral Damage one could either be really kickass or really awful. It's Chaykin, and I liked his Evil's Might, but I don't know how well he'll write Guy Gardner. Beau Smith vouched for him on a message board a while back though so I'm hopeful.

But a serious take on G'Nort perplexes me. Then again, he's calling Guy as a neutral party, so that probably says something. I'm looking forward to seeing it really. Guy IS my favorite Lantern.

The 52 issues look intriguing. I'm particularly interested in the Bat-family one. I really want to see Kate and Bruce interact. The Black Marvel family sounds pretty neat. And I really want to know what's going to happen with Jean Loring.

I'm really intrigued by Birds of Prey. I'm hoping Bulleteer ends up on the team. Of all the seven soldiers, I find her and the new Shining Knight the most interesting. I'd love to see Shining Knight on the JSA (I think she'd benefit from the strong family connections as well as Courtney would thrive in a big sister role, but I suppose that's another Infusing Estrogen post...) and Bulleteer would be awesome in BoP. I'd love to see what Ms. Simone can do with her.

The Connor Hawke mini looks promising, but I wince a little at the cliche of having the part-Asian guy, who happens to have grown up in a zen monastery, in a story called "Dragon's Blood". This is probably my liberal guilt-defensiveness talking, but it seems a bit...irritating to me. Still I like Connor, so I'll try it.

JLA should be fun. I like the picture of Vixen, though it seems very "Noble Savage" for me. Which could be awfully cliched. The only person I've ever seen to do the "Noble Savage" thing well was Beau Smith but that was satirical, with a subversive twist or three. Still, I do tend to like Meltzer's work so...

This definitely explains why the Englehart story's been dominating JLA-Classified and JSA-Classified. Much to my irritation. (I want my JSA-C about the JSA thanks!)

My interest is peaked though, and I can't wait for the full solicits on Monday.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Quick Comic Reactions: (Spoiler-Lite)

These are just a string of random thoughts/reactions to this week's comics. I'll try to avoid spoilers, but I trip up sometimes, so read at own risk.

-I don't think the last page of 52 is quite the end of that story. At least I hope it's not. I don't have any major attachment to the character but I'm old fashioned and I'd have liked a more obvious redemption moment.

-On the other hand the Question/Montoya stuff was a lot of fun, really. Their interaction might be one of the best parts of 52.

-Even though she didn't appear in this comic, I'm still enjoying the new Batwoman. She's got spark, and her interaction with Renee interests me. I really want to see her clash with Bruce.

-I'm also liking Isis. She's a bit cliche thus far, I think, but appealing nonetheless. I'll be interested to see how she'll develop.

-I liked Robin this week. It's making me willing to buy the unevenness of the first OYL storyarc on sudden editorial mandate. I'm really liking Captain Boomerang too.

-Interesting that he's apparently around the same age as Robin himself. I'd have placed Owen as older. Then again, it makes sense timeline wise, I suppose. And one could blame the fact that he looks a bit older than seventeen on the same speedster thing that hyperaged Bart.

-Now that'd actually be something interesting to go into...that particular family connection. I'd buy Flash for that story.

-How old is Anissa again? I thought she went to college, so I guess that makes Owen the youngest of the Outsiders.

-Ion's steadily good. I liked Hal and Kyle's interactions, though not quite as much as I've been loving the Guy and Hal stuff in Green Lantern. When does that come out?

-Roommate is addicted to Ion now. I'm corrupting her.

-GLC was awesome. Even though I totally called all three major events (whether a certain someone lives, who's the murderer and who's the replacement) I still found it a fun read. And the replacement character seems like he/she'll be really interesting, especially as counterpart to his/her partner.

-I'm still enjoying the vague mentor-student thing going on with Guy and Soranik (Okay, SPOILER, she lives. Though really, if you actually thought she was dead, I've a bridge to sell you...because come on...Guy made a coffin and was quiet and sad. Guy Gardner. With a dead student. Quiet, subdued, with a coffin. DOES NOT ADD UP)

-Kilowog's role is intriguing me. The relationship's shifted there and I haven't put my finger on how. He's a lot more...obviously fraternal. And there was a point in GLC 1 where he seemed bizarrely gentle. Considering the way Kilowog and Guy interacted in Recharge, also by Mr. Gibbons, I can't help think there's a reason for it.

-Also, I predict sometime in the teens of this comic, Guy's going to get (temporarily) taken out hard. Because he's the focal point and the troubleshooter in a group of newbies. I bet that the next few arcs set him up with Isamot, Vath and possibly others like this one did with Soranik. Then *splat*. Take out the mentor so that the students have to fend for themselves.

-It'll totally be something gratuitous too. This is a guy who before he ever became a lantern got taken out by being slammed in the back by a bus off a cliff!

-I really really want JSA darnit. Darn Geoff Johns for needing a rest!

-But my other favorite character is now finally vaguely accountable. Yay!

-Manhunter was really good, I thought. The ending was whoa! Another wait until December. Darnit. I need a DeLorean.

-Catwoman was interesting. The ethical dilemma of using Zatanna's powers in such a way after her own issues is making me wonder. I like the bond between Holly and Wildcat.

-Checkmate's still fun. I was hoping the new Knight would be someone recognizable though. Unless he/she is, and I'm just clueless. Still, he/she seems interesting.

-The thing with the Black King and Fire seems promising. I like to see leaders looking out for their people, and I was wondering what he'd think about the thing between Bea and Waller. Should make for an interesting time.

-I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that it looks like Alan is actually leaving. I admit, I'm a bit sad about this as Alan's perspective in Checkmate has been the biggest draw for me. On the other hand, he does tend to overpower the others.

-Also, really, he's a very uncompromising character, so any further Alan-in-Checkmate story will probably be a rehash of this one. Same conflict. Better to cut him loose.

-The eyepatch is still sexy.

Friday, August 18, 2006

EiE: Infusing Estrogen into the JSA 2: Lady Danger

In my last Infusion of Estrogen post, Dr. Flem had a good point about overloading the JSA with younger characters and how he'd like to see a tough older female character. I like that idea a lot, so I thought I'd try it this time.

Okay, the trick this time is to create a female character that could be an experienced old-hat of a hero and yet somehow remain under the radar for the large amounts of earth-shattering apocalyptic events that the DCU sees on a daily basis.

Now there are some characters that are already pre-existing that would make fine editions to the JSA in this respect: Zatanna, Lady Blackhawk, Black Canary could all be characterized as more experienced female characters, however, and this might just be a petty thing on my part, they all look young. They're not all young of course, Dinah's got to be of an age with Hal and Ollie, and I don't really think Zatanna can be much younger, considering her own position in the Satellite League as of Identity Crisis at least. But they don't look it.

I'd like a gruff, older female character that actually LOOKS like she's in her forties. I'm not saying she can't still be very attractive (it's very hard to be unattractive in comics) but I'd like her to have some flecks of grey. Some lines around her eyes. I'd like her to visibly look around the age of Wildcat or Jay or Reed Richards.

This character should have the experience and presence to be something of a matriarchal figure in the group. I'd like her to be a warm, gruff, outspoken personality, one that the young women can turn toward for advice and a role model. I'd also like her to have an element of earthy sexuality. She'll be able to flirt back with Wildcat, for example, without it looking quite as inappropriate. She should be confident and able to match characters like Alan and Carter without backing down.

For the legacy aspect, I'd like to use that of Lady Danger. I'm not anticipating a great deal of personal connection between the characters, rather, like Michael Holt or Pieter Cross, I see her as being inspired more by the stories of the character as well as a few chance meetings, rather than a direct lineage element.

In order for her to be both experienced but under-the-radar, I'd design her to be without superpowers. She's an adventurer with some nifty toys instead. Which means she might have been in the background, helping to fight aliens in some of the many many invasions, but wouldn't really have been in position to draw a whole lot of attention to herself.

I actually like the idea of playing up that element actually. Few of the Golden Age/GA-inspired heroes ever seem particularly adept at subtlety. It might be interesting if this new Lady Danger had once been involved in some sort of military special ops or espionage group. (This could possibly create ties with Checkmate, allowing for a smoother character introduction). This means she'll have training and experiences that are vastly different from the majority of the group and a perspective that could allow for both a useful perspective and a source of personal conflict at the same time.

She'd be in an interesting position as well. She's physically older than most of the team except for Alan/Jay/Ted and very experienced, however, in a team with many of the characters that were running around during the second world war, she'd be considered one of the kids as well. It would be uncomfortable and she would feel the need to not give any ground when dealing with the older members, as well as to prove herself. I think she could be a lot of fun.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just a Whisp of Thought:

So, I was thinking. I've always thought Conner Kent/Kon-El/Superboy/Whatever-You-Want-To-Call-Him had a death that was very, very reminiscent to Clark's in Death of Superman.

I mean, he wasn't killed by any of the traditional weaknesses: Kryptonite or Magic. Instead he was pummeled to death by an unstoppable juggernaut of a character. Both ended up cradled in the arms of the woman who loved them. Both inspired gratuitous memorial efforts with vaguely religious elements.

So Superman comes back to life with a bunch of folks trying to be him, including a renegade clone.

And according to DC Nation, Match will be running about with the Titans East.


(Regardless though it should be interesting when the grieving Titans end up face to face with Conner's clone...)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This post is a placeholder.

So yeah, I got a gig at Blog@Newsarama!

Go me!

Anyway, expect a real post in a few hours. :-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Incoherent Musings on JSA and Immortality.

So I was thinking. There are some characters I love but would never want to see back from the dead.

Wesley Dodds for instance. In fact, most dead Golden Age JSA-ers are characters I don't want resurrected. And I think I've figured out why.

As much as the JSA is about family and legacy, it's also about Immortality for me. The JSA is the one group with origins very strictly defined into WWII. The JLA can migrate forward, much like the X-Men, always timing their origins to be ten years before the present day. But the JSA is different. Whether the JLA started in the 1970s or the 2070s, the JSA will always be tied to the origins of superhero comics. To World War II.

The 1940s JSAers are immortal. All of them. It's just that their immortality comes in one of two ways. Characters like Jay, Alan, Ted Grant or Carter are the true immortals, the Supernaturals. They don't die. If they die, they come back. That's the way it goes. You can't have a JSA without Alan or Jay at all. I firmly believe that.

But characters like Wes, like Al or Terry or Charles, Ted Knight as well, they're immortal too. But they're also more...human. Or maybe mundane's a better word. It's like how, barring special stories like Obsidian Age, I don't think resurrection stories work very well with the Batclan. (I'm still holding judgement on Jason Todd). They're normal guys essentially (even with Wes's prophetic dreams), even though they've got some nifty tricks up their sleeves. Their immortality is just as real, but like them, it's more mundane.

They're the Fathers. Their immortality is in seeing their names (or blood) live on through their spiritual descendants. It wouldn't be right to bring them back from the dead because that would ruin them. It would make them Supernatural. And they're characters that specifically aren't.

A character can't be both kinds of immortal, really, because a Father's name will live on beyond him and a Supernatural Immortal will never need a successor. I actually think this is why Jade was always so marginalized. She's Alan's offspring with the same powers. But there was never any chance for her to carry on his legacy. They tried to alleviate this by linking her to the Silver Age/Oan Lantern concept, but that was only a stopgap. Jade was pretty much doomed, I think, with Infinity Inc.

I actually think this may be why Vertigo's Sandman Mystery Theatre went with a new Sandman. Because Sand is a Supernatural. There won't be a successor for a man who can survive dissolving into the Earth. Even if they take his powers away, the sand-monster element has removed him enough from the rest of humanity to ensure he can't be a Father. Which makes the Gaiman-Morpheus-esque elements of his costume a nice bit of (likely unintentional) metatext.

SMT though is much more human-based than the JSA. (Though I do think Sand would be a good lead of a mystery series, it'd need to be one with more of an occult/supernatural horror theme than SMT). It's possible that Kieran Marshall, depending on how the story goes of course, will be more "normal" like Wesley was, and thus could ultimately have a successor of his own.

There would then be two Sandmen: one, his true heir, with the emotional/familial bond, who inherits the connections and role in the JSA but has become something Other, Supernatural, Not-Quite-Human, and the other, his thematic heir, who'll share the name and dreams, but also carry on Wes's legacy in terms of humanity.

Or SMT: Sleep of Reason will be something else entirely and this will all be a load of crap speculation. :-) Either way, it should be fun.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Beau Smith Agrees With Me!

Over in his Silver Bullets column (always a good read, that), Beau Smith lists the characters he estimates as being over forty years old.

Among them, Hal Jordan!

Which makes me happy, as I've gotten into fanboy arguments about Hal's age (yes, I'm THAT geeky). If nothing else, Emerald Knights showed a thirty-something Hal from "ten years ago". Not to mention how old he'd pretty much have had to have been to make Captain before ending up in his multitude of odd jobs.

So yay! Someone agrees with me!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Darn you Geoff Johns:

Well, I did manage to make it to an Internet Cafe! Yay me! Still, replies are probably going to be sporadic to non-existant until Wednesday.

On the plus side, I am able to finish compiling for my guest column at Blog@Newsarama so I'm happy.

Anyway, I've decided to celebrate by hating on Geoff Johns.

Because I was all set to hate almost everything about Our Worlds at War until his JSA issue. Not only does it have a Sand that is competent and cool, (a nice contrast to the mishandling in the World's Finest issue) but it has this scene:

That's like the cutest thing I've seen in a long time. :-)

I can't hate a story that gives me THAT. :-(

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Real Life Intrusion:

Well I might be incommunicado a few days. We're moving and there was a slight mix up. No Internet until Wednesday. :-(

Well, I'll try to pop onto an Internet cafe or something, but no promises. Might be the first time PFP hasn't had a daily update. Which makes me sad. But that's life sometimes. :-)

Anyway, have fun without me! I'll want to hear about what I missed later!

A Gift of Punching

In honor of Chris at the ISB's birthday, I hold up this humble offering from Warrior 41:

Toonverse Olivia Reynolds punching many many people.

Happy birthday!

Friday, August 11, 2006

EIE: Infusing Estrogen into the JSA 1: Tsunami

This made me think of the previous discussion about the presence of women in the JSA.

From the sound of it, Geoff Johns is going to be taking the JSA into a different, more societal direction. Reading OWAW issues recently, I think I saw the roots of this, wherein Sand called on the "reserves" of the JSA for their battle. These reserves included a lot of other Golden Age legacy characters, like Shining Knight and the Freedom Fighters, to help the JSA on their mission.

I've always liked the idea of the current JSA going beyond the legacies tied specifically to only the members seen in the old All-Star Comics issues or the Multiverse crossovers, so this makes me happy. The other reason it makes me happy is that it allows for a lot more opportunity to start using lesser known Golden Age legacies (or retroactively created GA legacies) to start bringing a bit more diversity into the group without sacrificing any of the existing characters that I love.

Anyway, this has led me to decide to try a new, semi-regular feature. Which basically means I'll do it as long as my attention span holds. It's a subgroup of my Exercises in Egotism and I'm calling it Infusing Estrogen into the JSA. And in it, I'm going to propose my ideas about how certain largely abandoned Golden Age legacies could be revisited for the Modern Age with a particular emphasis on more female characters.

Infusion of Estrogen: Tsunami

The first character/legacy that comes to mind is Tsunami, which might be a surprise given my stated animosity for the character. But I really think that it's a shame that such a promising character was never really developed beyond her representation of an issue.

I'd personally love to see a granddaughter of Miya Shimada take on her grandmother's legacy and become linked to the JSA.

I know that Tsunami's daughter has shown up in Aquaman for a time, but while she'd work as a legacy as well, I'm really much more enamored with the idea of using a younger woman. Tsunami was a teenager in the Young All-Stars so it makes more sense to me that the new Tsunami would be a teenager (or a very young adult) when she'd become connected to the JSA. This would also allow for the pre-existing character to still make appearances as mother or (more likely) aunt.

I basically have two requirements personally, when it comes to new characters. They must, I think, be interesting in their own rights and they should bring something new to the table for the existing characters/team that they're joining.

In the case of the granddaughter, developing her into an interesting personality shouldn't be a problem. For one thing, the political issue looming over her grandmother's head would be in the past, not as direct an influence on her life. This will make it harder to allow the character to become overpowered by the issue.

I think that the best way to go about this new character would be to take her in a completely opposite direction, personality wise, than her grandmother. Miya was gracious and dignified, a constant spokesman against the evils of war. She was grave and serious and responsible and socially aware. I would like to take her granddaughter counter to that. Make her initially quite uninterested in social responsibility or issues, instead emphasizing the "American" aspect of her Asian-American heritage. I want her to be fun-loving, shallow, petty, and resentful of the burdens and expectations of her parents. I'd like her to see heroism as an escape.

I think that this would allow some strong retroactive exploration of Miya Shimada herself through the contrasts with her granddaughter. The new Tsunami seeks to escape the pressures of the past, but does so by entrenching herself in a group with a legacy/family theme. A group that had a lot of ties to her grandmother, as a Young All-Stars member. This means that she'll have many opportunities to explore the woman her grandmother was and ultimately grow.

I like the idea that essentially what this girl is subconsciously afraid of is being defined solely by her race and sex and the social issues contained within, basically she's afraid of being what Tsunami actually was in Young All-Stars. And it's through the exploration of herself and of her grandmother as a character, as well as her heroic experiences with the group itself, that allow her to realize that she doesn't have to be afraid of who she is. That she can take pride in her heritage and racial/sexual identity, that she can remember the past and be socially aware without losing her individual identity at the same time.


As for what she'd bring to the group and the pre-existing characters...

Well, the initial goal of this exercise is to bring a bit more diversity into the "old boys club". Women are still quite a minority (as we've discussed before) in the JSA, and there really isn't any representation at all for Asian-Americans in the group. A new Tsunami, I think, would be a step in the right direction.

There's a power advantage too, I think. Where the JLA has (had?) Aquaman, the Teen Titans had Tempest, the modern JSA never really had any characters specifically suited to underwater missions. While this new Tsunami might be of debatable use on land (depending on how her powers are defined), she'd definitely have a place as an underwater reserve fighter.

On a character level, her arrival and activities would very likely have an interesting effect on Sand as well, in a number of ways. Sandy the Golden Boy was, for a brief time, on the same team as her grandmother. In fact, he had been the token racist. I've complained about the way that had seemed gratuitously tacked on to an already fully developed character (especially the only character with pre-existing, if slight, ties to Asia), but it does allow for an interesting exploration of both characters now.

It's established that Sand has since followed in his mentor's footsteps, studying in China and Tibet, and very likely further East. He speaks some Asian languages and understands elements of Tibetan Buddhism at least. How much, if any, experience he's had with Japan is as yet unknown, but it's probably safe to assume that the person he is now would find his own behavior very shameful and embarrassing, even if she'd managed to forgive him.

And there's the time-lost element, that I've always wished they'd do a bit more with. While he's mentioned some awareness of the passage of time as a monster in stasis, as far as experience goes, the Young All-Star events would have been only ten-twelve years ago for him. That's not a terribly long time. But for Miya it's long enough to have had children and grandchildren. Miya's granddaughter would be a lot like her in many ways, but also so very different that it would really emphasize how much his own time perception doesn't match the rest of the world's.

It could also have an interesting effect for Miya herself. As of last notice, she's still alive which would allow for the opportunity to meet again. The annoying pest of her childhood is now only a little older than her granddaughter. Cognitive Dissonance doesn't seem nearly enough to encompass what that must feel like. It's really an interesting concept for me.

I just think there'd be a lot of story potential in introducing a new Tsunami and it could be a lot of fun as well. It'd be also, I think, a nice way to introduce a new female character into the JSA.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Non Comic Post: Book Meme

Tagged by Ragnell and Loren:

1. One book that changed your life

After Dachau by Daniel Quinn.

2. One book you have read more than once

Fire's Stone by Tanya Huff

3. One book you would want on a desert island

The Fortress in the Eye of Time by C.J Cherryh (and the sequels)

4. One book that made you laugh

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, because so many people recommended it to me and I found it utter tripe.

One that genuinely made me laugh is Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett.

5. One book that made you cry

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. It gave me nightmares as a child.

6. One book you wish had been written

Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth: A How-To Guide for Writing Good Female Characters by M. Krause (That's me, naturally. :-))

7. One book you wish had never been written

The Songmaster by Orson Scott Card. His own explanation in this explains why far better than I could.

Suffice it to say, a man so virulently opposed to homosexuality writing a book heavily featuring his take on homosexuality is rarely a promising combination.

And it's very poorly written to boot.

8. One book you are currently reading

The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly

9. One book you have been meaning to read

The Oracle's Queen by Lynn Flewelling

10. Tag five people!

Ack! Tagging is hard and awkward! Um...
CalvinPitt, Diamondrock, Dorian, Elayne, and Melchior, if any of you guys are interested.

Not that I'm not interested in what everyone else has to say of course!

(I'll probably try a comic book specific one later. :-))

Our Worlds at War Rant

So I was skimming through Our Worlds At War. Honestly, while I usually like crossover events, (I even liked Zero Hour for gosh's sake) I really didn't like this one.

It had some good moments, I particularly liked Geoff Johns's JSA tie in. Sand got to be particularly leader-y in that one. (I particularly liked the end, when Luthor asks about casualties: "You're forgetting who you're talking to. This is the JSA.")

But in general, I didn't like it. Even the great Sand-portrayal is tainted by the World's Finest follow-up, where Alan, Jay and Ted are grieving for Hippolyta. Jeph Loeb is give or take for me...when he's good he's very good. But here he wasn't. He botched Sand. How the hell do you botch Sand?! If you don't know what to do with him just keep him silent! It works fine!

He wrote him uptight! Uptight! Look, Sand is calm, polite, restrained, mouthy and sometimes an utter bastard. But in this, he's written like freakin' Cyclops!

Now I love Cyclops dearly, but Sanderson Hawkins is no fucking Cyclops, thank you!

Not to mention that the scene involved a man who grew up in the 1940s being uptight about drinking alcohol. Now I'm no historian, but that really doesn't make sense to me. Especially given that Alan, Ted and Jay were doing the drinking. Seriously. What the fuck?

But I digress.

Now I mostly hate Our Worlds at War for two reasons: first, that they killed Hippolyta, Aquaman and Guy Gardner but only Hippolyta hasn't come back. Second, that when they killed Guy Gardner, they did it in such a dumbass way.

THIS is Guy Gardner's death scene:

Now in and of itself, I have no problem with this scene. Guy Gardner, especially as Warrior, is kind of a magnet for gratuitous trouble. I have nothing against him getting stabbed by a giant spear and even with Booster Gold, not the brightest bulb in the box, thinking he's dead.

The problem is that he actually IS supposed to be dead. Seriously.

This is a guy who, in the last issue of Warrior, got his HEART RIPPED OUT of his chest by Major Force and GREW IT BACK. There is absolutely no way that Guy Gardner, at least in his Warrior identity could possibly be killed via human shish kabob. No way.

On the plus side, it makes resurrecting him easy enough. (I deny the existance of the Guy in Hell story, but I can perfectly buy him being thought dead while his body slowly regenerated from this.)

But honestly, I have this thing about my favorite characters. If they're going to die, or even be presumed dead, it should be a death freakin' worthy of them.

Or at least a death that seems like it could POSSIBLY KILL THEM!!!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Crossposting from a Livejournal Reply: Faith and Green Lanterns

Over at his livejournal, jarodrussel posted a nice essay on why he thought Barbara Gordon would make a good Green Lantern.

Personally, I disagreed and went into why. Anyway, through replies, I ended up digressing into the nature of faith/belief and Lanterns. My reply was, I shamefully admit, pretty much an essay in and of itself. Since I'm an egotist, and moreover, I like to keep all my essays in one place, I decided to reproduce it here. To see the full discussion and context, please follow the link above.

"I suppose in a sense, limiting was the wrong word. What mathematics and programming language and other things do that makes them ultimately incompatible with the ring is that they quantify. The ring does't allow for that. Engineers and mathematicians and programmers, used to being able to quantify and analyze, would be hindered.

Any other power and they'd be fine. Just in this case, I don't think it would work. People used to that sort of quantifying, would then be trying to use it on their environment. Which means, if nothing else, an element of hesitation. Even for just a split second, the programmer would be thinking "Okay, how can I do this?" while the other Lantern would have it done.

I think the core element needed for the ring to work is blind, irrational faith:

John is a character that's very tied to high ideals from his conception, and he never falters in his belief in them. He became a crusader for social justice because it's what's right. That strong belief is central to what makes him work as a Lantern. Superman might be a good Lantern for the same reason.

Hal is arrogance. He's a man who can't conceive of failure at all. He will never be able to understand that some things are just impossible, that he can't do them. Hal doesn't have contingency plans. He doesn't compensate because his faith in himself is so strong. He can't believe in defeat.

Guy's is emotion. When Guy feels an emotion it's pure. If that makes sense. Logic never enters into the equation. Anger's the obvious example, but Guy also loves very deeply and he has an amazing capacity for forgiveness. For example, in the Christmas issue, a gift from the Spectre allowed for a final meeting and emotional reconciliation with the spirit of his abusive father. Before that, in Underworld Unleashed, Neron's offer to him, his heart's desire, was his father, brother (a villain) and Ice back. The series actually ended with a gesture of forgiveness on his part, allowing Parallax to remain at Arisia's funeral, regardless of everything he did to the universe, the Corps and Guy personally.

People give Kyle a lot of credit for Rebirth, when he brought back Hal on sheer faith. But Guy actually goes one better, because Guy didn't know and wouldn't have believed a folktale about some mind-controlling yellow space bug. As far as he knew, Hal had done all of those things of his own free will and he'd forgiven him anyway. It's a deeper facet of the character that tends to get forgotten beside his general obnoxiousness.

Kyle's source of strength is his cluelessness. He's a character profoundly aware that everyone in the room knows more than he does, that no matter how much he learns, there's so much more out there that he can never and will never understand. It's strange to see this as a asset, because in any other situation, it would make for a very short career.

But what it amounts to is that he's completely without pre-concieved notions, to the point where even his subconscious can get in on the act (which was long considered impossible). It's like a very small child, trying to reach the moon by climbing a tree. And the ring works with that. I bring up the DNA scanner, not because of the coolness of creating one, (I don't doubt Barbara could), but because for a long time it was assumed that a Lantern had to understand the principles behind what he/she created. Kyle doesn't know anything about DNA, sequencing or electronics. Honestly, I'd be surprised if that boy could get his clock to stop flashing 12:00. And yet he creates complex mechanical devices at the drop of a hat. Simply because he had no idea that he's not supposed to be able to.

He started at a time when there was no Corps at all, he was alone. So everything he knows is what he's learned from other people. He's got a very idealized and confused idea of what Lanterns do, of what the Corps is, of what the ring can do. But he has such absolute faith in that idea that it works anyway.

Honestly, the biggest problem I have with a character like Barbara as a Lantern is because she's incapable of blind faith. Barbara, like most very smart people, has very strong convictions. They're supported by facts, evidence, logic and rationality. But it's not the same."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gender and Positioning in the JSA Cover Preview, My Interpretations:

Okay, so in my last post, I've responded celebrating four women in an apparent cast of seventeen. In the comments, Tekanji makes a valid point about the size of the ratio with regards to the authority present at the table:

"Let me preface this with, "Yay, four women!"

Now let me be the party-pooper, glass is half-empty girl. I feel like it's a bit of a commentary on just how bad gender parity is in comments currently if we get all excited over having 4 out of 16 people being women on a cover. That's only 25% women, which isn't even close to the 50% that would be nice to see.

Also, the first thing that struck me about the gender layout is that the people sitting around the table are all male. Maybe this is my own interpretation, but I feel like people with seniority/authority would get the seats, which would imply that the women there aren't as senior/important as the men.

But... uh... yay, four women! (please don't hurt me)"

Since a similar topic, the number part at least, showed up on ComicBloc, I thought I'd post the relevant post and my response here, because it contains my opinion regarding that. And I like the sound of my own voice.

Matt posts:

"There are only 4 women, out of the 17 members shown, that's kinda sad. But I guess JSA has always been more a "boys" club mentality...


My response follows:

"Honestly, I'd be upset if that proportion was in another large cast. But this is JSA. The Golden Age connection/legacy requirement means that it's going to be harder to work more female characters in without replacing a lot of great male characters.

Alan, Jay, Ted and Carter are the old guard. It'd be a bad idea to replace them as they're the core of the team. The 40s heroes. Debatably Sand falls under the same category as Wes's sidekick.

Then characters like Pieter, Rick and Michael were/are staples in the modern take on the JSA. Todd and Al's stories constantly intertwined with the modern JSA. The legacy and character ties they've developed make them very valuable.

So personally, I really wouldn't want to see any of these guys replaced. All it would do is get rid of a popular, likeable character for someone without all the pre-established development and interaction. It'd actually, I think, be more harmful than beneficial to insert more female characters that way. JSA's themes have always seemed to be legacy and family. Mid-Nite and Terrific's replacements worked because their predecessors hadn't been terribly active at the time. But a replacement now would be more disruptive and I'd imagine, not incredibly well-recieved, regardless of gender. BUT, the ill-reception of the replacement characters would probably be blamed on the fact that the new characters would be female.

This way though, it works for me. Power Girl and Stargirl are already members. Liberty Belle (going by the way the crack in the bell looks like a lightning bolt) is a pre-established character with familial ties inheriting a proper legacy. While having a human Red Tornado (I assume that's her) is long overdue.

This way, we've got two already accepted female characters presumably here to stay, with two that will be evaluated on their own merits rather than based on who they're replacing.

There seems to be a lot of inactive Golden Age-connected identities, so it's possible that if these two stick, there'll be an open door for more female characters to inherit some of those as well.

That said, I was kind of hoping for Hawkgirl and Jade (NOT as a replacement for Alan...and presumably alive again) to join, but well, there're always later possibilities. :-)"

To add to this, it's a bit of a catch-22. How do we add more female members when they basically need to be replacing popular male characters. This might make me a bad feminist, but I do NOT want that to happen. When it comes down to it, if I have a choice to get more female characters but it means losing the guys pictured above...I wouldn't take it. I love those guys. (Especially Sand. There will be no trading Sand for a woman. Ever. I'm a bad feminist but no.)

But Geoff Johns said that this cast of seventeen isn't the entire team, leading folks to believe this may end up something like the JLU, with a base core of characters and others taking part specifically for the storyline. This means that there's a lot of potential right now for the infusion of more female characters without the stigma of having to replace beloved characters.

Now to continue on, Tek's point about the placement is very valid. Only men are sitting. I can see how that could definitely be seen as imparting visual authority.


However, (and here's where I start trying to do that Image Analysis thing that Ragnell is so good at and I'm so...not) there are three members that really catch my eye in this picture when I see it, and none of them are sitting at the table. Stargirl of course is very prominent, but given that she's the kid sister of the team, that makes perfect sense. The other characters that draw my eye most though are Wildcat and Powergirl.

Ted's not sitting down, and that fact if nothing else, disproves the people sitting have the authority interpretation, I think. Ted is old guard. He's from the 40s. He's the gruff uncle to Green Lantern and Flash's dad and mom. He's a character with a lot of prominence. And while he's not the leader type, like Hawkman, his opinion actually carries a lot more weight.

And he's standing. And I think his placement is deliberate. He's standing over Hawkman and Mid-Nite. Towering a little, but not in the almost subservient manner that Atom-Smasher is in the left corner. Wildcat's looking up at the "camera", challengingly. He's in a position of authority.

The other character that draws my eye in this scene is Power Girl. She's standing kitty corner to Wildcat. Two points on a radius. She's in the forefront of the picture, 3/4th's view. Her body is partially turned toward the group while she's glaring out at the audience. While this is in part, I think, due to the fact that this position is good for showing off breasts, it's also a stance of authority/power as well. She's got a very matriarchal stance right here. Like a lioness with cubs. Her body is toward them, nurturing and authoritarian. Protective. Which is an impression helped by her outward glare.

Of the nine unseated figures, there is an element of subordinance in seven of them. Atom-Smasher's (Or Damage, I still think it's Al though) looking down. Starman's facing entirely away from the group. Steel's body language isn't confident, Liberty Belle's looking back, Red Tornado is leaning on Jay and Stargirl's on the table.

But Power Girl and Wildcat's stances aren't weakened at all, thus they are towering over the group in stances of strength, opposite one another. They're visual pillars, holding up the rest of the team. They visually reinforce one another.

I'm reminded of this image actually:


This was released earlier on, promotion for the December release. Here, the authoritarian elements are much more obvious. Once more we have Ted and Karen towering over the group. This time with Mr. Terrific. It occurs to me though, in the round table image, Terrific is sitting. He lacks the reinforcing power stance of the other two. He's essentially visually demoted. I'm not sure why this is, except possibly because his authority has more to do with his Chairmanship position. If another person is now the chairman, he would lack the prominence.

I freely admit, seeing this bottom scan first probably very much influences my read of the top one. The authority is blatant here. Karen, Ted and Michael are sorting through pictures. Choosing. Among those pictures: Superman and Wonder Woman. These three are, at this point, in the position of choosing Superman or Wonder Woman.

But anyway, as I see it, the JSA cover image at the top, presents three tiers of authority:

1. Power Girl, Wildcat. For the reasons above. They're strong stanced, confident and towering.
2. The members seated around the table.
3. Everyone else.

As for Liberty Belle and Red Tornado, I'm not upset at their lack of visual authority (or even Stargirl's, as she is again, the little sister of the group and really the most prominent of the images). Liberty Belle's a prodigal character, now moving to inherit her mother's legacy instead of her father's, while Red Tornado is brand new all together.

But Power Girl is in a position of power. And I like that. (I really think it'd be awesome to make her chairman!) So I'm very very happy about this image.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Here Be Women!

Okay, so I'm really loving the JSA cover. There were some people I'd expected to see but didn't, but then again, it was revealed that that isn't the entire team so that probably explains it.

I particularly like Sand's (I hope that's Sand. I refuse to believe it's anyone else, darnit), it's creepy but strangely awesome.

But the one thing I really like is something that I haven't really seen pointed out anywhere else.

We have, out of sixteen characters on that cover:

Red Tornado (Maxine Hunkle?), Liberty Belle (probably Jessie Quick, given the crack is drawn like a lightning bolt), Stargirl and Power Girl.

That's four women. In the JSA. That's pretty awesome! I'd been worried when I saw Hawkgirl's silhouette on the JLA cover that there'd be a dearth of women in the new group. But there's four! Four women in the old boy's club of the DCU!

It's awesome!

(I'm also thrilled that JLA appears to have four women on the cover as well. There were so many years with it just Diana, I'm thrilled that they've returned to a variety. :-))

Four women! Yay!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Random Thoughts: Special Convention Edition

- Driving to Chicago is much better than driving to Charlotte.
-- I still hate Virginia

- We wore special shirts. We were a scary legion of blue-shirted groupies.
-- Lots of people asked "So what happens when fangirls attack?"
--- We really need a nice practiced clever answer for this...hmm...

- The DC Panels were a lot of fun!
-- Bob Wayne is a lot funnier in person than reading quotes in writing. Seriously, very very funny.
--- Keith Giffen's funny too. And he knew of WFA!
-- Geoff Johns is a balloon killer!

-Dan Didio is a really nice, if hyper, guy really. Very enthusiastic. I admit I don't understand how he sets some folk off. He's like certain members of my family. Maybe it's an Italian thing. :-)

-Ragnell asked if Mosaic is in continuity. Specifically the end. They said yes. Later we asked Geoff Johns if he remembered the ending...particularly the resurrection. His facial expression was funny. Kind of an "Oh shit" look. But not necessarily in a bad way. We're hoping it means he realized he has a new toy.

-Saw a video game concert. It was cute but kind of lame. Too much current video game music. I was hoping for more of the classic stuff. They had a nice Legend of Zelda one though. In general it was all other stuff though. And the theatre was too cold. :-)

-The hotel room is nice, roommate and I are staying with Ragnell and her sister. We watched the first Lexx movie as it's crackier than Mosaic.

-Saw some neat costumes! A Batgirl, Supergirl, Power Girl. My roommate saw a Sandman (Doddsian not Vertigo). There was a nifty Alan Scott too.

-Roommate got Dirk Benedict to sign an old Battlestar Galactica comic, go her!

-And some nifty comic news that certain folk might like, that's probably been reported elsewhere:
--Batgirl will be in Titans East. Cassandra Cain. No details though.
--Carol Ferris/Star Sapphire/the Zamarons (or at least one of the three) will come up in Green Lantern

-Lots of John Stewart questions, which is great!

-They showed the JSA cover as well, I hadn't seen it yet.
--Interesting missing people.
--And yay! Sand! I like the costume. On closer look it's not very much like Wes's. The mask is vaguely skull like and the skeleton-boned gloves are a little weird. Even his costume looks vaguely like a black shroud.
---I wonder if it's a mask at all.

-Ron Marz is really nice too. He wrote the happy birthday song in Ragnell's sister's autograph book (it's her birthday, naturally). And they gave out free copies of the first issues of Samurai Heaven and Earth.
--Apparently he studied Chinese and Japanese history in college. :-) Common ground! Cool! Also means that I'll probably like Samurai! (Somehow I'd never gotten around to reading it).

-We saw Paul Jenkins's writing comics panel. It was very neat! Some nice tricks to consider.
--He was nice as well. Makes me almost regret not being a Civil War fan.

-Lots of neat artists and web comics. We got inducted into a web-comic "frat" in which we had to swear to drink a lot of beer and look at breasts.
--It's quite possible I'm a bad feminist.
---He joked about it being a frat custom for "brothers" to kiss, so we (all girls) should.
----We said okay, if he kissed his "brothers" at the table, (all guys), they declined.
-----No hot man-on-man action for me, darnit.

So yeah it was fun. Tomorrow is a Silver Age trivia thing. I might try, even though I suck at most Silver Age stuff that's not Lantern related. Still it sounds like fun! I'm definately going to watch!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Catwoman Paternity Thoughts.

Personally I think Helena Kyle's going to end up Bruce Wayne's daughter. Even if there's some sort of twist in Catwoman, a few years in they're going to pull a Grayson-on-Barbara Gordon and restore the correct relationship. It's too much in the public consciousness to make her anyone but Bruce's kid, I think.

It's not just Earth 2, honestly. The Birds of Prey tv show also established a Huntress as Batman's daughter. I really don't think they'd be able to screw with that for long.

It wouldn't be necessarily a bad thing to go in that direction, even if it's not terribly surprising. In fact it could be awesome for one very important reason:

The possibility of a future set, debatable continuity story in which the daughter of Batman has to fight against her evil half brother, grandson of Ra's Al Ghul*.

And that would be a great great thing.

(*Provided of course that Morrison's not pulling a trick on us. :-))

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Review: Heroes Rebored

I got sent another comic to review! How cool is that?

Anyway, the comic in question is Writer Block Productions' Heroes Rebored: Mundane Super-Heroics at it's Best. (You can read Ragnell's review here.)

I'm not a very good judge of art, but I have no real complaints. Each character is comfortably distinctive in design and color scheme and they're portrayed consistently throughout the book. The style is simplistic, particularly in terms of backgrounds. In many close up panels, there's only a solid color background. It's something that would probably bother me in other comics, but it seems to suit this story well. I also like the way the cityscape and title fonts seem to be an homage to Kirby's style. (It is Kirby City, after all. :-))

The story is cute and sweet and takes place in a single issue. For all the superhero setting, the story is focused much more on the characters than the heroics. Dynamic Dan is the main character, one of those hapless nice guys you can't help but love. He's too busy helping people with mundane problems to really get much recognition as a hero. When his friend, the Imagineer, gets a lucky break and starts letting it get to his head, there are problems.

The interactions between the characters are a strong point of the comic. The strained friendship between Dan and the Imagineer is the central focus of the comic, and it's very well done. The character dynamics are very familiar and it wouldn't really matter if they were athletes, office workers, artists or any other job, because we've all been there.

The other characters don't get as much focus but there are some standouts. I'm particularly fond of Scorp, the King of Calimari, and Gladiator who refers to himself in third person and hits things a lot, which is always cool.

My only real problem is pretty tangential to the actual plot. It's never really explained what the characters' abilities are. To be fair, the superhero aspect is the setting, not the theme, of the story. Any fights are solely there to further the character-centric plot. Still, it seems oddly incomplete to not really know what any of these guys can do.

That said, it's definitely an enjoyable read. I'd recommend it!

Thoughts about Equality

Okay, so a while back on Ragnell's blog, a discussion erupted on whether Diana and Clark should be together, versus with their actual significant others.

There were good points raised on both sides, I think, even though I'm firmly on the side that Clark and Diana do not actually make a good couple. Whereas Clark and Lois and Steve and Diana do, in my opinion. (I won't go into why, as they're at the link.)

There was something that bothered me though, the constant assertion that Clark and Lois (or Diana and Steve) were ill-matched because they were unequal. That in the case of Diana in particular, it wasn't "feminist" for her to settle for some guy who isn't her equal.

This is a revolting concept for me. Not that couples shouldn't be equal of course, but since when does equality mean "the same"?!

Honestly, the idea strikes me as anti-feminist in a sense. Because if physical power is the only way in which equality counts, where does that leave women? I mean, face it, the average woman is not usually as physically strong as the average man. We're compensated in other ways, of course, but if you only judge equality by physical strength, then where does that leave us?

Equality, to me, isn't about having the same abilities as my significant other. It's about difference. It's about being strong where the other is weak, compensating for one another's weak points. It's about balance.

I mean, sure Diana and Clark are very different in personality, but it's the similarity of powers, their physical strength, that gets them touted as equals.

Lois Lane will never be as strong physically as Superman. But in personality, she's more than a match. He's a calm, easy going, and occasionally very passive fellow. He lets things happen. She's proactive and ambitious. She goes after what she wants and gets it. She's very brave. And reckless. She puts herself in dangerous situations all the time for a story without Superman's strength. Sure she needs saving a lot, but she's willing to take the risk.

She's smarter than he is though. More adaptable. And certainly the better reporter. She's got a knack for scooping out the big stories...even if that knack gets her tied up more often than not. She's very strong emotionally, unphased by being constantly in danger, threatened, or facing death. (And I challenge anyone to read that OMAC tie-in issue where she tries to face one down with a hair dryer and ducks for cover in the bathtub to tell me she's not strong.)

So what do we have? A man with superpowers and a woman with the personality to meet him halfway in anything. A couple in which the man is strong where the woman isn't and the woman is strong where the man isn't... That seems equal to me.

Now Steve gets a lot of flack because he's essentially Lois Lane as a man. But that's a shame, because he balances Diana in much the same way Lois balances Clark. He's not as brash/forceful because Diana's not as passive, but he's got his own strengths.

Diana is an intelligent and diplomatic woman, but she's from an alien culture. She's always going to be a bit awkward in American social situations. Steve excels there. He's charming and socially adept. She may be the more intelligent of the two, but a lot of her knowledge is inapplicable to American culture. Steve has the knowledge and understanding of modern American culture that she lacks.

And like Lois, he's brave. Far braver than Superman, for example, because he faces danger daily without any sort of powers to protect him. Sure he gets in trouble and needs saving, but that's because he's doing his duty for the country. He knows the risks and accepts them. And he tends to enjoy being rescued by a sexy, powerful woman.

So he'll never be strong/fast/enduring as she is, but he makes up for it in his social adeptness and applicable knowledge and skill. They sound pretty equal to me as well. And he's pretty in a uniform.

Though I should be using past tense here, as Steve was rewritten post-crisis as a brother figure. But I'm not, as I protest taking away Diana's Lois Lane. Hmph. As cute as Etta is, it's like giving Lois to Jimmy Olsen. It's Not Right. :-(

Anyway there are a lot of good reasons to prefer Clark/Diana to Clark/Lois or Diana/Steve, but I protest at including "equality" among them. People can be equals without being the same.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Move Along: No Post Here

Instead I've been occupying myself reading through the WizardWorld guest list. Which somehow I'd managed not to peruse closely until now.

And now I'm even more excited of course. :-)

I can't believe they have Noel Neill! Noel Neill! The closest to the real Lois Lane we've ever gotten on a live action television (or movie for that matter) screen.

I need to get Ms. Neill's autograph! Crap! I need to buy something to get her autograph on!

I think my resolution not to spend too much money at this convention is going the way of the dodo.

(Also! I get to meet up with Ragnell! We might even be wearing special T-Shirts! Yay!)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Daredevil Movie Musings

Over at Comic Facts, Loren posts a (very spoileriffic) review of the Daredevil director's cut.

And it sounds pretty good actually. There's actual law practiced for one.

I'll be honest though, I never thought the Daredevil movie was that bad. I even thought Ben Affleck, much to my surprise, seemed to be working out well in the role. (Now Jennifer Garner didn't work for me, which is odd, because between the two of them, I've always considered her the better actor.)

I admit, I've only read a few issues of the comic. But I liked their choice of Bullseye, and the reporter guy who's name I can't remember. Also Kingpin. Even though, to be honest, I had been initially thrown by the casting choice. I thought he was fantastic though when I saw the actual movie.

The plot was pretty mediocre, but I did like the plain-clothes fight in the playground. That was neat. I really like when heroes fight plain clothed.

Seriously, like Tim Drake fighting the mob guys at school? That saved War Games for me, man.

Anyway, I'm not sure the review's enough to get me to buy the director's cut movie, but it's seriously making me consider renting it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I know I said...

No more Green Lantern at PFP. I lied.

I couldn't resist because of this:

Kyle, sweetie, this is why your mom told you to brush your teeth...:-)