Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Reconsidering Superman Returns (many spoilers)

I recently watched Superman Returns again and I got to thinking. I started to remember all the talk about sexism in that movie. Some of it was a little bogus, the "how many fs in catastrophe" reference is a nod to Lois's general characterization (brilliant reporter, can't spell), while the fainting scene is pretty inevitable considering the oxygen deprivation the character went through. But I can understand a lot of complaints. There wasn't much of a feminine presence throughout the movie, all things considered, and Lois's backstory does get questionable once examined closely.

But I'm not sure I'd consider it sexism so much as a reflection of the central theme of the movie which is, in my opinion, "becoming a man".

Wherein Explanations (And Spoilers) AboundIn a strange sense, Superman was very much a self-absorbed adolescent at the beginning of the movie. He had his set role in everyone's lives, however his long absence changed all that. He is then forced to come to terms with the idea that people can't be taken for granted. They change and move on. Relationships need equal give-and-take as well as actual cultivation in order to last.

He is forced to come to terms with the fact that his quick and ready absence hurt people. It hurt Lois. It allowed Lex Luthor his freedom.

He's forced to recognize that while he's unique, he isn't without rival. There are men as good, brave and heroic as he is out in the world, men who will not make the mistake of taking people for granted. For the first time since Jonathan Kent died, he's got a real external example of manhood to aspire toward.

Lex then becomes the dark mirror of Richard. He's utterly self-absorbed. People and relationships mean nothing except for how they work to achieve his goals. If Superman is guilty of taking his relationships for granted, Lex doesn't really consider them relationships at all. People are ultimately replaceable and interchangeable to him.

Thematically the revisiting of the "real-estate" plot becomes important. Sure, it's a rehash of earlier movie plots, but it becomes important because of the source of that goal...his father.

Each of the three men have paternal shadows influencing them and their development. Richard has followed in the footsteps of his uncle, Perry White. Lex of course is following his father's path. And Superman naturally has Jor-El. (There is also possible symbolism in the fact that Richard's father figure is real, present and obviously flawed and human compared to the distant, rejecting shadow of Lex's father or the dead spectre of Jor-El. Especially when compared to the more human characterizations of Superman in other media when Jonathan Kent is more of an influence on his life.)

I do think that the Superman at the end of the movie is not the distant, alien being that he was at the start. He can't be. He's now irrevocably tied to the people of Earth in a way he could never have been before. He's tied by blood and true, adult responsibility.

Fatherhood is symbolically the point where a boy truly becomes a man. He's faced the harsh truths of adulthood and now finds himself responsible for another life, and while he does quote Jor-El's words back, it definitely looks like he isn't going to be the distant spectre that his own father was. (He has a better example now. Though now the idea of Richard White as Jonathan Kent to Superman's Jor-El is suddenly pretty interesting to me.)

Since the theme of the story is manhood, the roles of women, while significant, important and dynamic in their own right, do take something of a back seat toward the roles of the men. (Though it might be interesting to examine Kitty, Lois and Martha as the three stages of womanhood...), but that's because this is ultimately a movie about being a man.

I think there's a big difference between a movie that is sexist and a movie that's ultimately about what it means to be a man. Which probably sounds weird, but there are countless movies out there about being a woman, movies that are themed around femininity and growing into womanhood. Men play significant roles, but the central themes center around the women. These movies aren't inherently sexist. They're just about feminine experience. Superman Returns is the same, just androcentric instead of gynocentric.

Of course, that said, while I'm okay with ONE Superman movie being hijacked to tell a story about manhood and masculinity, Lois Lane had better kick some serious ass next movie. Or We Will Have Words.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Misanthropy Rising...(Non-Comic Rant)

This is not normally the sort of post I would make here at PFP. I usually keep personal matters over at my never-updated Livejournal and save this blog for more interesting and fun things like comics and television. But I've been thinking for quite a while and I honestly can't bring myself to blog about comics today.

I'm too disgusted with humanity right now.

I work at a toy store. That's my preamble. I genuinely like it. Even during season, even when I clumsily make all sorts of trouble because I can be a real ham-handed ditz sometimes. People on a whole tend to be nice, if frustrated and rushed, and there's something uplifting to help people find things to make the kids in their lives happy.

Even with the seventieth repetition of "No, we don't have any Wiis/Playstation 3s/Tickle Me Elmo/Kidtough Cameras in stock. We're all sold out."

I mean sure there are mild irritations consisting of things like "So can you go INTO the delivery truck and find this toy I want?" (answer = no, there's a long process for new arrivals. You have to wait until tomorrow. Deal with it) or "Even though I've already left my name and number to call when product A is in stock, I'm calling to find out if product A is in stock." (answer = no, you're on a LIST. WE WILL CALL YOU)

But they're minor. And even a little funny. The guy who needed the cops called on him because he wouldn't leave, ranting that we were hoarding PS3s was less funny, but it was an isolated incident.

Yesterday though, I saw a side of people that I really didn't like. It wasn't the manic batshit crazy "I NEED THIS TOY NOW AND YOU HAVE TO GET IT FOR ME!!!" side, I work in a toy store, I can deal with that. This was something else. It even happened *after* work technically.

I got off work at 5:30 and headed into the back to grab my coat, purse, et cetera. Well, I found something very unpleasant. My poor co-worker was sitting in the break room, looking positively dreadful, gasping for breath and coughing fluid from her lungs. She didn't have insurance so she wasn't going to call for an ambulance, but her physician on the phone did convince her to go to Urgent Care. With good reason, by this point her chest was hurting and her arms tingling. NOT a good sign. She was in agony.

My co-workers were horrified and worried. I was having my roommate pick me up from work anyway, so I offered her a ride to the place if she couldn't get in touch with her boyfriend. So we headed out to wait in the enclosed cart area at the front of the store. (My awesome co-workers didn't even make us sign out, human compassion: 1 bureaucratic red tape: 0)

So we were waiting in the indoor cart area. She DID ultimately get in touch with her boyfriend and understandably preferred to go with him. But she was genuinely scared and my roommate hadn't arrived yet so I decided to wait with her.

In the meantime, the store's still open. Customers are walking past us to get into the store as well as to leave. My co-worker is gasping for breath and moaning in very audible pain and you know? Not a single person stopped to ask if she was okay!

Not one!

I'm not saying I expect someone to drop everything and go all Florence Nightingale on us, but a simple expression of concern would be appreciated! It wouldn't take much for a "Are you okay?" I know no one wants to get involved in these things but heck, an offer to call for an ambulance (or get the people inside to) would have gone a long way, even if she would have refused it.

And to the middle-aged couple that rubbernecked by us, pausing to stare, give us dirty looks and march into the store without a word: Fuck you! You can pause to gape but you can't say anything? And what the hell was that glare? I'm pretty sure my collegue's gasping for air is NOT meant to ruin your shopping trip.

And to the lady bringing back her cart, we appreciate you not leaving that in the parking lot. But honestly, taking one look at us and the long line of carts and then rolling the cart AT US?! Fuck you, too. I hope you never find that toy Junior needs so preciously! It's pretty fucking easy to put back a cart and having a red shirt doesn't make us your slaves. Especially not when there's a serious blooming EMERGENCY going on.

I don't get it. I seriously don't. To me, the toy store is a place where I actually try to be on reasonably good behavior and manners. Even if no kids are around to watch me right then, the store makes me think of kids and the kind of impression I want to give them. I could only imagine what they'd get from that callous dismissiveness toward someone obviously suffering. Clearly no one should let concern for other people get in the way of what they want.

Fuck. Fuck-fuck-fuck. I've had bad days at work before. But this was something else. Thank god I have today off, because I really don't want to have to go back in that store and face those people, smile and take their shit for a measely seven-something an hour. Maybe it's not fair, but right now I can't think of my customers without seeing those people. The countless who just walked by. Cart-lady. Glaring couple. I don't want to help them. I don't want to look at them. I want them to fuck off to some lost forgotten slime-infested bog where they can be with their own kind.

Merry fucking Christmas.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My thoughts on Heroes, revisited (vague spoilers)

As of last week, the first major plot-arc of Heroes completed and I have to say that I've enjoyed it a lot. I genuinely think this is a very good show and I absolutely adore what they've done with most of the characters. I've collected my thoughts on the series thus far, below. (Some spoilers below)

Peter Petrelli: In the first few episodes, he annoyed the heck out of me. I've never really been drawn to the whiny, emo, over-sensitive characters and he has those qualities in spades. If you would have told me that by the end of the first story arc, he would have shot up to become my favorite of the cast, I would have laughed in your face. And yet...he did.

Really, the turn-around for me started when he got the future visitation in the subway. Up until that point, the character had seemed to be floundering, grasping at any sort of purpose to his life beyond the job that, while noble and altruistic, wasn't making him happy. However, once he had that purpose, I really started to like him. He didn't just sit around and angst, he got up off his ass and did stuff. I may not be much for whiny characters, but I tend to adore the characters that coordinate and keep everything together. His scenes with Isaac were definitely some of his best. And of course, facing certain death to try to save some girl he didn't know, without any sort of *useful* powers...that's pretty much THE definition of heroism in my book.

Besides, I like his power. It's neat.

Claire Bennett: The last episode of the arc pretty much cemented Claire as my second favorite character. Who didn't cheer when she punched that little bitch? I like her a lot as a young character, still growing and learning.

I never hated the attempted-rape as much as some. Claire is not a character that can be hurt in the standard manner, there needs to be a psychological element. Also, her revenge against the football player went a long way in redeeming it. Because as much as revenge for herself played a big part in her motivation, so did revenge for his other victim and the desire to prevent him from attacking someone else. Female characters tend to become heroes as a reaction to their own traumas, rape being commonly used. In contrast, male characters tend to become heroes to protect/avenge others. In this case, I found Claire's motivation to be refreshingly more "male" than stereotypically female. (I do think that both female characters being assaulted is a bit much, but Niki's assault seemed much more gratuitous and unnecessary to me than Claire's)

I don't even mind the "Save the Cheerleader...Save the World" theme, as I'm pretty sure that she's going to have a very active role in the world-saving part now that she's out of danger. With her powers, how can she not?

And I love Zack. He's a great sidekick.

Nathan Petrelli: He's an ass, but such fun! And I do think a lot of what he does is part of a misguided attempt to protect his family. He's never struck me as particularly villainous. Besides, who *didn't* cheer when he took over in the air?

Hiro Nakamura: I have to shamefully admit, Hiro does absolutely nothing for me as a character by now. He's cute and geeky, but honestly he's like cotton candy. There's no real substance there, yet. I do enjoy his enthusiasm and earnest desire to help, but he needs more direction right now. I'm hoping when he finally joins up with Peter and the others, that'll help with that. Right now, though, his schtick is getting old. I hope they are letting him evolve into something new.

I am liking Ando though, he's gotten a lot of growth lately.

Matt (whose last name I can't remember): He's a bit of a sad-sack, but I like him. I wonder if he and the blond lady will be called in to deal with the fallout from the end of the story-arc. I hope so. Right now, he's kind of like Mohinder for me: a character I find very appealing trapped in a godawful rut of a storyline.

However I do like that the pre-requisite fainting psychic is a man. :-)

Mohinder Suresh: Egads! Will you let his storyline start moving again soon, NBC?!?! I know intellectually his actions make sense. A lot of stuff happened in a very short time for him, with a lot of setbacks and humiliations and he's got the hapless exposition role anyway. But damnit. I really like him as a character. I like his wry humor and his flirtation with Eden (spy chick) and even his jumpy paranoia. And it doesn't hurt that he's damn pretty to look at. It's just since he got to India, his storyline's been a black hole of boredom. Bring him back to the states please.

I also think it might help if he developed powers of his own too. I keep anticipating that he might. Especially since the role I'd initially expected for him (coordinator/keeps-things-together man) has gone more to Peter instead. Besides, there should be more international/global heroes.

Niki: I hate to say it, but I find Niki incredibly tedious. Stripper with a heart of gold? Beleaguered single mother? Victim of her own (or someone else's) dark side? Whatever. Honestly, the woman wreaks of all the traits I find really annoying in standard female characters. She's such a standard, cliched heroine. Which is a shame because Jessica/Evil Niki is such a blast. The actress really seems to be having fun with that role.

I honestly think it's the Niki character's fault the show has a bad wrap for treatment of female characters. Claire is such a good character. Her assault, though still a little cliche had a point. Niki's really didn't. The mobsters could have easily just threatened to beat her (no bed involved) or threatened the kid and Evil Niki would have had their asses anyway. And the stripping really didn't add any sort of point to the character aside from a pointless interlude with Ando.

So down with Niki, up with Evil!Niki! Micah is cute though and DL has promise.

Bennett: Okay, I love sinister glasses-wearing guys. He's no exception. I love how he manages to be both vaguely or not so vaguely evil while still being a genuinely concerned father. He loves his daughter and, like any good dad, wants to protect her. And somehow that doesn't humanize him at all. I love it!

Eden's pretty interesting too and I want to know more about their operation.

Isaac: I want to like him. He's certainly nice to look at, but he's been terribly stagnant so far. I did like his interactions with Peter though, when he actively started getting involved with helping save the world.

So there we go. In general, I'm happy with the show. My favorite character was the one who annoyed me the most in the beginning, and that's very rare for me. I usually know who I like best from episode one. I like the plots, most of the episodes manage to surprise me somewhere along the way. The acting's decent.

But I still want them to let Mohinder do SOMETHING DAMNIT.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 27, 2006

As Seen On TV...

When I was little, the first "grown-up" books I'd ever read were Star Trek tv-tie in novels. I was always a greedy little spaz that constantly wanted "more". More stories involving my favorite characters. More new stuff. The quality could be dubious. it's this mindset that probably led to me becoming a fanfic reader, I'd imagine.

But still for a very long time, I'd read any tie-in novel even remotely related to a television show I liked. I'll still read comic book tie-ins involving my favorite characters (for the record, Denny O'Neil's Hero Quest is a good non-continuity Kyle Rayner story. Christopher Priest's Sleepers, not so much).

Oddly, I've never actually read a lot of comic book television tie-in issues. Which is weird in retrospect because again, quality never mattered so much. But aside from some He-Man and She-Ra issues from way back when, I've never bothered. I still rarely do.

I think in some sense, it's because the tv-tie in books I see at the comic book stores don't seem to fit to me. A-Team and the original Battlestar Galactica, sure! The current Battlestar Galactica...honestly, doesn't seem to suit tie-ins very well.

CSI is one that slightly boggles me. I love the show, but it's not terribly visual, in my opinion. It's more talking than anything else. The moments of actual action tend to be so rare I have trouble even imagining it in a comic form. (Now a computer puzzle game...definitely!). I should pick it up when I go to the store.

This, naturally, got me thinking as to which television series WOULD make for suitable comic books, in my opinion. My thoughts are as follows:

I'm a big cheesy crime drama fan, but honestly, most of the Law and Orders, CSIs, Criminal Minds and the like seem like they'd be really boring as comic books. Too talky and not visually exciting enough.

The one exception to this, I think, is CSI Miami. Where every other crime drama tends to focus on gritty "reality", CSI Miami is more interested in Alligators, Explosions and David Caruso's bombastic line delivery. Now the latter probably would be hard in comic form, but the character is definitely suitably over-the-top in his own right that I could see him working as a comic book lead. CSI:M is much less concerned with things like logic and consistency, and far more concerned with blowing shit up, and thus it has visual, easily pace-able action.

That and you can't have too many comic books with Alligators.

Sci-Fi in general is a very good idea. You can do a lot visually with sci-fi to make it interesting. Battlestar Galactica tends to be an exception for me as so much changes per episode. I find it hard to care about a story set on New Caprica when the fleet's all in space again on the show. Things like Laura Roslin's cancer, Ellen Tigh's scheming and that sort quickly become non-applicable on the show itself. Don't get me wrong, I like BSG, but that sort of thing makes a long-term series hard.

Basically, I think a comic series is best when it's allowed to develop its own self-referential continuity. Something like Star Trek or even Babylon 5 works well with this, because the series has a strong status quo. With a steady backdrop like that, it's easy to let a sub-continuity develop. It's not referenced ever in the show? That's okay, it just hasn't happened yet! Or it's subtextually going on in the background: Riker seemed unaccountably pissy this episode! He must be suffering the fallout from (insert hypothetical comic here). BSG is...too good for this. Things change so quick and extremely that building that sub-continuity seems much more impossible. Besides, the characters are so strung out and on edge already that it's hard to find a way to slam them with more crap. Sure Kara can be losing it partially because of comic events, but more likely it's because of the shit we've already seen...

It just seems limiting to me. Much as I enjoy the show. (I could be wrong of course and the comic could be tremendously good. If that happens, you can put money on me singing a different tune soon enough. :-P)

That said, I'd love to see comics dealing with some of the abandoned Roddenberry series. Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict had fascinating potential that was never quite realized and were both visually stunning in different ways. There were many aspects of the characters only vaguely touched upon that could be expanded nicely into comics. (I'm still pissed that I never got a "Sandoval, you're my father." revelation damnit!) And as it's canceled now, it seems somehow easier to insert comic book continuity in there. (I suppose because I'm not so obsessed with what's happening NOW)

Also, I think there's a lot of cheesy Xena-esque shows that could make for vastly entertaining comics. The Beastmaster for example. The nineties versions of Tarzan or Sinbad. Relic Hunter or that one with the bleach blond jungle woman. Especially Relic Hunter...completely implausible stories about Tia Carrera the archeologist and her little British sidekick going around and playing Indiana Jones? I'd read that.

Anything that looks like wasted spin-off potential usually would work good, I'd reckon. Especially in horrible shows. Take Charmed for example. I have absolutely no interest in the sisters themselves, but that distant future with the two sons as well as any potential cousins and other siblings? I'd read that. Especially as the younger son seemed to remember coming back in time from an alternate apocalyptic future where his older brother was evil, only to be killed saving his older brother's infant self. And that seems like the sort of thing that would make a sibling relationship weird.

"Dude. You know, in an alternate apocalyptic future, you totally slaughtered my fiancee?"

Yep, I'd read it.

...I suppose it says something about my taste in comics in that I tend to think the more awful television shows would make more entertaining comics than any of the actually GOOD ones. Go figure.

What tv-shows/books/movies do you think would make for good comics?

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 26, 2006


This makes me incredibly happy. I love to see the big comic companies actively trying to court female readership, even if the new graphic novels in question don't really seem to be to my own personal taste.

Any recognition of women/girls as an untapped market can only be a good thing.

Now if only they could start writing a few more superhero comics geared toward women, we'll be gold! Birds of Prey can't carry that weight all on its own.

Actually, what I'd really like to see is more comic heroines in the "Magical Girl" sense. Like Amethyst. There are a lot of similarities between Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld and a lot of young girl centered "magical girl" manga, so it seems like there could definitely be a crossover market. It seems like there's a lot of untapped potential in that sort of concept in a superhero context.

I do have to wonder one thing: who uses the term Minx nowadays?

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Kirby Meme

So, Jon's tagged me for a meme about my favorite Jack Kirby design.

It probably won't surprise any long-time readers of my blog to know that my all-time favorite character design (as well as my all-time least) are both from the pages of Simon and Kirby's Sandman.

My least favorite naturally is the revisioning of the Sandman. Wesley Dodds's suit and gas-mask combination was an incredibly classy and nifty looking costume. It's smart, sophisticated and just darn cool. So I never understood why the Simon and Kirby run changed it and went with this:

It's a monstrosity. The only person who can get away with that sort of head-cowl and not look incredibly stupid is Captain America. And part of that is because deep-down I suspect Steve Rogers is supposed to be a giant dork. The color scheme is horrendous too. Gold and purple? Egads. And the abrupt transition from purple to gold on the arms and chest? It's completely illogical! Why would anyone have that sewn?

However, oddly enough, as dumb as the Sandman looks, I've always really liked the design of his sidekick, Sandy the Golden Boy:

It's a very cute design, much more fitting for a child sidekick than an adult man. Gold and red somehow avoid being the eyesore that gold and purple are, possibly because there's a lot less of the red than Wes's purple. The parts of the costume that are red make sense: the collar, mask, shorts and boots. There's no weird ribcage transition here. Not to mention the simple mask is much better than a cowl.

Sandy's costume falls more onto the Bucky end of the scale than the Robin end as sidekicks go. It's actually about as tasteful a costume design as you can get in Golden Age comics. The top has elements of a loose polo shirt, which manages to be both a little preppy and still quite modest. Kids probably shouldn't be in skin-tight clothes and the shirt manages to avoid that nicely. The shorts are nice too. It's hard to tell from the particular panel, but the bottoms of the costume are distinctly short-like as opposed to Robin's panties. They actually cover some thigh! The gold tights, while skin-tight, manage to not be quite so...unclad as Robin.

The combination manages to be cute, distinctly dated (in a good way, given that the character's kept his 1940s roots), evocative, suitably childish and even practical...or as practical as these costumes get at least! :-)

Labels: , , ,

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, it's a day late, but I decided to do my Happy Thanksgiving post on Friday instead.

Mostly because I need the good will to brace myself for a 5 AM Black Friday shift!

So what am I thankful for?

I'm thankful for the continued health and well-being of my family and friends.

I'm thankful for my job, as much as I'm dreading today, it's really nice to have work. Especially work I actually enjoy.

I'm thankful for NaNoWriMo, because even though I'm not likely to finish, it's still a rewarding experience.

I'm thankful for my hobby. There are a lot of problems that can't be denied, but I truly believe there's something great and amazing about superhero comics that makes them worth the fight to fix them.

I'm thankful for my column and especially my blog. I've been having a lot of fun with them and they've let me "meet" a lot of great people. Love you guys!

Now that I'm all warm and good spirited, I'm off to work! So have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

And please be nice to your friendly retail workers on this Black Friday! We don't get hazard pay! :-)

Labels: , ,

Thursday, November 23, 2006

My Two Cents on Criticism:

You know what the best part of doing my Newsarama column is? I find myself with opinions on comic-related subjects I would never have considered before. Like this stuff.

I probably never would have noticed it once upon a time, but since this column has me trying to keep up with things that are going on in blogs and livejournals, I'm actually finding myself reacting!

So, I have my own little message to creators like Rikki Simons, even though I'm not a comics creator myself. Three actually.

1. For every online reviewer that gets paid or free things for review, there are a good number who do not. For example, me. I only review sporadically, I admit, but I have reviewed both positively and negatively. And aside from three people who cared enough to send me first issues of their indy publications, I've never recieved anything free for my trouble.

So before you throw around comments about how hard it is to find your hard work berated by someone who's actually getting benefits from doing so, stop and think, please.

I work for 7.25 an hour at a local toy store. I love my job but it's hectic. When I plunk almost three dollars on a comic, that's almost half an hour dealing with irate customers and screaming children and stupid upper management hinderances. Maybe that doesn't seem like a lot in comparison to the weeks/months you've put into your project, but it's a fair bit of time when added up. I'm not saying I expect everything I buy to be good, but I think I've definitely earned the right to express my opinion about it.

(And most OEL manga and other such publications tend to be a bit more than three dollars thank you)

Besides, most reviewers who do get free things get them because they're considered to be influential reviewers. Their opinions are heard by a lot of people. You'd do much better to conduct yourself with grace and dignity.

(Also, it's not EVER a good idea to defend yourself on a review. Even politely. Because your work should speak for itself. If someone missed what you consider to be the most glaringly obvious point of your work, it means that your point is NOT glaringly obvious. It's not the duty of the reader to dig through the work for any given easter eggs, it's the duty of the writer to make such things readily apparent)

2. Be careful! You are probably a few good steps above an indy creator in terms of job security, but you're still a writer. Your success depends on people buying your product.

Now you may see complaints about the cavalier and even callous manner in which comic companies like DC and Marvel treat their fans. But you are not DC or Marvel (usually). While fans continually bemoan the downfall of their favorite series or the decline of superhero comics in general, the truth is that neither company is in much danger of failing. Not when movies like Batman Begins, Spiderman or X-Men continue to do so well. Not when X-Men Evolution, Teen Titans or Justice League continue to reach new fans.

Batman and Superman are products that have existed since 1939 and 1938 respectively. The X-Men and Spiderman from the sixties. That's a long time to establish themselves in the public consciousness.

So what does that mean for you? Absolutely nothing. This has absolutely nothing to do with you.

So don't do like the big companies. If you see major writers getting cocky, don't for a moment think you can do the same. Because you do not have that level of security that those companies have.

Their products, in some sense, sell themselves. While many fans will drop a bad run of their favorite superhero comics, other completists will keep collecting them regardless. Many readers buy the comics solely to pick at them. In some cases, notoreity can help with that. Like watching a trainwreck, it's sometimes hard to look away at the batshit craziness befalling favorite characters. (*cough*AllStarBatmanAndRobin*cough*)

In general, you don't have that. Your product, for better or worse, stands on its own. This is great in some sense, you have more freedom most of the time. You have the pride of creating work that's your very own. But it also means that the only factors in your story's success are your work and you. So how you conduct publically could DRASTICALLY affect your further success.

3. Not every reader is going to like your work. And many of them are going to say so. Deal with it.

As a comic creator, you are an entertainer and an artist. Which means without an audience, you don't really have a job. Whereas there are always more people in the wings waiting breathlessly for the opportunity to show us what they can do instead.

You need us more than we need you. So suck it up, shrug it off, and focus on what you really love...creating your art.

Or find another line of work.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lookit This!

I don't usually linkblog but this is terribly terribly funny.

And it's possibly the best explanation for why the overuse of rape in tv-shows/movies/comics tend to piss us bitchy feminists off that I've ever seen.

(found via RacyLi)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November sucks.

As it turns out, there's something I never considered when signing up for NaNoWriMo this month. NaNoWriMo is in November (obviously), and I work in a toy store.

Working in a toy store during November is fun, but it's also insane and life-sucking. It makes it pretty damned hard to sit down after shift and focus on writing a novel.

I'm not giving up, mind you, but I do have to consider the unpleasant fact that I'm already considerably behind and I'm heading into Thanksgiving week and Black Friday. And I work in a Toy Store.

So it's looking more and more likely I won't finish on time.

I AM going to finish. This is the most I've gotten on paper for any one single project and I intend to see it through. I just have to consider the fact that I may need to see it through during December as well.

Still aiming for the 30th though. :-) But I'm sulky too. Why couldn't NaNoWriMo have been during my nice long summer of unemployment? Or in a month that isn't filled with batshit crazy parents/grandparents frantically searching for toys to make Junior happy for one day out of the year than tossed aside once something newer and shinier enters the picture?

:-) Sorry, I'm whining. I love my job and I love to write. It's just a bit of inconvenient timing making me feel sorry for myself. :-)

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fantasy Crossovers/Teamups?

Seeing Big Barda in Birds of Prey, teaming up with possibly my other two favorite heroines in the DCU, got me thinking about all the crossover/teamup stories that I'd really like to see.

For example, I'd always wanted to see what would happen with a team-up between Nightwing and Sand.

In the Golden Age, both characters played strikingly similar roles. Non-powered sidekicks of non-powered heroes, optimistically named cheerful compatriots to dour detective types (in admittedly goofy costumes)... Sure Sandy tended to be a bit more cerebral, and Robin more physical, but their roles had a lot of striking similarity.

Of course, sixty some odd years later, the characters are taken into vastly different directions. Robin was never a compatriot of Sandy, instead being born and growing up decades later. Sandy in the meantime fell by the wayside, only to be revived and revamped into a sandmonster.

But what I find particularly interesting is that at this point in time, both characters are once again the same age (thanks to many reboots and nifty anesthetic chambers) and in oddly similar circumstances as sidekicks trying past their mentors' legacies.

I just think seeing a team-up would be really really neat!

I'd also really like to see a Kara Zor-El, Jason Todd meeting, if not a team-up, if only because as the black sheep (of sorts) in their respective "families", I think there'd be some interesting interaction.

And I'd always wondered what would have happened if Hawkwoman and Hawkgirl had actual time to interact with each other.

And I *still* want to see what happens when Phyla Vell meets her little (big?) brother!

What about you guys? What crossovers/team-ups would you really like to see?

Labels: , ,

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sand Has Really Weird Dreams...

A.K.A, I'll be glad when November is over so I can post things of substance again. :-)

(Picture from JSA Secret Files 2)

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 18, 2006

On the chopping block: Legion of Superheroes.

I hate to say it, but right now, I'm debating removing Legion of Superheroes from my pull list.

It's not that it's a bad comic. I like the Legion and this incarnation has some real nice moments. It's just...when I come down to it, I'm largely apathetic about it. There've been a few months were for whatever reason, they didn't get shuffled in with the rest of my issues and to be honest...I didn't miss them.

I'm not sure what it is, to be honest. I loved the post Zero-Hour incarnation and have fond memories of the original (though I liked the former better, as it was a bit easier for the comic neophyte I am to find/get caught up on)

I don't think it's Supergirl. Sure she's not like the real Supergirl, but I find her cute enough. I still think there will be a twist there (unless there has been already, one of the issues I'm missing is the most recent) and I do find the thought intriguing.

I think it's more that...I'm not feeling the group solidarity that I remember from the earlier editions. Part of that might be the general lack of interaction between the three team founders this time around. In Zero Hour and the original version it seemed like there was a lot more interaction between those three. And I do think that might effect the group dynamic on a whole. The foundation upon which the building is built. Or something like that.

I'm also not sure I'm digging Brainiac 5's characterization in this one. I thought the conflict between him and Cosmic Boy was interesting, but this Dream Girl plot has basically isolated him from the group.

I found the teenage rebel/revolutionary concept to be an interesting take on it, but I'm feeling a disconnect from where it's going now.

I do think Colossal Boy is neat. But...

I'll give it another issue or two. But right now it looks like I'll have an extra three dollars per month soon enough.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Just for Kids? (incoherent rambling warning)

Well, this post is going up later than I'd expected. My internet conked out last night, much to my irritation. :-)

I was thinking actually about the argument "comics should be for kids". Because when a (superhero) comic geek makes the argument "comics should be for kids", they're not truly arguing that principle. What they're doing is saying "I don't like THIS, so I'm using children as an excuse to argue that they should get rid of it."

The argument makes sense coming from family groups and politicians, but it definitely doesn't make sense from the standpoint of most superhero comic book fans, as it comes up in ways that clearly don't fit.

For example, "comics should be for kids" popped up a lot when news of the new Batwoman started springing up. Naturally, what provoked this argument was the fact that Batwoman is a lesbian. But when you look at the Bat franchise as it is today, the argument really doesn't make sense. Batman's a dark character and his books are dark. Innocent people die and heroes become wounded both physically and psychologically. Some of the villains are plainly terrifying, conceptually speaking, the Joker and Two-Face in particular. Poison Ivy is a character that blatantly uses sex as well as violence. Most Bat villains utilize mass murder or the threat of it.

And the heroes? Batman is scary, brooding and scheming. Barbara was permanently maimed. Jason Todd (until recently at least) suffered a terribly messy death and Stephanie Brown, more recently followed. Huntress and Batgirl are not really characters designed for children either, given the propensity for violence and the very traumatic, blood-stained backstories.

If nothing else, Dick Grayson's sexlife isn't really geared toward children either.

But Batman is popular. And much as we may protest certain things that happen, most comic geeks are reasonably fond of the franchise. But one would have to be pretty blind to consider the Bat franchise, pre-Batwoman, to be any more child-friendly than post-Batwoman. One lesbian is not going to make much of a difference.

I've seen it argued among JLI fans as well. It's a little more understandable there, as quite a few JLI characters have died and others have developed in far different, darker ways than their origins. But the thing is, the JLI comic wasn't really any more kid friendly either. It was more light-hearted, sure, but there's a notable difference in light-hearted vs. kid-friendly. The tone of often-malicious adult humor during that time frame really isn't something I could see appealling to many younger children.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't complain about the changes, but to use the kid argument doesn't make sense. It's just a low attempt to put more weight on the argument of "Jean shouldn't have killed Sue" or "Blue Beetle shouldn't have been shot in the head."

Now, I have to admit, there are cases where I sympathize a little more. Heck, I've made the argument myself when it came to Supergirl. I do consider both the Marvel-family and Supergirl to be innately more geared toward children.

But the thing is, Supergirl hasn't been geared for children since I was three years old. (Cartoons aside, but the DCAU is different. And it's not like DVDs and comics aren't around to explore that characterization). Peter David's Supergirl was no more kid-friendly than the new version. Shape-shifting alien merges with murderous satanist to become an angelic being and then split and venture with a demonic ex through lots of chaos until ultimately meeting up with her predecessor and making a very hard, morally grey choice?

It wasn't for kids. And as much as a part of me wants to see a Supergirl more geared toward young people, a part of me was just making the argument because I didn't like the way the current Supergirl was going. After all, I did like David's. And I'm liking Kelly's as well. Which is probably why my complaints have petered off. It probably isn't any more kid-friendly, but since I'm starting to enjoy it, I'm not complaining.

I do think it's important to have comics geared toward younger children. Comics like Krypto, Teen Titans Go, and other impossibly cute things. But I think it's also important to acknowledge that most comic fans are adults, and thus, having comics geared toward adults is hardly inappropriate. Most of us wouldn't want all the comics to *actually* become geared toward children anyway. It's just an excuse to try to say "my opinion is more important because I'm thinking about other children."

Honestly, it's silly. And at least for me, tends to hurt arguments more than it helps. For the record, if anyone sees me use it again, please call me on it. It's an embarrassingly dumb argument from someone like me. And I'm embarrassed to have used it.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Random Thoughts Regarding Recent Comics (Spoiler-Lite)

- I have no complaints about the new Birds of Prey line up. NONE.
--I liked the line about not worrying about other team/organization memberships. I guess Oracle's decided she likes liaisons.
--- The Dinah monologue went a little too long, I think. I'm glad she's not vanished from the book, but I didn't really need that much retelling of her history. It's not like I learned anything new.
---- The bits with Dinah Sr. were pretty cute though.
- And I loved the montage at the beginning! Roses!

- checkmate felt shockingly incoherent today. I'm not sure I'm fond of the art style and I think it's missing something without Alan. Michael's great but he lacks Alan's particular momentum, I think.
-- I do want to see who he picks as Bishop though.

- GLC was awesome as always. I like when they go with the crazier concepts.
-- And also illustrated why I love Guy so. See. Hal will just defeat you. But Guy will defeat you in a way that's utterly embarrassing in the process. If only because you just got your ass kicked by Guy Gardner.
--- Poor Soranik. It was doomed to happen. But I really wish we could see a faction of scary neo-nazi-esque Sinestro would-be followers. They ought to exist somewhere and it would be interesting to see them interact with Soranik.
---- Iolande got a speaking role! Yay! More Corps women!
----- Isamot and Vath are still boring. Darnit.

- GL was...much as I expected and felt oddly disjointed to me. Maybe that's intentional though. It's only the first issue of the arc so I'll refrain judgement to the end. I'll be glad when the story is over though.

- Supergirl was a disappointment from last month. Not bad but...I think Kelly should stick with the dramatic aspects for now and lay off the action.
-- The Supergirl/Nightwing stuff was actually one of the few things I liked about Loeb's run but it didn't work as well for me here.
--- The stuff with Captain Boomerang was pretty cute though.

- Finally got to read the Snowfall hardcover. Very neat. Very mythic. Of course I loved the Snow and Bigby stories. Surprisingly my favorite was Ambrose's. Poor guy. I also liked seeing the Frau's ties to so many other Fables residents.

- I still like Batwoman. In a lot of ways I find her a lot less cliched than Isis...who I also love, don't get me wrong.
-- And I'm probably very much in the minority on this but the descriptive phrase "lesbian socialite" does not grate nearly as much as "silent, asian ninja girl with sewn up mouth", I didn't actually dislike Cassandra, mind you. But I tend to like my heroes a little less openly over the top. (See also: Impulse)
--- Speaking of. I am kind of amused about the bitching about Batwoman's costume when she first appeared. Sure high-heels are impractical. But considering the Batgirl costumes... Compared to a teenager in a fetish mask, I'll take the high-heels. (that costume, as cool/creepy as it was, was way too fetishy for an underage heroine. If they'd just declared her to be 19, I probably wouldn't complain at all. But she's not. Which makes the costume a little problematic)

- How long exactly did it take to resume the Eye of Ekron plot?
-- I think I've given up on making sense of the timeline of this thing.
--- Still fun though.
---- Never thought, when it started, I'd be the most interested in the Black Adam and Question plots. I've always liked the Question, but Black Adam always seemed overrated. I guess I really like Isis and Osiris.

- I still don't think the choice of a female traitor in Teen Titans is misogynistic. Sorry

- This is old but I still think the Dodge storyline in Robin was actually leading to a Steph resolution. Slowly. I mean, he's freaking out because of a gung-ho teenage hero with more enthusiasm than training, some natural ability but definitely not a planning type who gets horribly injured trying to bite off more than he can chew. Tim's particular reaction seemed to subtextually indicate a relationship to what happened to Steph, so maybe we'll *FINALLY* get to see him address it.

- I'm still very much behind on NaNoWriMo, but not as much as it looks like on Ragnell's site. I'm just refusing to update my counter until I've caught up enough that I won't be depressed by the gap that remains. At least now I can convince myself "Hey, the gap isn't THAT big. It's just that the counter is not caught up.
-- At least I have a few weeks to catch up.
--- And my protagonist stopped acting like Guy Gardner. Thank god.

- JSA next month!!! Yay!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Okay, so this Blogger Beta thing's been around for a while now and I've been toying with the idea of changing PFP over.

I do like the idea of being able to tag all my posts. But I'm leery of change and set in my ways. I don't trust these new-fangled thingamabobs.

But it does sound kind of nifty. So what I'd like to know, from you folks who've made the switch already, is what's it like? Are there major downsides? What are some of the advantages?

Tell me what it's like? Is it worth switching over?

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The February Solicits are up!

They look pretty neat, but I have to say...the Green Arrow solicit bemuses me a little.

Red Hood is looking for Hal? In Star City?!

I mean okay, Hal and Ollie did team up a lot and do road trips together way back when. But ignoring that these comics were written circa thirty years ago...

The O'Neill Green Lantern/Green Arrow issues included the introduction and subsequent coma-making of Guy Gardner. According to JLA v2, Guy was out of commission for seven years. He woke up during Crisis and near as I can tell plot wise, he'd been awake one-two years before Zero Hour. I remember seeing something somewhere just before Infinite Crisis stating that Zero Hour was one year before. Which seems crazy, considering so much happened. But hey, considering the fluidity of timelines...well, hell, it's comics. I'll buy it. And Infinite Crisis was one comic year ago.

So that means, it's been at least ten years since Hal and Ollie were teaming up on a regular basis. More, if you're not crazy enough to smile and nod and agree that Zero Hour was only a year ago comics time. So Red Hood, who I'd imagine is still Jason Todd, former protege of Batman, one of the information kings of the DCU, is using decade-old information to track down a Green Lantern.

I mean, sure, making trouble to attract Green Arrow and then using him to get at his friend seems like a good idea. But...why not go to Coast City, make trouble, and attract Hal himself. It seems like it would cut out the middle man.
Unless he meant to, and got the places confused...

See, this is part of why, DC-fanatic that I am, I think Marvel did a better job with the whole "resurrected sidekick turned evil" plot. At least the Winter Soldier can read a damn map.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Problem with POW

I'm going to preface this complaint with the disclaimer that I haven't gotten around to reading Green Lantern #14, so I honestly can't evaluate the storyline as it's currently being presented.

But that said, I think it's fair to say that I have a problem with this POW storyline. A big one.

I'm usually a big fan of Geoff Johns. I like his character moments and his ideas tend to be a lot of fun. I have nothing against real world issues being used in comic book storylines (though my personal preference is that if Green Lantern is involved in a POW experience, it should be with aliens, darnit!). But I have a real big problem with this. Because it relies on a plot point that simply does NOT make sense.

From what we've seen, (pre GL #14), the whole reason Hal got into this mess was that he didn't bring the GL ring on his mission.


Now, I've joked about how stupid Hal (hell, all Lanterns really) can be sometimes. And I've definitely blogged about Hal's self-absorption. But leaving behind his ring on a mission simply doesn't make sense even for Hal. Especially for Hal.

I'd imagine the leaving the ring behind is indicative of some sort of death wish. Which I can appreciate. Hal's been through a lot and is carrying a metric ton of guilt with regards to the whole Parallax experience. I didn't have a problem with the scene in Recharge with Hal flying without his ring.

In the Recharge scene, I got the impression that Hal was courting death. Certainly there are many ways fighter-piloting can go wrong. Without the ring, Hal's possibilities for survival decrease dramatically. But the reason that scene worked for me is that I was under the impression that it was a practice flight. Not a mission.

I have a big problem with Hal not bringing his ring on a MISSION. For one thing, it's incredibly irresponsible. Sure Hal himself may have a death wish, but he's not the only person on this mission. Cowgirl and the kid who's name had something to do with Rockets were there too. And there are many ways such a mission can go wrong. What if there was a mechanical failure? Or a freak supervillain attack (this IS the DCU after all)? Both innocent people on his team would be in danger!

What if someone needed saving on the way? Say...a weapon goes wonky and lots of lives are suddenly at stake. Or an attractive woman falls off a building. What if, since this is during the missing year, some sort of huge alien invasion kicks in? Clark, Bruce and Diana are gone. That leaves Hal as one of the heaviest hitters they've got left. Which means, he's basically an emergency room doctor, on call at any given moment. A mission is a LONG time to be incommunicado.

This changes things considerably. Recharge was before the Crisis. Before the worlds split and reformed. Before Clark, Diana and Bruce went AWOL. When there was a Justice League rather than a Lex Luthor funded band of misfit amateurs. Even ignoring the very likely event that a hero is needed on Hal's own mission, he's got a responsibility to the world.

And Hal might be occasionally stupid and an asshole, but he's responsible. His guilt and culpability in the Parallax Affair would, I'd think, make him MORE hypervigilant in an attempt to atone. Not less. (I'd have preferred to see Hal's death wish take the form of being TOO gung-ho with the superheroics. Biting off more than he can chew. Not calling for help when needed. That seems like a more organic way of utilizing a subconscious death-wish element)

Besides, while Hal is arrogant enough to assume nothing would ever go wrong on his own mission, he does have a huge ego and a savior complex. What if the WORLD needs him? What if something happened to everyone when he was incommunicado? (Considering that his own lack of vigilance could be considered to play a big part in the Parallax possession to begin with, it definitely doesn't make sense)

I usually love Johns's characterization of Hal but this seems like a serious misstep. It's completely illogical and feels like an contrived and ill-concieved attempt to shoehorn Hal into this new traumatic and angst-ridden storyline. And it'll have to be a damn good story to make up for that, for me.

I'm honestly not holding my breath. Sorry.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Very Quick Reaction...

I'm not too upset by the a Certain Resurrection in Teen Titans. It could be interesting, especially with all these Titans East stuff coming up. (Heh, knew all that "closing the door between life and death" stuff wouldn't last it wrong that I'm hoping for some minor hair-destroying disaster to strike? Doesn't have to be much. Could even be head lice. As long as it results in a shaved head. I absolutely hate that hair.

Actually, having the whole team with shaved heads could be funny. Try telling Cassie and Rose apart then! :-)

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Reactions on Young Avengers/Runaways

I'm pretty badly behind on my comics this week, but one comic I had to read was the Runaways/Young Avengers crossover.

I had to read it ever since Dorian pointed out the unpleasant implications of the fact that it was the gay characters targetted in the torture scenes combined with the relatively recent death of Freedom Ring. I wanted to read it for myself to see what I thought about this story.

As I expected really, I didn't catch any overt/conscious message of homophobia. The characters' homosexuality did not seem to be a motivating issue for their torture (at least from the evil doctor guy's point of view). The obvious story motivation seems to hold up. They might be the gay members, but they're also the alien members. And it's the alienness that is the motivation for the trauma.

Which makes sense.

Except I can't help but wonder why Billy was included. Billy Kaplan isn't an alien. Oddities of parentage aside, he's a perfectly normal mutant kid. The storyline reason for him being in that situation was, quite honestly, incredibly weak.

The "they're chosen as victims because they're aliens" excuse only works when the victims are in fact aliens.

Billy didn't need to be there. And honestly, he didn't serve any role in the plot that really warranted him being there. (Not to mention the inaccuracy of Billy needing to hear his spells to cast them...that wasn't the case in the Young Avengers I read...I can understand messing up some details of characters with years and years of continuity under their belts, but YA is a pretty short series.)

Karolina could have served the same role. The same sensitive character driven to the point of wishing death on someone role. It's not like she had much to do during that scene either. The only one who really got to do anything was Xavin. With Teddy then talking him down.

On one level, I understand the desire to use Billy there. Having loved ones present for a victim's suffering makes for some nice evocative scenes. But again, Karolina was there too and could have served much the same role. As an alien, her presence also has the distinct advantage of making sense.

I don't think there was any sort of conscious homophobia here, but the timing was definitely unfortunate. What with Freedom Ring's death, the Northstar mess, and other debacles in this area, it was probably a bad idea to have the four gay characters (or three gay characters with one straight man living as a woman) placed in this situation in this manner.

I wonder if it would be quite so...uncomfortable if they had gone for just targeting the actual aliens. Teddy, Xavin and Karolina remaining victims, with Billy instead fighting alongside the other Avengers and Runaways. It'd definitely make more sense to me and it might not seem quite as questionably motivated. Maybe.

Also, I concur with Sims, "run away" is the verb, "runaway" is not. Nincompoop.

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 10, 2006

Random Ridiculous Realization:

In my head, Dazzler is played by Jennifer Garner.

I don't know why this is as they don't look very much alike.

I think it's probably the wig thing.

And way too much watching of Alias late at night.

That is all.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ack, My Privilege Is Showing...

I was reading the Civil War YA and Runaway tie-in when I had a rather strange realization. The skrull character, Xavin, is a character I've been liking a lot in the few issues of Runaways I'd sat down and read. But I only today noticed today that he's remarkable in a different way.

He's (She's?) naturally a skrull of course, but his default human form is that of a black man. And I'd never really thought of it before, but when it comes shapeshifting alien type beings in sci-fi/fantasy/comics who take human form, I think 95% of those characters tend to take the form of caucasian people.

It's a little weird to stop and consider, but (except for Xavin) off the top of my head I can't really think of any shapeshifting character who's preferred/default form is that of a black or asian character. I'm sure there are a few and I'm just drawing a blank, but off the top of my head, I'm having trouble thinking of them.

It has some unpleasant implications though. I mean, when I stop and think about it I can't think of any reason that a shapeshifting alien couldn't be any race. Usually the story is specific about whether the character should be male or female, but race usually doesn't enter into the picture. However, the vast majority of shape-shifting characters become white people. Is it because of an unconscious sort of racism in which many writers/artists/casting agents automatically consider white to be the "default"?

(I suppose one slightly insulting explanation is that they want to blend in with the rest of the cast. Who tend to be white as a majority. Which is irritating because in most of the cities where these stories are supposed to take place, there usually are fairly substantial non-white populations...even if we don't see them on screen)

I definitely don't think it's a conscious racism, I think that there is another reason that we tend to see the shapeshifters-as-white-people most often. That is, we white people are chickenshit.

Okay, that's a little harsh. But I think white writers/directors/casting agents tend to be very wary in general about how they cast non-white characters. In some cases, this has a lot of merit. Especially considering, say, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers in which we ended up with an Asian "Yellow Ranger" and a black "Black Ranger".

I personally tend not to notice always when things are questionable like that. I can ignore it because I'm white, I think. I remember reading David's critique of Young Avengers and actually bristling a little. I love Young Avengers and Eli's one of my absolute favorite younger hero characters. (I've always liked strong leadership characters.) I thought that David was reading too much into Eli's use of the drugs. Eli wasn't doing it out of an addiction or desire to become high, he was doing it so that he could be a hero and save people. He was proactively pursuing that ability, in a way, that really didn't seem much different to me than Steve Rogers using the super serum in the first place. Except that his wasn't permanent. And by the end, he did end up infused with the serum properly. I thought it was a shame to dismiss such a great character because of one part.

But then...I'm white. And as bleeding heart, guilty liberal as I tend to be, I really don't know what it's like to be a black man. I've heard stories, of course, of the offensive assumptions people make. But I don't have to live them and thus, I can afford to be somewhat oblivious to them. Eli's drug-storyline doesn't hit the same nerves for me that it might for a lot of other people. In a similar sort of thing, I'm not sure how many people (male or female) can really understand why characters like Kitty Pryde, female characters that seem designed more as a compilation of traits that certain male writers find really attractive/cool than as a functioning individual, irk me. We all have our trigger issues after all.

My reaction to David's entry was pretty telling though. I was defensive and shocked. I hadn't even considered that one of my favorite characters could be taken that way and for a minute or two, I was even offended by the implications. (I'm not proud of myself for that.) The motivations, I'm 95% certain though I've never met or spoken with Allan Heinburg, were not racist! I'm certainly not a racist for liking I? These were all thoughts jumbled up together in my mind.

Coming face to face with one's own privilege is never a very comfortable experience.

I think as a result, when white creators do end up thinking about race they go overboard. "If I cast soandso as a non-white person and he dies, will I be giving off a racist message?" "If this-guy has some of the negative stereotypes of his race, am I being racist?" Something like that. In the case of shapeshifters, I can't help but think of specific critiques of that stupid black/white show in which it's pointed out how stupid it is to expect a white person to get the idea of what it's like to be black through wearing make-up. At the end of the day, they can wash it off, and be white again. (Jenn over at Reappropriate has done some great reviews of the show that addresses this in depth).

So then, there's the question, "Well, since the character could be any race he/she wants, is it then more like wearing blackface/yellowface?" Does the character really count as our black/hispanic/asian/or-other-race character if he/she doesn't have to be? Is it cheating, in a sense, to include them?

Of course, all this liberal guilt whining does ignore a very simple solution. Which is: if you're worried about racist messages in your non-white character, why not make more than one non-white character? (This goes for women, homosexual characters and others as well...for example, as Steven pointed out Freedom's Ring's storyline would have probably been fine in Wildstorm.)

Anyway, I'm not sure I have a point to all this really. I think I'm just taking this opportunity to muse about a topic that I usually don't talk about.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

But My Birthday's Not Until February!

I like Pete Wisdom. I like him a lot. I like his suits and I like his attitude and I really liked how Kitty Pryde managed to move beyond the teenaged wunderkind and actually develop a real personality.

It's not particularly news, I'm sure, that Pete (one of my top 4 favorite Marvel Characters ever) is getting his own MAX miniseries. I like MAX books. They can be a good excuse to go past the standard fare for superhero comics and try for something newer/riskier. Sometimes they suck, and are just gratuitous, but other times they can be really good.

It's written by Paul Cornell. I like Paul Cornell. He writes for Doctor Who. I love Doctor Who. His plots tend to be interesting and weird, which should work well with this character and this mini.

It's apparently going to have a skrull! I like skrulls! I like almost every skrull character I've read in Marvel. Skrull characters are neat. And green. I like green.

Newsarama has a preview up.

Apparently, the story is going to be Pete Wisdom vs Fairies.

Pete Wisdom vs Fairies.

And there may be a gun toting fairy dissident.


I can't, at this moment, think of anything that sounds awesomer then this series will be. Happy day for me!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Election Day!

So here I was, getting this lovely, funny election day post ready for you, when lo and behold this jerk beats me to it!

Now since I'm too tired and lazy to actually think of a brand new idea myself, I'm going to direct you that way. See what happens when Etrigan ran for President!!

Labels: ,

Monday, November 06, 2006

Video Game Mutterings

Okay, let me be the first to say, buying Ultimate Alliance when I'm in the middle of National Novel Writing Month was a bad idea. I haven't had much of any chance to play. The bits I did get to play (mostly the intro) were pretty awesome.

I've never played X-Men Legends, I'm told the games are similar. I've never had much interest in the X-characters though. I like the Avengers and Fantastic Four better.

I'm a bad comics geek though. I was much sadder about not getting to play Hank Pym than I was about the Hulk. I mean, the unlockable costume opportunities alone! Admittedly, I'm not quite sure how they'd go about using his powers. But dude, it if it involved pulling shrunken death rays out of his pockets, I am SO THERE.

I like the flying. Zipping across the room is fun.

My current "team" (I haven't made it to the real team creation type) is made up of Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Storm and Spider Woman. I'm not sure why except that possibly in my head, Steve Rogers is a woman.

I suck at the combat. Seriously. No head for tactics, me. Also, buttons confuse me. I'm playing this game for the costumes. I'm one of those sorts that never grew out of Barbie Dolls.

The unlockable characters sound like fun too. Sadly, I have the PS2 version, so no bonus characters. Though really, considering I have to find time to play at all, that's probably a good thing though. I'm sad about not getting to play Black Widow though.

Also, my roommate has Final Fantasy XII, so even if I weren't dreadfully behind on my NaNoWriMo (I WILL finish in time, damnit!) I'd still need to negotiate over PS2 time. I have to admit, FFXII is the first game I've watched that I have absolutely no inclination to play. Though I do like the space pirate guy. But that's a digression.

I really like the team-up options in this game. And the amount of characters. I'm more of an RPG sort, so I like that there's a lot of focus on story and point A to point B stuff here instead of just a fighting game, which I suck at.

I love the dialogue too. I've read some reviews that called it cheesy. Of COURSE it's cheesy. It's COMICS! If the dialogue wasn't cheesy, something would be wrong. Besides, Captain America in particular is supposed to sound a little lame. That's part of his charm.

I have to admit, I approve of the selection of X-Men used in the game as well. There are so many X-Men to choose from that it must have been hard to narrow down a choice. Wolverine's got the advantage of being iconically recognizeable and everywhere anyway, which makes him a good choice, even if I don't like him. Storm's just cool. And there's that whole Black Panther marriage. I wasn't as sure about Bobby or Colossus (who I don't have anyway. :-)) but I can't honestly think of anyone better. And their powers are neat, so I can't complain.

Over all, I think the character choices are really good. All characters I'm vaguely familiar with at least, but not all the obvious choices. It makes it a lot of fun.

Except for the lack of Hank Pym's unlockable costumes. Seriously. The man's closet must be huge...and kept in his pants pocket. I'm told he is an NPC in the game though, which makes me happy.

I also bought Justice League Heroes. Which looks very cool too. Oddly, much as I'm far more DC oriented than Marvel, I thought this one looked more interesting to start off with. Even if I'm gleeful at the prospect of unlocking Hal and Kyle. (No Guy though? Hmph. My inner Guy fangirl is disgruntled. :-))

I'm interested in the plot as well. I'm hoping it will be deliciously cheesy. It's Doctor Doom we're talking about after all. I've heard there's lots of replay value. Which makes me happy. I like unlocking stuff.

But anyway, I'm having fun, even if I won't be able to really play until December. (Or until i get the writing back on schedule. Which means not until December. Hee.)


Sunday, November 05, 2006

An Arrow in a Haystack?

I've got this thing about Green Arrows (and proteges). I like them, but I really only tend to find them interesting in their relationships with other characters. But I have very little interest in reading them on their own.

I've never particularly sought out any of the Arrow books because of this. I like Ollie, Roy, Connor and Mia. I like them a lot. But I like them best in places that aren't "Green Arrow". I like Ollie when interacting with Hal, Kyle, Dinah or the Justice League, but not enough to read him being Mayor. I like Roy best in team books like Titans, Outsiders or JLA, but I've never felt the need to track down his miniseries. I like Connor a lot in pretty much any guest appearance I've seen him in, but I've never really read him on his own. Mia's interesting enough in Teen Titans, and Quiver, but again...

Thus, I have really no real working knowledge base when it comes to Arrow stuff.

Which bothers me, because I've suddenly got the urge to read anything that deals with Ollie and Connor's relationship. I'm particularly interested in Connor's introduction, when the whole Connor-as-Ollie's-son is revealed, and any good father-son moments. I really like reading familial heavy stuff, especially anything "long-lost", so I've decided I'd really like to read it.

My problem is, I'm an Arrow-newbie. There's so many Green Arrow issues out there, over years and years, and it's all scary and intimidating, and I don't know where to look!


Labels: ,

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Gone Fishing...

Sorry, work was very hectic and I'm absolutely beat. So today's blog entry is completely non-existant. I'll try to post something of substance later but for right now, please accept this token of my apprecaition and apology:

Gratuitous He-Man bondage!

(from Masters of the Universe #4)

Night, all!

Labels: ,

Friday, November 03, 2006

Musings about Freedom Fighters...(No spoilers)

The other book I bought yesterday that I found particularly worthy of blogging about was Freedom Fighters. (Better late than never.)

I know what I said about the art but I really do want to give this series a chance. My problem with the art still stands, but I'm starting to believe it's intended to have some sort of metatextual meaning now. There were actually scenes in this book where the Phantom Lady stood next to a non-hero female character and that female character was drawn decidedly normal.

The art is very stylized, but she seemed to be of modest proportion and decidedly not shiny or plastic looking, which definitely makes me think those of you who suggested the design was intentional were right.

Stormy interests me. Though I still hope that's not her real name. She's got some interesting technological tricks up her sleeves and I appreciate seeing a female inventor/scientist character. (I was also very happy to see the fuss raised in 52 about actually including a female scientist.. It made me start to suspect their exclusion was deliberate, as opposed to an unconscious implication that there were no female technical scientists equal to the men in the DCU.)

The comparison to Power Girl made me laugh too. I really do like Stormy. She came off as the most sane and competent person in Battle for Bludhaven (along with Gardner Grayle, who I like a lot for no real reason) and she continues to be appealing here. I like her personality and her competence. I even like her design, barring the odd plastic aspects.

I'd love if there turned out to be an actual point to the plastic design though. I still say she's an auton.

The downside to the issue (and the series) is that I'm having a lot of trouble getting a handle on the characters that aren't Phantom Lady or Uncle Sam. (Uncle Sam is, of course, awesome. Without fail.) I'm utterly indifferent to them. None of their personalities are really shining through for me yet.

There's still time of course. This is only the third issue. But I'd really like to see a bit more from the other characters. Also, couldn't we have another woman on the team? Emma looks interesting, but couldn't we have a new Miss America as well? If other, not plastic, women were portrayed a bit more frequently, I think I'd lay off of her a little more.

The new Black Condor seems entertaining, he and Doll Man interest me most of the redesigns so far. So I probably will stick around to see where it goes.

Besides, the awesomeness of Uncle Sam with that plane is more than enough to earn a second chance!

(Also, completely unrelated: Mystery in Space is awesome. I must read more of this Captain Comet fellow)


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Darn You Marv Wolfman! Darn Yooooou!

So, I buy Nightwing on a whim. Because last month's was relatively tolerable and I even occasionally picked up issues during the Jones and Grayson runs, just so I could remind myself of my virile and irrational hatred of the character.

And what do I find?

A Dick that's on the phone with Alfred. A Dick that's not a solitary angst-boy and is at least keeping communication with a supportive familial figure.

A Dick that has an ally doing tech work for him. An ally he seems to be protectively fraternal toward.

A Dick that helps some kid in a gym improve his acrobatic work, showing him how it's done and giving pointers in an easy-going and friendly manner.

A Dick that can have a conversation with a woman that doesn't immediately devolve into a mooning, teenage crush on him, reference to unbearable sexual tension, or falling immediately into bed. I mean sure, she's probably an eventual love interest. But they're not having sex yet!

A Dick that has exactly two panels of reflected angst over the death of his parents in the course of the book. No "OMG, I FAILED" or "Batman doesn't love me!" in sight.

A Dick that has a sense of humor that is wry and wisecracky without going overboard.

A Dick that is able to use his general empathy and approachability to gently question a grieving widow and gain her cooperation.

A Dick that, thanks to Jurgens, manages to look both attractive and a little goofy (horrible hair works for him) which goes a long way in divorcing him from the over-angsty pretty boy and returns to him the proper dork-tastic charm.

In short, while the plot is still nothing special, Wolfman has delivered on a Dick Grayson that finally feels like a grown-up version of Robin again.

He's delivered a Dick Grayson I actually LIKE.

I feel my life sustaining (or at least blog entry-sustaining) hatred of Dick Grayson ebbing...


(I still think your name is awesome though.)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Moment of Surreality:

I'm taking a break from my first day of nervewracking NaNoWriMo writing to announce that my main character has somehow turned into a noirish Guy Gardner.

This is unnerving and I wish it would stop.

That is all...

Labels: ,