Or possibly, Everything Old Is New Again.

Time time time - So, not that this has any relevance to this link or anything, but: when I went into Sears recently to replace a battery in my wrist watch (turned out the watch was just plain dead), I had a few minutes to look at the wares they were offering, because the watch repair place was also where they kept the timepieces. And timepieces they did have, too! Wall clocks, desk clocks, alarum clocks, atomic versions of all of the above ... and not one watch. NOT ONE. Apparently, the cell phone has made a huge difference in how people keep time. And why not? You usually have it, you don't have to set it. You just keep it in your pocket or purse or backpack ... just like our grandparents and great-grandparents did with their pocket and pendant watches. (In fact, if you could put a cell phone on a chain, it might be easier to keep track of. And maybe serve as an antenna as well!)

I'm pretty sure that most adult men don't bend that way.

I had totally forgotten that she had an actual degree in the subject. It's been so long since she even tried to do anything with it. (Also, I'm guessing the dominatrix stuff paid better until recently. I suppose kink gets less affordable in a recession.)

... Well, that's different.

I would just like to note that, interesting as it is (and it is, very), this reboot concept almost as intriguing as this reboot concept. There's just something about full-on batshit insanity that works, somehow. Then again, there's something about tiger-induced super-powered multiple superhero personalities, too.

... You know, that is a very good question. And so is that.
Comic Related - Race and Gender in Comics
Many of you may know me or have seen me active in the forums. For those who don't, let me introduce myself. My name is Sean Collins and I am an artist/writer as well as the owner of Wild Wolf Entertainment LLC. I have also been a comic collector and fan for as long as I can remember. I became an active comic creator about seven years ago.

What many of you may not know is I am a proud Native American, which brings me to the what I plan to do in this column. As a Native American, I have a natural interest in how all minorities are handled in comics and related media. Here, I will be taking a look at how different races and genders have been handled throughout the history of comics....

I have to admit, I'm looking forward to seeing how that column turns out, especially since "One diverse comic book nation" seems to have ceased again.

And along those lines: "...I think a lot of the issue isn't racism as it's classically known and discussed, but just one of lazy thinking. Why can't the next semi-recurring character to be introduced be a minority?...

5 Absurd Superhero Origins: Actually, the "What would have really happened" bits are the best parts.

Keanu Reeves as Spike Siegel in "Cowboy BeBop": ... Yes. Well. quite. Mind, Spike has a very buttoned-down affect, so there's a level where this kinda sorta almost works. Kinda. Sorta. Almost. I wonder if they'll go for one of the continuity episodes, or write something that would be a sort of stand-alone episode.

RIP, GYWO. (Though, given that the war is still on, one suspects that there'd be a place for it for some time to come. The rhetorical flourishes that will be trotted out to explain why things aren't ending now-ish, or as now-ish as possible, will be legion, and mighty to see!)
Herewith an attempt to catch up on the past several weeks.

Scalped, vol 1: Indian country (Jason Aaron and RM Guerra)
Scalped contains a very dark view of life on the Prairie Rose reservation of the Lakota Sioux. Dashiell Red Horse was a hellion who ran away when he was very young, somehow got himself in order, became an FBI agent, who was then sent back to Prairie Rose to do an undercover investigation of ... something he's not sure of, because his control agent hasn't really told him what he's doing there. The story wends its way through all sorts of corruption, official and otherwise, prostitution, drunkenness, drug use and so on and so on and so on...

The story is problematic at any number of levels. At a purely emotional level ... well, they're all very unpleasant people. Even Dashiell Red Horse, our nominal viewpoint character, isn't that great, and honestly, for the (very nominally) viewpoint character, we don't really know much about him. And then there's the Prairie Rose reservation itself. However bad life on a reservation can be -- and I'm sure it can be bad -- it just can't be this relentlessly grim, and everyone on a reservation can't be this hopeless or evil. I'm certainly not saying that everyone living on a reservation is wondrous and virtuous; that said, I have a hard time believing that corruption is quite that endemic. I get that it's a crime story, but at the same time, most crime stories do a bit better at giving you someone to care about. Compare the first arc of Scalped with the first arc of Brubaker's Criminal; in the first issue, we get not only an introduction to the main character, but also reasons to care what happens to him and his. In the first issue of Scalped, we get introduced to almost everyone, but not enough to feel any sort of connection to or strong interest in any of them.

Additionally, enjoying the story requires you not to know a lot (granted, some of it is fairly oddball stuff). For example, Dashiell Red Horse appears far too young to be an FBI agent, since he'd be required to go to college and have some work experience or additional specialized coursework of a type he clearly lacks (people with those degrees don't get sent undercover by themselves into the field); his supervisor the corrupt FBI agent, at one stage, describes changing his testimony to get someone convicted in a way that would cause problems, because at that point, he'd already testified in two other trials on the same matter, and no sentence could be sustained under those circumstances. It's also very unclear -- by design -- when events take place relative to one another. Slightly beyond the frame of this review, but relevant: a murder takes place at the end of "Indian Country", issue 5 of Scalped. However, as of issue 9, nobody seems to know it yet; very little time has passed. It's hard to be patient with a story where something this major continues not only to be undiscovered, but completely unknown when this much time has gone by in our world, if not theirs. It's hard not to think that a large amount of time should have passed in their world, and why haven't they figured this out yet? It's also, I have a feeling, reasonably obvious who the murderer was and why, but of course, I could be entirely wrong about that. It is, however, incredibly difficult to care, both because the event is so drawn out and because everyone but the murder victim is fairly dislikeable. There's also the small matter that as of issue 9, Dashiell Red Horse himself still doesn't quite know why he's there or what he's supposed to be looking for, and we the readers are very little more informed; as far as we can tell, he's only there to be a cat amongst the pigeons, but it's hard for him to do that without knowing what the pigeons are doing and how to stir them up, so to speak.

To be sure, Scalped somehow manages to be interesting and oddly engrossing, and Guerra's art works well with the story. But I really can't quite recommend the story itself.

Elk's Run (Joshua Hale Fialkov, Noel Tuazon & Scott A. Keating; Villard)

Elk's Run is a title that's been through the mill, one way and another. Self-published in single issues initially, it got picked up by Speakeasy, and promptly caught up in Speakeasy's spectacular self-destruction. It eventually landed at Villard for the graphic novel edition.

Elk's Run is the story of the town of Elk's Ridge, as seen by John Jr, his father John Sr, and his mother Sarah. It's an apparently idyllic,very small and extremely isolated (by design) town in the middle of nowhere. The town has a secret -- in fact, a few of them. Everything starts going dramatically wrong when the teenagers desire to leave town and see what else there is in the great wide world collides dramatically with their parents' desire to stay in town and keep their secrets. The storytelling is very simple, almost linear, and very dark, but the story is very well told. You understand the characters, and why they do what they do; you understand the intense isolation and the claustrophobia that causes. It's not that there aren't any villains -- but you can see where the villains feel that they're doing what they need to do for the greater good, misguided though they may be about what the greater good actually is. The artwork is simple and dark, well suited to the story. Highly recommended.

Freshmen II: Fundamentals of Fear (Seth Green, Hugh Sterbakov, Will Conrad, Jorge Correa; Top Cow)
In which the gang returns from winter break for new adventures. Consequences from the explosion of the Ax-Cell-erator continue to grow, as we discover that there are more superpowered kids resulting from the accident. We watch the everyone coping with those discoveries, as well as with the normal stresses and strains of the second semester of freshman year. Old friends discover that maybe they have less in common than they once did; people come to grips with uncomfortable information about themselves; others start new romances. And the Intoxicator continues to throw up on everyone in his own inimitable way. Villains abound, and some come from the most unlikely places. I have to admit, I'm impressed that the creators don't worry about sidelining or killing characters; normally, this early in a book's tenure (if that's the right word), that type of carnage is a bit more limited. (That said, they did not entirely manage to avoid a Woman in Refrigerators (WiR) moment, although it was done about as well as those things can be done.) The artwork is striking and impressive, and conveys the characters and situation well. A very enjoyable book, and well worth the read, even with the WiR.

Now, herewith, a brief plea:

Dear Messrs. Green and Sterbakov,

Regarding Green Thumb: please don't kill him.

Granted, given the developments in the story, that may not be the easiest thing to do -- although I can think of one or two ways right off the bat, depending on the extent of his powers. But that's beside the point. The point is, all things being equal, it would be really really really nice if he didn't wind up all, you know, dead and stuff. ("Stuff" including more creative mangling.) It would be even nicer if he could, as Intoxicator says, "rock out with his [BLEEP] out," but honestly, these days ... yeah, I'd settle for the whole "please don't kill him" thing. He's a character that you've just begun to flesh out and make really interesting, and death would probably interfere with that. He is, for the moment, distinctive and nearly unique in comics. So, really, please don't kill him.

Also, you're to be commended for getting through an entire volume without a single "beaver" joke of any sort. Really, I don't think I could have been that restrained.

Yrs most sincerely, etc.

Madame Mirage #2 (Dini/Rocafort; Top Cow): ...Well, at least now we know that Mirage isn't a member of the nipple-free brigade. It seems that wandering around in a strapless gown in certain environments can be a bit chilly. Who knew? Snark aside, it really was a very interesting issue. It's apparent that either Mirage is a metahuman of some sort herself, or she has access to the very criminal technology that she's trying to destroy or confiscate. (...Which makes perfectly good sense, doesn't it? I mean, if she's stolen it from the bad guys, then it's available for her to use. But I digress.) In issue 2, she takes the fight to the bad guys' homes. When her plan starts rolling, the highlight is a kind of a cool not-exactly-a-fight sequence. Again, sorta recommended, with reservations.
Yenny: this is maybe the geekiest/nerdiest commercial comic strip I've ever seen. And a Hispanic girl geek, at that. With a Black girl geek friend, even. It's a Puerto Rican Spanish language strip originally that the author then translates and gets syndicated by Andrews McMeel.

It's even geekier than this comic strip ... although certainly not weirder. Also: ray guns.

On the topic of recent political events: I really don't get this one. Not even a little. (EDIT: Never mind. Got it. The art is a bit ... subtle. And perhaps just a shade ... well.) On the other hand, this one makes much more sense.

"An idiot, son. He's an idiot."

Tragically, grievously, and most unfortunately, librarianship is almost never this exciting. Bookhunter is also the most amazingly library-geek thing I've ever seen. If only we were all that nigh-infallible... (And also, this is seriously demented.) (Also, what is a swash and why would one buckle it, and how did that come to mean rip-snortin' adventure?)
iainpj: (Default)
( Aug. 10th, 2007 01:35 pm)
Shortpacked! -- Tokenism! TOKENISM!: ... Yeah, that about covers it, really.

America Jr.: The sanctity of matrimony!: I have a feeling that may be it on this topic until spring, when the wedding preparations kick into high gear, and we discover just how serious they were about that dress. As it stands, though, America Jr doesn't seem to have any laws regarding who may or may not marry; it's going to be interesting to see how the citizens react when it's not an abstract case, when it's just Ed and Andy from down the street.

The Onion's AV Club: Are Superhero Comics Played Out?: or, this is pretty much why DC's new Confidential titles and the theoretical All-Star line exist. Of course, Batman Confidential doesn't do anything new (although it at least isn't dragging quite so long a continuity tail behind); All Star Batman and Robin is expressly running counter to the original idea of the All-Star line (designed for newer readers, and not meant to force them to read all of Frank Miller's titles so that they could figure out what the hell was going on and why Batman had suddenly become Psychoman from Hell), which is either late (Batman and Superman) or nonexistant (Flash, Batgirl, Wonder Woman).

Sinfest: an excuse not to work: ... and that also about covers it.

Kelly: Fourteen words: and suddenly coming into focus and slightly out of the weird. Very slightly out.
Reviews of graphic novels and individual issues, including: Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril; Captain Gravity; The American Way; Sam Noir: Ronin Holiday #1; Fell #7, Nextwave #12, 7 Brothers #5. No big spoilers this time (except for the one as noted), but in order to keep from hammering friends lists, everything is behind the cut.

Walk this way... No, not THAT way, THIS way... )
- reappropriate » Blog Archive » The All New Atom #2
- one diverse comic book nation: Revisiting The All-New Atom

Um ... wow. I mean ... wow.

One wonders if perhaps, just perhaps, when a creator gets tempted to respond at this level, they should maybe step away from the blogosphere for a day or ten. I myself don't read Atom, or any mainline DC except for All Star Superman and Superman Confidential, so I don't quite have anything invested in this specific issue. However, I can't imagine that Gail Simone did herself any good responding in this way and at this level. If people wanted to articulate their concerns directly to her, that would be one thing, but this public discussion may not have been wise.

I do wonder if she was taking this sort of flack when she was doing her miniseries Matador; with a Cuban-American lead and family. I don't remember hearing about it, but then, as a miniseries on Wildstorm, it would simply never have been read by as many people. And I wonder if Kurt Busiek is getting this sort of flack now, with Astro City: The Dark Age having both leads be Black when he himself isn't. The race is somewhat relevant there ... but only somewhat.

For what it's worth, despite, as she puts it, her red hair and pale skin, she seems to be doing a perfectly fine job with the Black sheriff and her sister in Welcome to Tranquility, but then, their race simply isn't any sort of issue in the story at the moment.

- The Beat: Finding a safe place for THE BOYS
- Comic Book Commentary: Let's Stop Blaming Retailers, and Start Blaming Publishers

Hmm. Apparently, DC cancelled Wildstorm's The Boys over Matters Of Taste -- the fact that The Boys had none. Exuberantly and by design. Seriously, what on earth did DC think they'd be getting with this title? The pitch had to be pretty clear on where they were headed. (Mind, the hyperviolent drugged-out superhero orgy was probably rather startling, what with the major drug use and the bleeding vaginas and the gay blowjobs and ... well, let's just say that it was probably a bit surprising to DC at times.) At least DC is allowing them to shop the title elsewhere, even letting Robertson be non-exclusive for that one creator owned title. I hope, for their sake, that they wind up at Marvel Icon/Max (for a theoretically deceased imprint, Max doesn't seem to have ever quite gone dormant). Winding up at Marvel will likely be the only way for them to sustain the sales level; if they don't mind selling maybe a third less, then perhaps IDW or Avatar (especially Avatar) would be the place to be; for all that Image and Dark Horse can be just as edgy and sexy and violent as anything else, I think this title might make them ... twitch, just a little, at times.

That said, The Beat pretty much undermines its refutation of the point that others are, in fact, not making. Other people are saying that The Boys will lose sales when it moves, not simply because it's moving from one publisher to another (which is the point that The Beat is refuting), but because there are a fair number of retailers that are only DC/Marvel shops, or who won't buy much in other labels because they get a much bigger discount from DC and Marvel. If it moves to, say, Image or Dark Horse or IDW or Avatar, there are places where it simply won't be sold that it was sold before. The two titles they cite only reinforce that point. Powers moved from Image to Marvel Icon, and sales increased, almost certainly in part because it was now in shops that didn't sell Image at all. Fallen Angel moved from DC Universe to IDW and lost a third of its audience. Yes, of course it still sells, and I'd think that the trades -- given that trades appear in bookstore markets and on Amazon as well as in comic stores -- sell quite well indeed. That doesn't change the fact that the monthly simply doesn't get seen in as many places.
Emissary apparently cancelled after last month's issue 6

...Well, crap.

I wonder if maybe the creators might take the Girl Genius route and go direct to the web, with trade compilations after six months or so of daily/weekly comics. Of course, the issue is that everyone involved is working on other titles; they just have other, better things to do than to deal with a clear failure. And there's the Image/Shadowline issue; even if it's creator-owned, I'd think that complicates things.

But still. DAMMIT!

(Maybe that answers the question of what would happen if Superman were black. As long as he was just one in a world full of supermen, nobody would even notice his existence.)
Whoa! Coolness!

ICv2 News - 'Bluesman' Optioned for Feature:
Bluesman, a three volume NBM graphic novel series by Rob Vollmar and Pablo Callejo, has been optioned for a feature film by producers Jason Koornick and Lawrence Blume....

I wonder how they'll cast it. Frankly, I wonder how they'll make it; given that the comparatively few racial references in Dreamgirls got either softened or yanked entire, how do you make a film about something featuring music, sex, murder, and a really staggering amount of racism (from the modern perspective, anyway)? To be sure, this will be positioned as an indie of sorts, despite the fact that Revolution is entirely owned by Sony/Columbia. Even so... (Of course, there's an assumption of another order I'm making; just because the producers have worked with Revolution before doesn't mean that they'll do it again.)
iainpj: (Default)
( Dec. 22nd, 2006 03:07 pm)
Always Bet on Bahlactus » Blog Archive » What If? Superman was Black?:
I suspect that for a long time Superman was reflective of middle-class values in America. Would these values have impacted him differently if he was Black? What would a seemingly all powerful, sole-surviving alien, and Black develop into? Would he even become known as Superman? As the most powerful Black man on Earth, how would he interpret societal norms (and what would his reaction be towards them?). Would he remain on Earth? These questions come to mind when pondering What If? Superman was Black?

Emissary cover
Well ... basically, you'd have Emissary.

Albeit not quite, because Emissary takes place in the here and now, and in a world that's never had superheroes. (Though ... in DC continuity, such shards as remain after various Crises, isn't it canon that most of the DC universe never had superheroes until WWII, or thereabouts? Then suddenly there was Superman, then Batman -- without actual powers, of course -- and Wonderwoman and others.) So, yes, there would be differences in that respect.

As far as the sociobiological aspects go ... ick. Allowing for some exaggeration for storytelling, most of the social problems that Emissary is running into are entirely realistic. They'd only have been savagely compounded in the world of 60 years ago, when Jim Crow was still the rule, when apartheid was in its prime...


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